Immigration

Ted Cruz' Costly Promise to Secure the Border

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Sen. Ted Cruz announced his presidential bid this week by vowing to "finally, finally, finally secure the borders." This no doubt plays on the notion popularized by restrictionists that Latinos are welfare queens who come to this country

Border Fence
Tony Webster / Foter / CC BY-SA

to live off American taxpayers.

Nothing could be further from the truth, but what is true is something that  Cruz & Co never talk about: The massive costs that their own plans to create the Great Wall of China on the Rio Grande will impose on Americans both in terms of money and lost liberties.

What's most laughable about Cruz' plan to assert "100 percent operational control of the border," I note in my column at The Week, is not just that it is a totally ridiculous goal: Even the Berlin Wall, the most fortified border in modern history, was successfully breached 1,000 times a year, after all. It is that Cruz plans to create a Border Leviathan while also promising to "stand for liberty."

If you like your liberty, don't plan on keeping it under President Cruz, folks.

Read the column here.

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  1. If you like your liberty, don’t plan on keeping it under President Cruz, folks.

    Can we plan on Cruz failing to deliver on 90% of the bullshit he promises if only people will vote for him?

    1. Yeah, but it’s that 10% you have to worry about.

  2. Ted Cruz is a bright guy unlike the conservative base he is pandering to. That makes him a very dangerous candidate.

    1. BUUUUUUTTPLUUUUUUUUUG

  3. But where does he stand on weed and buttsex?

    1. buttsex

      Apparently, it won’t be Mexican.

      1. Okay, I laughed out loud.

    2. Both should be illegal according to Cruz.

      He is a good Christian man. Maybe.

      1. I’m pretty sure no one thinks buttsex should be illegal…

      2. BUUUUTTPPPPPLLLLLLUUUUUUG

  4. How is stopping central Americans crossing the border affecting “my liberty”? And Obama has pretty much stopped enforcing the border and we still have rampant abuse by the CPB of Americans.

    There are a lot of problems with Dalmia. The biggest one, however, is that she is utterly disingenuous when talking about this subject. This is not about “liberty”. This is about national sovereignty and the government’s ability to control its borders. Dalmai doesn’t recognize that the US has any right to stop anyone from coming into this country for any reason. She presumably doesn’t recognize any country’s right to do so, but has never in my experience been bothered by any other country’s border controls. So it might be that she just thinks the US doesn’t have this right.

    The debate is over the right to control the border. If you think the government has that right, then making efforts to do so is no an infringement on liberty. If you think they don’t, then it is an illegitimate action regardless. Dalmia needs to be honest and argue against sovereignty and the right to have a nation state at all.

    1. Cause Fences are just as good at keeping people in as keeping people out

      1. Sure they are. But so what? That says nothing about the government’s ability to build them. Guns are just as good at shooting dissenters as they are at shooting invading armies. Does that mean that the government shouldn’t have an army? If the possibility of it misusing fences means it can’t build fences, it would seem that way to me.

        1. You know there is a reason there was no provision for a standing army in the Constitution.

          That said there is also the issue that any attempt to stop central americans from coming here is both doomed to fail and will require a massive police and regulatory state.

          Being concerned with “illegal” immigration is one thing, the solution to that however it to make legal immigration easier so that there is minimal demand for the illegal sort. Attempting to build bigger and higher fences is a fools errand doomed to fail and create exactly the sort of ratchet effect in laws dealing with immigration that the drug war has had.

          1. That said there is also the issue that any attempt to stop central americans from coming here is both doomed to fail and will require a massive police and regulatory state.

            Only if you buy into the fallacy that anything short of complete success is a failure. You can stop enough to keep the numbers to manageable levels. If you dont do antying, which is what Dalmia wants, you will get hundreds of thousands of people coming here for welfare. It is better to live on the streets of the US than it is to live in many parts of Central America. You are advocating turning the entire country into a dumping ground for Central America’s unwanted population. In most of those places children are a burden. Lots of people would happily send their children to fend for themselves in the US. And given the chance, that is just what they will do.

            And the solution is not to make legal immigration easier. That won’t solve the problem of people sending their children here or coming here with no job prospects or to do anything but live on the streets and beg and collect welfare.

            You guys live in this fantasy world where every immigrant looks and acts just like you and is here to start a business and vote Libertarian. The world sadly isn’t like that.

            1. “Only if you buy into the fallacy that anything short of complete success is a failure.”

              Yes this is an excellent point. If illegal immigration were 50K per year, nobody would care. It’s the 1 million a year that will break the budget.

              We can’t have a welfare state and Open borders.

              1. Hmm, we can have either a welfare state or open borders you say? Lets see…

                Welfare State: Causes massive social problems regardless of whether we have open or closed borders.

                Open Borders: Doesn’t really cause any problems unless there is also a welfare state.

                I know, lets get rid of the open borders and keep the welfare state

                1. Open Borders: Doesn’t really cause any problems unless there is also a welfare state.

                  That is just not true. Mass migrations cause huge amounts of social problems and disruptions in the places where they occur. Moreover, the migration only ends when the quality of life in the receiving country and the sending country equalize to the point that it is no longer worth it to immigrate. In the case of the US and Latin America, that will mean a massive decrease in the standard of living and quality of life in the US so that it will equalize with that of Central America.

                  1. What evidence do you have the mass migrations cause social problems? New York City saw the biggest influx of immigrants of any city in the history of the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries and it is now one of the most flourishing economic engines to ever exist.

                    1. Those migrations caused huge social problems. And they occurred when we had a huge empty country in which to put people and keep them apart.

                      And history is littered with the wars and civil strife associated with mass migration. Seriously, you have never heard of places like Northern Ireland or Cyprus? Why do you think those places have so many problems?

                    2. Why has the United States been so successful despite mass immigration? Why do the cities with the biggest immigrant populations have the biggest GDPs?

                    3. It was successful for two reasons. First, we had a lot of space to put people. Second, we had a very muscular and confident culture that assimilated people into a general culture in a way no other nation in history has ever been able to do.

                      It is the second issue that is the most problematic. If we didn’t have a welfare state and an army of victim advocates waiting at the border to tell every person who comes how to milk the system and how racist it is and how it pays to be a victim, migration would be much less of a concern. Indeed, take all of that away and not nearly as many people would want to come here. If being unemployed in the US sucked just as bad as being unemployed in Honduras, there wouldn’t be many Hondurans looking to come here.

                    4. That’s the point John. Without entitlements, people will only move somewhere that they can support themselves. If they are moving somewhere that they can work and support themselves, unless they are professional criminals, they will probably contribute to the health of the economy.

                    5. I agree blood. The welfare state however is not going anywhere. And opening the borders isn’t going to change that. It will just make things worse.

                    6. And that is why I support controlling the border. I think it is easier to stop lazy fucking immigrants from taking my money than to stop lazy fucking Americans from doing it.

              2. No, the fallacy is that you could get anywhere near a 95% reduction in illegal immigration by cracking down on the border.

                Ok, you build a fence from San Deigo to Port Isabel Texas. They go over or under it. Now you have to actively patrol almost 2000 miles of fence which means permanently stationing the equivalent of an infantry division along the border for patrol duty

                Next step illegals start using boats and showing up anywhere from Houston to Ft Meyers. What is next mining the Gulf of Mexico? Building a 50′ high seawall along more than 1000 miles of coastline? Oh and ya gotta patrol that too so you’re looking at an extra 30 or so Coast Guard cutters and another infantry division stationed along that wall.

                Then they start going around the tip of Florida and landing in Georgia and the Carolinas and so on.

                In the end just as no amount of drug war has been able to even slow the tide of drugs being smuggled into the country no amount of fences, patrols, and interdiction will every be able to cut significantly into the rate of illegal immigration. Even a 5% reduction would realistically have to be considered a smashing success.

                1. No, the fallacy is that you could get anywhere near a 95% reduction in illegal immigration by cracking down on the border.

                  First, we most certainly could if you your baseline is the rate we would have if we did nothing. You are playing a shell game arguing that we can’t get a 95% decrease from the level we have when we are taking some measures to stop it. That is not the baseline. Dalmia would have us do nothing and invite anyone who wants to come in to come. And we damn sure could get a 95% reduction from that level.

                  And we have effectively policed the border for decades. Illegals were not a huge societal problem in the 90s and 00s. We didn’t have thousands of unaccompanied minors showing up at the border. We had a few million people in the country working illegally. Big fucking deal. We only started having a crises when Obama followed Dalmia’s advice and told the world he was no longer going to deport anyone.

                2. Now you have to actively patrol almost 2000 miles of fence which means permanently stationing the equivalent of an infantry division along the border for patrol duty.

                  This is already true. They patrol with drones, manned aircraft, cameras, vehicles, on horseback and on foot. A fence would actually reduce the need for patrolling.

                  I’m no advocate for a continuous fence, however, I do know that the current problem along the border of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas was exacerbated when they built a fence in California. Squeeze the balloon at one place, and it pops out at another.

      2. There’s a problem with Americans illegally streaming into Mexico?

        1. There are plenty of Mexicans who want to come to America for a while and then go back to Mexico. A Borderlin Wall makes both trips more dangerous.

          1. Some do. And a lot of others would like to come here and stay and live on the streets if necessary. A lot others don’t want to come but would send their kids if they could.

    2. This is not about “liberty”.

      Oh? How about the liberty to employ whom I want? Or the liberty to get a job without clearing it with the President first?

