Thursday, January 25, 2018

Democrats against immigration

Back in 2007, Ashely Taylor covered pretty much the whole story.  Probably the only fact she left out worthy of mentioning is that our natural population increase was down to 0 since about 1970.

I have reprinted here for posterity her well-reasoned argument.

I’m a Democrat, and I’m opposed to immigration.
Because too many people are unable to understand subtle differences between words, let me explain that I’m not opposed to immigrants—people who moved here legally and who don’t violate our laws—I’m opposed to illegal immigrants (who by very definition are violating our laws), and I’m opposed to future immigration (at least for the next ten years until our immigrant imbalance has time to work itself out). This makes me a Democrat in the mold of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a very pro-immigrant president who stood up for the rights of immigrants. But during his administration, the United States saw the lowest levels of new immigration in our nation’s history. "Total immigration in the decade of 1931 to 1940 was 528,000 averaging less than 53,000 a year." (source)
Illegal immigrants
It’s sad that I have to explain why I’m opposed to illegal immigrants, who by very definition are violating our laws by being here, but nevertheless I find myself in the strange situation of having to defend the obvious. Congress correctly decided that there are limits to how many new immigrants the country can absorb. In my opinion Congress set the limit way too high (as will be explained below), but I hope that all sane Americans who care about our country understand that America is unable to allow all the billions of people of the world into our borders. Therefore, it’s necessary to have laws limiting the number of new immigrants. But illegal immigrants decided to violate the laws created by Congress for the protection of Americans. Illegal immigrants should not be rewarded for violating the laws, which is what people who want to grant them amnesty want to do.
I’m not advocating punishment of illegal immigrants.  Just a free trip back to their home country, with reasonable time to wrap up their affairs in America. I would even be in favor giving destitute illegal immigrants a few hundred dollars to help them get their lives in order when the return to their home countries. But nevertheless, we need a plan to return the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants to their home countries.
The oversupply of labor relative to capital
It’s a basic principle of microeconomics that economic output requires two inputs: labor and capital. It’s also a basic principal of economics that if you increase the supply of something while the demand remains constant, the result is lower prices.
If we increase the supply of labor without increasing the supply of capital, the natural result is that the wages paid to laborers decrease and the returns to capital increase.
We can observe this effect in the economy today. Paul Krugman writes:
[T]he America I grew up in -- the America of the 1950's and 1960's -- was a middle-class society, both in reality and in feel. The vast income and wealth inequalities of the Gilded Age had disappeared. Yes, of course, there was the poverty of the underclass -- but the conventional wisdom of the time viewed that as a social rather than an economic problem. Yes, of course, some wealthy businessmen and heirs to large fortunes lived far better than the average American. But they weren't rich the way the robber barons who built the mansions had been rich, and there weren't that many of them. The days when plutocrats were a force to be reckoned with in American society, economically or politically, seemed long past.
Daily experience confirmed the sense of a fairly equal society. The economic disparities you were conscious of were quite muted. Highly educated professionals -- middle managers, college teachers, even lawyers -- often claimed that they earned less than unionized blue-collar workers. Those considered very well off lived in split-levels, had a housecleaner come in once a week and took summer vacations in Europe. But they sent their kids to public schools and drove themselves to work, just like everyone else.
But that was long ago. The middle-class America of my youth was another country.
We are now living in a new Gilded Age, as extravagant as the original. Mansions have made a comeback. Back in 1999 this magazine profiled Thierry Despont, the ''eminence of excess,'' an architect who specializes in designing houses for the superrich. His creations typically range from 20,000 to 60,000 square feet; houses at the upper end of his range are not much smaller than the White House. Needless to say, the armies of servants are back, too. So are the yachts. Still, even J.P. Morgan didn't have a Gulfstream.
The reason for the phenomenon of the shrinking middle-class should be obvious. America is oversupplied with labor relative to capital. According to the 1960 census, there were only 10.3 million foreign born residents. Today there are approximately 35 million legal foreign born residents (source), and an estimated 12 million additional illegal immigrants. All these people competing for American jobs (at a time when outsourcing is already reducing the demand for domestic labor) means lower wages for everyone who has to work for a living. Lower wages for everyone except those in elite professions such as law; lawyers are protected from immigrant competition by the fact that you need three years of U.S. law school education in order to be allowed to work as a lawyer. As usual, the laws protect the interests of the elites.
