New York Times Op-Ed: Double Immigration to Grow Economy, Not Wages

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FILE: AP Photo/Oliver de Ros

The United States government should double annual immigration to two million per year because it would help the nation’s “workforce and economic health,” said an op-ed in the New York Times.

Shikha Dalmia, an Indian immigrant who is now a libertarian writer, wrote:

The idea that America is experiencing mass immigration is a myth. The reality is that we desperately need to pick up the pace of immigration to maintain our work force and economic health ….

America should be admitting a million more immigrants per year — more than double the current number from now until 2050.

Dalmia and her NYT editors ignore the massive economic harm that is already being caused to American employees by the government’s policy of importing one new immigrant for every four Americans who turn 18, or just over one million legal immigrants per year. This interventionist government policy has a huge impact on the labor market by inflating the supply of labor, thereby deflating the price people get for selling their labor.

That damage includes lower wages, higher real estate costs on the coasts, less investment in the Heartland, and more civic conflict everywhere. The damage also includes a massive shift of attention by the political and media classes from the concerns of ordinary Americans towards the mutually beneficial concerns of legal migrants, ethnic advocates, upper-income professionals, wealthy investors, and cheap-labor CEOs.

Dalmia’s focus is on investors’ economics, not on employees’ wages, families’ housing, or civic cultures. She writes:

A good yardstick for whether a country is admitting too many or too few immigrants — beyond the political mood of the moment — is its economic needs. If America were admitting too many immigrants, the economy would have trouble absorbing them. In fact, the unemployment rate among immigrants, including the 11 million undocumented, in 2016, when the economy was considered to be at full employment, was almost three-quarters of a point lower than that of natives. How can that be evidence of mass immigration?

Unless American birthrates pick up suddenly and expand the work force — an unrealistic assumption given that the country just set a record for low fertility — or the productivity of its dwindling work force quickly doubled, only slightly less unrealistic, says Mr. Goldstone, the United States will be staring at real G.D.P. growth of less than 1.6 percent per year in less than a decade, all else remaining equal.

Faster national economic growth is good for investors, banks, tax collectors, and government agencies — but it does not help Americans’ wages or wealth if the population grows even faster. Just as half of a small pizza is a bigger slice than one-tenth of a medium pizza, a bigger economy is no guarantee of a bigger wage.

In fact, President Donald Trump’s curbs on immigration — although modest — are helping to drive up Americans’ wages by 3.2 percent in 2018, after many years of stalled or falling wages. Trump is limiting the inflow of migrant workers, so companies are now competing for Americans — including sidelined Americans — by offering higher wages and better training. That marketplace competition is bad for investors, who are seeing their profits converted back into wages and salaries instead of into higher stock prices.

The policy of doubling immigration will help investors, not employers, according to Congressional Budget Office’s review of the 2013 Gang of Eight amnesty-and-cheap-labor bill: “The rate of return on capital would be higher [than on labor] under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades,” said the report, titled “The Economic Impact of S. 744.”

Trump’s modest curbs on migration are also forcing companies to invest in labor-saving productivity technology — such as robots for farms and factories. That inevitable technology helps Americans’ wages and wealth if it is developed and deployed gradually, but it will be traumatic and destructive if it suddenly arrives in a manpower-run cheap-labor economy. Annual productivity growth under Trump has doubled to 1.3 percent compared to the 2011 to 2016 period, according to Richard H. Clarida, vice chairman at the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors.

Trump’s increased productivity will boost Americans’ wages — but only if investors fail to get another wave of imported workers, such as the roughly 500,000 Indians who are imported by investors to serve as white-collar H-1B outsourcing workers.

The policy of boosting immigration is also spurring civic conflict in the United States, most notably, Donald Trump’s overthrowing of the bipartisan establishment in 2016. As proud migrants bring their discordant cultures and old homeland politics into the United States, the nation increasingly becomes a diverse, disunited “Nation of Immigrants” instead of a nation of Americans who can collectively resist the elite’s policy of divide and rule.

The claim that the United States is a “Nation of Immigrants” is also tied to Washington’s global ambitions. In October 2018, Democrat Rep. Joe Kennedy wrote:

Few felt it as deeply as President John F. Kennedy. In his 1964 book A Nation of Immigrants, recently re-released, my great-uncle outlines the compelling case for immigration, in economic, moral, and global terms. “The abundant resources of this land provided the foundation for a great nation,” he writes. “But only people could make the opportunity a reality. Immigration provided the human resources.”

The resulting economic and demographic turmoil has spurred massive conflict within the United States.

But Dalmia used her Twitter account to reassure “whites” that future immigrants might not be as “hostile” as European settlers were to American’s Indian inhabitants. “Who goes around does not always come around :)” she wrote:

The task of corporate persuasion in favor of cheap labor, however, is being enthusiastically implemented by the New York Times‘ editors, who still manage to think of themselves as left-wing advocates for ordinary Americans.

Nationwide, the U.S. establishment’s economic policy of using legal migration to boost economic growth shifts wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with cheap white-collar and blue-collar foreign labor. That flood of outside labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor of blue-collar and white-collar employees.

The cheap labor policy widens wealth gaps, reduces high tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high tech careers, and sidelines at least five million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.

Immigration also steers investment and wealth away from towns in Heartland states because coastal investors can more easily hire and supervise the large immigrant populations who prefer to live in coastal cities. In turn, that investment flow drives up coastal real estate prices, pricing poor U.S. Latinos and blacks out of prosperous cities, such as Berkeley and Oakland.

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