Scott Walker

Scott Walker's Olympic Quality Immigration Flip Flop

How the right-wing pundits paved the way for Walker's labor protectionism

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Scott Walker
Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SA

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's comments last month opposing legal immigration came as a shock. How could a man who until a little over month ago was even willing to consider a path to citizenship for undocumented workers pull such an "Olympic-quality flip-flop"?

But the real story is not Walker's switcheroo, but the conservative punditocracy's switcheroo that paved the way for his.

Walker, who is fast sprinting into the first place for the Republican presidential nomination, told Glenn Beck recently that "The next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that's based, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and wages." And lest there be any doubt that by this he meant a more restrictive immigration policy, he noted that he arrived at his position after talking to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a powerful restrictionist who has been the single biggest obstacle to any immigration reform that didn't involve drastically scaling back current levels and sealing the border.

Walker's position is odd for someone who has made a career out of breaking the chokehold of labor unions whose whole agenda involves artificially restricting the supply of new workers to protect jobs and wages of existing workers. But what's even odder is that it places Walker — who had also heartily endorsed more legal immigration in high-skill areas and elsewhere — to the restrictionist right even of Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz. Their opposition — which to date has largely defined the outside edge of Republican restrictionism — was limited to illegal immigration. They never went so far as to suggest that the economic impact of legal immigration, especially the high-tech variety, on American wages and jobs was anything but positive. Romney had even floated the idea of "stapl(ing) a green card" to the diplomas of foreign graduates from American universities.

But if Walker thinks he can get away with embracing labor protectionism it's because he knows that respectable conservatives will give him cover, something he could not have counted on before. That's because, until recently, except forNational Review, the vast bulk of smart-set conservative opinion was decisively in favor letting market need — not the arbitrary whim of a labor bureaucracy beholden to unions — set immigration levels.

No more.

To be sure, for many conservative pundits — such as The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, The Wall Street Journal editorial page, The Washington Examiner's Phillip Klein — Walker's comments were still anathema. But an equal — if not bigger — chorus was more sympathetic, not imaginable two presidential election cycles ago. Among them were relatively newer muckraking outfits such as Breitbart and The Daily Caller, which, until recently, had in its employ, Mickey Kaus, a liberal progressive solely because he shared its restrictionist agenda.

But also in this mix were the more established The Weekly Standard, which pulled its own flip-flop. Its founder (and dear friend) Bill Kristol used to be pro-immigration when he was pushing Sen. John McCain's presidency. But he opposed the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration reform bill on the dubious grounds that the "huge increase in immigration in that bill" would be "bad for working class and middle class wages and economic opportunity in this country." But the most prominent Walker defender was Ross Douthat, The New York Times' resident conservative who chastised Walker's conservative detractors for over reacting. Douthat lambasted them all as open border advocates (if only!) and congratulated Walker for doing a "real service" to his party by questioning its dominant "sunshine and roses" view of immigration.

But why has the conservative punditry turned so dramatically against its bedrock commitment to immigration on such short order? Because it regards restrictionism as a smart strategy and it doesn't much care for markets.

Many of these conservatives are convinced that courting Hispanics and other minorities with a pro-immigration stance is not the only road to the White House for Republicans, as some believe. That Romney received only 27% of the Hispanic vote — after inviting undocumented aliens to "self-deport" — might have contributed to his loss in the last presidential election, they admit. But that might not have been fatal if he hadn't also dissed 47% of potential voters as non-tax-paying liberal welfare queens.

Romney's contempt prompted millions of white voters, mostly men — the so-called Reagan Democrats — to sit out the last election. That's because they didn't identify with Democrats' progressive agenda and Republicans didn't offer them anything, these conservatives believe. These voters can be coaxed into the Republican fold, they maintain, by a solidly middle class, populist message. Restrictionism is an integral part of that.

It also helps that these conservatives are sympathetic to the "two cheers" for capitalism school of thought that worries about the effect of unbridled market forces on family and community. They have no principled objection to using the government to temper markets and strengthen families — and immigration restrictions are a perfectly acceptable part of that.

Should Walker continue to drift in their direction and harden his opposition to immigration, the GOP primary will be as much a fight for the Republican soul as it's about picking the best Republican to run for the White House.

