Milton Friedman

Restrictionists Are Abusing Milton Friedman

What the late, great libertarian economist really said about immigration and welfare

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The late Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman was a free-market libertarian who believed that immigrants helped make America

Milton Friedman
Everett Collection via Newscom

great. Yet he has become the restrictionist right's weapon of choice to expunge the GOP's pro-immigration faction. It's working. The Jack Kemp-style immigration champions are in complete retreat in the GOP, and the ultra-retrictionists like Bob Goodlatte, Republican Congressman from Virginia, are on the march.

How have restrictionists accomplished this feat? Partly by taking Friedman's vague and general observation that free immigration is not compatible with the welfare state out of context and repeating it like a mantra at every opportunity. Not an hour goes by without some restrictionist somewhere—on blogs, social media, online comments sections—invoking Friedman's comment to justify President Trump's aggressive border enforcement and push to slash immigration.

But these anti-immigrant conservatives are abusing Friedman. If they paid attention to his full remarks instead of conveniently cherry picking what suits them, they'd realize that far from cheering Trump's draconian immigration crackdown, the great economist would be denouncing Trump as a colossal fool.

Friedman is rightly venerated by conservatives for his path-breaking academic work and his popular PBS series Free to Choose, which extolled the virtues of markets over government. But he was always clearly in favor of immigration. In a 1984 survey of America's top 75 economists on immigration, Friedman reportedly unambiguously stated: "Legal and illegal immigration has a very positive impact on the U.S. economy."

Even Friedman's 1978 University of Chicago speech, "What is America?," from which nativists draw the notorious remark about the incompatibility of free immigration and a welfare state, begins by emphasizing how important it was for the country to maintain its tradition of welcoming foreigners. That's what has "enabled the rest of us to get here" — no doubt a reference to the fact that he himself wouldn't be standing there addressing that august group if America had slammed the door on his Jewish parents who immigrated from Hungary. He went on to observe that the millions of immigrants who had "flooded America before 1914" (when restrictionism first started gaining serious traction) were an unmitigated blessing for everyone — themselves and the Americans already in the country. "The new immigrants provided additional resources, provided additional possibilities for the people already here," he declared.

But then he went on to say: "It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs, it is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. … [I]f you come under circumstances where each person is entitled to a prorated share of a pot … then the effect of that situation is that free immigration would mean a reduction for everybody."

Now, if he had stopped at that, it would have been one thing. But he did not. He went on to declare that despite the welfare state, Mexican immigration was a "good thing" for America, particularly when it was of the illegal variety. Why? "Because as long as it's illegal the people who come in do not qualify for welfare, they don't qualify for Social Security, they don't qualify for all the other myriads of benefits," he pointed out. "They take jobs that most residents of this country are unwilling to take, they provide employers with workers of a kind they cannot get."

In other words, as far as Friedman was concerned, free illegal immigration was perfectly compatible with the welfare state and slamming the door on it would be utter stupidity.

Friedman died in 2006. But had he been alive today, he would have been appalled by the prospect of spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money on Trump's wall—not to mention the militarization of the America-Mexico border—all to prevent a good thing: foreign workers willing to bust their butts to put cheap food on the tables of Americans, especially when the economy is at full employment. He would also have been horrified by the senseless cruelty of ICE raids to hunt down and eject hardworking, undocumented workers in the name of interior enforcement.

It is possible that Friedman might have opposed "amnesty" for unauthorized folks because they would then one day become eligible for a "prorated share" of the "pot." Or he might not have. After all, Friedman made his remarks before the 1996 welfare reform law that barred all temporary migrants from collecting means-tested federal welfare benefits. Even green-card holders aren't eligible for five years. So it is by no means clear if he would have gone along with the anti-amnesty crowd, especially given that most amnesty proposals bar recipients from collecting welfare for long periods of time.

But, in general, was Friedman even right that more immigration means a "reduction for everyone" of the welfare pot? Not necessarily, according to his own son, David Friedman, who is himself a brilliant economist and a libertarian theorist. He points out that in a regime of "laissez faire" immigration, "immigrants may get things they don't pay for, but they also pay for things they don't get."

For starters, immigrants tend to be young adults in their peak productive years. This means that another society invests in them while America reaps the dividends. As such, they represent a one-time windfall benefit for public coffers given that the government gets to collect taxes from them without having had to pay for their schools, health care, and other public services. (Incidentally, studies assessing the fiscal impact of immigration generally don't take this windfall into account.) Given the cost of raising a child in America, it would clearly be much more expensive for Uncle Sam to generate its entire labor force indigenously.

