Post of the Day...

...from Will Wilkinson at Cato.

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Boy that's super! Recently

Boy that's super!

Recently the Greeley (CO) Tribune ran a piece on an immigrant who smuggled his wife and seven kids over about fifteen years ago. While working as a migrant farmer, he had two more kids bringing the total to nine kids.

So lets do the math. He had two kids here, probably a taxpayer expense, at a cost of $15K each. The kids each cost $10K per year to educate. Do you honestly think that having this man and his family here is a net benefit? My God! He started out in the hole and only dug it deeper. Even today he lives below poverty level. He'd have to turn over his entire paycheck to the government for the rest of his life to pay back what was taken from me by the threat of coercion, and that still might not be enough.

Rousseau recognized that there is an inverse relationship between an effective government and the size of the population. That is, the bigger the population, the smaller the government must be in order to be meaningfully effective. Unfortunately the exact opposite is not only currently the case , it is the nature of government. The Germans have a term for this: Gesellschaft. More people = more laws = bigger government = less liberty.

Should it be the job of the US government to protect the liberty of its citizens? If there are no borders, do we have a country? If we have no country, who protects my liberty? And what about the other nine billion people who want to be here? If they can make it to our shores or borders shall we just let them in?

I agree with libertarian principles on almost everything, but the position of Cato on mass immigration will destroy the few remaining liberties we have left. When do libertarians admit that mass immigration is injurious to liberty? When we ration water? When tax rates approach 75 percent? Ever?

btw, there is also an inverse relationship between population size and quality of life. Here is a quick link of the demographics. Keep in mind, most of these immigrants bring a Third World mentality with them, they have no knowledge of 19th century liberalism.

Oops. I don't think that

Oops. I don't think that link worked. http://numbersusa.com/overpopulation/ourlostfuture.html

also, I've been called a racist xenophobe nativist so often that the words are meaningless to me. Don't let that stop you though, if it makes you feel better.

I'd say the argument becomes

I'd say the argument becomes better the more anecdotes you've got. So Wilkinson's still up on you by a few.

Nobody here is going to call

Nobody here is going to call you a racist xenophobe nativist. More likely they'll tell you that one anecdote is not an argument.

The Germans have a term for

The Germans have a term for this: Gesellschaft. More people = more laws = bigger government = less liberty.

I knew we were getting some kind of schaft---I just didn't know that it was called a Gesselschaft.

Steve, How many anecdotes do

Steve,

How many anecdotes do you think it'll take? Five? Fifteen? A hundred?

Maybe you believe that anecdotes are usless in making an argument at all. In that case, the Post of the Day fails as miserably as mine does.

How come I have never

How come I have never actually heard anyone say "go ahead and call me a " and then been called a ?

Again, one anectdote doesn't warrant a law about it. Your fundamental mistake is when you ask "If there are no borders, do we have a country?" and assume the answer is no... which doesn't make any sense, was the U.S. not a country before quotas were introduced in 1921? I suspect we did, whether or not your country effectively deffends liberty has nothing to do with immigration. Hong Kong, among the freest nations on Earth, has extensive immigration. The least-free nation on Earth, North Korea, has extensive emmigration.

I do agree with you Plumber

I do agree with you Plumber that the government's performance seems to get worse as the population rises. The arguments for this are the same arguments for local control generally. But I think that is only one side of the equation. The other side is the added benefits of additional labor as discussed in Wilkinson's post. I'd say the benefits outweigh the costs.

So, ho 'bout for every two

So, ho 'bout for every two Mexican who come across, we send one legislator or bureaucrat back? Then everyone is satisfied.

I Disagree. It may appear

I Disagree. It may appear that government gets worse the larger it gets but this doesn't jive with reality. Today, we have 40 times more people than 180 years ago, but slavery has been abolished, tarriffs are a fraction of what they were, and people are no longer executed for lifestyle choices. It seems to me that today we have far greater security of individual liberty.

Now, could we be freer? Of course, but getting there doesn't require the extermination of half the population, merely an idiological shift in favor of liberty as occured in the 1880s, 1920s, and 1980s.

Plumber, the only sensible

Plumber, the only sensible way to account for the cost of having and educating kids is to match it up with the kids' future income, not that of the parents. I don't care whether a family has ten or fifty or a hundred kids; those kids will on average produce "for society" far in excess of the cost "to society" of raising them.

So, yes, I honestly think having this man and his family here are of net benefit to the country.