 This column originally appeared in the USA Today

NEXT: "The GOP Follows Sen. Sessions - Backwards" on Immigration and Trade

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  1. Look Walker said some stupid things about immigration no question but what is so f’n controversial about saying this?

    On Monday, though, Walker went even further, suggesting that even legal immigration might depress native-born workers’ wages.

    “In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is … to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, protecting American workers and American wages… what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages, and we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward,” Walker said……..
    A spokeswoman for the governor later attempted to clarify his remarks–though they still appear quite muddy. “Governor Walker supports American workers’ wages and the U.S. economy and thinks both should be considered when crafting a policy for legal immigration,” AshLee Strong told Talking Points Memo in statement for an article about senior GOP lawmakers’ criticisms of Walker’s remarks.

    “He strongly supports legal immigration,” Strong added.

    labor is like anything else subject to supply and demand, the net benefit is unquestionable in my opinion but how is saying that immigration depresses wages for some controversial?

    1. This is the crux of the wapo articles bitching.

    2. Which other aspects of freedom should we be willing to build a fence around in the name of increasing wages?

      1. Your a fucktard.

        1. Actually, he’s quite right.

          1. Though by no means consistent. I’m sure there are plenty of mercantilist/protectionist policies that Tony endorses. Depending upon who they are intended to help of course. Principals, not principles.

            1. Hell, he’s written in favor of American Unions and the labor law that forces businesses to hire higher priced labor which does the exact same thing.

              But, his hypocrisy doesn’t’ make the question he posed any less damning.

          2. yes, in this case but it literally has no contextual relevance with anything that was said.

            1. It has every contextual relevance.

              To restrict immigration, one needs violate the freedom of association of others. To prevent a Mexican from buying a bus ticket, to prevent the bus company from transporting him per their contract, to prevent a landlord from renting the Mexican an apartment, to prevent the chicken breast packer from hiring the man do work on shift D etc.

              The central thesis of libertarianism is that it doesn’t dictate what wages should be or what standards of living must be set at. It creates a set of rules that are just and your wages, comfort etc are the product of people acting within those rules.

              When people say increased immigration depresses wages on the short term, they may be making a descriptive statement rather than a normative one. But, all too often, people who write about depressed wages are making the unspoken normative argument that policy should be set to maintain those wages at an elevated level.

              1. Does increased immigration depress wages, or does it bring them down from an artificially deflated level?

              2. Agreed.

              3. ” To restrict immigration, one needs violate the freedom of association of others. To prevent a Mexican from buying a bus ticket, to prevent the bus company from transporting him per their contract, to prevent a landlord from renting the Mexican an apartment, to prevent the chicken breast packer from hiring the man do work on shift D etc.”

                Bullshit. You could restrict immigration by patrolling the border effectively and deporting illegals who have been convicted of crimes. Jesus I’m tired of all the hyperbole from both sides of this issue.

                1. You could restrict immigration by patrolling the border effectively and deporting illegals who have been convicted of crimes.

                  That’s what the government is supposed to do right now. How’s that working out?

                  1. What’s your point sarc?

                    1. What’s your point sarc?

                      That thing that flew over your head.

                2. Really, Dark Lord?

                  LEt’s do a thought experiment. Juan decides to get a job in a meat packing plant in Conway, South Carolina. He purchases a bus ticket to Conway from Tijuana where he currently lives. Once he arrives in Conway, he walks to an apartment complex and rents an apartment, walks to the meat packing plant and applies for a job. He is hired.

                  From his first months wages he puts down a down-payment for a car.

                  In your world of restricted immigration without violating people’s freedom of association, what happens to Juan? Where is he stopped? Is he not stopped and succeeds in his dream for a better life?

                  1. The bus is stopped at the border. Because the owners of the border and the roads past it (American taxpayers) have decided to exercise their right over who may use their property. Past that, and off of public property that I pay for, its none of my business who gets hired to do what, rents a house, or buys a car.

                    FTR, I’m in favor of increased immigration, but I think that denying taxpayers the right to control what is ultimately their property is inherently anti freedom.

                    1. Interesting.

                      OK, so Juan purchases a plane ticket on Tarran airlines, non stop service between my airport on Conway and Tijuana.