Furthermore, Friedman's implication that more poor immigration means less welfare for natives would make sense in a welfare system where the bulk of transfer payments were from the rich to the poor. But that is not the case in America. The vast bulk of transfers here are from the young (among whom immigrants are disproportionately represented) to the old (among whom natives are disproportionately represented).

Uncle Sam spends $2.3 trillion in welfare payments annually. However, a full $1.5 trillion of this goes toward elderly entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Only $800 billion goes toward the poor. Unauthorized immigrants in particular paid $100 billion in Social Security taxes over the last decade that they'll never collect.

A study by Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh and Robert Orr found that although an average immigrant consumes more in cash assistance, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and Medicaid benefits than an average native, the reverse is the case when it comes to Social Security and Medicare. Overall, this works out to an average native receiving nearly 40 percent more in total benefits ($6,081) than an average immigrant ($3,718).

Of course, states have their own welfare programs with their own eligibility rules for immigrants. This makes it notoriously difficult to tabulate the full costs and benefits of various immigrants. But many economists believe that more immigration is essential to extend the life of old age entitlement programs given that these are pay-as-you-go systems that will become much harder to sustain if America's already plummeting worker-to-retiree ratio (due to declining fertility and aging populations) is allowed to drop any further.

Among them, incidentally, is the late University of Maryland economist Julian Simon, Friedman's friend. Simon was no liberal. He was a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, which used to be pro-immigration once upon a time. Now it is an ardent restrictionist outfit that invokes Friedman to peddle "immigrants-are-welfare-moochers" line.

Of course, Heritage is entitled to repudiate its own work and restrictionists are entitled to advance their cause as they see fit. They are just not entitled to use Friedman. He would never have been on their side.

This column originally appeared in The Week

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  1. *Pops popcorn*

    *Remembers no one will RTFA*

    1. Meh, already had my say when this was published last week.

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      I couldn’t be happier.Check it out here? >> http://1kdaily.us

  2. I couldn’t get past the word “Draconian” to finish the article.
    So didn’t get too far into it, but nothing says ‘reasonable’ like opening with soft words like ‘draconian’ or ‘nazi’ or ‘hitler’…

    1. You read the article?

      Its always the same non-Libertarian, open border, hate Americans determining their fate, Americans are racist, blah blah blah… garbage.

      1. That Milton Friedman was no libertarian. He didn’t support protectionism and restricted immigration. So no way was he a libertarian.

        1. He was definitely not an Anarchist, like you are.

          You have to find your own economist.

          1. Do anarchists even have economists?

      2. Yes but of course… if you are for reasonable immigration considering the context of the current environment you must be a nativist and you can’t be a libertarian.. I suppose supporting the Constitutional Republic is likewise fascism at it’s worst. I watched Milton propose the “unrestricted immigration coupled with a welfare state is economic suicide” tape. I didn’t get the part where he was an advocate for unrestricted illegal immigration. Perhaps I am a dolt who doesn’t get the sense of one world government /no borders no country utopia. I grew up loving this country despite its faults and socialism leanings. I have considered myself a Libertarian for years voting that way in most elections … I guess I won’t any longer …what a screwed up party. I am glad I will be dead before the Koch bros and George Soros takes over… Although I bet old George will beat me to the grave.

    2. Enforcing the law is “draconian”, even if it is among the least restrictive immigration laws in the world. Because Dalmia has no sense of proportion.

      1. “It’s only draconian when Whitey does it”

    3. “Shikha” usually does it for me.

  3. ‘But many economists believe that more immigration is essential to extend the life of old age entitlement programs given that these are pay-as-you-go systems that will become much harder to sustain if America’s already plummeting worker-to-retiree ratio (due to declining fertility and aging populations) is allowed to drop any further.’

    Nothing says libertarian like extending unsustainable entitlement programs!

    Shitsa should be writing for Mother Jones.

    1. She writes for other Lefty publications. That’s what she does.

      1. She is a self described “progressive libertarian”.

        Seriously.

        1. How that even be?
          Progressives believe in a command and control government. I don’t think that sounds like Libertarian to me…

  4. Shikha does not give two shits about Milton Friedman or Libertarianism.

    She wants open borders and will do and say anything to accomplish that goal.

    Americans have been deemed by the rest of the World to be incompatible to run the United States of America.

    1. Americans have been deemed by the rest of the World to be incompatible to run the United States of America.

      Well, maybe we are. Hillary won the 2016 election by 3 million votes, but it’s still unacceptable that over 60 million voted for Putin’s Puppet instead of the most qualified candidate ever. She should have been 50 points ahead.