      1. You can’t employ people who are in prison can you? Should we close all of the prisons so you have that liberty?

        If the government has the right to run prisons, then it has a right to take away your liberty to hire the people it sends there. In the same way, if it has the right to control the border, it has the right to take away your liberty to hire foreigners.

        You are just begging the question. The issue is does the government have sovereignty or doesn’t it. If your liberty interest is paramount, then the government can’t stop anyone from entering the country. How can it stop you from hiring criminals or terrorists? It is your liberty to hire them, right? And if it can, then why can’t it stop you from hiring any foreigner?

        1. I claim a natural right to employ any damn person I please. It is unlikely I would choose to hire a prisoner.

          Anyway, you said yourself no solution is perfect. I would posit that the current situation is better than throwing money at a wall or embiggening the police state.

          1. If you have the right to hire any person you please, then the government can’t stop you. So if you want to hire a prisoner, the government has to let them out. In the same way, if you want to hire a member of the Mexican Mafia or ISIS, the government can’t stop them either.

            That is the thing, it is an all or nothing proposition. You can’t claim the government has no right to stop some people. They either have the right to stop everyone or they have the right to stop no one.

            1. I have a right to free association and free speech but I can’t associate with or talk to prisoners freely either John.

              1. Yes. And that is the entire point. Your right is not absolute such that it takes away the government’s right to imprison criminals. In the same way, your right to hire foreigners is either absolute or it isn’t. If it is absolute, the government can’t stop anyone. If it isn’t. The government can stop anyone it chooses to and immigration is a policy debate not a debate about rights.

              2. You can during visiting hours. Or they can call you on the phone most hours of the day. Or you can write.

            2. Um, John, you can hire a prisoner. There is no law which prevents you from doing so.

              Sure, that prisoner is going to have a damned hard time getting to work but you can hire him.

              With immigrants, no you cannot hire them. The government does not only try (and mostly fail) to prevent the immigrant from getting to your place of business, they come after you with fines and criminal charges for daring to hire someone they disapprove of.

              1. You can hire a foreigner Rasilio. He just might have a hard time getting in the country. Your argument at most means we shouldn’t make it illegal to hire an illegal immigrant. It does not however mean the government can’t deport that immigrant.

                1. Actually no you can’t and you know better.

                  You cannot hire anyone who does not possess a work visa, Green Card, or citizenship and if you do the worker might get deported you will either be fined or jailed depending on how many foreigners you hired.

                  And why is this the case, be cause placing a legal requirement on the employer is a necessary component to stopping illegal immigration

        2. If I want to employ someone in prison (that is supposedly being rehabilitated from their criminal ways) I should be able to pay off their debt to society and hire them.

          I’d be fucking stupid to hire a known thief or murderer, but there’s no logical reason I shouldn’t be able to. Unless you’d like to admit that prison isn’t about rehabilitating offenders into becoming productive members of society and is really just a warehouse for criminals.

          1. If you consider your right to hire someone to be paramount such that even society’s interest in achieving justice for murder is subservient to it, then sure. And you wouldn’t necessarily be stupid to hire a murderer. What if the murder was your brother and your hiring him gets him out of jail?

            That is of course an utterly absurd position and one that effectively amounts to advocating anarchy. It is however the position that rationally results if you buy into the true open borders position.

  5. A wall that can keep people out can also keep people in.

    1. the people who want out get on planes

      1. Or just use the highway. It’s pretty damn big with a lot of lanes.

    2. Haha… oh yeah, that wall will stop me from going to Mexico or elsewhere.

  6. And I know Dalmia doesn’t exactly possess an impressive intellect. I do, however think that even she understands that just because something can’t be done perfectly means it should never be done at all. That is really all she is saying here. We could never totally secure the border so therefore any effort to do so is a waste of time. That is complete nonsense and she knows it. We can never catch every criminal or solve every crime. That reality does not however make all police work a waste of government resources.

    1. You seem to acknowledge that spending billions to wall-off Mexico would be a waste of money, but you want to do it anyway?

      1. No I don’t. I think it doesn’t have to be 100% effective to be worth doing. We don’t have to stop every person to make it worthwhile anymore than we have to catch every criminal to make policing worthwhile.

        1. I agree with you to a certain point, but nothing in Cruz’s or similar plans is *at all* “worth doing”. Rather, it is throwing billions of dollars down a rathole.

          1. Like entitlements?

            1. Yes, and reducing those would be far better all around.

              1. Again, you can have open borders or entitlements. Both is a recipe for disaster. Obviously I’d prefer open borders and no entitlements.

                1. Why can’t I vote open borders and no entitlements? If you say ‘well, we’re not likely to get around to no entitlements anytime soon’ that’s true of lots of other things we object to.

                  1. You can vote for open borders and no entitlements. That’s exactly what I pointed out. The issue is that open borders make sense if people are incentivized to cross the border because they want to live a self sustaining, productive life in America (or any other place). If they are crossing the border to leach off of me, I don’t want them coming over here because that means less of my hard earned money in my pocket.

          2. Maybe, but if that is the case, Damlia doesn’t make it. We can sure as hell do something different than what we are doing now, which is nothing and also handing out illegal green cards to anyone who wants them.

    2. No she’s not just saying “it won’t be perfect so lets not do it”, she is saying “It won’t work at ALL so lets not waste our money on it”.

      Enforcement and interdiction have not slowed the flow of illegal drugs into this country one bit and you are smart enough to have recognized that. What planet do you have to be from to believe that enforcement and interdiction will work any differently with people?

      The problem is the thing you are trying to keep out is irrelevant. No amount of laws or enforcement can ever stop people from doing what they really want to do. Prohibition just doesn’t work. It never has, and it never will.

  7. As Milton Friedman put it, you can have open borders or you can have welfare. You can’t have both.

  8. I don’t understand the fascination with walls. Never in the history of civilization has a wall protected one country from another for more than a negligible amount of time. Hadrian’s Wall? Nope. Great Wall of China? Nope. Berlin Wall? Nope. The wall between Israel and the Palestinians? Sort of working at stopping the suicide bombers but there’s a debate whether the decline is more due to the IDF occupying and conducting operations in the West Bank. Even penalty of death for attempting to breach a wall doesn’t stop people.

    If people want to cross, unless you’re willing to invade/occupy the land where the people are coming from, people will cross.

    1. If your goal is to stop civilians rather than an army, a wall can be effective. And the Berlin wall was very effective. Sure, a few people got through but the vast majority didn’t. It was evil for sure. But it did accomplish what it was built to accomplish. It kept people from fleeing East Germany in such numbers that the country was no longer viable. The country only collapsed when the government lost the will to maintain the wall. Dalmia claiming the wall wasn’t effective is one the dumber things she has ever wrote.

      1. Yes John, the Berlin Wall was a huge success…when combined with a massive police state and border guards who had the authority to shoot to kill.

        1. The police state was not what operated the wall. The army operated the wall. You didn’t need the stasi to maintain the wall. Moreover, we don’t need to be that effective. That is the same fallacy Dalmia is using. We just need to get it under control. We don’t need to shoot anyone who tries to come over.

          Obama stopped deporting kids and as a result tens of thousands of kids showed up at the border. That wasn’t happening before. That is because deporting people is effective.

          1. Maintaing a wall within a large city is muhc easier than a wall along a thousand mile border that’s sparsley populated.

            1. No it is not. That desert is a wall in itself. Moreover, if policing the border is useless, why did we have a huge wave of immigration when Obama announced he wasn’t going to deport people anymore? If border protection is useless, everyone who wants to come should have already came. Yet, that wasn’t the case.

              1. We won’t need a wall if we get rid of welfare.

              2. If the desert is a wall in itself, then all we really need would be more agents, not some fucktarded fence.

                And I’m sure the people of Berlin really cared if it was the Stasi or the Wehrmacht that shot them.

            2. Actually, the wall was not only in Berlin, the entire border was fenced, mined and constantly watched by armed troops.

          2. Um, yes you did need to Stasi to keep the wall in effect. Because they investigated and monitored the people to catch escape attempts before they could even be planned.

            Most attempts to cross the Berlin Wall (well any point on the Iron Curtain) were stopped before they got within a mile of the border. If you didn’t have that the army could never have kept up with the flow of crossing attempts

            1. So what? it was still effective and we still don’t need to achieve anywhere near the effectiveness rate the wall achieved.

        2. Did you see the plans for the 90s Berlin Wall redesign East Germany was planning? It had MICROWAVE CANNONS.

  9. Eliminate Cash !!! PERIOD!

    Make every commercial transaction log-able with no anonymity.
    That is, use bio-metric for all commercial transaction so that we know (publicly) who buys and who sells.

    With this, you’ll need no immigration office, let alone eliminate black market and tax evasion.
    If you don’t have an SSN, you can’t buy a hot dog.

    1. Woah. Batshit.

      1. Why not? It’s practically here.
        Me and practically everyone I khow pays for everything with credit cards linked to our SSN and get Direct Deposit and do banking in systems linked to our SSN.

        The only thing I use cash for is the bag of week, and they are almost legalizing that.

        Barter economies will always exists. I’ll always be able to hire a hooker, buy some dope, or something or another using a hard asset or offering a service. Nevertheless, it would be rather challenging to establish a criminal enterprise to do so on the barter system.