                      What then?

                    2. How’s Juan walking to the apartment complex?

                    3. We’ll talk about that after he lands. 😉

              4. Tartan, the problem is that wages have been depressed for a long time. Rather than establishing an “elevated level” of wages many would like to see fewer people in poverty. 50 million receive food assistance, not exactly evidence of artificially elevated wages. If we import more impoverished people the numbers of poor receiving welfare will increase. Supply and demand continues to operate. Our relative open border policies encourage poverty and despair. I would prefer to see fewer Americans suffering and yes, I admit to putting Americans ahead of the other billions on the planet. We have to live among these American citizens whether we like it or not.

                The Libertarian argument is to simply eliminate all food assistance, and all other welfare, and let wages find their market levels regardless of the levels of immigration. To hold this view it is necessary to disregard the world as it really is. Nation states and borders show little evidence of going away. Most People will be repelled by the spectacle of starving and suffering citizens and the national socialists would seize the leadership. Angry and resentful poor people will resort to violence. Picture a Libertarian leader facing the choice of suppressing rioting masses or submitting to socialism.

    3. Furthermore as noone has laid out any kind of policy at all regarding immigration except for vague statements how could this be considered a flip-flop?

    4. Thing is, there isn’t a fixed number of jobs. If there was, then the argument that immigrants decrease labor costs would make total sense, since increasing supply with fixed demand will lower the price.
      But that’s not necessarily the case. Immigrants can create jobs. For example immigrants create businesses. That’s creating jobs, not taking them away. Immigrants are also consumers, and increased consumption (demand) creates more jobs.
      So saying that immigrants depress wages makes sense if you think of the economy as a zero-sum game, but it is not.

      1. A free market economy isn’t a zero sum game, but a planned economy is. Which one are we closer to right now? Consider this:

        ” For example immigrants create businesses.”

        It has never been more difficult to start a business in this country than it is right now.

        ” Immigrants are also consumers, and increased consumption (demand) creates more jobs.”

        Normally yes, but regulations, minimum wage laws, and Obamacare distort that incentive too. Not to mention bailouts and cronyism for large firms.

        Also, demand doesn’t have to be flat to decrease wages. It could just grow more slowly than supply.

        1. It has never been more difficult to start a business in this country than it is right now.

          Yet I see immigrant-owned businesses starting up all the time. Especially in Little Somalia (a nearby city had a huge influx of Somalis (Thank you Catholic Charities) and they are starting businesses left and right to cater to their own tastes).

          Normally yes, but regulations, minimum wage laws, and Obamacare distort that incentive too. Not to mention bailouts and cronyism for large firms.

          Still, they’re going to eat, right? That means more jobs growing food. They’re going to drive around, clothe themselves, talk on the phone and get on the Internet. Yes, not all those jobs are domestic, but still. They’re going to consume. Increased demand for consumer goods means more jobs producing them. And they’re going to live someplace, right? That means more construction jobs. Immigration creates jobs.

          Also, demand doesn’t have to be flat to decrease wages. It could just grow more slowly than supply.

          Could. But does it?

        2. “” For example immigrants create businesses.”

          It has never been more difficult to start a business in this country than it is right now.”

          I can tell you from first hand, daily experience, that many immigrant businesses do not follow the regualtions that the native citizens have to and are rarely punished for it here in Houston, Texas.

          1. Same in Springfield VA, Even if you provide a quality product it’s kind of hard to compete with someone who doesn’t have to pay for insurance or taxes.

          2. In other words, it is often easier to run a business under-the-table than to follow all the regs.

            I don’t see how that differs according to immigration status.

            1. I don’t see how that differs according to immigration status.

              Yep.

            2. It may differ if the officials don’t enforce the rules evenly. Progressives with their selective “sympathy” might not crack down as hard on immigrants flouting the rules.

              Of course, if they were logically consistent or just a little thoughtful rather than envious (yeah, yeah, then they wouldn’t be progressives…) they would realize that the rules impact everyone and thus should be abolished. But they see third-world corrupt socialist shitholes as role models.

              1. Yeah well, unrestricted immigration is such a superior right that Cosmos are willing be exchange it for increased anarcho-tyranny and a larger welfare state.