      1. Stop, I’m gonna pee my pants.

    2. Apparently so do the Koch Bros.

  5. Immigrants like “Lucky” Luciano were an “unmitigated blessing”? The hyperbole is showing, or ignorance of what words mean.

    Illegal aliens are a type of worker employers cannot get. That is part of the problem. Below legal market value and unencumbered by the restrictions of labor laws citizens and legal immigrants are required to abide by.

    1. ^ This. American labor and wage laws don’t apply to illegal immigrants, so I guess it’s an open question if ‘American’s won’t do those jobs’ vs. ‘American’s won’t work for below price floor prices as often’. Notably, a business that is caught with illegal immigrant labor gets in trouble.

      1. “Notably, a business that is caught with illegal immigrant labor gets in trouble.”

        What state do you live in?

        1. It’s true in all 50 states since it’s Federal law, it’s more of a question of if you’ll be caught rather than is it illegal.

          The more intrusive labor law that’s imposed on businesses in terms of what they must provide to legal residents, the less attractive legal resident labor becomes. (Assuming, of course, that it’s an industry that doesn’t require any education which is by-and-large what illegal immigrant labor is; unskilled.)

          1. It’s more like, have you greased the political skids to let it slide, or have you been caught with illegals before paying the political machinery.

    2. Reason seems to love the market only when it benefits business.

      There are times where labor has the advantage. Reason seems to want to undercut it.

  6. Using constant dollar numbers – expenditures for social welfare programs are up 300 to 400% what they were in 1984 when Milton Friedman made the declaration that “Legal and illegal immigration has a very positive impact on the U.S. economy.”

    Get rid of the welfare state – or at least prune it back to 1984 levels – then we’ll talk.

    1. Getting rid of the welfare state isn’t going to happen, and isn’t enough besides. Nothing is enough.

      Hispanic voters favor overwhelmingly bigger government. Bigger than *now*.

      Import voters who want bigger government, and you’ll get bigger government. Duh.

      Central and Southern America have shithole countries because that’s what people in those countries vote for, whether they are in those countries, or they move to the US.

      Countries are people. Change the people, and it’s not the same country.

    2. And Friedman quaintly assumed that laws barring illegal immigrants from welfare type programs would actually be enforced effectively, rather than local and state governments being the illegal immigrants’ co-conspirators.

  7. The government needs a growing population for the Social Security/Medicare ponzi schemes. The day old voters are told “we can’t pay for your retirement because we government employees negotiated contractual obligations with ourselves for our own retirement and we need all the money” all Hell will break loose, and everyone just wants to kick that can down the road.

    That, and only that, is the reason for the ‘compassion’ toward migrants.

    1. I forsee robots being assessed a Social Security tax.

  8. For starters, immigrants tend to be young adults in their peak productive years. This means that another society invests in them while America reaps the dividends.

    This is an assertion that needs some qualifying – it is almost certainly dependent on the country of origin.

    Since Trump is restricting immigration based on country of origin, the above assertion seems to be giving Trump some credit for his actions.

    1. OMG! Old farts jumping the border and taking our social security!!!

      1. Hmmm.

      2. Actually that can happen with “chain migration” I have seen it on numerous occasions.

  9. “Because as long as it’s illegal the people who come in do not qualify for welfare, they don’t qualify for Social Security, they don’t qualify for all the other myriads of benefits,” he pointed out.

    Strictly speaking, this is true. However, their American-born children do quality, and the cost of support for the parent of these children is baked into the cake of welfare payment calculations, so the above quote is misleading at best.

    1. It’s not true strictly speaking, certainly not now and possibly when he said it. For example, as soon as illegal immigrants that are children come into the country they can attend public schools. I suspect there are other government benefits that illegals can access also.

      1. Well, why not mandatory birth control and abortions for the millions of Natural Born Citizen wymyns who keep on whelping babies to be looked after by the welfare state? There’s far more of them than there are illegal Messicans.

        1. Isaac, what does your idiotic statement have to do with what I said?

          1. whoops, I thought you were responding to me. I’m new here.

              1. I’m used to it.

            1. New here? Wait until you deal with Palin’s Buttplu, Tony, and Michael Hihn. All kinds of fun there.

              That aside, welcome.

      2. Yes, there’s that too and other benefits aside from direct cash transfers. I was just addressing the “welfare” part of the statement.