        1. And plant microchips in people’s heads to track everything else they do and say.

          1. I think they call it the Cell Phone.

            1. Hmmm, conflating a voluntary customer purchase with a forced attempt to manage society? Dishonest or deliberately stupid? You decide.

              1. Dishonest or deliberately stupid?

                Yes.

              2. “Dishonest or deliberately stupid?”

                That seems a little unfair. It’s quite possible the stupidity isn’t deliberate.

              3. Practically everyone has a cell phone.
                And, we are at the liberty of turning off our GPS, but many of us don’t.
                Same thing for a product called E-Z Pass.

                The GobMint has figured out a more clever way of forced attempt to manage society…they have people volunteer.

                1. forced attempt to manage society…they have people volunteer.

                  Hey look, you repeated your idiotic false equivalence! Thanks for answering my question, I’m going with actually stupid now.

          2. And cut of the heads of any who refuse to take the chip.

            1. Nah, just send ’em to Room 101 for re-education.

        2. My credit cards are issues through private banks, not the government. Also, barter is retarded. How many cows is worth a heart surgery, especially if the heart surgeon doesn’t want my cows? You need an economic medium of exchange.

          1. My credit cards are issues through private banks, not the government.

            As it should be. The government should not take over commercial/consumer/capital market banking. Let the private sector do it with regulations.

            Nevertheless, the Credit Card will Demand an SSN or a TIN.

            1. Let the private sector do it with regulations.

              Somebody doesn’t understand regulations. Among other things,

    2. Fuck off, slaver.

    3. You bring a refreshingly unapologetic authoritarian perspective to this blog.

      1. Is it really authoritarian?

        I think business would run much smoother and far more honestly for both the buyer and the seller.

        1. Forcing every merchant in the country to adopt a single point-of-sale system? Forcing every payment processor to adopt the same set of biometric verification protocols? Forcing every person in the country to register with the state before they can buy a bottle of water? Yeah that’s slightly authoritarian.

          BTW, that wouldn’t eliminate the black market, it would make it much more lucrative.

          1. Freedom means asking permission and obeying orders.

          2. I’m not sure it has to be a single point.
            The current banking system, in which I work in, goes clear in various central points. Nonetheless, all of the credit providers have their own infrastructure.

            These transactions are available to the feds and local authorities via warrants.

            1. The current banking system, in which I work in

              Welp, that explains much about the state of the economy.

              1. Seriously, woe to whomever has to deal with Bowie’s poor and narrow-minded reasoning ability in a banking field.

                1. Running a cash register at an artisanal mayo store is in “the banking system”?????

        2. Is it really authoritarian?

          You are joking right? You’re calling for a massive, constantly monitored system that would force people to comply for basic survival. You’re calling for a surveillance state in order to ‘know who’s buying and who’s selling’.

          Christ, the Stasi wished all East Germans were as stupid as you. When did you learn that you loved Big Brother?

          1. I don’t think we should have constant monitoring, per se.
            Just as today, Big Brother is not necessarily always watching, but Big Brother can look things up on computers, cameras, social media, your bank and credit card accounts, etc.

            1. And once again you fail to actually understand the consequences of your ideas. In order to know ‘who’s buying and who’s selling’ to make your ‘businesses run smoother and far more honestly’ would require constant monitoring. Just because you lack the intelligence to understand the easily corruptible and exploitative nature of your idea doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. What you ‘don’t think’ we should have does not equate to how a state would manage such a system.

              1. Such a system would practically guarantee that the people here are here legally.
                Also, it would allow for collecting taxes (either income or the libertarian-loved sales tax).
                In addition, we would have the convenience of not having to have 50 numbers in your wallet identifying you.
                Identity theft would be challenged.

                And, we can still have privacy (at least the privacy we have today with electronic transactions).
                The GobMint would require a warrant to view the log. And, the CIA and other would spy as they do today.

                1. And once again, your delusional authoritarian system would not exist in the way and would be rife with opportunities for corruption and exploitation. The black market would be rampant. You literally just construct an arbitrary utopian vision of how perfect your idea is and fail to actually consider any consequences.

                  Alice Bowie, you’re the kind of moron who votes for Mussolini because you think he’d make the trains run on time. Not only does he end up failing to do that, but you end up whining about how you had no idea about the negative consequences of your actions. Because you can’t see anything beyond your extremely naive view of how you think society ‘should be organized.’

                  1. Fare enough. But I do think we’re heading toward this direction.

                    1. Yes, and given your continued delusional views (ROBOTS ARE TAKIN’ OUR JERBS) on what the future will be that holds zero weight.

    4. If you don’t have an SSN, you can’t buy a hot dog.

      I guess my grandparents are out of luck. But they don’t like hot dogs, so it works out.

  10. Latinos are welfare queens who come to this country to live off American taxpayers.

    But, enough about Senator Cruz. 😉

    1. Yeah, send that bastard back to….Canada?

  11. Walls. Why walls? Why not militarized zeppelin drone carriers? A combination of high-powered lasers, taser-mounted drones, and other nonlethal weapons would make them a formidable obstacle.

    1. I think we can all get behind Why not militarized zeppelin drone carriers. Because AWESOME.
      Although the hydrogen might blow us all to smithereens.

      1. We’re one of the leading producers of helium in the world.

        1. Actually, that sounds weaker than it is. We produce a large majority of all of the helium in the world.

          1. Way to miss the Archer reference.

            1. I was too into the war zeppelin concept to notice.

      2. If they don’t have Frickin Lasers then what’s the point?

    2. Yeah, walls are so 19th century BC technology.

      1. Big-ass search lights from the sky, drones (wheeled and flying) launched from the platform. . .I mean, how bad-ass is that?

    3. Why not a human fence? Pay people to hold hands along the borders in eight-hour shifts. Think of the JOBS!

      1. Red Rover!

      2. “Think of the JOBS!”

        Indeed. If only there were a source of cheap labor for such an arduous task?

        1. Boggles the mind, don’t it?

  12. breached a 1000 times a year is better than the 100,000 a year we get now. build the dam wall.

    1. also the fence will be cheaper then what we pay these documented welfare queens

      1. Bwahahahahahahahaha

        Maintenance and patrolling of the wall alone will exceed the entire annual welfare budget.

        Like most political morons you are utterly ignorant of the numbers.

        Constructing a 4 lane highway costs about $6 million per mile. There are just about 2000 miles of border between the US and Canada. So constructing a simple highway along that border will cost $12 Billion. Building an actual wall would cost about 100x that amount or around $1.2 Trillion and then maintaining and patrolling it would cost another $50 billion a year.

        On the flip side the total welfare spending for all levels of government in the US is around $450 billion a year. Illegal immigrants make up about 3% of the US population and so if we assume they consume per capita 4x the portion of that welfare spending as the national per capita average then they would be accounting for about 12% of the $450 billion per year. Or, somewhere around $50 billion in welfare a year going to illegal immigrants.

        So basically you want to spend a Trillion dollars to build a wall and another $50 billion a year maintaining and patrolling that wall to maybe stop a small fraction of the $50 billion a year we pay illegals in welfare (and ignoring the fact that no matter how you cut it most of them do pay some taxes so the true cost is far less than $50 billion) and you call yourself a fiscal conservative?

        You sound more like a racist who wants to raid the treasury to keep people you don’t like out of the country.

  13. Unless we start stationing entire armies on the Mexican border like it’s the 19th century again the notion that we can lock down a thousand miles of empty desert is a fantasy.

    At best they can crackdown on the easy routes into the country and let the desert itself be the barrier. Inevitably that’ll result in more desperate people becoming food for the buzzards and coyotes.

    1. Well, we could start by stationing the Border Patrol there – instead of 100 miles north to hassle people on the way to work.

      1. You want them to do real work in the desert instead of getting their jackboot on? You monster.

    2. It would be a good excuse to close military bases around the world.

    3. No one makes them try it. We are not forcing them into anything. If they choose to do it, that is their choice. And if they are so desperate they try it, that is the fault of the countries they come from not ours. The US doesn’t owe the world a living or bear the responsibility of righting every wrong.

      And there is a difference between having some illegal immigration problem and having a full on mass migration. If we follow yours and Dalmia’s advice and just stop doing anything, we will get a mass migration. And that will be much worse than any problems we have had with illegal immigration.

      1. Reason publishes imbeciles on foreign policy and immigration. They’re fucking stupid as all get out on these two issues.

        It’s a failure of intellect, life experience, and emotional immaturity on the part of the editors.

        1. Dalmia is by far the least intelligent, least interesting, least able person they publish. I still don’t understand what the Hell they see in her.

        2. It is because they can’t face reality regarding those two issue. The reality is that leaving the world alone won’t make the US any better liked or any less likely to be attacked or the world any more peaceful. Reason can’t face that so it doesn’t and operates under that fantasy assumption that it isn’t true. The same is true of immigration. Full open borders would be a disaster for the people who live in this country. Immigration is nothing but a form of protectionism of native born labor. Get rid of it all and native born people are going to suffer hugely from the loss of it. Reason can’t face that reality either. So they don’t face it and pretend that it isn’t true and there are only positive consequences to immigration no matter how large.

          1. Yes, it is unserious and so very unhelpful to the world we live in.

      2. We had mass migration before the 70’s?

        *Admittedly, my history might be fuzzy on when we really started to crack down on immigration through our southern border.

  14. “This no doubt plays on the notion popularized by restrictionists that Latinos are welfare queens who come to this country Border Fence”

    I don’t think that is necessarily so.

