Monday, September 17, 2007

Illegal Immigration & Economic Woe

Maxed Out Mama discusses the economic situation in Europe which mirrors problems in the U.S. market and economy. Much of the problem there, like here, was driven by housing speculation and illegal immigration. She says:

The danger that non-stakeholder immigration poses to an economy is universal. See this 2005 Bear Sterns commentary on the illegal American workers. The study discusses the problem of miscalculating the cost of public services, but ignores another fundamental: non-stakeholder immigration (any immigration which causes the immigrants to be excluded as a class from full rights in the society, whether by legal means or by sub rosa means) inflates some assets, notably rental housing, short-term, but lowers the overall capacity of the population to consume long-term, which eventually causes a cycle of deflation. The problem with immigration in Europe is nearly universal; generally high taxation rates prevent even legal immigrants from accumulating capital.
I'm no economist, but it seems to me that illegal immigration is like living together and not being married. The illegals don't feel tied to the country and when a family situation, job or something changes that was unexpected, they leave. This would hold even with a sophisticated guest worker program. (And, watching the immigration debacle continue unabated, what evidence is there that the government will be able to manage this guest worker beast?) We Americans use the illegal immigrants for cheap labor and services, use them up, and send them packing once they've served out their usefulness. The relationship is selfish all the way around, and doomed to failure in principle.

Legal immigrants are married to the success of the country and make different decisions about their future. America needs to make becoming a legal immigrant more efficient.

Illegal immigration will be visited again. As the economy continues to soften, scapegoats will be sought. This concerns me most of all. And scapegoats will be found all over. Some will deserve the wrath they receive.

The latest round-ups of illegals seems to be what MOM has pointed to in the past--an attempt to relieve the tension amongst legal citizen's economic outlook. As more legal citizens lose their jobs, they'll go back to doing "jobs Americans won't do". I see these round-ups as the worst sort of policy. It's ruthless and craven. It's wrong.

The government seems to be conceding that they're incapable of keeping illegal immigrants on their side of the border. It's much easier to find the people who are working. Why isn't the government rounding up the gang-bangers? Well, they're not taking jobs "Americans won't do", for one.

The Anchoress believes that the hardliners might be changing their minds. I object to the notion that people opposed to the bill were "hardliners". The economic realities underlying illegal immigration must be dealt with and recognized in order to understand the problem and create a workable solution. As for changing minds, I don't think so. Even though I voted for President Bush twice and am proud of those votes, I have respectfully disagreed with his position on the issue from the beginning. That is, I'm not a one-issue voter. But I do believe his solution would have been like Reagan's solution: delaying the inevitable for the next generation and the next. It could be argued that the stalemate does the same. True enough, but it won't involve junky legislation that further threatens our national security.

The policy of viewing illegals as a commodity and not people, will cause untold grief worldwide. Economic instability is just the beginning. How will the corrupt countries deal with their vast, poor hoards when Tier 1 economies can no longer support their workers? Civil unrest will be the next step. The step beyond that? Externalization. That is, countries with obliterated economies due to their own corruption, will look at, with envy, their neighbors. Military dominance within will be the first step. Military actions without will be the next step.

Watch Venezuela. Watch Nigeria. Watch Iran. Watch any corrupt country that suffers economic hardships. The reaction from Germany to Japan is always the same: externalize blame, install authoritarian regime who promises that state's version of utopia, become militarily aggressive. That's the problem with Mexico in the future. It was almost the problem in Mexico's last election. A guest worker program, where no guests are wanted because the economy is tanking, will mean little. America is poised on the edge of not wanting or needing illegal immigrants.

The proposed solution ignored the overall economic reality. The big picture has been obscured with all this infighting and false dichotomies between pragmatism and idealism. In this case, everyone has been idealistic and continues to ignore the root causes.

1 comment:

sandy said...

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