            3. It is the enforcement that differs at least in Houston.

              There are a lot of Middle Easterners in the used car business here in Houston. Quite a few of them operated thusly. The money men behind an operation would import non citizen Abdul who got a dealers license in his name. He woulld artifically increase the value of his inventory by cutting the miles on the cars he bought. After a year or two of operation the heat would begin to build and Abdul would simply move back to wherever and give a high five to cousin Mohamed as they passed in the airport. They were notorious in local car dealer circles for this ploy.

              I supply bars and beer joints with amusement games. I know a bar in Houston whose clientel is the immigrant, non English speaking Mexican. They sell beer 24/7. At 2:00 AM when the other bars close they simply lock their front steel door that has a flap over a slot. You or I neither one would be allowed in even if we dared to try. The police know they are there because of the occasional gunfight in the parking lot. They have operated like this for years.

              1. Many sub contractors in construction are owned by non citizen illegals. Who knows what their real legal name is ? They can get their checks from the general contractor made out to whatever name they want, cash it at a non bank operation and pay their hands in cash. Where, and to whom, the 1099 goes do matters not. Let a native American citizen try that and see how long it takes for the IRS to catch up with you.

                The regulations only appy to everyone on paper. Not in real life, at least here in Houston.

                1. @oneout I would wager it’s the same everywhere.

                  1. I do as well. I just put it that way to ensure that what I am saying is actual experience and but might not be the case in some, probably smaller, business communities.

      2. in the short term wages are decreased, now prices of goods are also lowered and the net welfare is increased but that lags behind the wages.

        1. most people don’t notice the decrease in goods as much as they notice how much their labor is worth.

      3. If the increase of labor outpaces the increase in demand for it then wage depression is inevitable.

        The economy isn’t zero sum but neither are it’s inputs static.

        1. And prices go down, too.

          1. I agree but they lag and who knows how long it will take for things to settle out.

            In the long term we are all dead and the lag time could cause much pain along the way.

            1. Well, that’s capitalism. I’m not really sure why this particular case gets a special exemption to the idea that the government should not plan the economy.

              1. Well, that’s capitalism.

                Not that any economic system can make lasting promises of stability, mind you. The workers can only continue to be employed at inflated wages because consumers can afford the higher prices. No amount of planning will save you from the consequences of that premise ceasing to be true.

  2. Letting a huge number of socialists into a democracy (where the courts allow democracy to destroy the republic) is suicidal.

    I don’t see how making the USA more like Mexico or the Central American countries is going to increase liberty.

    If Immigration could be limited to the libertarians across the world (those which would vote to remove 80% of the existing federal government, and debate the last 20%), I’d be all for it. But that is NOT what this is about.

    1. What about progressives who breed, tz? How shall we deal with their attacks on freedom?

      Forced sterilizations based on Nolan Chart placement? Deportations? Forced abortions in the manner of the People’s Republic of China?

    2. We could also just note that voting is a privilege of citizenship rather than an inalienable right. Set strict terms of citizenship (and hell, apply them to people born here, too). Everybody gets respect for life, liberty, and property; anything else can be restricted.

      1. I found Heinlein’s description of such a system in Starthip Troopers was quite attractive and thought provoking.

        It is, however, doomed. Any attempt – any! – to stabilize society by limiting the franchise to the ‘right’ sorts of people will inevitably be perverted to mulct the unfranchised to the benefit of the franchised.

        1. Exactly. In my youth I thought it would be a fine idea if birth control was put into the food supply, and people would be required to get a parenting license for the antidote. That would prevent all kinds of unwanted children, abortions, and such. Then I thought about who would make those decisions and on what criteria. After applying that line of reasoning to other government licensing schemes, I had an epiphany (power will be abused, always) that started me down the road to being a libertarian.

        2. It is, however, doomed. Any attempt – any! – to stabilize society by limiting the franchise to the ‘right’ sorts of people will inevitably be perverted to mulct the unfranchised to the benefit of the franchised.

          Or the franchise will be needlessly expanded in the interests of fairness. Between limited franchise with slavery and universal suffrage with a welfare state, I would choose the latter every time, but yeah I agree that any equilibrium is unstable.