    I oppose welfare queens regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens, and when I see people use restricting welfare as a justificastion for restricting illegal immigration, it pisses me off to no end that some of my fellow Americans seem to be trumpeting access to welfare as a patriotic right of American citizenship.

    I wish we could trade every American who thinks access to welfare should be a right of U.S. citizenship to Mexico for a hard working ditch digger or cleaning lady that wants to come here for a job.

    1. Careful with the “access”, Ken.

    2. You should vote for Jeb Bush then. He is very clear in his opinion that the native population is inferior and needs to be replaced with the racially superior Latin Americans.

      1. that the native population is inferior and needs to be replaced with the racially superior Latin Americans.

        Leave us alone.

        /Native American

        1. That is what you get for stopping calling yourself Indians.

          1. John, it was a joke. But the Indians never stopped, it was other people who came up with the “Native American” label.

            After all, you have heard of Indian Country and BIA, right?

            1. I know it was a joke. And I have known a lot of Indians and I have never met one who called himself anything but an Indian. Native America is in my experience a total stuff white people like thing.

    3. I don’t know how it works in Texas, but in CA many of them milk the system good and hard.

      1. I know about California, and the native born welfare queens dwarf the people coming across the border.

        If there isn’t anything about being born an American citizen that makes us feel any better about somebody stealing money out of our paychecks–then why focus on whether the welfare queen is an American citizen?

        Citizenship is a red herring. I don’t give a shit where the welfare queens were born. Stop pumping out babies and go get a fucking job!

        If we want to stop paying off the welfare queens, then we should stop paying off the welfare queens.

        Shut down illegal immigration, and the welfare queens still do their welfare queen thing!

        I started avoiding stores with signs in the window that read “EBT accepted here”.

        Then they started accepting EBT at Whole Foods.

        Fucking welfare queens are a menace to society, and shutting down the border doesn’t even address the problem directly!

        Why pretend it does?

        1. I started avoiding stores with signs in the window that read “EBT accepted here”.

          Not everyone on benefits is a “welfare queen”, you monster.

          1. You’re right. Some of them are lazy fuck excuses for a “man.”

            1. Some of them are lazy fuck excuses for a “man.”

              I scorn those who make it a permanent lifestyle. But I am OK with limited benefits.

              1. I don’t think you’ll find many people who are against limited benefits. And if the government stopped taxing the shit out of us and stopped giving benefits, we could support people like we did in the past: by giving them work or charity.

      2. Of course they do. They are people and that is what people do. The people on this board really do have some kind of inferiority complex to Central Americans. They seem to actually believe Central Americans are different and won’t milk the system the way Americans do.

        1. It seems the other way around to me.

          They seem to think that sucking money out of my paycheck to pay for American citizens is somehow superior to sucking money out of my paycheck to pay for Central Americans.

          When the truth is that the nationality of the welfare queen that’s robbing me isn’t something I should complain about–it’s the being robbed part that’s the problem.

          I’m laying in a hospital bed after being beaten and robbed:

          Police Officer: “Mr. Shultz, we have good news and bad news: The bad news is that your money is gone forever.”

          Ken Shultz: “What’s the good news?”

          Police Officer: “The man that robbed you was an American citizen!”

          1. No Ken. They are both the same. The problem is only paying for the American is better than paying for both the American and the Latin American. Either you think that latin Americans won’t add to the numbers, in which case you buy into the idea they are somehow superior or you think they will and have to admit them coming here will make things worse.

            And I am pretty sure Dalmia at least thinks paying for the Latin American is better. Indeed, Reason has on multiple occasions argued for open borders because they increase the standard of living for those coming here.

    4. What are Germans, Poles, Hungarians, Estonians, Czechs, Brits, French … chopped liver?

      This is what I don’t get about many commenters here, the only border they ever talk about opening is the Mexican one. I’ll believe people are serious when they whoop as loudly for open airports as they do for an unmonitored Rio Grande.

      Why do we hate people who can afford airfare?

      1. This was to Ken Shultz at 11:47.

      2. This is what I don’t get about many commenters here, the only border they ever talk about opening is the Mexican one.

        Because until the Siberian Alaskan Arctic road is completed, the others cannot walk here?

        I love immigration threads.

        1. Well, except that big country to the north with an extended history of goodwill and alliance with the United States. The one with the longest undefended border in history. The one who’s people used to have much easier access to the U.S. but have been restricted more and more post-9/11.

          1. J. Titor,

            He was asking about the Germans, Poles, Hungarians, etc. coming here and why the focus on Mexicans. My guess is because Mexicans can walk/swim here. I really need to work on my /sarc, but I hoped the Arctic Road would give it away.

            1. My question is: why are the open borders Reason writers and commenters so hot to open the Mexican border but at the same time say nothing about the severe restrictions on other points of entry?

            2. The reason I mentioned Mexicans was because that’s the immigration most of the anti-immigration people in the Southwest, where I live, are so vocal about.

      3. You realize the same can be said for your side, right? Unless you’re arguing for building a fence along the northern border.

        1. If Ted Cruz is anti-liberty for wanting to close the Southern border, why aren’t the people who maintain INS screenings at every other entry point also anti-liberty? And if those folks are anti-liberty, why don’t the pro-liberty folks ever get around to calling them on it?

          1. They are anti-liberty.

        2. Actually, MWG, I’m saying that if we open one border, we should open all of them.

  15. Welfare state or open borders. Choose one.

    1. I choose neither – although once the welfare state was good and dead, I would allow plenty of Mexicans to immigrate legally.

      1. Well, I assume by Mexican’s you mean anybody willing to work. In which case I agree.

    2. I choose neither – although once the welfare state was good and dead, I would allow plenty of Mexicans to immigrate legally.

    3. “Welfare state or open borders. Choose one.”

      False dichotomy.

      Shut down the border, and this country is still awash in welfare queens.

      If you’re a candidate that seriously wants to end welfare, I might send a check!

      I’ll know they’re being serious when they stop talking about immigration as if shutting it down would do anything significant about welfare.

      I’ve got a word for people who think welfare is right a of American citizenship. I call them “socialists”.

      People who don’t like being called a socialist should stop complaining about immigration when people bring up the problem of welfare. The problem with welfare is not that it goes to people who aren’t American citizens.

      The problem with welfare is that it’s socialist.

      1. I don’t want to give my money to any lazy fucks, end entitlements, open the border, and I’m happy. But I don’t think that will happen, we don’t have the vote to end entitlements, so I’ll just vote to keep any more lazy fucks from coming over here.

        1. It won’t happen as long as people are using welfare as a piss poor excuse to end illegal immigration.

          And, Jesus, if what they end up doing is making it seem okay to be a welfare queen–so long as you’re an American citizen–then the anti-immigration people are doing a great disservice to the cause of ending welfare.

          If we’re arguing for sending back people who come here becasue they want to work hard, and inadvertently using American citizenship as a justification for welfare, then how much more anti-capitalist and pro-socialist could our position really be?!

          1. Maybe I’m just naive, but I am convinced that readily available welfare and an open border will lead to an increase in entitlement spending. I am not arguing for shutting down the border because I think it should be shut down. I’m arguing for it because I want to hang on to as much of my own damn money as I can. It’s purely self interested.

      2. The point is not that a welfare state is good, but that open borders would make it worse.

        In absence of a welfare state I see no compelling argument against open borders.

        1. Right. The argument isn’t “there is a welfare state and therefore we shouldn’t have open borders.” It’s “in the case that there is a welfare state, open borders will expand that welfare state.”

        2. “In absence of a welfare state I see no compelling argument against open borders.”

          In fact, I think that bears out cross-culturally.

          The more people are forced to pay for each other, the pickier they get about whom they’re paying for.

          Socialism is ultimately incompatible with a tolerant society.

          1. I’m not picky about whom I choose to pay for. I’m just not thrilled with being forced to pay for someone.

            1. I didn’t mean to single anybody out.

              I meant as a society…

              I think European immigration laws are pretty tough. It’s changed for people born after the EU, but even still–we’re talking about people moving from one socialized country to another within the EU, there. If you want to go become a citizen in Europe from somewhere outside of Europe, it is extremely difficult to do.

              I do not think that is completely unrelated to their level of socialism/welfare.

              As societies become increasingly socialist, I think they tend to become less accommodating towards immigration. I understand that…cognitive bias, and I’d like to point out to people of all political persuasions other than socialist…

              The more socialist we become, the less tolerant we’re likely to be. If a tolerant society is important to somebody, then they should oppose socialism for that reason alone. On the other hand, if you’re somebody that really wants to get rid of socialism in this country, then railing against immigration is a red herring. …especially if doing so tends to reenforce self-fulfilling prophecy–rail against foreigners for using welfare and people will come to imagine that welfare is a right of U.S. citizenship.

              1. Well ya. It’s the same reason there is really high unemployment in France, and really low unemployment in the U.S. (relatively speaking). We have at will employment and they don’t. The easier it is to fire, the less risk of hiring. Same thing is true about higher entitlement benefits.

  16. Miss Dalmia, for the 1000th time, repeats a libertarian argument that she does not have the intellectual capacity to understand, and therefore, completely fucks it up.

