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Talk Radio And Immigration
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May 10, 2006, 05:22 AM
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I wrote this for Tom Martino`s Troubleshooter website, to go with my appearance, by phone, on his KHOW-Denver radio show.

No doubt it will all be familiar to regular readers, but recent events mean that more and more people who have never learned the basic facts about immigration and the National Question are hearing them for the first time.

The Amazing Truth About Immigration’s Terrible Economics

It’s fun being on Tom Martino’s show because he asks you a combination of detailed questions about markets and megaquestions about (in my case) the economics of immigration.

Funny, that’s exactly how I got involved in the immigration debate in the first place.

I’m a financial journalist—I’ve worked for the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes etc. Exposing the truth about immigration, which I and others do on my website VDARE.COM is sort of a sideline.

This is the amazing truth about immigration: the consensus among labor economists—the consensus—was that the great inflow triggered by the 1965 Immigration Act (legal), and the simultaneous breakdown of the southern border (illegal), is not beneficial in aggregate to native-born Americans.

It does increase Gross Domestic Product—the economy’s output. But that is essentially all captured by the immigrants themselves in their wages. Americans are not better off.

And that’s the consensus among economists. And it has been for more than ten years.

I reported this in my 1995 book Alien Nation And my reading of the consensus has been confirmed by the National Research Council’s 1997 report, The New Americans, which said the same thing: essentially no benefit to native-born Americans in aggregate; actually a significant loss, because of costs of the welfare state, schools and emergency room health care, that sort of thing, which are very substantial.

The NRC ran a microstudy for California. It found that for every native-born family in California, the immigrant presence in 1996 was costing them something like $1,000 a year. Every native-born family in the state of California is subsidizing the immigrant presence by about $1,000 a year. Essentially, Americans are subsidizing their own displacement.

This is the paradox created by the existence of the welfare state. And it’s exactly why Milton Friedman, the Nobel economics laureate, says that it’s impossible to have mass immigration and the welfare state together.

However, and this is very important caveat, although there is no aggregate benefit for Americans, immigration does have an enormous impact on the native-born community in the form of the redistribution of income—fundamentally because it reduces wages. It’s transferring income from labor to capital in the U.S., from native-born suppliers of labor to native-born owners of capital.

And by no small amount—2-3 percent of GDP every year.

Which explains the class nature of this debate. Although immigration is not beneficial in aggregate to Americans, it is beneficial to people who run factories and farms and things like that. They like it, and so they lobby for it.

And that’s one reason you’re not going to read about immigration in the Mainstream Media.

You have to go to the internet and talk radio—to VDARE.COM and Tom Martino!