The Conversation

The Immoral Consequences of Amnesty

An aide to Rubio shrugged off the possibility of millions of American workers being displaced by amnestied foreign ones. "There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can't cut it," he said.

So the Rubio plan for these Americans is just to put them on the dole, then? If they can't cut it working, they'll need money from somewhere, and as American citizens, they still have the right to vote themselves wages for not working, right?

So many Libertarian "solutions" to problems rely on this First Assumption: "First, assume that we do not have a social welfare state, so that our policies will not increase the costs of maintaining that welfare state."

But we do have that welfare state, and it's not going anywhere, particularly when millions of Americans, formerly able to hold good-paying jobs, are now economically threatened by imported foreign workers and now can look only to the dole for their daily bread.

The corporate class seems to only look at the direct costs of labor, without ever considering the indirect costs: That is, the cost of your product is not determined only by your materials and labor costs, but those costs plus the avalanche of taxation required to support more and more millions of Americans reduced to permanent existence on the taxpayer-funded dole.

And, critically I think, there is a moral dimension to this, whose costs are so great so as to  defy measure.

As a moral, political, and psychological matter, it is far better to have a country in which most of its voting citizens have the self-worth and natural connection to the economy that a job provides, as opposed to having more and more citizens taking the government dole, knowing they are essentially worthless to the nation, so many useless mouths to feed.

That breeds cynicism, lack of responsibility, and lawlessness, and we see it in every community in which taking the dole because almost as common as (or actually more common than) working for wages.

There are very few manufacturing-type jobs left -- doing jobs, making jobs -- where the natural advantage of the American worker has not been undermined by outsourcing to other countries.

This whole Amnesty bid is an attempt to do an end-run around that. We can't export these jobs to other countries? Fine, then: We'll import the workers to this one.

 All I can do is ask: When the Citizens-of-the-World type well-heeled Republican donor class, the businessmen and so forth, succeed in reducing even more millions of Americans to permanent unemployment, do they not understand that they will pay those unemployed Americans far, far more on the back end than they could ever possibly save by utilizing foreign workers?

Work is not just an economic boon; it is a moral boon. It connects, in a man's mind, a virtue (industriousness) directly to a reward (a paycheck). It creates a connection between past (the work and training you did) to future (the paycheck you will receive), and thus promotes delayed gratification, planning for the future, and a whole host of socially-important virtues.

It breeds a feeling of self-respect and self-worth. It makes the worker invested in society -- he is stakeholder in it. He has skin in the game.

Worklessness does the exact opposite. It teaches that there is no connection between virtue and reward, and thus encourages a pirate or brigand mentality. Worklessness severs the connection between past effort and future reward because there is none. A magic government check just arrives twice a month -- you did nothing to earn it, except to exist.

A nation can survive a limited number of citizens who have been deprived of the moral instruction of useful work, but not many of them, and certainly not a majority of them.

Make no mistake: Depriving millions of Americans of gainful employment does have a cost, and a large one, and that cost will be reflected in our economy -- as well as in our morality, politics, and general level of social wellness.

To be anti-Amnesty is not to be anti-immigrant: it is simply to be pro-American and pro-morality.

 

 


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