Lonesnark, Yeah, I answered

Lonesnark,

Yeah, I answered the question for you. That's because there is only one correct answer. There is no such thing as a country without borders. Now if there is no country, what entity protects human rights? The UN? How does popular democracy (since sovereignty is now nonexistent) work in that situation?

Maybe we annex Latin America; by acting as their safety valve, there is no need for those governments to be accountable, so they aren't. Is holding government accountable still popular with libertarians?

Steve,

Alright, tell me what you want.

Crime statistics/victims of crime/prison stats,
education costs/dropout rates/test scores,
healthcare costs/emergency room closures/risks of disease,
balkinization/European experience/threats to Western civilization,
environmental degradation/urban sprawl/etc, etc.....I've read it all.

I'm not sure why I cannot create links, so here are my favorite sites:

http://cis.org/
http://numbersusa.com/index

Three personal anecdotes,

1) The woman I walked with at graduation ceremonies was permanently disfigured by a drunk illegal less than two weeks after graduation. She is a very beautiful American Indian. The man who maimed her spent thirteen days in jail. He never showed up for deportation hearings.

2) Last fall I hosted a dinner party and heard the story of a stone mason who, just a few days earlier, was told to take a 30% pay cut or find new employment. His boss had just hired a dozen illegals. My acquaintance was assured that he would still be the "boss" of the crew and that he would still be the highest paid employee.

I consider myself a cold, dispassionate, and analytical person, but seeing a grown man on the verge of crying in my kitchen f**king pissed me off. You could tell just by looking at the guy that he wasn't making that much anyway.

I know framers, roofers, siders, painters, and flatworkers that have had their bids undercut by firms who are run almost entirely with illegal labor. I've seen legitimate tradesmen and companies literally run out of this state.

3) I've been in the building trades here in Colorado for over a decade. Just ten years ago, I could leave my tools on a job site to go have lunch. No more. Unless there are citizens on the site, we skip lunch or load our tools before we leave. Heck, I've had guys from other job sites (even competitors) nearby ask me to keep an eye on their tools while they left.

It used to be common practice to leave supplies on the job site until the job was complete. No more. We now take all supplies with us. I haven't met a plumbing contractor yet who hasn't had supplies stolen in the last five years. This was a very, very rare occurrence a decade ago. The ONLY difference is the Third World which now populates the building industry in Colorado.

An aside: A story in the Rocky Mtn News says that the main impact of the boycotts last week was felt by Hispanic-owned businesses. This begs the question: do we need them, or do they create their own need?

Oh, and before anybody brings up a $7 head of lettuce, in the First World we invent implements to pick our lettuce when we don't have the 21st equivalent of slaves to do it for us.

Glen, good try.

Glen,

good try. Unfortunately for you I am not so educated that I have lost all of my common sense.

Josh, That's wrong in so

Josh,

That's wrong in so many ways as to almost be laughable, too bad it was meant to be funny. It starts off with a bad idea and then takes every worst-case scenerio.

Not worthy of serious debate.

btw, now that I know it's possible, I'll try to provide links to buttress my arguements.

John Lopez pretty much wraps

John Lopez pretty much wraps up what you libery-loving anti-immigrant people are going to need to do. Get cracking, freedomists!

- Josh

Well, you could start by

Well, you could start by telling me how you're going to control immigration without ID cards and gulags. We're talking about 12m people here.

Hmmm...that's a familiar number...

- Josh

Hey Plumber and others,

Hey Plumber and others, here's a radical idea if you're upset about what immigrants "take" in the way of public services: instead of throwing the immigrants out, let's get rid of the public services, or at least change how they are paid for.

Virginia Postrel recently offered a reason why we Texans seem to accommodate our immigrants (illegal or otherwise) better than California (and others): Texas doesn't have an income tax. Our government raises most revenues from sales and property taxes, whose burdens fall on everyone (legal or not).

In states that rely on income taxes, only the "legals" pay their "fair share" of government. Make sense to me. I would rather cut government spending (or change the tax structure to one more like Texas') than keep out people willing to work.

Excellent point JohnL. Even

Excellent point JohnL. Even the poorest individual is going to eventually pay off his education paying 10% a year.

"There is no such thing as a country without borders."
So, it is your contention that the United States of America did not exist before 1921? You see, most people believe it was founded in 1781, imagine their shock when you tell them it wasn't until 1921 that it miraculously jumped into existance. We're going to have to re-write all the history books! How stupid were our ancestors to fight a Civil War for a country that didn't exist yet!?!?