  10. So the Heritage Foundation used to be “pro-immigration”? I’m not familiar enough with their early work, but somehow I doubt much has changed which would mean Shikha is wrong again. Aren’t they a fairly consistent bunch? It may be more accurate to say they were pro-assimilation, and that stance still stands. One of the triggers for their coming into existence in 1973 is likely the 1964 Family Reunification Act, in my estimation. That instrument of division cast aside the one thing that helped promote assimilation: some sponsor had to say they had a job for the man or woman immigrating. That forges a stronger human connection when a current citizen is invested that way. So the shift from work to welfare on arrival began, which does in fact poison the well. We need our immigrants – the fresh joy of freedom shared by those who escaped tyranny and misery keep us vibrant. Illegal aliens on the other hand are mainly not immigrants. Sure there are a handful whose visa expired or other administrative problem – but there is a large group who began with disrespect to the nation by not even bothering with procedure of any kind. It costs at least five grand to become naturalized… what’s the price of a coyote and lost wages trying to avoid the law? A lot more I wager.

    1. I’m not familiar enough with their early work, but somehow I doubt much has changed which would mean Shikha is wrong again.

      “I don’t know what I’m talking about but Shikha is probably wrong.”

      One of the triggers for their coming into existence in 1973 is likely the 1964 Family Reunification Act, in my estimation.

      “Now I will proceed to just make shit up.”

      1. “I don’t know what I’m talking about but Shikha is probably wrong.”

        To be fair, that latter is always a good bet.

      2. Little did we all know that the “Heritage Foundation” was original called the “Socialist Global Multicultural Foundation”. They changed their name to better be able to undermine conservaism! That’s what Cathy believes, at least.

  11. “Because as long as it’s illegal the people who come in do not qualify for welfare, they don’t qualify for Social Security, they don’t qualify for all the other myriads of benefits,” he pointed out.

    Comedy gold.

  12. “Because as long as it’s illegal the people who come in do not qualify for welfare, they don’t qualify for Social Security, they don’t qualify for all the other myriads of benefits,

    Well, it’s almost like the author waster our time….

  13. “Reason Senior Anylist Shecky Dullmia ….”. LOL, I see what you tried to do there.

  14. Immigration is a good thing, but illegal immigration is much less good, and this article and others like it understate the bad aspects of it. One key issue is that illegals are not “ineligible for welfare.” They claim it, in large quantities, due to the deliberate lack of verification built into many programs. They also ARE eligible for the biggest form of welfare in this country: taxpayer funded “public education.” They tend to bring/have a lot of kids, and they use the system, even getting in-state tuition in many cases.

    Think about that. Come to Arizona from Montana, and you pay far more than if you came from Juarez.

    The “restrictionist” application of Friedman does apply, whether you like it or not. We may prefer to do away with the welfare rather than the immigration, but we’re not making much progress.

    1. Immigration is not an unqualified good. It can be a disaster.

      I’m all for making as many Americans out of foreigners as we can. I’m not for swamping America with Not Americans.

  15. Friedman’s caveat may have applied in the 70’s, that illegal immigrants do not receive welfare and other benefits, but does it apply today? Of course not, many people have exposed this over the years.

  16. Why are there so many racist, misogynist, homophobic, illiberatarian, Neanderthals populating the Reason comments section these days? Shouldn’t these bots be trying to infiltrate Politico’s or the Huffington Post’s sites? Real libertarian minds won’t be changed by pro-Trump, MAGA arguments. All you will get will be the simple minded fools…like Paul Ryan.

    1. It seems clear that it is a concerted effort to scare reasonable people away from libertarianism.

      1. Unfortunately, we’re not succeeding scaring away reasonable totalitarians like you.

    2. The Pro Trump people are the ones defending freedom in America.

      The Open Borders crowd are the ones trying to destroy it.

    3. Perhaps the reason is that as a gay, immigrant libertarian who experienced persecution and socialism first hand, I actually recognize people like you for what you are: proto-fascists.

      1. …you forgot the asshole part…

      2. So, anyone who disagrees with you and the Trumpster is a proto-fascist? That sounds pretty proto-fascist to me.

    4. Tm, you have a Trumptastic day buddy.

      MAGA!

    5. Somehow they got lost on their way to National Review and ended up here….

  17. It’s really not that difficult. The parents that come here have had their education and upbringing paid for by their previous country. They are then contributing to the economy here. That is our country benefiting from the taxpayers of a different country.
    Their children’s education is at the cost of the taxpayers in the US, but then the children enter the work force and contribute to the economy just like the children of anyone else born here.
    Only if the children left after their education and before entering the job force would it be a cost without a benefit to America.
    So…..don’t kick them out after investing in them?