  17. Theoretical debates about rights and sovereignty are one thing. Reality, however, is something else. The reality of immigration is this. The United States has a massively better standard of living than all of Central America. If you have fully open borders, the population of Central America is going to act in their self interest and leave Central America and go to the US until such time that the quality of life in the US is close enough to that of Central America to no longer make it worth coming here. That means open borders will result in a dramatic decrease in the quality of life in the US and some kind of increase in the quality of life in Central America.

    That is just how markets and populations work. So what Dalmia and those like her are arguing is that the American public has a duty to see its quality of life and standard of living dramatically reduced in the name of principle and for the benefit of the population of Central America.

    1. until such time that the quality of life in the US is close enough to that of Central America to no longer make it worth coming here

      Zero-sum economic fallacy. Assuming there is no welfare state, an influx of immigrants to this country is not necessarily a bad thing. They could theoretically grow the pie, as opposed to taking a larger and larger slice of a fixed pie (zero-sum fallacy).

      1. No it is not zero sum game. Not every price goes forever up. And in a world where the government provides services to people like ours does, not every new arrival brings more than they take.

        You live under this fantasy assumption that no amount of increase in population or the labor pool could ever do anything but make things better. Maybe on rainbow puppy island it works that way but in the real world things are a bit more complex than that.

        Just because the world isn’t a zero sum game doesn’t mean there isn’t any such thing as economic displacement or supply and demand affecting wages and the overall quality of life.

        Hell Sarcasmic, how about we import a few hundred thousand minor children into the town you live in. Since life isn’t a zero sum game as you say it is, doing such could only result in positive things right?

        1. Who is assuming that population growth is always a positive? The point is, with no welfare state, a person will only come over here if there is someone willing to hire them. If they get the job they are supporting themselves, the company that hires them, and businesses that they shop at. If that job goes away, so does that immigrant. I just don’t see the negative.

          1. Sarcasmic is. If immigration is never a problem then population growth never is either since immigration i snothing but population growth.

            And yes the welfare state is the root of the problem. If we didn’t have the welfare state, opening the border wouldn’t result in people sending their excess kids to the US thinking we will take care of them. If we didn’t have a welfare state, people would go home when the job market went down instead of staying here and collecting welfare. If we didn’t require the state to pay for every child’s education, people wouldn’t be dragging their kids here and would instead come here to work and send money home.

            The welfare state takes a manageable set of problems associated with open immigration and turns them into a set of gigantic ones.

            1. I still don’t understand what this “manageable set of problems” is without welfare. What problems are you referring to?

              1. The problems are the resulting drop in wages associated with increased labor competition. Open borders means that the labor market will never be tight. There is an endless supply of people wanting to come here and that includes skilled people. So employees would forever be at the mercy of their employers. If you don’t like how I treat you, go fuck yourself there are three guys in Pakistan who are dying to come and work here for whatever I pay you.

                In the same way we don’t want to live in a world where no one can ever be fired, we don’t want to fall in the other ditch either where everyone can be replaced and lives in constant job insecurity with no leverage over their employer. Worse still, in a lose labor market no one who ever makes a mistake or gets cross ways with an employer ever recovers. It quickly becomes a zero defect society since there is always someone without a bad mark on their record waiting to take your job. That is a shitty and horrible place to live. And it is something that Libertarians refuse to confront or even acknowledge.

                1. Don’t you think some immigrants would open new businesses rather than simply being employed by the established ones? Then you would just have a larger economy, and there would be no economic reason for wages to decrease.

                  1. The job market is what it is. Just because the economy can and does grow doesn’t make labor immune from the laws of supply and demand. Again, that is why immigration controls benefit natives. It restricts the supply of labor and increases the value of their labor.

                    All of these debates come down to the same thing, pro open borders people inventing elaborate rationalizations for why the laws of supply and demand don’t apply to the labor market. Sorry, but they do. And even an ever increasing GDP is not going to solve for the problems associated with a loose labor market. Sure, there is an upside in that cheap labor means cheaper products. But flood the market with enough labor and the positive effects of the decline in prices is overwhelmed by the negative effects on wages.

                    The other thing is that profits and growth are not evenly distributed in society. Yes increases in productivity and growth make us overall more wealthy. But that wealth isn’t magically spread around the population. Where it goes depends primarily on the labor market. If the labor market is tight, workers are able to demand a larger share of it. If the labor market is loose, employers get a larger share of it. So the net effect of open borders would be to reduce the workers’ share of any growth and increase employers’ share. This is why crony capitalists and big corporations are very pro open borders. It allows them more leverage with employees and the ability to keep a larger share of any growth.

                2. Now you’re applying the zero-sum fallacy to job pie. That pie can grow too.

                  1. *the* job pie

          2. Not only that, but those jobs result in more goods and services for everyone. With greater competition comes better products at lower prices. The economy grows. Everyone wins.

            (Assuming of course that there is no welfare state and the people are free to engage in economic activity without asking permission and obeying orders.)

        2. And in a world where the government provides services to people like ours does, not every new arrival brings more than they take.

          Way to intentionally ignore the part where I said “Assuming there is no welfare state.”

          1. I didn’t ignore it. It is just that you saying that is like saying “assuming we live on Rainbow puppy Island”. We can’t assume that because that is not the way things are.

            1. My point is that immigration is not a bad thing by itself. It only becomes a bad thing when there is a welfare state. I see no compelling argument against immigration that doesn’t center around the existence of a welfare state.

              Open borders or welfare state. Choose one.

              1. “My point is that immigration is not a bad thing by itself. It only becomes a bad thing when there is a welfare state. I see no compelling argument against immigration that doesn’t center around the existence of a welfare state.”

                Access to cheap labor is actually a good thing for the economy just like access to cheap energy.

                If cheap labor were bad for economic growth, China would have had the slowest growing economy in the world over the past 15 years.

                1. Cheap labor is not necessarily a good thing for the economy ken. The question is a lot more subtle and complex that that. Cheap labor is a good thing for employers. Employers are not the economy. What is good for the economy is an increase in productivity. Increasing productivity is what makes us wealthier. Cheap labor doesn’t increase productivity or necessarily make us wealthier. Cheap labor allows employers more leverage to keep more of whatever growth does occur.

                  1. Cheap labor allows companies to grow. That wealth is not all money under a mattress. They invest it back into the company to become more efficient, which allows them to produce better stuff at a lower cost which means lower prices which means more access to their stuff…

                    I’m starting to wonder if you and Tony are in fact the same person with a different script.

                  2. Cheap labor is good for consumers–just like cheap energy isn’t just good for people who own automobiles.

                    Cheap energy is good for consumers who, for instance, buy things that are transported by trucks and trains and airplanes.

                    Cheap labor in China is good for consumers who purchase products that are manufactured by cheap labor.

                    Cheap labor in the U.S. is good for consumers who purchase–especially–services that are offered by cheap labor.

                    Working mothers who need affordable child care benefit mightily from cheap labor. Elderly people on fixed incomes benefit mightily from cheap labor in cleaning their homes and mowing their lawns.

                    People who eat in restaurants benefit mightily from all the cheap labor.

                    Labor is a resource, and having more of a resource available is better.

                    1. Don’t forget too that cheap labor, as in low paying jobs, are better for people than no jobs at all.

                    2. “Cheap labor in the U.S. is good for consumers who purchase–especially–services that are offered by cheap labor.”

                      There used to be an old trope in economics about how “You can’t import a haircut”.

                      My last haircut came from Colombia.

                      I think immigration is one of the reasons why union membership has declines so, incidentally. One of the reasons why unions are so strong in the government, too.

                      Government employees are generally insulated from having to compete with immigrant labor.

                    3. Cheap labor in China is good for consumers who purchase products that are manufactured by cheap labor.

                      Sure it is. It is not however necessarily good for China. The experience of first Japan and now China are lesson in the danger of using cheap labor as a competitive advantage and relying on exports to drive your economy. Both countries artificially depressed their currency in order to make their labor cheaper and more competitive. Doing this totally fucked their domestic markets and warped their economies making them over invest in export industry. It was great for the US, we got all of that stuff at an artificially lower price. It was however not so good for them because it screwed their domestic market and workers.

                      And people who eat at restaurants don’t’ always benefit from cheap labor. The labor at the best restaurants in New York is very cheap. Yet the prices are very high. Gramercy Park Tavern can charge high prices because it provides a product people are willing to pay big bucks for. Their labor costs being cheap just makes the business that much more profitable. it doesn’t make the meal any cheaper. That is because cheap labor doesn’t change demand. All the cheap labor does is make running one of those restaurants really profitable.

                      It is not as simple as you think ken.

                    4. Cheap labor is good for consumers–just like cheap energy isn’t just good for people who own automobiles.

                      No it can be good for consumers. It depends on the market. As a producer I am going to charge what the market will bear. My ability to produce something cheaper via cheap labor just means my minimum price is lower. It doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t be able to charge more. It means I get to keep more of what I make if I do. Again, it is more complex than just cheap labor equals cheap products. My access to cheap labor may cause me to not invest in R&D and capital that over the long run will make me more productive. Access to cheap labor reduces the incentive to do that. Indeed, this is why industry in countries with huge pools of cheap labor often stagnates. The labor causes them to under invest in capital.

                2. China increased its wages by adopting some pro free market reforms; it did not decrease them by importing cheap labor.

                  Just an observation.

                  1. Actually it kind of did Homple. Chinese cities imported massive amounts of cheap labor from the countryside.

                    1. “Chinese cities imported massive amounts of cheap labor from the countryside.”