I still don't agree with

I still don't agree with Plumber, but I think his stories illustrate a real problem. Competition in labor can really hurt people. The particular people who lose their jobs or suffer pay cuts on account of competition with cheaper labor suffer.

I've grown accustomed to free market theory providing a nice answer to most problems. I'm not sure if it has one for this. It seems the best we can do is to ask these people to take one for the team. I don't blame them for not being particularly receptive to that.

JohnL, I agree. I'd be more

JohnL,

I agree. I'd be more willing to compete with the Third World in my own back yard if I didn't have my hands tied by taxes and bureaucracy. I have the same concerns about "free trade". I'll tell you what, you get the government off my back and I'll put some Natl. Guard troops on the border and start arresting employers. We'll just see who is more efficatious.

The idea that in Texas illegals pay "their fair share" because Texas has no income tax is ludicrous. The cost of having one kid is higher than the yearly salary of many illegals. According to Pew, fertility rates increase an average of 20% for immigrants to the U.S. after they get here compared to the country they left. This is true for all of our top importing countries (including Canada) except Viet Nam.

It seem like the assumption is that I should feel good that, even though thousands were stolen from me, there's a chance that I might be paid back in some way, hopefully before I die. Heck, if the fellow in my first post had five kids in school at one time, he'd have to pay $50 in taxes for just that one year, just for education. That doesn't include the myriad of other "services" this foreign invader stole. No. I'll never get paid back, that's not the nature of government. This man and his family are parasites of the highest order.

Another thing, I don't put my wallet ahead of the good of the country. Nor am I willing to argue that if mass immigration is good for "some" businesses in our country, then it must be good for the country as a whole. I could fill up two sites of anecdotes similar, or worse than my own. Malkin just did a piece on an illegal who is being convicted of seven rapes and three murders of U.S. citizens. But you don't give a f**k, do you, just so long as this illegal shows up to work on time and is cheap?

Lonesnark, I have no idea what you are talking about. If you are not careful, I'll write you off as an idiot.

Steve, Take one for the

Steve,

Take one for the team? That is what I told Tammy as she lay in ICU for two weeks. Maybe I'll tell her you said hi, and that you appreciate her giving up the ability to walk and speak well, so that some employer can make an extra illegal buck.

Is your contention Plumber

Is your contention Plumber that illegal immigrants are more prone to violent crime than legals or citizens? If so, why do you think that is?

Plumber, You're welcomed to

Plumber,

You're welcomed to have a different opinion; most of us here like to argue with opposing viewpoints. But stop insulting other commenters. Stick with arguments.

Lonesnark, I have no idea what you are talking about. If you are not careful, I’ll write you off as an idiot.

You realize how ironic these two sentences sound?

Steve, Yes. Most immigrants

Steve,

Yes. Most immigrants bring a Third World mentality with them, and unlike citizens, they are rarely held accountable. At my job sites, if it ain't nailed down, it'll be gone as soon as your back is turned.

Jonathan,

I didn't insult lonesnark, but the threat was there. I'll just ignore lonesnark, OK?

btw, nobody has "argued" with me yet. I was really hoping that I could come to a Cato site for a good honest debate. I'm still holding out hope, but it seems that the only "argument" for mass immigration is that a few employers can make a few extra dollars and that a declining birthrate is bad for some reason.

If this is the case, then I was wrong about my expectations, and I'll leave you all alone.

I've already asked you how

I've already asked you how you plan to accomplish sealing the borders without a police state. I'm guessing you either don't care if there's a police state (either because you like police states or you hate Mexicans), or you simply haven't thought through what "closing the borders" will actually require.

- Josh

I don't like to link to my

I don't like to link to my own site, but the link to the actual article is slow. What do you guys think about this?

http://the-plumber.blogspot.com/2006/04/no-reconquista.html
(does html work on this site?)

Is racism against whites OK so long as some employers wallets are fat? Are libertarians the proverbial "useful idiots" of the Reconquista movement?

Scratch that last question. If there are no borders, there can be no Reconquista. Somebody better tell the Mexicans, apparently they take the border more seriously than libertarians do.

Josh, We could eliminate the

Josh,

We could eliminate the majority of illegals and the desire to come here simply by arresting a few employers. No wall required.

http://www.cis.org/articles/2006/back406.html

I do a hell of a lot better job answering your all's questions than you do mine.

