Vital Signs

Real Reform

Communist poet Bertolt Brecht, after the 1953 risings in East Germany, suggested that the Communist government should just dissolve the people and elect a new one.  That is essentially what is happening in the United States.  The American government is dissolving the people and electing a new one—in the name of shoring up and “growing” the economy.

Current immigration policy, however, makes absolutely no sense economically.  And the evidence for that has accumulated a lot more since I wrote Alien Nation.  It was the consensus then, in the mid-1990’s, among labor economists that the great influx of foreigners unleashed by the 1965 Immigration Act, and the associated illegal immigration, really did not benefit native-born Americans at all.  It did increase the Gross Domestic Product, but that mostly went to the immigrants themselves, through wages.  On the whole, America is getting nothing out of the immigrant influx.  In other words, America is being transformed for nothing.

One of the things that we now know a lot more about today is the impact of the welfare state—the transfer state, generally.  There is a substantial cross-subsidy to immigration from American taxpayers.  The National Research Council now says that, in California, this amounts to over $1,000 per native-born family per year.  In other words, not only is America...

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