                      Internal migration .ne. immigration.

          2. And getting rid of welfare would help but it wouldn’t solve the entire problem. The bottom line is that immigration control is a form of protectionism. And protectionism works for the people it protects. We do have artificially higher wages in this country because of immigration controls. So if you get rid of them, wages are going to go down and the people who live here are going to be worse off.

            1. Why will wages go down? Wages in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are the highest in the country and those cities have the most population density and number of immigrants.

              1. Because competition and increased supply does that. The more people who are available to take a job the lower the wage necessary to get someone to take it.

                1. You’re assuming that the number of available jobs wouldn’t increase. Again, your argument only works if the size of the economy is level. If the GDP expands, there is no reason for wages to be deflated.

                  1. You’re assuming that the number of available jobs wouldn’t increase.

                    More zero-sum fallacy thinking. John likes his fallacies.

              2. Mean, median, or what?

            2. Wages have stagnated since the early 70s. Are people worse off than they were in the 70s? Would you rather have a 70s standard of living? Wages by themselves don’t matter. That’s another economic fallacy. What matters is what you can buy with them. How many hours did the average person in the 70s have to work in order to buy a refrigerator compared to today, and what quality was that refrigerator compared to today? That’s what matters.

      2. “Zero-sum economic fallacy. Assuming there is no welfare state….”

        Well, we’d better assume that we have one because we do and it gets bigger every day.

    2. Some of the best economic growth in this country happened when there was open borders and no welfare state. They grew the pie. Immigration by itself is not a bad thing. Immigration combined with a welfare state is the problem.

      1. Growth is not magically distributed in society. Who keeps that wealth is dependent on the labor markets. If you have a loose labor market, that growth won’t result in higher wages or an increase in the standard of living for many people. The loser the labor market the more companies and employers are able to keep of that wealth. Just because the country gets wealthier overall doesn’t mean any particular person shares in it. You only share in it if you have the leverage to use your labor to demand it.

        1. Seriously? I guess you’d rather live in the 70s.

          1. I don’t know. I don’t write the rules of how markets and economies work. I just try and explain them to you. Think of it this way.

            Suppose some alien human race showed up one day and for whatever reason many of them were fantastic athletes and football players. This influx of new skilled football players greatly increases the supply of NFL football players.

            Would this make us wealthy? Maybe but only to the extent that there is any demand or need for an increased supply of professional football. Suppose there isn’t. That the market for professional football is saturated such that the new athletes don’t increase our productivity of football. Now, what is the effect of this. Well, first the wags of being a professional football player go down. There are more people who can do it and thus more competition for the jobs and the market price for football player labor drops accordingly. Now, is that a good thing? For NFL owners it certainly is. Their labor costs just dropped. Is it for the economy? No, it isn’t. We still are producing the same amount of football and are not wealthier. The only thing that has changed is that the owners now have more leverage and keep more of the money made from football than they did before.

          2. The point of this example is that increasing the supply of labor does not by itself make us any wealthier. The only thing increasing the supply of labor is guaranteed to do is increase the share of whatever wealth is created employers’ get to keep.

            The devil of course is in the details. If the immigrants bring skills such that their entrance into the market increases productivity so much that workers still do better even though they have less leverage, ie a high tide raises all boats, then immigration is a good thing. It does not however have to work out that way and in face it often works the other way.

            1. I just try and explain them to you…

              All you are explaining to me is that you feel that the economy is a zero-sum game. It is not.

              The only thing increasing the supply of labor is guaranteed to do is increase the share of whatever wealth is created employers’ get to keep.

              Keep clinging to that zero-sum fallacy, and refuse to learn anything. Yeah, Tony. Keep preaching the fallacies.

              1. All you are explaining to me is that you feel that the economy is a zero-sum game. It is not.

                No I am not. And you know it. I am sorry, you are not that fucking stupid. So stop pretending you are. I have told you six fucking times on here that even if it increases wealth overall, that doesn’t mean that workers get to share in that wealth. How much of that wealth they get is a function of the labor market.

                That is a simple concept. Stop fucking pretending you are Tony and acting like you can’t understand it just because yo don’t like what it means.

            2. “The point of this example is that increasing the supply of labor does not by itself make us any wealthier. The only thing increasing the supply of labor is guaranteed to do is increase the share of whatever wealth is created employers’ get to keep.”

              You’re starting to sound progressive.

              Does it work that way with any other resource?

              1. “If the immigrants bring skills such that their entrance into the market increases productivity so much that workers still do better even though they have less leverage, ie a high tide raises all boats, then immigration is a good thing.”

                That is not the way the economy works–that’s not the way the standard of living improves.

                Saying that the standard of living improves with productivity is to say the standard of living improves with a declining cost of productivity. If a tractor can do as much as a hundred men with shovels, it is not more productive to use a tractor than a hundred men with shovels–if the tractor costs more than a hundred men with shovels. And with service industries, that’s even more true because service industries are by their very nature labor intensive.

                The standard of living improves when we can buy the same things with less money–and that gives us more money to buy things we couldn’t afford to buy before. That’s an increase in the standard of living.

                If I can produce the same number of/amount of services at a lower price–because labor is inexpensive–then that means a) all my customers are saving money they wouldn’t have saved otherwise and b) that I have new customers who couldn’t afford what I’m selling before.

                1. Having more labor available–which is an economic resource–is better because it makes things less expensive–for consumers–than they would be otherwise. That is where increases in the standard of living come from. That is what we’re talking about when we talk about “productivity”. We’re talking about how much it costs to create a unit of whatever service. When we create the same amount of service for less money or more service for the same money, we are increasing our productivity.

                  And having more labor available makes those productivity/standard of living gains possible.

                  There are women out there who couldn’t afford to work if it weren’t for cheap childcare. There are old people who couldn’t live independently on a fixed income if it weren’t for cheap lawncare and house cleaning. Those are just obvious examples–but there are many more of people who could not afford their current standard of living were it not for a supply of cheap labor.

                  There are lots more of us who could afford to live much better than we do now if only there were more cheap labor.

                  Where I lived in Mexico, every business delivered. Even the McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, etc. delivered. There wasn’t anything you could buy that you couldn’t have delivered. And do you know why?

                  It’s becasue they have an abundance of cheap labor.

                2. Saying that the standard of living improves with productivity is to say the standard of living improves with a declining cost of productivity.

                  No Ken. That is dead wrong. You are only as wealthy as you are productive. So the more productive the economy is, the wealthier it is. What you call the “cost of productivity” is nothing but the worker’s share of the wealth he produces. If I go to work and produce a 100 widgets every day, I have increased the nation’s wealth by a 100 widgets. If I make $5 or a $100 an hour doing that, the country as a whole is no more or less wealthy. All that is changing when my wages change is who is keeping what share of that wealth, me or my employer. That is it. There is either a demand and a need for those 100 widgets or there is not. If there is, whatever price they command will be the ceiling of my wages. How close my wages get to that ceiling is just my employer and I dividing the wealth. Giving him more of it by cutting my wages doesn’t make the country any more or less wealthy overall.

                  1. “If I make $5 or a $100 an hour doing that, the country as a whole is no more or less wealthy. All that is changing when my wages change is who is keeping what share of that wealth, me or my employer. That is it.”

                    Are you suggesting that the cost of labor has no impact on how much services cost or whom can afford them?

                    Are you suggesting that when consumers can pay less for the same thing that their cost savings don’t translate into more money to spend on other things and a higher standard of living?

                    Some of the savings for cheaper labor may turn into more revenue for the business owner, but since competitors are all hiring from the same unskilled labor pool, over time, isn’t the trend likely to skew towards businesses offering that service being more competitive on price?

                    1. Are you suggesting that the cost of labor has no impact on how much services cost or whom can afford them?

                      it can. but it doesn’t have to. If labor is cheap, yes that means I can make something for less cost. That does not however necessarily mean that I will charge less. I am going to charge whatever the market will bear. So cheaper labor costs will sometimes produce lower prices and sometimes just produce higher profits or some combination thereof. Regardless, price is not wealth. I am still producing the same amount in either case using the same inputs. So the country is no more or less wealthy. If the price is lower, that means consumers get a better value. Great for them, not so good for me and my workers.

                      Another thing you don’t understand is that once I produce something, it does become a zero sum game. That thing has a set value. The how much I can sell it for and how much I have to pay my workers to make it are all just ways in which the value of that thing is distributed. Changes in my wage costs or in the price I can charge are not changes in national wealth. The wealth stays the same. What changes is who is getting what share of that wealth.

              2. I don’t give a shit what it sounds like Ken. It is the truth. It is how labor markets work. You just don’t like to hear it. Markets distribute things based on supply and demand. A given worker is going to produce a given amount of wealth. How much of that production he keeps is a function of the supply and demand of labor. If the worker is hard to replace, he is going to be able to keep a lot more of the wealth his labor produces than he will if he is easy to replace.

                I can be an amazingly productive worker but if there are 20 people just like me willing to work for a lower wage, I won’t be keeping a very big share of what I produce. In contrast, I may be kind of a lousy worker but have a skill that very few people have. In that case, I will be keeping a huge share of whatever wealth I produce.

                That is just reality.

                1. I can be an amazingly productive worker but if there are 20 people just like me willing to work for a lower wage, I won’t be keeping a very big share of what I produce.

                  If somebody else can do your job for less and you continue to hold your job solely because the other person is arbitrarily forbidden from taking your place, then you are not reaping profit, you are extorting rent.