    1. “Their children’s education is at the cost of the taxpayers in the US, but then the children enter the work force and contribute to the economy just like the children of anyone else born here.”

      Not really. It costs vastly more to “educate” ESL kids. Worse, they massively under-perform even after many generations. Some people think it is sensible to import multi-generational poverty (Shikha, Pierre, etc.) Some people don’t.

      1. Yup. It’s a lot more sensible to import multi generational wealthy people! If you bring in white collar professionals from abroad their kids will mostly do well like their parents, AKA better than the average native. If you bring in illiterates their kids will usually do poorly, AKA worse than the average native.

        If you can only bring in top flight people it is a huge boon to the US economy. If you only bring in low tiered people it is a burden. I know which one I want…

      2. Needz moar magik dirt!

  18. You are such an ignorant fool. Milton Friedman said that decades before the supreme court and state gov’ts handed out welfare like candy to anyone who marched across a sovereign border. Shikha is an extremist who denounces anyone who disagrees with her Chamber of Commerce pravda as a nativist.

  19. “Because as long as it’s illegal the people who come in do not qualify for welfare, they don’t qualify for Social Security, they don’t qualify for all the other myriads of benefits,” he pointed out. “They take jobs that most residents of this country are unwilling to take, they provide employers with workers of a kind they cannot get.”

    Except they do hoover up a myriad of benefits.

    They don’t do jobs Americans won’t, they work for wages and conditions Americans won’t. Pay me $200 and hour, and I’ll clean toilets with a toothbrush.

    Friedman’s point that open immigration and a welfare state are incompatible still holds.

    More importantly, open immigration is incompatible with Anglo-American standards of Liberty.

    Countries are people with places, not places with people. It’s not our GPS coordinates that makes America free. It’s Americans. Fill America with Not Americans, and it becomes Not America.

    1. The real way you can know that the Americans won’t do it argument is nonsense is to look at stats… Even most of the jobs illegals are most thought of as doing are MOSTLY still done by native born Americans. Nationally most agricultural workers, janitors, dish washers, etc are STILL native born Americans. Look up the stats!

      The only reason some poor white/black person doesn’t want to clean toilets for $9 an hour is because it’s $9 an hour! Back when being a janitor paid high teens to 20 something an hour in inflation adjusted terms, people had no problem doing the work. The same would be true again.

      The idea that we always need to import more unskilled people to keep wages at the absolute bare minimum is nonsense. It’s also exactly WHY we have people fighting for raising the minimum wage. Wages really have gone down for many, and they can’t have a decent standard of living. If we stopped importing unskilled people wages would go up a bit, which in some ways isn’t a horrible thing. At least the native born losers speak English and like guns!

      1. Heck, a lot of the jobs illegals do today used to be starter jobs for teenagers, or summer jobs for college students. I’ve picked radishes at agricultural sub-minimum wage, along side braceros. My brother was laying sod that year.

        It’s a great way to convince a guy he wants to get educated and get a desk job… We’re both engineers now.

        1. Yup. The fact that we have adults working most “kids jobs” is just one of the many signs that our labor market is garbage. As an employer it makes more sense to hire an adult versus a kid, they probably NEED the money and will stick around etc… Which makes it hard for young people to get jobs even if they want to.

          As somebody who got my first official job at 14 I really do believe in the whole “it builds character and teaches you life lessons” thing. Because it does.

          But it also more efficiently utilizes resources. Creating an entire new “household” that depends on garbage wages to survive creates a less wealthy society than one where most bitch jobs are done by kids already living in households where their parents have real jobs. Fewer households and people being supported by the same amount of work/income = higher average wealth. This is what being a 1st world country is all about!

      2. A lot of libertarians are autistic tunnel-visioned types who, consequences be damned, want to maximize their profits so they are allergic to raising wages or claim that they just couldn’t do business if they had to, even though businesses ran fine before mass migration of scab labor.

        The big part of it is that they can externalize most of the costs. They don’t live in the newly minted pockets of third world depravity that have been created by the open immigration, so they don’t care. They also don’t pay the full financial cost and are able to shuffle a lot of that off to the tax system / national debt, so again why would they care. As long as they maximize their own personal profits, they think that’s good and just and the future be damned.

        1. A lot of it is indeed naked self interest. I’m on the side that benefits, ostensibly, from cheap labor… But I have the sense to know the overall effects no my civilization aren’t worth it.