Who is behind this massive and unprecedented increase in immigration? The rich people who own the capital. As has always been the case with the rich, the quest for profits comes before what’s right for America. The upper-class elites want cheap labor to work for American businesses so rich shareholders can maximize their profits. Rich corporate interests spend hundreds of millions of dollars on political donations and lobbying so they can buy the votes of our politicians. Thus we see that both political parties are fully behind the massive wave of immigration. Some will have you believe that the Republican party is the anti-immigration party. That’s very funny. There has never been a more pro-immigration president than George W. Bush. The only difference between the parties is that they try to sell the idea of immigration to the voters using different rhetoric. The Republicans say "immigrants help the economy." Yes, they help the economy for the wealthy elite, but not for regular Americans. The Democrats say "you must support immigration or you’re racist." But it’s all the same thing, about spinning things so the average American is fooled into voting against his or her interests.
"scary brown people"
"Scary brown people" are the words of kos himself. Which he repeated. This is supposed to mock the sentiments of people who care about what’s happening to America, and to shame people into kowtowing to the elite upper-class corporate wing of the Democratic party. This is just like Republican talk, except instead of saying "vote this way to prove you love Jesus," kos says "vote this way to prove you're not racist."
It’s not racist to care about Americans, of all skin colors, who have to work for a living. It’s very unracist. The pro-immigration people are the racists. They apparently dream of an America where rich white people live in McMansions, attended to by a staff of "brown people" who do the gardening and the cooking and the cleaning, and who work in their factories. They’re trying to bring back the racist South, and using the same arguments of plantation owners who enslaved other humans do their labor. "We need more African slaves to pick our cotton and do other jobs that white Americans won’t do." The only difference is that back then the "brown" immigrants really were slaves. Today they just get paid slave-labor-like wages.
America is rich and can afford to help the less fortunate of the world
I agree that America is rich and that we should do more to help those in the world who are less fortunate. But there are billions of people in the world living in poverty. We are not helping the bulk of the less fortunate of the world by letting a few million into America. If we let too many immigrants into out country without increasing our capital base, we’ll wind up being another poor country. The world is better off if America remains wealthy so we can help other nations become wealthy. When we help another nation become wealthy, we help all people of that nation. When we allow immigration from another nation, we just help the lucky few who win the green card lottery, while harming those who remain behind by draining away their most ambitious citizens.
America is too crowded
This is an aspect of immigration that few people talk about. But look around, there’s traffic all over the place, forests are being bulldozed to make way for new developments, no one can afford to buy a house near where they work, the country is too crowded.
Why are houses so expensive today? It’s because of supply and demand. The population increases because of unchecked immigration, but houses aren’t built fast enough (because of zoning regulations), so today regular working Americans can’t afford to buy their own their own home or even afford to rent a tiny apartment.
Throughout America, communities are passing anti-growth initiatives. This is proof that there are too many people around. It’s the ultimate in hypocrisy and NIMBYism when upper-middle-class elite pro-immigrant people clamor for anti-growth legislation. "Let the ‘brown people’ into the country, but don’t let them live near me!"
My call for action
Today neither party is the anti-immigration party. The Democratic Party, the party that has traditionally stood up against the big-money corporate interests in favor of regular working Americans, should take up this cause.
Remember, "anti-immigration" doesn’t mean "anti-immigrant." People who are opposed to immigration are not calling for any policies that would harm those immigrants who came here legally. In fact, we want to help those immigrants by eliminating competition for their jobs, thus increasing their salaries and allowing them to partake of the American Dream. But we need a plan for returning illegal immigrants to their home countries, and we need a moratorium on new immigration until our current imbalance of labor and capital is fixed.

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