                  1. No I am not. Kbolino. I am not getting anything that I am not producing. Paying someone less to produce the same thing does not make the country any wealthier. Wealth is not money. Wealth is the things we produce.

                    So if our technology and productivity is such that 10 people doing this job can produce say a million dollars worth of goods and services, being able to pay those workers $10,000 to produce that does not make the country wealthier. It makes the employer wealthier. The only thing that makes the country wealthier is figuring out how to get those ten employees to produce a more goods and services. Paying them less to do it is just adjusting the respective shares of what is being produced among them and their employer.

                    That is what you guys are not understanding. Paying workers less for the same productivity doesn’t make the country richer. We still are only as rich as the goods and services we produce. Wages are just how we distribute whatever wealth we do produce.

                    1. Paying workers less for the same productivity doesn’t make the country richer. We still are only as rich as the goods and services we produce.

                      Money ? Wealth

                      Thus…

                      Price ? Wealth

                      And

                      Wage ? Wealth

                    2. Klbino,

                      Wages equal the share of the wealth I produce that I get to keep. Wages are a measure of wealth. You are right they are not wealth and therefore increasing or decreasing wages does nothing to increase or decrease wealth. Changing wages just changes the share the workers get of whatever wealth they produce.

                    3. Wages equal the share of the wealth I produce that I get to keep.

                      Your wage is the optimum point between what you are willing to accept and what your employer is willing to pay.

                      Whether that is a share of profit or a share of rent (or a mix of both) depends on whether your employer is earning profit or extorting rent.

                      If you’re a maintenance worker and your employer is a landlord with mostly Section 8 tenants, then it doesn’t matter how productive you are, a good portion of your pay is extorted rent not earned profit.

                    4. Kbolino,

                      So what? All you are doing is explaining that wages are a function of the labor market. That is my whole point. They are not the same as wealth or productivity. And thus the people on here that are claiming lower wages make us wealthier are just wrong. Being more productive makes us wealthier.

                    5. And thus the people on here that are claiming lower wages make us wealthier are just wrong.

                      And devoid of context, saying that higher wages make us wealthier is just as wrong. That is the entire point of the statement “Money ? Wealth”!

                      Being more productive makes us wealthier.

                      Which is why you must differentiate between profit and rent. You are looking from the perspective of the rent-seeker and complaining that he will be extorting less rent. But rent contributes nothing to society! Just because he is taking home a big paycheck doesn’t mean he added that much wealth to the world.

                      If somebody else can do the same job, just as well for less but they are prevented from doing so by rule, regulation, or law then the difference between his wage and yours is rent you have extracted from the consumer and continue to extract from the would-be consumers who were priced out of the market.

                      This is classic seen vs unseen.

                    6. Paying workers less for the same productivity doesn’t make the country richer.

                      Yes it does. It means more goods and services produced with fewer inputs, which means cheaper stuff, which means more people can afford to buy the stuff.

                      We still are only as rich as the goods and services we produce.

                      Yes…

                      Wages are just how we distribute whatever wealth we do produce.

                      You’re forgetting about prices and value. If it takes less input to produce something, then presumably it will have a smaller price tag. That means a person has to work fewer hours in order to purchase it. Or that a person with a lower wage can now purchase it when they couldn’t before.

                      Focusing on wages is misleading because the pie of what those wages can purchase is not static.

                      You’re still engaging in zero-sum thinking here, only now you’re applying it to what wages can buy. If wages remain static or even go down, but they can purchase a bigger pie, then what’s the problem?

                      Today poor people have smart phones, internet, air conditioning, and other things that were unimagined or luxury items in the 70s when wages supposedly peaked.

                      Stop focusing on wages and instead look at what they can buy.

                    7. Yes it does. It means more goods and services produced with fewer inputs

                      Wages are not inputs. Labor is an input. If you produce stuff with fewer ours of labor, you are wealthier. If you produce the same thing using the same number of hours, you are no better or worse off no matter what the wages are. Wages just tell you who is getting the larger how much of the wealth that is produced. A guy being paid $20 and hour is no more or less productive because he make more than someone making $10 an hour doing the same job.

                      Everything else you write follows from the same erroneous assumption that wages are inputs. They are not. Labor is the input and labor is not the same thing as wage.

                    8. You know who else promoted a labor theory of value?

                    9. I am not promoting the labor theory of value sarcasmic. I am explaining to you how productivity is divided between employers and employees.

                    10. I am explaining to you how productivity is divided between employers and employees.

                      And you’re doing so with a zero-sum mentality. More productivity generally means more stuff at lower prices, which means wages can buy a bigger pie.

                    11. By your “logic” a ditch dug by a hundred men with spoons is more valuable than one dug by a single man in a Caterpillar, because more labor went into it.

                  2. The problem is you guys are associating cheaper labor with cheaper costs and cheaper costs with increased productivity. And that is not how it works. Productivity is not a function of wages. My productivity as a worker doesn’t change because you pay me more or less. My productivity is a function of the resources I use and the goods and services I produce with those resources.

                    So if I go to work every day assembling cars and every day I assemble two full cars. If suddenly my wages get cut in half, my productivity is still two cars a day. The only thing that has changed is my employer gets to keep more of whatever money they make from my assembling those cars. If you out and get me robot help and I am not able to assemble four cars a day, then my productivity has doubled. But whether I see any of that wealth in the form of increased wages is a function of the labor market and what price someone with my skills can command. The fact that I am now more productive in no way guarantees that I will now get more pay or see any of the increased wealth I am producing.

                    1. The only thing that has changed is my employer gets to keep more of whatever money they make from my assembling those cars.

                      Unless the competition decides to pass that savings onto the consumer, in which case your employer must follow suit to compete. Now everyone has access to cheaper cars, and more money to spend on other things. Society is richer.

                      The fact that I am now more productive in no way guarantees that I will now get more pay or see any of the increased wealth I am producing.

                      You’ll see it when prices come down thanks to that greater productivity, allowing you to purchase more with your wage.

                    2. Unless the competition decides to pass that savings onto the consumer, in which case your employer must follow suit to compete.

                      They will only do that if they have to and can. Labor isn’t the only cost of a product and prices are a function of supply and demand. Not every price ends up at the floor to keep its producers in business. It depends on how steep the demand curve is.

                      Moreover, price is not wealth. We are still only as wealthy as what we produce. A product being cheaper doesn’t mean we are more wealthy. We are only more wealthy when we produce more of something regardless of its price.

                    3. We are still only as wealthy as what we produce.

                      Not necessarily. If you produce something that no one wants to buy, then what?

                      We are only as wealthy as what we can buy and sell.

                      That’s why wages are misleading. If your wages can buy you more stuff because that stuff is cheaper, are you not wealthier?

                    4. A product being cheaper doesn’t mean we are more wealthy.

                      If something cost me $100 before but $50 now then I have $50 in my pocket to produce wealth elsewhere.

                    5. If you can afford things now that you couldn’t afford before, how can that not mean your standard of living improved?

                    6. If you can afford things now that you couldn’t afford before, how can that not mean your standard of living improved?

                      I think John is focused on money. If you produce more, but get paid the same, then in his mind your employer is stealing from you. Doesn’t matter that the stuff you produce is cheaper and you can buy more with your wages. He’s looking only at the dollars, not what they can buy. So it’s a combination of zero-sum fallacy (you can only buy so much with the wage, zero-sum, as opposed to growing the consumer’s pie) with envy (those greedy capitalists are exploiting their worker’s labor).

                    7. If you produce more, but get paid the same, then in his mind your employer is stealing from you.

                      I am saying the exact opposite of that and have about 30 times on this thread. You clearly are too fucking stupid to talk about these issues. I cannot imagine that anyone could be so fucking stupid as to think I am saying that.

                      I am done with you. You are a fucking tony level mendacious retard. Go fuck yourself and argue with the voices in your head. I can’t have a conversation with someone who is either too fucking mendacious or stupid to understand what I am saying and in fact concludes I am saying the opposite of what I am. I am tired of explaining the same simile points to your lying retarded ass over and over again only to see you fucking lie and pretend I am saying something else.

                    8. Sure you do kbolino. And the person who produced it has $50 less. Making things cheaper for consumers doesn’t magically produce more wealth, unless the price dropped because making the product required fewer resources. And wages are not resources. That is what you people don’t understand. Changing wages does not in itself produce wealth. It just changes who gets what share of the wealth that is produced. The only thing that makes more wealth is producing more wealth.

                    9. Changing wages does not in itself produce wealth. It just changes who gets what share of the wealth that is produced. The only thing that makes more wealth is producing more wealth.

                      Somewhere along the line your thinking is infected with the notion that some amount of money, whether it be the worker’s paycheck, the employer’s cut, or the consumer’s purchase, is equivalent to wealth. It’s not. Just because somebody paid you a certain amount doesn’t mean that you added that much value to the world. There is no such thing as intrinsic value.

                      And wages are not resources.

                      But labor is a resource! And if that resource costs less, then…

                      the price dropped because making the product required fewer resources!

                      Why, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

                    10. A product being cheaper doesn’t mean we are more wealthy.

                      It does to the person who’s buying it.

                    11. Sure sarcasmic, and it makes the guy who produced it that much worse off. Cheaper prices are great for purchasers and bad for sellers. That says nothing about wealth.

                    12. and it makes the guy who produced it that much worse off.

