"Undocumented immigrants streaming into this country from south of the border drive down wages and steal jobs that could otherwise go to out-of-work Americans. Right?
"Wrong. As it turns out, immigrant workers play an important role in building our economy and bolstering institutions such as social security. In other words, they're raising your wages and paying for your retirement. So this Labor Day might be a good opportunity to show a little gratitude.
"Just in time for the holiday weekend, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released a research summary entitled, "The Effect of Immigrants on U.S. Employment and Productivity." Its conclusion was not what most people (or at least most people who attend Glenn Beck rallies) expect.
"The author, Giovanni Peri, writes:
'Statistical analysis of state-level data shows that immigrants expand the economy's productive capacity by stimulating investment and promoting specialization. This produces efficiency gains and boosts income per worker. At the same time, evidence is scant that immigrants diminish the employment opportunities of U.S.-born workers.'
"The paper compares states in the United States with high immigration to those with lower rates of immigration. It then controls for other factors such as spending on research and technology adoption. In the end, the paper concludes, "there is no evidence that immigrants crowd out U.S.-born workers in either the short or long run."[More]
Where to begin? I wouldn't believe Giovanni Peri's conclusions on the subject—we've seen them too often over the years. Peri [Email him] is basically saying that the Law of Supply and Demand has been repealed, which is about as likely as water running up hill. And we've seen whole industries taken over by immigrants, as well as whole towns. (Steve Sailer recently blogged on this latest Giovanni Peri study. )
Second, Dissent Magazine, as unreconstructed socialists, does not spend a lot of time writing in favor of the US economy. Except for nation-breaking mass immigration, what trends that actually help the US economy would they approve of?
Third, a hundred and fifty years of labor union history has shown that labor leaders with the interests of actual American workers in mind oppose mass immigration—even if they themselves are immigrants or members of a minority. See my 2007 article Labor Day Lament: Where Have You Gone, Samuel Gompers, Dennis Kearney, Cesar Chavez, A. Philip Randolph?
Finally, the "people who attend Glenn Beck rallies," are, of course, actual American workers. Many of them are Democrats. The late Sam Francis talked about these people in a column in the year 2000, [PDF] called Revolt of the 300-Pound Beefy Guys:
" 'Buchanan crowds don't look like Republican crowds,' [David] Brooks sneered. 'There are none of those Chamber of Commerce officers in golf shirts and tasseled loafers. Instead, Buchanan draws the beefy, 300-pound guys with tattoos up their arms and sleeveless T-shirts. He draws the guys with shaggy biker beards and the Teamsters who park their rigs in the lot and get hoarse shouting, 'Go, Pat, go!' It may be hard to classify exactly which political category these people belong to, but they are certainly not Republicans. [Buchanan Feeds Class War in the Information Age, David Brooks, LA Times, Oct 31, 1999]
"Actually, it's not so hard to classify which political category such people belong to. They're called 'Democrats,' and the contempt for them that our Mr. Brooks exudes helps explain why they never show up in the crowds around other Republican candidates."
They're not likely to show up at Dissent Magazine cocktail parties either. (Or—the other half of the Dysentery axis—at parties thrown by the editors of Commentary. They may have been mugged by reality, but their immigration opinions remain the same.)
On Labor Day, no one on the Left cares about actual laborers—unless they're from Oaxaca, and wanted by the immigration authorities.
If they did, they'd be calling for government action in the shape of an immigration moratorium. Mass immigration of cheap labor is a pure form of wealth transfer from the poor to the rich in America.
The fact that some people from Oaxaca are a little better off in America is almost irrelevant to this political equation, which is backed by the US Chamber Of Commerce, the Business Round Table, the fast food industry, and other people you'd think Dissent would be darkly suspicious of.
My last year's Labor Day column said Message On Labor Day: Working America Needs An Immigration Moratorium. I'd like to repeat that.
However, I'd also like to make an exception. If the owners of Dissent Magazine want to replace the entire editorial staff with cheap Maoist labor from the Republic of China, I'm OK with that.
I don't see how it would make much difference.
Labor Day Motto: Moratorium Now! More evidence from Canada by Peter Brimelow
03/24/03 - The Tancredo Moratorium Bill by Sam Francis
Spanish (Or An Immigration Moratorium) For Police Officers By James Fulford
Confirmation From Camarota: Immigration Moratorium Could Save Historic American Majority by Edwin S. Rubenstein
Previous Labor Day Columns