The Economist's Cookbook

Recipes For A More Free Society

  • "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."

    - F.A. Hayek

So I've finally decided to blog about this because the Rampant ignorance is simply overpowering. Discussions I've had regarding this topic have sprung up on several forums and message boards over the net and as a result I will be using some of this snippets to make my case why not only is the AZ bill a bad idea, the entire Federal Immigration system needs to be trashed and overhauled.

So let's start The_Chef's Talley of the ways that Illegal Immigration doesn't matter.

1.) America was founded upon an idea of free choice. Tragically we've become a society of command and control. This country was built by people from every background. Nearly every group of immigrants that first came to these shores worked in jobs that were demeaning or generally undesirable to the current residents of American soil. I cite as examples the influx of Asians that were instrumental in the development of West Coast Railways, Blacks forcibly brought to America as Slaves, Latinos who helped to build the Southwest and actually helped Texas win her independence from Mexico and Santa Ana.

The majority of immigrants after the 1840s did not hop over a border or an ocean and suddenly smash their way into the upper crust of society. It took generations of work, sacrifice, and effort for all sorts of certain racial and national groups to work together. As a result our policy should be "Come, come build yourself and your family a better life." Right now we have a policy of "Get The Fuck Out! (Unless you're related to a citizen or have a PhD in a useful field)"

So what does it take to become a Legal US Citizen? Funny you should ask:
Yep a huge freaking flowchart about the Immigration process. Courtesy of Reason Magazine.

2.) I've heard the argument from some people that these "illegals" are putting our social programs under additional strain and are hurting the "American Taxpayer". Well congratulations, you have just made an excellent argument against re-distributive public policy. Ya see, when you promise to give free shit to people, more people will want to take advantage of such a system.

Welfare, Social-Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. are nothing more than incentive programs. We may not want to call them that, but let's quickly review:
Welfare: Provides a subsidy to be poor/below X wage bracket. When you subsidize or incentivize a certain behavior you are bound to get more of it. If you deny this premise, you clearly need to pick up Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson before trying to digest anything else I have to say.
Social-Security: Creates an incentive to spend rather than save. If the Government is going to pay you $X upon retirement, then to maintain a similar standard of living you would not save $X during your labor years. This lack of saving is actually incentivized as well by a Federal Monetary Policy of massive inflation of currency that destroys Savings and harms both the poor and the old people because the prices of goods goes up, while the limited amount of income stays either stagnant or "sticky".
Medicare/Medicaid: Oh these two fraud and promissory programs are really a debacle. With the rising costs of health care which have largely been due to the actions of the Federal Government, the AMA, and the heavy restriction of medical care and the bureaucracy surrounding it, we are literally just going to hand out cash to people for being ill.

Now I'm not saying that we should let people die, but the simple fact of the matter is that there has never to my knowledge been a federal government program that comes in under budget, shrinks with time, or creates less red tape. We have helped to incentivize the over-use of medical facilities and procedures, being poor, and not saving. People over-consume a good when the costs are defrayed and it doesn't come out of their pocket.

These programs are quite literally going to bankrupt this nation. And I do mean that literally. Our sainted Government has promised tens of trillions of dollars to fund these programs.

So if the "illegals" take advantage of our political leader's decision to put a gun in the face of the American people and take their money to hand out to others, then the problem is the collectivized redistribution of resources, NOT the illegals who are hopping the border to work and maybe get a handout. It's not their fault we've created incentives to take advantage of us. IT'S US! WE ARE AT FAULT!

3.) Many of the arguments I hear from Right Wingers amount to two things:

I.) "They took our jerb.... they teeekk errrr jerrrrrrbbb.. teeeyy tttteeekkkkk errrrrrr jerrbbbbbbbb." This assumes that the jobs "belong" to someone other than the company. They own the job, they can fill it as they please. If they want to put a goddamn giant squid in charge of their Marketing Department that is their business to do so. I don't care if they hire some Mexican to cut lawns, or someone from Nicaragua to pick lettuce, it is THE COMPANY'S job slot to fill.

II.) "But ... But ... But they are breaking a LAW!" Well in many states so are you if you're getting a blowjob, having anal sex, modifying your car illegally, not declaring your online purchases on your taxes so that you have to pay sales tax (This can be a felony by the way), if you own "prohibited" firearms in states like Illinois, Cali, or if you ever carry a firearm in a state where it is not legal to do so. LAWS do not decide whether something is morally right or wrong. They determine what politicians have determined to punish. It is "illegal" to do all sorts of things that the government has no business in. So FUCK OFF! The legality of an issue is completely irrelevant to the issue.
4.) Markets want to clear. This is very simple Micro/Intro to economics and I find that this argument goes completely over the heads of most people because the majority of people are economic morons. I'm not saying this to demean them per se, I'm saying this because the VAST majority of Americans don't get it, and they don't want to.

We know that labor markets are constantly shifting. There are not a static number of jobs. Jobs are constantly created and destroyed. A great example is the shift in labor from NE steel mills to the Dakotas for jobs in rare metal and mineral mining/processing.

5.) As part of this discussion one of the guys I was intellectually fencing with hit me with this:
So it's OK for a company to reap the rewards of existing in an economy such as the one in the US, where there is need for it's services and people can afford to pay it for it's service, all the while paying wages that would be expected in a much poorer nation? This is unethical to me, and if you can explain why it's not, I'm all ears.
Wages are a function of supply and demand. The idea of working for X wage is/should be the determination of the worker and the market for labor.