      2. We do that in our country with our indigenous people and some immigrants. But I doubt you goyim have the stomach for it anymore. What happens when we organize them to march through the street, demanding their “equal rights?” What if they’ve been there for “generations?”

        1. Your bullshit is tiresome. Find a new shtick.

          1. Poor guy… he’s too stupid to figure out he isn’t posting on Stormfront.

    3. I don’t see how making the USA more like Mexico or the Central American countries is going to increase liberty.

      Exactly. I agree with libertarians on many issues, but when it comes to diversity their logical minds shut down and their emotional minds take over. Diversity is our strength, Diversity is our strength, Diversity is our strength, Diversity is our strength. Oh and did I mention that Diversity is our strength? They desperately do not want to face up to the fact that Black and Hispanic immigrants do not care about liberty, small government or any of their “principles.”

      1. I agree with libertarians on many issues, but when it comes to diversity their logical minds shut down and their emotional minds take over I toss my principles out the window.

        FTFY

      2. The division of labor is a fundamental economic principle built upon diversity (in the true sense of the word, not the politically correct version). If Sue and Bob can each do different things that the other finds valuable, then they both benefit by engaging in commerce with each other. However, artificially inflating certain kinds of diversity benefits only some, and often at the severe expense of others. Nevertheless, when diversity arises organically, it should not be opposed for the sake of preserving the status quo.

  3. to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, protecting American workers and American wages.

    And Walker dives into the Zero-Sum end of the pool. Great.

    1. Show me a successful politician who didn’t ignore basic economics.

        1. Show me a successful American politician who didn’t pander to economic ignorance.

          *sets down the goalposts*

          1. Grover Cleveland? 🙂

    2. So….you’re saying that the president of the USA should not, first and foremost, be about protecting the rights of Americans? That they should instead be more concerned with -what, exactly, non-americans? potential americans? what?

      And that somehow, an american president focusing on american interests is buying into zero-sum idiocy?

      1. With these people their “basic economics” is like a religion. It says X and Y, ergo X and Y are always true. This should not be confused with academic economists who make use of logic and evidence. At the bank I control I employ numerous economists who have actual educations in economics(unlike these libertarians whose education in economics consists of a few dozen blog posts), and none of them believe this government is always bad nonsense.

        These people believe religiously that you could flood the country with 200 million foreign workers and it would have nothing but positive economic effects for the native people. It sounds ridiculous, but as I said, it’s a religion.

        1. International Jew|5.12.15@ 10:55AM|#

          With ‘murkin, racism is like a religion.
          Fuck off.

          1. I thought he was operating Caen up there – does he have more than one?

          2. I am a Jew. Race is my religion and my religion is my race.

            1. International Jew|5.12.15 @ 11:17AM|#
              “I am a Jew.”

              Could be, but you are also a racist piece of shit.
              Fuck off.

      2. There is currently a pretty steep tariff on imported shoes that serves to protect American jobs at a single New Balance factory.

        Would you agree that that tariff protects Americans? If so, what about the hundreds of millions of Americans who buy foreign made shoes. Are the protected by being forced to pay more for shoes for themselves and their kids? What about a poor, single mom who needs to buy shoes when school starts? Is she better off paying more when she could use the difference to buy a meal or two?

        Which is better for Americans on the whole, cheaper imported goods for everyone (which means money to spend on other things), or protecting a small number of workers from foreign competition?

        1. If that woman works in a shoe factory cheap shoe imports aren’t her friend.

          If those cheap imports come from China they are cheap because of currency manipulation as well as cheap labor and zero tarriffs.

          It’s not just as simple as cheaper shoes make her better off.

          Germany has a tax policy that works to hep them export their products.

          A German car manufacturer builds a car that costs 20K to build. If he sells it domestically a stiff VAT tax is imposed. If the car is exported no VAT tax is added to the buyers final price. Is an American better off because he can buy a Germen car for less than the same car built in America because of differnet tax policies? Neither paid any tariffs under a “Free Trade” pact.

          What if that car were built in China which manipulates it’s currency to keep it undervalued on the world market. ?

          What if that woman works at or owns a resturant that services American auto workers ?

