The Conversation

I wish we lived in the Gang of Eight's world

Perhaps the biggest under-reported story about the Gang of Eight immigration plan is that it would radically increase legal immigration, in addition to putting the working-age contingent of those 12 million illegal aliens into the American workforce.  Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) picked through the bill at great length, and concluded that it could bring up to 60 million workers into the country legally over the next decade. 

Even if Sessions is only half right - and reviewing his numbers makes me think he's a lot more than half right - that would still be more than double the increase in legal immigration envisioned in the last attempt at "comprehensive immigration reform," which died in Congress in 2007... a time of unemployment numbers that Barack Obama can only dream of.

I really wish we lived in the world the Gang of Eight sees outside its Senate windows, where low-income workers magically become net tax contributors who reduce the deficit, and the American workforce is hungry for 30, 50, or 70 million more employees.  But we don't have anything like such an economy, and we're not going to have one any time soon.  Some of the things Gang of Eight proponents say about their plan sound absolutely delusional, measured against the economy we actually do have.

A free, lightly-taxed market with low barriers to business formation and minimal labor overhead can expand far more readily than the taxed, regulated, mandated, exhausted wasteland we have now.  It's not just about the social services costs associated with immigration; it's about the difficulty of creating business opportunities to meet their employment needs.  The marketplace really should be able to look at any large new population as an opportunity for growth, but it's absolutely laughable to suppose that Obamanomics will ever see them as such.  

Obama's central planners are hoping young people will cheerfully pay absurdly inflated insurance premiums to keep ObamaCare afloat, while older people die off before their medical needs crash the system.  We've got "farm bills" composed of 80 percent food stamp spending, bitterly defended by liberals who claim people will die of hunger in the streets unless the government feeds them.  If you refuse to pay for someone else's contraceptives, you're accused of "denying them access to vital health resources."  Businessmen are treated as criminals suspects when they attempt to launch an enterprise, and greedy enemies of the people if they succeed.  ("You didn't build that!  Someone else made that happen!")

In every other respect, Obamanomics treats America as a dying nation on life support, whose hapless people can't be trusted to make important decisions for themselves.  But when it comes to legalizing aliens and increasing legal immigration, people born in other countries suddenly become luminous sources of deficit-melting productivity, even though they haven't been exposed to the incredibly expensive educational system liberals tell us is vital to success in life.  If you take them seriously, aren't they offering a damning indictment of both native-born Americans, and the educational system liberals refuse to reform?


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