In other words:

If person X is willing to work for Y wage, and voluntarily contracts to trade labor for wage at that
rate I don't care. If person X is told "You're working for Y wage and you can't say no and you can't leave the company" by his employer then I have a problem with it. Contracting at the point of a gun is not a contract, it's coercion.

Normally when it comes to wage, you get what you pay for, the better the wage/benefits, the better the workers you can attract. (No this is not a universal, I'm making a generalization, but one that I feel can be backed up by piles of both anecdotal examples, economic principles, and mountains of data).

Even if he's right, and it IS unethical ... how do you plan on fixing the problem? Minimum wage laws? Those create unemployment in the poorest segments of society and price workers out of the market.

The way I see it is that by instituting market reforms across the board and allowing the chips to fall where they may you get better outcomes. Take the medical industry, yes it's expensive, but he majority of groundbreaking research is done in the US, as a result, in order to recoup those losses, the price has to go up a marginal amount.

6.) The biggest kicker of all:
The US has over 70 TRILLION dollars($70,000,000,000,000) in unfunded liabilities and Government Debt/Debt Interest and you are worried about some poor Latinos jumping the border?! Good GOD! You should be more worried about the US currency/economy collapsing and hyperinflation!

If you understood the implications of those debts and liabilities you should be out there calling for the lynchings of 99% of both the Executive and Legislative branches of Gov't!

But no, you're complaining about roughly 10 million people who want to stop eating dirt and give their kids a better life. Yeah you're a real American Hero...
Keep in mind that I'm talking about very broad and very radical reforms to the status quo. But this country was founded as a series of colonies where people could basically do what they wanted. I don't see why people have to be controlled. Come to the border, bring some sort of ID, we make sure you don't walk in with a nuke or a vial of small pox, and BAM in a month or so, you're a US citizen. That's what the reform needs to be like.

4 Response for the "Why "Illegal" Immigration Doesn't Matter"

  1. Abso-freakin-lutely spot-on RIGHT!

  2. Jay21 says:

    Been considering doing a post on this myself. But I would rather engage in a discussion than a rant. (Yes I am being lazy) Not sure where you live, but the perception of, and reality of can be very different. I live in AZ, we recently had a Sheriffs Deputy killed by drug running an Illegal Immigrant within 2 miles of my best friends house. Each time we go on hikes or hunting small game we stumble upon at least garbage and damage done on the coyote trails. Once we came upon a “rape tree” and I got to try and explain to my 9 year old son why there where womens (and girls) panties all over the place. I want to be honest with him, but not scare the jebus out of him at the same time. I will not even attempt to argue your points of wages and the need to cut social programs, because I agree. However, I do believe firmly that our state has a right, and in a sense an obligation, to defend and protect our borders and citizens. The fact that one of our borders is with another country and not just another section of the Union does NOT change that. The reality is that we are the NUMBER 2 kidnapping region in the world, and the NUMBER 1 crossing for illegal entry into the United States. I feel it is our duty as citizens of Arizona to change this, if it pisses off our southern neighbor so be it. Your closing points are the only areas I believe are addressed in the actual AZ law as most of the post has as much, if not more, to do with the Federal Immigration system, which again I agree is complete shit.

    “If you understood the implications of those debts and liabilities you should be out there calling for the lynchings of 99% of both the Executive and Legislative branches of Gov't!”

    I do and so do many others in this State. Just not waiting for themto hang themselves so the State is attempting to take some of that control back.

    “But no, you're complaining about roughly 10 million people who want to stop eating dirt and give their kids a better life. Yeah you're a real American Hero…”

    Not all of the 10 Million just want to stop eating dirt. I have worked and known many “illegals” over the years, and they are a cross section like any other demographic. Some are great people I am proud to have met in my life, others are the biggest POS you could imagine. As I noted above many are just plain evil and are drawn to the area for the “work” (smuggling, rape, murder etc.) that the region provides as a major through fare for illegal crossings. I still believe in “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,..” I just ask that they come through the front door. I will welcome most people into my home, but if anyone breaks into my bedroom window they will be met with force. I do thank you for mostly arguing against the merits, or lack there of, of the bill and its consequences rather than the “Arizona hates brown people” crap that is floating around.


  3. Anonymous says:

    "If your only tool is a hammer, then all problems look like a nail." See post above. Economics alone will not solve all problems. There are shades to all situations. You may have the answer to why it does not matter economicaly, but you are totally overlooking the social and political impact of being invaded by a foriegn nation. Those who came in thepast came to become Americans. That is not the caes today, they come to "reclaim"

  4. The_Chef says:


    Doesn't that require large numbers of armed combatants rather than large numbers of unarmed civilians.

    Step 1: Demonize the opposition
    Step 2: Dehumanize the opposition
    Step 3: Eliminate the opposition and everyone will thank you.

    Nice playbook you've got there.

    If you are so worried about the "social impact" how do you determine good social impact from bad? Was MLK wrong for advocating equality between races? Were the founding fathers wrong for advocating decentralization of control from the Crown? These are BIG social changes that have consequences and your argument is that "change from status quo = bad" I don't buy that without some explanation of how you differentiate good policy from bad.

    I'll believe that they come to "reclaim" when I see a bollot measure for AZ, NM, TX, NV, and Southern CA to leave the US and join Mexico.

    The economics are what is being argued for the most part and I've answered that. If you want to talk about the social changes then you're free to do so, but keep in mind that my arguments still stand, and if you want to make one, it will not be one based on data but rather one based on opinion.