          For “free trade” to work all variables have to be equal. It’s a complicated situation and there is no pat answer that just because tennis shoes or cars are cheaper that makes someone better off.

          1. If that woman works in a shoe factory cheap shoe imports aren’t her friend.

            So millions of people should pay for shoes more so she can keep her protected job?

            If those cheap imports come from China they are cheap because of currency manipulation as well as cheap labor and zero tarriffs.

            So it’s a bad thing that China subsidizes its exports, making them cheaper for Americans?

            For “free trade” to work all variables have to be equal.

            No, actually. It does not. For it to be completely fair, then yes. But how is it a bad thing that American consumers get products subsidized by the Chinese government? It’s not a good thing for the Chinese, but that’s not my problem.

            Protective tariffs protect the few at the expense of the many. I choose the many over the few.

            1. I choose the many over the few.

              Or the one?

            2. Last I checked the academic literature, free trade is a net benefit for the country that allows it even in cases where the partner does not reciprocate.

              1. Last I checked the academic literature, free trade is a net benefit for the country that allows it even in cases where the partner does not reciprocate.

                It does. If country A does not engage in protective tariffs or subsidized exports, while country B does, then country A’s consumers will get the best deal while country B’s consumers will pay extra to support protected businesses. Sure, some jobs in country B will be protected, but at the cost of all of the country’s consumers paying more and having less money for other things. In other words they are made poorer to support those protected jobs.

            3. “So millions of people should pay for shoes more so she can keep her protected job?”

              Should she lose her job because China keeps the value of it’s currency artifically low so they can promote an artifical imbalance of trade ? Remmber, the topic is “free trade” not manipulated trade. A country cannot exists long term if it has permanent trade deficits.

              “So it’s a bad thing that China subsidizes its exports, making them cheaper for Americans?”

              If you work in an industry that competes against Chinese subsidized imports yes. If you detest having your tax dollars taken from you to support unemployed people, yes., yes. Free trade is not fair trade just because there are no import duties at the border. Many people have promoted free trade as fair trade.

              ” For it to be completely fair, then yes”

              You’re right. I chose the wrong word. Free trade that allows one partner unfair advantages over the other cannot work over time. A country cannot stay solvent if it runs a trade deficit forever. At some point it will be insolvent. The Fed can continue to print electronic money for only so long befoe the bubble burst..

              1. The US economy has existed on government created, or encouraged, bubbles for some time as many of our value added manufacturing, wealth creating, jobs have left. We had the tech bubble. And it burst. We had the hoiusng bubble and it burst. We now have a stock market bubble created by the Fed pump. It will burst.

                American officals must create a level playing field for American workers to compete in order to revive our economy to stability levels. We can’t maintain a self supporting economy and have duty free imports from countries whose tax policies or currency manipulations give them an unfair advantage.

                What do you do for a living sarcasmic ? I guessing it’s something that has of yet been negatively affected by “free trade” agreements that aren’t free. The hidden costs are enormous. Just remember, when they came for the Jews I didn’t speak out because I’m not a Jew etc. etc. etc. Just because you can afford three pairs of tennis shoes rather than one is no guarantee tha your grandchidren will even be able to afford one.

                Nice talking to you. I love your sense of sarcasmic humor by the way. I gotta go. I am on my wayout the door so I can out work some Chinaman and his artifically low currency, and a German who exports without manufacturing taxes added to his costs so that I can personally stay afloat.

                1. I gotta go.

                  c-ya

              2. Remmber, the topic is “free trade” not manipulated trade.

                How can you talk about the merits of free trade without talking about the alternative?

                A country cannot exists long term if it has permanent trade deficits.

                You’ve got that backwards. When you import more than you export, then you’ve got more stuff than if you export more than you import.
                Think about it on a household level. What do you export to the grocery store? Nothing, right? So you’ve got a massive trade deficit with the store, and a full fridge. How does that make you worse off?
                If you can see how your trade deficit with the grocery store makes you better off, why can’t you see how a trade deficit with a country doesn’t make the country with the deficit better off?

                1. “You’ve got that backwards. When you import more than you export, then you’ve got more stuff than if you export more than you import.”

                  If a person spends more than he makes he runs a deficit. ?

                  If he spends less than he makes he accumulates wealth. ?

