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An Anonymous Economist Ponders Income Disparities In The U.S.
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March 29, 2003, 04:00 AM
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March 29, 2003

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Barbara Coe Reports More GOPandering

I had the opportunity to hear Michelle Malkin speak tonight. She is great, of course.

You have written about the impact of "open borders" on the wages, incomes, and lives of ordinary Americans. I agree with you on almost every point.

I have attached a chart you may find interesting.

(Click here for a larger version of the chart...)

Note that Mean and Median family income tracked until around 1970. [Numerate VDARE.COM note to liberal arts readers: Mean is the average (divide by income total by number of income earners). Median is the mid-point income – half income earners above, half below.]  

Since then they have diverged. Why? The 1965 Immigration Act perhaps?

I would be the first to admit that correlation and causation are not synonymous. Indeed, I suspect that other factors have played a supporting role - family disintegration, the decline of the unions, environmentalism, torts (an engine of inequality), trade (maybe, maybe not), etc.

Nonetheless, I do suspect that massive immigration has been decisive.

Paul Krugman has written about increasing income inequality of late. But I don`t think he has used the "I" word.

The minimum wage has fallen substantially, adjusted for inflation, over the last 25 years. Worse, the minimum wage has become more meaningful, as a greater number of workers either are literally paid the minimum wage or something close to it.

The most thoroughly screwed-up countries on earth were those where "the twin fault lines of race and class coincided". America has never suffered from the class divisions of Europe nor have the ethnic enmities of Europe successfully crossed the Atlantic.

However, this graph tells a story Americans need to know: developing "Latin Americanization." America becoming more like Latin America in ways that any decent American, particularly liberals, should be incensed about - massive income inequality, intractable racial and economic divisions, profound educational gulfs, upper income decadence/lower income apathy/despair, etc.

Actually, I don`t think upper income Americans are that decadent (yet). Most work very hard. However, the notion that manual labor is something that only dark-skinned people do, has taken hold in our country.

This is not exactly a new theme. Back in the eighteenth century, George Mason said

"Slavery discourages arts and manufactures. The poor despise labor when performed by slaves."

(Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People: Prehistory to 1789, Page 400)

Quoted at the Maryland Immigration Digital Library

VDARE.COM comments: one of our favorite subjects. Quotes from couple of our articles:

/articles/what-feminist-celebrity-eugenics-teaches-us-about-immigration-policy

Sure, Silicon Valley bosses desperately want more smart employees. But, what any employer wants, in his wildest dreams, are smart serfs.

So, rather than reforming the immigration system, the zillionaires got their pet Congressmen to bolt the ingenious H-1B system on top of the old law. Foreign technology workers admitted under H-1B are often referred to as "indentured servants" because they can`t quit to work for anybody else. Thus, their masters can pay them much less than they`d have to pay free American labor. (To understand how competition from the bondsman drives down the free man`s wages, see the 1858 campaign speeches of A. Lincoln.)

/articles/libertarianism-in-one-country

The eternal temptation of the wealthy, however, is to try to acquire cheap labor in order to grow even richer. Plantation owners imported and bred millions of slaves. After the Civil War, Gilded Age capitalists needed factory hands. They could have found them among the millions of oppressed blacks of the Jim Crow South. But they believed, no doubt rightly, that European immigrants were cheaper relative to their productivity.

As a nation, we`re still paying for the slave trade, slavery, and the failure to incorporate the freedmen into the national labor market. One of the indirect costs is the vast prestige of liberalism even today, after decades of disastrous policies. The single most important reason liberals maintain their dysfunctional moral cachet in 2001 is because they were on the side of the angels in 1964.

In 1965, however, Congress changed the law to once again allow the importing of large numbers of cheap laborers. This has helped solve the servant problem of the current generation of the rich, but at the cost of slowly creating a new proletariat of voters who suffer from expensive land and low wages.