You know what guy's? forget

You know what guy's?

forget it. I think I've gotten about as much from this site, on this issue, as I'm going to.

Have a nice day.

Plumber, I had assumed you

Plumber,

I had assumed you were familiar with the libertarian argument for open immigration already. Insofar as you believe it amounts to allowing a "few employers to make a few bucks", you are mistaken. There is quite a bit more to it than that. I won't state the case here, you can find it elsewhere on the internet easily.

But seeing as how this country is one built on immigration, seeing as how you and I both owe our American citizenship to our immigrant ancestors, and seeing as how we'd both agree that America has benefitted from its history of European immigration, I'd say the burden of proof is on you to establish why this long standing American tradition should be done away with now.

You've put forth some arguments describing some of the ways in which immigration can be injurious. Those are valid, but they are only one side of the equation. I'm not convinced they outweigh the good. And when considering the good, Cato types tend to consider the society/economy at large, and not merely your (or anybody's) specific situation (in which immigrants seem to be nothing but bad). Immigration is a force for economic growth, meaning cheaper goods and services and an increased standard of living. As I mentioned above, this benefit to the larger society does create some victims. I'm interested in consideration of ways in which some of this damage to victims can be mitigated. But I don't think shutting the borders is an appropriate solution.

Nevermind, I guess you've

Nevermind, I guess you've left.

"Lonesnark, I have no idea

"Lonesnark, I have no idea what you are talking about. If you are not careful, I’ll write you off as an idiot."
Nice, because you don't understand the significance of 1921 you conclude I am an idiot.

The United States of America had complete and open borders before 1921. Anyone from any country, not suffering from disease, could come to America for the price of a boat ticket.

Plumber insists that without borders there is no country. We had no "borders" before 1921. Therefore, Plumber insists that since the U.S.A. didn't have borders before 1921 it was not a country before 1921.

Hell, there was no such thing as a "border guard" before the 1980s. Is America one of the youngest nations on planet Earth?

I still don’t agree with

I still don’t agree with Plumber, but I think his stories illustrate a real problem. Competition in labor can really hurt people. The particular people who lose their jobs or suffer pay cuts on account of competition with cheaper labor suffer.

I'm with Caplan on this one. What's so special about the American lower-middle class, that we should worry much about the fact that their wages are being depressed by people pulling themselves up out of third-world poverty?

I agree Brandon that their

I agree Brandon that their interests should not be elevated above anybody else's. I'm really just trying to throw Plumber a bone.

But there do exist certain "victims" of free trade and their pain is real. As such, they will fight free trade and fight hard. I wish there were some silver lining we could offer them, but I don't think there is.

Arresting a few employers?

Arresting a few employers? We're talking about 12m illegals. You're going to need gulags to hold that many employers.

And we're right back where I started.

- Josh

Brandon, you ask what's so

Brandon, you ask what's so special about the American lower-middle classes. I'll tell you. They are American. This has two consequences that may affect you.

First, some of them live in close physical proximity to you. No other people in the world can make that claim, not even Mexicans and Canadians, unless you happen to live very close to a border. People who live in close physical proximity to each other can interact in ways they can't otherwise. For example if someone is smelly, he won't offend you unless he's pretty close. A more serious example would be him victimizing you via (private) crime. (Of course it also includes many positive interactions.)

Second, all of them live in close political proximity to you, via the Federal government. Again, nobody else can claim that - only Americans are allowed to vote here. If you believe that they might be resentful about being competed out of the middle class, about crime, about scofflaws, and perhaps even resentful for irrational racist reasons, you might imagine they could do something stupid politically. That is, they might victimize you via public crime. Such as voting for more Federal taxation to do away with with free trade, crime, and Mexicans.

Note also that the immigrants coming in become Americans, and thus share these same two problems. However these factors are actually worse given that Mexican-Americans have a higher crime rate than native Americans, and also, they have a higher propensity to vote Democratic, presumably because that party stands for race preferences which benefit them, and for socializing the country.

Most of these problems (and all of the political ones) are a joint result of immigration and "the system" - the fact that we are all embedded in a system of democracy. In anarchy these problems would not be, and free immigration would in any case be the de-facto rule regardless of its popularity. However, we do in fact live in a democracy, and I don't think that is likely to change.

