Cheap-labor advocates and business interests have rounded up 1,470 economists to urge Congress “to modernize our immigration system,” just a few months after Americans voted in November for a government that puts Americans before corporate and foreign interests.
The special-interest plea is getting polite coverage from establishment media outlets, even though the organizers are tied to long-standing business groups which have repeatedly demanded the government import more consumers and workers — including more white-collar professionals.
In 2013, for example, the groups behind the letter backed the Gang of Eight’s amnesty-and-cheap-labor “comprehensive immigration reform” bill that would have diverted more of the nation’s annual income away from employees and towards employers.
The letter signed by the 1,470 economists uses several euphemisms — such as “modernize” and “maximizes” and “competitive advantage” — to urge greater immigration while hiding the unpopular details that killed the Gang of Eight plan and helped defeat nine Democratic Senate candidates in 2014:
As Congress and the Administration prepare to revisit our immigration laws, we write to express our broad consensus that immigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy…
We urge Congress to modernize our immigration system in a way that maximizes the opportunity immigration can bring, and reaffirms continuing the rich history of welcoming immigrants to the United States.
The letter admits that immigration imposes costs on Americans, but declined to explain the problems or even to offer fixes:
With the proper and necessary safeguards in place, immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers…
Immigration undoubtedly has economic costs as well, particularly for Americans in certain industries and Americans with lower levels of educational attainment … smart immigration policy could better maximize the benefits of immigration while reducing the costs.
The letter was organized by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum. The chairman of the AFF is Fred Malek, a GOP donor, hotel owner, and investor.
The letter was also organized by the New American Economy advocacy group, which is a spinoff of the Project for a New American Economy. The board members include the heads of Disney, Marriott Hotels, and News Corp., which is the parent of Fox News, all of whom would gain from a greater inflow of legal or illegal welfare-aided immigrant consumers and cheaper employees.
In fact, the group estimates that illegal aliens — not legal immigrants — had a “spending power” of $157 billion in 2014, most of which would have gone to businesses in the United States. The group also says immigration is good for government by boosting government tax income by $21 billion in 2014.
The legal immigration of roughly 1 million people each year provides companies with a huge new source of consumers. For example, immigrants now comprise one-in-seven Americans, sharply increasing annual sales by retail stores, groceries, entertainment companies, and much else.
Without the imported customers, American companies would have to grow by competing against each other or by exporting more products and services.
The federal government’s decision to inflate each year’s new supply of workers and customers by roughly 25 percent has a huge impact on ordinary Americans. Each year, four million young Americans enter the workforce, but the government imports 1 million new legal immigrants and gives work permits to roughly 1 million temporary contract workers, including many white-collar professionals.
Breitbart News reported last year about a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine:
“Deep in the report, but not in the press release, it shows how each new unskilled immigrant costs state and local taxpayers $1,600 per year. It shows how the annual cost of legal and illegal immigration to state and local taxpayer is at least $57 billion, and that each unskilled immigrant is a net loss to taxpayers for the next 75 years.”
The same study also showed how cheap-labor immigration cuts salaries and shifts wealth towards investors and company owners:
The jargon-filled, much-caveated, 495-page report does show the information needed to measure how legal and illegal immigration transfers $500 billion a year from the wages paid to working-Americans towards companies, Wall Street investors and to new immigrants. But the report does not provide a dollar figure for the ‘immigration tax.’
One of the economists to sign the letter is Jason Furman, former chief economic advisor to former President Barack Obama. In 2016, Furman acknowledged that government policy makers have caused a large number of Americans to drop out of the workforce in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. “This is caused by policies and institutions, not by technology,” Furman said, adding that:
The fraction of prime age men who are working or looking for work has fallen continuously since the 1950s. In the early 1950s, 98 percent of men in that age bracket had a job … [or] were actively looking for one. Today, that fraction has fallen down to 88 percent. … Understand it is quite large. The difference between a recession and a normal economic period is maybe two percentage points on the employment population ratio … so this is something that is more like 10 percentage points [five recessions] stretched over a long period of time.
In some sense [this drop-off] is bigger than the difference between a recession and a boom, and the impact it has, the evidence is very clear that … when you’re talking about someone who is not married, who has less than a high-school degree, there’s a good chance that [unemployment] is not a choice, and it is associated with depression, with drug use, with suicide, with a range of bad outcomes for people.
The inflow of cheap unskilled labor also slows U.S. companies’ investment in the labor-saving technology that would actually increase the average wealth of poor and rich Americans by increasing their productivity and boosting exports.
That labor-instead-of-machines pressure is making Americans companies vulnerable to foreign companies that are buying robots and other machines to increase their workers’ productivity. In contrast, Arizona boosted local companies’ productivity by enforcing laws against illegal immigrants in 2004 and 2008. That beneficial example is played down as a job loss by the PNAE group, even though it spurred automation and boosted wages for Americans.
Immigration also adds fuel to the civic conflict caused by growing political and cultural diversity throughout American society. That conflict includes the 2016 massacre of 50 Americans at the Pulse nightclub by the Florida-based son of an Islamic immigrant. Overall, diversity reduces the social trust and the social cooperation that allows Americans to quietly govern their local and state communities without direct control from a central government, according to a Harvard professor who studies the impact of social diversity. In 2007, the professor told a Boston newspaper that:
“People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’ — that is, to pull in like a turtle,” [Robert] Putnam writes… “Diversity, at least in the short run,” he writes, “seems to bring out the turtle in all of us.”
To read more about Breitbart’s coverage of the nation’s cheap-labor, pro-diversity immigration policy, click here.
Here is the list of economists who signed the letter. Many are employed at universities which import white-collar foreign professionals to work as economists and statisticians in place of American graduates.