  20. As always, the Reason dogma refuses to consider the connection between free immigration and population growth. The fact that that most of us are immigrants, and the fact that immigration was a good thing in the past, does not mean that immigration and the accompanying population growth will be a good thing in perpetuity. America had 150M people when I was a kid. Today the number is 320M. What is the country like with a population of 500M? How about 1B? Should we be thinking about that now or should we wait to see what happens?

    1. Bingo!

  21. As always, the Reason dogma refuses to consider the connection between free immigration and population growth. The fact that that most of us are immigrants, and the fact that immigration was a good thing in the past, does not mean that immigration and the accompanying population growth will be a good thing in perpetuity. America had 150M people when I was a kid. Today the number is 320M. What is the country like with a population of 500M? How about 1B? Should we be thinking about that now or should we wait to see what happens?

    1. Yup. California will be AWESOME with 80 million people crammed into it! That’ll fix their water problems for sure!

      1. The same people in CA who want open borders also oppose building any dams, and are usually calling for the existing dams to be drained to protect the habitat of the CA spotted dung maggot.

    2. The immigration sources of the past were also 3 digit IQ populations that created countries of similar living standards. Not so anymore.

  22. How can you tell if Shikha is making stuff up? If she is writing, it’s probably Fake News, if not overt falsehoods. Here is what Friedman actually said.

    “It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state”

    For anyone interested in Friedman’s actual words in context, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQzW6DNkP_8.

    What did Julian Simon actually say

    “immigrants who would be a direct economic burden upon citizens through the public coffers should have no claim to be admitted”

    Friedman did defend illegal immigration, “as long the illegals stay illegal”. Does Shikha favor that? Of course, not.

    Shikha is an Open Borders fanatic for whom the truth is a trifling barrier to her personal agenda.

  23. That silly Shikha chick has not one defender here in comments. What the fuck, Reason?

    1. Her articles may get some hits, but she is a big reason I won’t donate money.

    2. What I don’t get about Shikha… is she really this ignorant, or is she just lying through her teeth? And if it’s the latter, what’s the purpose? Does she really think her blithering idiocy is going to change any minds? As in “Oooh, Shikha invokes the memory of Friedman and makes a preposterous argument, I’m going to change my mind now!”

      1. I’ve always wondered this about a lot of writers, especially here.

        Shit libs in the MSM I think are mostly just moron true believers in progressive ideas… But HERE they should know better. I mean just look through the comments section on any article about a hot button issue where libertarians are split and there are a ton of great arguments on both sides of most issues.

        With immigration I don’t see how one can be an absolutist open borders type person after knowing the facts. So that means she is either so dumb she can’t comprehend stuff, she is lying on purpose for some evil reason, OR possibly she is just burying her head in the sand and ignoring everything that contradicts her preconceived conclusion.

        Any which way it is not intelligent or thoughtful writing. I could write better pro open borders arguments than she does, because I actually know what the problems with it are. If you won’t even accept the problems and then try to argue against them, you’re just being an idiot. Explain to me logically why Americans should lower their standard of living and have more voters in favor of bigger government… If you can do that maybe you can win me over! But of course they have nothing… But if they admit that, then they must accept that there are some MAJOR downsides that turn people off to open borders. And I guess we can’t have that!

        1. “With immigration I don’t see how one can be an absolutist open borders type person after knowing the facts. ”

          Facts don’t matter to deontologists.

          Libertarian anarchist types, with their One Rule to Rule Them All, the Non Aggression Principle, think, *quite reasonably* given their deontologist presupposition, that because borders infringe on the NAP, therefore Open Borders Uber Alles.

          1. I reckon so. I’ve never understood absolutists on almost anything.

            Principles are great things, but to me they’re a starting point, or a guide post. If the outcome of following a principle 100% is so horrible that it kills you, or in this case destroys your entire civilization, what’s wrong with going a little more moderate? Nothing. It’s the logical thing to do.

            It’s why in an end of the world scenario the NAP goes straight out the window for me. I would totally shoot first if somebody seemed a little too sketchy in Zombie world, right? Because it beats getting killed. The way many purist libertarians seem to portray themselves on here leads one to believe they would rather be killed than not adhere to the NAP 100% of the time… That is just plain stupid if you ask me.

            1. They’re just disingenuous. They don’t actually believe in this stuff. Anyway, flooding us with millions of these foreign people who impose all sorts of costs on us is a form of aggression itself. Again though since these people are disingenuous they will simply claim it’s not aggression.

              1. Yup. My increased tax bills, the loss of liberty, these are all direct results of low skill third world immigration… And that IS aggression against my rights and my pocket book. I place MY interests above unrelated people from all over the world, does that make me literally Hitler? I think not.