                  Isn’t that the same for a country ?

                2. ” why can’t you see how a trade deficit with a country doesn’t make the country with the deficit better off?”

                  Whaaattt ? Did someone hack your account ? This is not the sarcasmic I have been reading and laughing with for a year or two now.

                  How can anyone, business, or country be better off by continually spending more money than it makes ? If one had unlimited credit without a due date ever, then I would agree, but otherwise I just can’t see it.

                  Would you be better off if your wife had a closet with 100s of pairs of shoes and dresses but $200,000 owed to a credit card company and no plans to change spending ha.bits ? That’s basically what the good ‘ole US and A does these days. That’s why your household and mine both owe $160,000 each toward the national debt. Fuck, if I was an illegal Mexican sub contractor I would never let them make me a citizen. Soon as I had my bucket full of money back across the border I would go and leave you Gringos to pay off your own debts. Or at least your grand and great grand chilluns can have a go at it.

                  I might be too pesimistic, and I hope I am, but I can see future generations of Americans being literal wage slaves to our government, so much worse than it is now that no one would be able to deny it, excepts perhaps Tony and Butt Plug if a Democrat were in office. They will be permitted to keep only small amounts of their checks from week to week and be government dependent for every aspect of their lives.

              3. Free trade that allows one partner unfair advantages over the other cannot work over time.

                It’s called comparative advantage, not unfair advantage.

                A country cannot stay solvent if it runs a trade deficit forever.

                You seem to assume that those dollars that are used to purchase imports are gone forever, or can only be returned in the form of purchasing exports. What about investment? What about when those dollars are used to make a production plant here in the States because it’s cheaper to make widgets here than to transport them? But that doesn’t count in trade deficit calculations.

                The Fed can continue to print electronic money for only so long befoe the bubble burst..

                What has that got to do with trade?

      3. Re: Azathoth!!,

        What are these “rights of Americans” of which you speak? I only know the rights of individual men and women which are Liberty, Life and Property.

        As far as I can fathom, there can’t be any other rights outside the ones I mentioned. For instance, nobody has a right to a job. Jobs belong to the EMPLOYERS and not these “Americans” you mentioned.

        1. True enough from a deontological perspective.

          But most people want economic stability. Yet, capitalism is built upon organic instability. Moreover, any illusion of stability comes at someone’s expense. It won’t do much good to “keep the jobs in American hands” if there are no jobs anyway. The two matters aren’t necessarily connected, but prosperity moots any concern about immigration. The problem is that nobody really wants prosperity.

          1. I understand and agree with the organic instability to which you refer. Some call it creative destruction. Buggy whips and all that. But would you explain to me your statement that no one really wants prosperity. I don’t get where you’re coming from.

  4. It’s not an “Olympic-quality flip-flop” nor a “reactionary turn” for a politician to espouse a viewpoint not all that different from viewpoints he himself has expressed in the past. Here’s a hint, “they don’t agree with me” is not the same as “they’ve radically changed their mind”.

  5. So….you’re saying that the president of the USA should not, first and foremost, be about protecting the rights of Americans?

    Protecting the interests of some Americans at the expense of the rest is hardly enlightened.
    It may very well be “politically savvy”.

    1. The seen and the unseen. A small number of protected jobs is seen. Millions of people paying more as a result of tariffs and other protectionist policies is unseen.

      1. This is pretty much what’s happening. It’s much easier politically to pander to something that is clearly visible to your base, than discuss economic principle and reality that isn’t visible with them. It shouldn’t be a surprise or forgotten to people that most people vote with their wallet and see the decrease in wages that accompany immigration and ignore everything else, and they vote. Politicians will never be interested in doing anything but pander to them, because either a) they themselves are idiots b) they see potential future voters c) it’s an easier argument to make and it resonates with people d) a combination of all three.

        1. “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

          ? Thomas Sowell

          There aren’t enough good-paying jobs, but with these policies government can create more! And there will be no trade-offs, like higher priced goods! Government is magic!

      2. True enough, but the seen and the unseen occur on the open borders side as well.

        What is seen: Lots of immigrants (agreeably brown and charmingly rustic, if you are a prog focusing on the southern border).