One final point here. You asked what the difference is, and I told you: Americans are American. I'll agree that it is not a meaningful moral distinction to any humanitarian ideologue. But just as surely it is a bright-line distinction that holds real meaning to most normal people. If you don't feel the animalistic undertow of tribalism, you've transcended your humanity further than I.

What The Plumber said. But

What The Plumber said.

But seeing as how this country is one built on immigration, seeing as how you and I both owe our American citizenship to our immigrant ancestors, and seeing as how we’d both agree that America has benefitted from its history of European immigration, I’d say the burden of proof is on you to establish why this long standing American tradition should be done away with now.

Are you sure that's what he wants to do?

Since in the past we've had controlled immigration - and even long stretches with very little immigration at all - I'd say the burden of proof is on those who favor massive illegal immigration, especially from one country.

Regarding Marshalltown, I've heard they have a major problem with MS13, the paramilitary Central American gang.

Who's going to pay for the damage caused to their city by that?

And, how many of those workers are legal citizens?

If some of them aren't, are politicians on the take? That is, are some politicians in effect paid to look the other way?

Who's going to pay for the corrosion to our political system caused by such corruption?

And, what about the devastating impact remittances have on sending countries? It doesn't sound too very natural for a city to send most of its residents to another country to work rather than building up their own city. In fact, it makes us sound like Saudi Arabia.

Who's going to pay for the damage done to Mexico by their people building up another country instead of their own?

Since libertarians think everything should be a market, what price would the members of the Cato Institute, Reason, et al put on their citizenships? Perhaps it would be a good investment for the rest of us to buy you out.

All of your questions were

All of your questions were silly and missed the point, except for your last one: "What price would...put on their citizenships?"

Brilliant! Now you are thinking like an economist! And this one is pretty easy to answer, too. It is your expected financial benefit of living in America and taking advantage of our stable and sensible government, high degree of modernization, and degree of labor shortage in whatever niche I occupy. For my personal situation, I estimate my average future income to be about $90k a year, I should live another 40 years before retirement, using an annuity calculator at 5% interest I calculate the value of my citizenship to be at least $1.5 million, and that is before adding in the moral boost of living in a free country, etc.

As for the rest of your questions:
"Who’s going to pay for the damage done to Mexico by their people building up another country instead of their own?"
That is what remitances are for, DuH.

"If some of them aren’t, are politicians on the take?"
No, because there is no pressure upon local government officials to even notice illegal immigration, much less warrant bribery to prevent them from doing so. It is not an arrestable offense, so the cops couldn't arrest you if they wanted to.

"And, what about the devastating impact remittances have on sending countries?"
In a free labor market, employers hire workers for a salary that is less than their real benefit to the employer, otherwise they would not hire them. So, even if the immigrants sent 100% of their income back to Mexico, the employer, and therefore the local economy, is still benefitting. Not to mention the very real boosts when the remittances are spent buying U.S. exports, balancing the trade imbalance, employing U.S. manufacturers, and making life better in Mexico.

I'm late to the party, but

I'm late to the party, but Plumber nailed one of my pet peeves. This is when he rants, in the purplest language, that a "foreign invader" "stole" something from him.

I have my issues with illegal immigration, being the daughter of two legal immigrants; this stupidity really burns me, though. I hope to hell Plumber never sits on a jury in a criminal trial, if he doesn't know how to tell who the thief is, or even what a theft is.

He appears to think illegals steal jobs from citizens. But how can an applicant steal a job? When one applicant gets a job, he doesn't steal a property interest from the other applicants. If an employer hires an applicant to replace an existing employee, the new hire didn't steal anything from his predecessor. The employer either had a contract with the predecessor or he didn't. What is stolen here and who is the thief?

Additionally, when an illegal gets services from the government, he is not a thief. He is taking what is freely offered to him. If the government did not offer it, he could not have it. He may be a recipient of stolen goods, sure. But who is really the thief? Who does the coercion and defrauding? Our first instinct is to say "the government." Sure, that's easy, and partly true. But who votes in the government? Citizens, by definition. Americans.

If you want to find the thief, ladies and gentlemen, I suggest you look at who is doing the actual stealing.

You should have said "look

You should have said "look in the mirror"

No... and if it sounded like

No... and if it sounded like that was what I was saying, I'm sorry. My argument was simply that the people who set things up for illegal immigrants to have government benefits were, in the final analysis, some subset of American citizens. I did not mean, for example, that "Americans get the government they deserve," and I am emphatically not making the argument that someone who suffers because of illegal immigration needs to point his finger at himself as the cause.