              2. I don’t know if they don’t believe it. Or if their “belief” is the same as mine.

                I’m convinced that for many, the truth is what is socially advantageous to believe. Not that they consciously make that calculation, but that’s the way their brains are wired.

  24. Now, if he had stopped at that, it would have been one thing. But he did not. He went on to declare that despite the welfare state, Mexican immigration was a “good thing” for America, particularly when it was of the illegal variety. Why? “Because as long as it’s illegal the people who come in do not qualify for welfare, they don’t qualify for Social Security, they don’t qualify for all the other myriads of benefits,” he pointed out.

    Well, and if we could continue to treat these illegal migrants as a slave labor force that consumes no government-provided resources, then his arguments would continue to be rational, if rather immoral. But these illegal migrants do consume government-provided resources, namely schooling, welfare for their children, healthcare, and many others. Furthermore, the objective of Democrats and open borders advocates like you is to legalize these people, given them workplace protections, and make them entitled to more government handouts.

    Friedman’s argument also fails because it is the continued presence of a cheap labor force that prevents economic progress. Slave labor kept the Egyptians, Romans, and the American South from innovating and advancing. As historians have clearly shown since his comments, it is a scarcity of labor that drives innovation, automation, and progress. From that point of view as well, bringing in cheap low skilled labor is a disaster.

    1. All true. If we allowed in only adult men and women on work permits, and allowed them ZERO government services you could make an argument. But not as is.

      As far as the innovation thing, there was a study done awhile ago that found that farms in the northeast improved their productivity at vastly higher rates, through increased automation, versus farms in California and the southwest. Why? Cheap illegal labor made them not bother. So instead of shrinking the farm worker category even smaller than it is now, likely at higher wages, AKA the exact kind of progress that makes a civilization successful, we just have more peasant serf type laborers slaving away in fields still.

      Same can be said for all the other low end stuff they do. Automation will come eventually, but the depressed wages we have now have certainly slowed it. I bet fast food would have jumped on top of ordering kiosks etc a long time ago if labor rates were as high as they were 30+ years ago.

      1. Even allowed in on those terms, they still depress wages in any industry they work in, by inflating the supply of workers relative to employers’ demand. Basic supply and demand.

        Arguably they increase the net economy despite doing this, but in the process aggravate income inequality, by reducing wages of low earners, while improving the economy for high earners.

        If all you care about is the total, and are unmoved by the increase in poverty at the bottom, that’s just fine. But it really hurts social stability, and is a major factor in our dropping below replacement: Most of the population can’t afford to have more than one or two children anymore!

        1. All very true. I’m obviously no progressive bleeding heart pussy… But even if one wants to go pure Mr. Spock on this shit, you have to realize that the social tension created by specifically screwing the lower class is going to become a problem at a point.

          The reason we have all these fights for increased minimum wages is because jobs that used to be considerably above minimum wage have been pushed down to being minimum wage, and the market wages on the low end of the pay scale in states that still follow the federal minimum are still hella low. Supply and demand.

          This is of course why old school libtards used to be against large scale low skill immigration, they knew it hurt the working class, which was one of their main supporters. Once they realized the low skill immigrants were even more likely to vote for them than the white working class though they just threw them under the bus.

          1. Man you guys got it all figured out. See you in the lettuce fields!

            1. Not me! I’m a business owner… But that we should, I dunno, get millions of people off welfare and have THEM in the lettuce fields instead of supporting welfare cases while importing more low wage workers with even worse educations from abroad… I don’t see a problem with that. If we cut back the welfare state low skill whites/blacks/Hispanics etc would take those jobs, especially since wages would probably rise.

              I’m okay with paying 20% more for lettuce if it means not destroying my civilization.

  25. Onde again, nativists do not and cannot dispute the main argument here, that is, that nativists are grossly abusing a Milton Friedman quote.

    1. Sorry Joaquim, but the “nativists” (do you know what “nativist” means?) are quoting Friedman correctly. Don’t believe me? Watch the video and weep.

      1. That is not the point. That Friedman quote is true but always taken out of context, implying that Friedman was against immigration, when he actually was generally in favor of economic immigration and, in particular, of illegal economic immigration. Please make an effort and read the article

        1. Joaquim, Friedman’s point was that you can not have immigration and a welfare state. He favored immigration in the absence of a welfare state. With a welfare state, he said we can not have immigration. The welfare state isn’t going away. According to Friedman, immigration must be ended.

