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Friday, April 07, 2006
Krauthammer Misses the Obvious on Immigration
One might imagine that conservatives would bring to the immigration debate a deep understanding of free markets, and the dynamics of our private-sector economy. That does seem to be an abiding concern of theirs. But for some reason, this does not seem to be the case.

Charles Krauthammer writes in the Washington Post that:

"Every sensible immigration policy has two objectives: (1) to regain control of our borders so that it is we who decide who enters and (2) to find a way to normalize and legalize the situation of the 11 million illegals among us."

But there is, of course, a third objective, one that is absolutely fundamental - to establish a mechanism that would allow future immigration to proceed in a legal manner at levels that meet the needs of our economy.

Most of the illegal immigrants in this country are working - they do not, and cannot simply come here to stand in unemployment lines. There is a need for them, a need generated by the dynamism of our economy. These needs tend to be met, through a process that could be easily explained by anyone who understands the operation of markets.

If we are to have a rational immigration policy, the opportunities for legal immigration must be aligned with the needs of the economy. But immigration quotas are established by the political process, where they are prey to all manner of irrational political concerns. If there is no political will to establish quotas at realistic levels, then extra-legal immigration will happen - and it is damn good that it does, lest our economic prosperity suffer.

Krauthammer recommends that we build a wall, like the Israelis have, to stop the flow in its tracks. Then we can regularize the immigrants who are already here. But any such barrier to further immigration would either be ineffective, or, if it worked, would seriously damage the growth of our economy, especially for small businesses - unless we find some way to guarantee that legal mechanisms are put in place to supply our economy with the workers that it needs.

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3 Comments on "Krauthammer Misses the Obvious on Immigration"
What about the punitive penalties to businesses that employ illegal immigrants? Part of the enforcement issue requires such penalties, but this is not something the current adminstration (and house and senate) seem willing to discuss, much less figure out how to enforce...

Anonymous Texas @ Sat Apr 08, 09:13:00 AM EDT  
Its great to write out formulas on paper napkins, but markets are a little more dynamic then you imply.I suppose these same businesses will decry raising taxes to support these lower wage earners that cant be self sufficient!

Anonymous Anonymous @ Fri Apr 14, 06:22:00 PM EDT  
Huh? Just enforce the laws that exist. It is illegal to employ nondocumented immigrants.

Taxes? We are all in for tax increases in the future due to the fiscal mismanagement of the current adminstration.

Businesses almost always decries raising taxes. Corporate taxes are the lowest in decades - many folks think that businesses are not paying a fair share of the costs to operate in this country! (i.e. offshore entities, unethical/illegal accounting practices, etc.).

And we will ALL experience tax increases one way or another- not just businesses. For businesses, these tax increases will not necessarily be a direct result of imposing monetary penalties on companies that employ undocumented immigrants.

Anonymous Texas @ Sun Apr 23, 10:06:00 AM EDT  
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