                      How? He’s still a consumer. If he becomes more productive with the same wage, and prices go down as a result of increased productivity, then he can buy more stuff with his wage. Thus he is better off.

                      Cheaper prices are great for purchasers and bad for sellers.

                      You’re right. Competition sucks. We should outlaw it.

                      That says nothing about wealth.

                      When you can buy more stuff with your wage, then you are wealthier.

                    13. You’re still stuck in zero-sum fallacy thinking, John.

                      You assume that the stuff a person can buy with a wage is fixed. It’s not.

                      So with your assumption, when a worker is more productive, but their wage doesn’t increase, then they are getting ripped off since they see nothing for that increased productivity.

                      But you’re wrong. Increased productivity increases the pie. It decreases prices. It means that wage can buy more stuff. It makes the worker wealthier, even if their wage doesn’t increase, because the wealth they can purchase with that wage increases.

                    14. Because he is getting less money for his products. As I say above, I am tired of explaining the same simple points to you over and over again only to see you lie and pretend they are something else.

                    15. “Unless the competition decides to pass that savings onto the consumer, in which case your employer must follow suit to compete.”

                      I’d like to add that unskilled labor tends to just be differentiated on price primarily, and the businesses that are selling those services, likewise, tend to compete primarily on price.

                      This is to say that the competition among service businesses for low wage immigrants, in particular, are much more likely to compete on price over time.

                      A lawn is a lawn is a lawn, and it needs to be mowed. My primary consideration when hiring a service business to mow it is price. The business owner is going to pocket all her can, but the owner of a commodity service business that hires unskilled labor is even more likely to stay cost competitive.

                      Especially if we’re talking about immigrants coming across the Rio Grande on foot, we’re mostly talking about people who can’t speak English and don’t have more than an 8th grade education. I don’t know how much more unskilled “unskilled” can get–and, yeah, that necessarily translates directly into service businesses being more competitive on price to consumers.

                  3. “If somebody else can do your job for less and you continue to hold your job solely because the other person is arbitrarily forbidden from taking your place, then you are not reaping profit, you are extorting rent.”

                    Having to pay more to cover someone’s artificially inflated salary sure as hell doesn’t translate into a more productive economy from the consumers’ perspective.

                    There are fewer consumers for that service than there would be otherwise, and the consumers are paying more than they would have to otherwise. Whatever John is talking about when he talks about productivity, it doesn’t make sense to me.

                    1. Having to pay more to cover someone’s artificially inflated salary sure as hell doesn’t translate into a more productive economy from the consumers’ perspective.

                      Big fucking deal. There is more to an economy than consumers. Consumers getting a good deal doesn’t make us richer. If it did, subsidizing goods would make us rich and it clearly doesn’t.

                    2. Consumers getting a good deal doesn’t make us richer.

                      Yeah, actually. It does. Wealth is not the money you have in your pocket. It’s what the money can buy.

                      If it did, subsidizing goods would make us rich and it clearly doesn’t.

                      Except for the opportunity cost of taking money from the economy to pay for the subsidies.

                      Instead of trying to teach something to a bunch of stupid libertarians whom you are obviously superior to, why not try learning something.

                    3. Yeah, actually. It does.

                      No it doesn’t. It only means we are richer if they are getting a good deal because the product was produced using fewer inputs, ie we are more productive. If it is cheaper because wages went down, we are no wealthier, we have just given consumers a higher share of the wealth we have.

                      That is what you guys don’t get. Wages are not inputs and are not wealth. Wealth is things and services. Paying people less does not by itself produce more things and services. So all importing a huge supply of labor does is reduce employees’ share of the wealth they produce. It doesn’t produce more wealth. If I fire you and hire a Pakistani at half your wage, the country overall is no richer. I am still producing the same amount of stuff. I am just making more money doing it.

                    4. If it is cheaper because wages went down, we are no wealthier, we have just given consumers a higher share of the wealth we have.

                      We’re all consumers, John.

                      So all importing a huge supply of labor does is reduce employees’ share of the wealth they produce.

                      Yes, you’re right. As long as the number of jobs remains static, and the amount of stuff produced remains static.

                      That’s zero-sum thinking.

                      What if importing a huge supply of labor results in more jobs and more stuff being produced? Ever think of that?

                    5. Yes, you’re right. As long as the number of jobs remains static, and the amount of stuff produced remains static.

                      That’s zero-sum thinking.

                      No it is not. The importation of labor doesn’t produce more jobs necessarily. How many jobs you produce is a function of a lot of other things.

                      All you are doing is pretending supply and demand don’t apply to labor. You are clearly unwilling or unable to understand my points. And worse you consistently lie and characterize them. You are unteachable. It is hopeless.

                    6. All you are doing is pretending supply and demand don’t apply to labor.

                      Oh, I know it does. As a software developer I am keenly aware of this. I’m a dime a dozen now. And so what? That’s how economies work. Unless a lucrative occupation is protected from entry, like your occupation for example, then people will gravitate towards it. This increase in supply lowers the price people can charge for their labor. I get it.

                      You are unteachable.

                      *laughs*

                      It is hopeless.

                      Yes. Getting you to give up your zero-sum fallacy thinking is indeed hopeless.

                    7. If it is cheaper because wages went down, we are no wealthier, we have just given consumers a higher share of the wealth we have.

                      We’re all consumers, John.

                      So all importing a huge supply of labor does is reduce employees’ share of the wealth they produce.

                      Yes, you’re right. As long as the number of jobs remains static, and the amount of stuff produced remains static.

                      That’s zero-sum thinking.

                      What if importing a huge supply of labor results in more jobs and more stuff being produced? Ever think of that?

                    8. What if an influx of cheap labor allows companies to expand, hire more people, and produce more stuff that they can sell to consumers (everyone) at lower prices?

                    9. I am just making more money doing it.

                      And what do you do with that money? Do you hide it under a mattress? Do you put it into a bank where it can be lent to people and be used as capital to grow the economy? Do you buy things produced by other laborers, keeping them employed? Do you use it to grow your business?

                      All I see here is a mix of zero-sum fallacy thinking with a rich dose of anti-capitalist envy.

                      And you wonder why I mock you by comparing you to Tony.

                    10. Things costing less because of productivity gains or competition from immigrant labor or because trade barriers come down–doesn’t imply that market subsidies are good.

                      But that’s because bringing immigrant labor into the economy doesn’t represent an market interference from the government.

                      An arbitrary line in the sand saying you can’t use labor that was born across an imaginary line is an artificial intrusion of government .

                      Laws against using immigrant labor are just another barrier to free trade. Saying you can buy things without interference from the government that were made in Mexico is just another way of saying the government won’t prevent you from using Mexican labor in the manufacture of goods.

                      Services are different, though, in that the labor in question has to be here in the United States to provide that service. You can’t mow my lawn from Mexico. You can’t babysit my kid from where you are in Poland. You can’t cut my hair from Colombia. You have to bring the landscaper here from Mexico. You have to bring the babysitter here from Poland. You have to bring the foxy hair stylist here from Colombia.

                      Using immigrant labor that was born across the border isn’t an artificial intrusion of government like subsidies. The government prohibiting me from hiring people who were born across the border is government interference in the market–and it has negative consequences for consumers.

                    11. Ken importing labor doesn’t do anything to increase productivity or wealth. It just imports labor and drives down wages. That is it. Now if you import the right labor and do it in a way that increases productivity, then you get wealthier. But that involves importing skilled labor And that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about importing masses of largely unskilled bodies. And all that does is drive down wages for lower skilled workers. it doesn’t make us richer. It just gives everyone else a larger share of the wealth those workers produce.

                      The bottom line is that you and sarcasmic think the laws of supply and demand are suspended when it comes to labor and that economic growth automatically benefits everyone equally or at all. And it doesn’t and they are not. I understand why you think that way. It is hard to think that maybe your principles might not work out so well in the real world. Well, they don’t always work out so well. Such is life.

                    12. It just imports labor and drives down wages. That is it.

                      Yes. So long as the number of jobs remains static, and the amount of goods produced remains static. As in zero-sum. Yeah, we get it. There are a fixed number of jobs and a fixed amount of goods produced. An influx of laborers will not result in any new jobs being created or any new goods being produced, because it’s a zero-sum economy.

                      We get it John.

                      Zero-sum.

                      We get it.

                    13. The bottom line is that you and sarcasmic think the laws of supply and demand are suspended when it comes to labor and that economic growth automatically benefits everyone equally or at all.

                      Look! A straw man! Burn it!

                    14. It just gives everyone else a larger share of the wealth those workers produce.

                      Workers are consumers too.

      2. A salient fact forgotten by many people who try to equate immigration today with that of the Ellis Island times.

        1. There are a few principled voices here, like sarcasmic’s, who understand the issues involved and take a legitimate if utilitarian perspective that any lessening of immigration restrictions should be tied to curtailing the welfare state.

          Then there are most of the people who show up on the immigration threads to throw around economic fallacies and then call their opponents “unserious” or “intellectually deficient”. And there’s John.

          1. Which is not to excuse people who are mindlessly pro-immigration, either, but there can be no middle ground if everybody just wants to adhere to their closely held fallacies.

  18. Someone should ask Cruz if he thinks the border should have been secured against the flood cuban emigrees arriving in Austin in 1957. Heck, I hear our border security was so lax that even some former communist revolutionaries are able to get into the country.

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