          1. Immigration must be ended according to YOU. The GOP controls both houses of Congress and the presidency. They could make a lot of progress on scaling back our welfare state, but there’s no momentum whatsoever to do that, because the party is dominated by people like you who prefer to spend their time frothing at the mouth about the evils of immigration, instead of doing something to fix the underlying problem. And most Republicans never wanted to scale back the welfare state anyway.

            1. The GOP cannot end the welfare state; it’s impossible. What they can try to do is gradually starve it.

              And we aren’t “frothing at the mouth about the evils of immigration”. We like immigration, but immigration of people who make a net contribution to the US and who aren’t going to be slave labor for US corporations.

              1. LOL. How is it impossible? Of course they could do it. They *could* do alot of things; they just choose NOT to do so. Why? Because they don’t *want* to, that’s why. It’s a lack of will, not ability.

                “Starving the beast” doesn’t work in the long run. All you get from that ultimately is massive, crushing debt [much of it owed to a rival power, no less] and the inevitable insolvency of your currency. By the time the beast is dead- and it WILL die, eventually- it’ll be too late, and we’ll be swimming down shit creek. That’s the road we’re on.

        2. It’s just like you misrepresent the positions of people you call “nativists”. Most people who oppose Democratic immigration insanity are not “nativists”, we welcome anybody who makes a net positive fiscal contribution, regardless of where they come from.

          It’s socialists like you who favor bringing in cheap foreign slave labor for American corporations and forcing American taxpayers to subsidize that scheme. That is most certainly not what Friedman favored or advocated.

    2. Milton Friedman’s position is that we should admit any immigrant who is not an economic burden on the US. At current government spending levels, that means people making much more than median income. Most of the illegal migrants and immigrants Democrats favor don’t meet those criteria.

  26. Lee Kuan Yew had some important comments on immigration. Predictably he told the truth, even if it wasn’t PC. See

    https://tinyurl.com/yb8c3nyp

    Quotes

    Charlie Rose: “And immigrants have been America’s strength.”

    Lee Kuan Yew: “Absolutely ? But, mind you, immigration of the highly intelligent and highly hard-working, very hard-working people. If you get immigration from the fruit-pickers [chuckles for several seconds at the idea], you may not get very far!” ? Lee Kuan Yew, Former Prime Minister of Singapore

  27. The economics of low-skill immigration have been studied to death. They are terrible.

    From G. Borjas (America’s leading immigration economist)

    “There’s also been a lot of fake fog thrown into the the question of whether immigrants pay their way in the welfare state. It’s time for some sanity in this matter as well. The welfare state is specifically designed to transfer resources from higher-income to lower-income persons. Immigrants fall disproportionately into the bottom part of the income distribution. It is downright ridiculous to claim that low-skill immigrants somehow end up being net contributors into the public treasury.”

    So who is troubling themselves with the truth here? Borjas or Shikha? Not hard to judge.

    1. Exactly. It is absurd immediately on its face. We know the average income for various types of immigrants. Most of them fall well below the levels at which one is a net tax payer. It is as simple as that. Others, like Indian IT workers, do not. So bringing in ones that will be positive tax payers lowers the burden on natives, bringing in those below those thresholds will be a burden. PERIOD.

  28. As someone that sees the writing on the wall with the robot economy, I wish to have a restrictionist immigration policy so that Guaranteed Income will only be given to today’s Americans (and their progeny).

  29. Nothing has done more to diminish the quality of life for the United States middle class through higher housing (land) costs, greater competition for jobs, lower wages, higher taxes to pay for greater poverty, mortgage fraud, medicare fraud, tax fraud, other crime, higher taxes to pay for indigent healthcare (hospital closings), higher taxes for cost of public schools, price of college, degradation of the military, depletion of resources, burden on the taxpayer and overall congestion than the INCREASE of and change in the nature (more poor, more criminals, e pluribus multum) of the POPULATION since 1965, driven almost entirely by late 20th century entry of migrants (immigrants, illegals, h1b visa holders, visa overstays, refugees, etc) their families and descendants.

  30. Friedman’s point that social welfare programs and open borders are incompatible is hardly genius. It’s common sense. It’s obvious why countries like Denmark or New Zealand have highly restrictive immigration policies. Small countries with aggressive social programs and economies that could be threatened by government insolvency have no choice. They HAVE to restrict immigration. If Reason’s dogma ever gives way to common sense, the Reason outlook on immigration will have to change. Like it or not, America’s social programs aren’t going away. Given that, advocating open borders is idiocy.

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