        What is unseen: The downward pressure on the un/semiskilled labor market. While longitudinally, it may be true that many people move on from that market, at any given time there are a lot of people in that market, with wages that would be depressed by open borders.

        I’m a high fence/wide gate guy, myself. I’ve also lived within 70 miles of the southern border for 8 years, and I can tell you that what I have seen is that illegals put a major strain on all kinds of institutions. I can also tell you that, given the ubiquity of identity theft amongst illegals, I have real doubts about studies of their broader impact. For official purposes, many of them pass as US citizens, so I’m not sure how their economic impact can be sorted out and tracked separately.

        It comes down to sovereignty, I think, which is one of those things that is harder to define that people think. Does a nation-state have the right to control who crosses its borders? If not, then there is no sovereignty, I don’t believe. If so, then on what basis should it control who comes in? What are the proper goals for a country in allowing (or not) immigration? I see little discussion of this in political circles (props to Walker for at least raising the issue).

        1. More on the unseen:

          Immigrants start businesses. They often go unseen because they often cater to other immigrants. But still, that’s job creation, not job destruction.

          Immigrants create demand for goods and services. This creates an increased demand for jobs that deliver those goods and services.

          Immigrants need a place to live. Unless housing is artificially fixed by legislation that prevents building more homes, then there will be more jobs building homes for immigrants.

          There’s a lot of unseen out there.

          1. All of these youngsters from down south are going to be a big boom to keeping Social Security from becoming insolvent.

            Many years of contributions ahead before they start to withdraw.

            And as I tell many of my friends virtual and local, AT LEAST OUR IMMIGRANTS ARE CHRISTIAN and westernized AND NOT THOSE DIRTY MOOSLEMS LIKE THE EUROPEANS ARE IMPORTING..

          2. 90% of immigrants today are looking for freebies,this isn’t 1901.

        2. I’m a high fence/wide gate guy, myself.

          I tend to agree. Abolish the welfare state and I’d be in the open-borders camp. However…

  6. Dalmia may just be the crappiest logician around. Why she thinks Walker’s position against the labor unions has anything to do with immigration is quite a mystery. What this country doesn’t need is millions of low end immigrants taking jobs the normally are heavilly populated by Blacks,keeping those Blacks on the welfare rolls. Dalmia apparently believes something no one else does – that job oportunities at those levels will explode, producing enough for both Black and illegals. Walker is taking the realistic and correct positions and Dalmia is living in a dream world where countries have no sovereignty and must accept anything and anybody that crosses its borders.Except under exteme case of labor demand, there is always more than enough competition for jobs. “Labor protectionism” is impossible these days, even if no illegals were in this country. It’s absurdly ludicrous to argue this track. Dalmia needs to manufacture some other imaginary deficiency in Walker’s views. Brietbart and the Daily Caller are far beter and more popular than reason.com and don’t engage in frivoulus, illogical nonsense.

    1. Except under exteme case of labor demand, there is always more than enough competition for jobs.

      There is never such a thing as “enough” competition, so there can’t be such a thing as “more than enough”. In a free market, there are no stable equilibria.

      1. In a free market, there are no stable equilibria

        I keep saying things like this, but the premise is overly narrow. There are no stable equilibria, market economy or not. And thus any rules, no matter how well intentioned, that are premised upon the fallacy of stable economic equilibrium are doomed to imperil rather than enhance the economy.

  7. I am thinking there are more votes on pandering to white, middle class voters than in pandering to Shikha Dalmia.

    1. Pandering to the white, middle class voters is his only shot at winning. He’s doing the right thing here.

  8. Walker is listening to real patriots & he will get our fervent backing,attacking all immigration-many of us favor a moratorium for a year or two.

  9. Every candidate should be permitted to change their opinion on various socio-economic issues. The real question is what is their reason for that change in opinion? If there is an ulterior motive, then it should certainly be derided. If that change came about naturally through a greater understanding of the issue, then corporate mainstream media and various other “?ndependent” outlets should accept the candidate for simply being a human being that is learning and evolving.

  10. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.Jobs-Cash.com

  11. Walker needs votes in Cincinnati not San Fransisco. Rand Paul hasn’t worked this out with his Bill Maher appearances.

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