Free Markets, Cheap Labor, And Government Money
June 09, 2007, 06:54 PM
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Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine has a post in which he says that

In the debate over the immigration bill, left-liberal Democrats are emerging as champions of the free market. [ What Is the Way a Market-Based Capitalist Economy Works Best?| June 6, 2007]

This should make him more suspicious than it does. He quotes former immigration lawyer, now California Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren in the New York Times:

But Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who is chairwoman of the Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, said she had found no one in her Silicon Valley district who thought it was a good idea.

�The point system is like the Soviet Union,� Ms. Lofgren said. �The government is saying, in effect, �We have a five-year plan for the economy, and we will decide with this point system what mix of skills is needed.’ That is not the way a market-based capitalist economy works best.�A Point System for Immigrants Incites Passions, New York Times

Sullum goes on to say

Lofgren is right, but I`m not sure she`s willing to follow this reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is not somewhat more flexible central planning but a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed. If only we had a catchy name for that.

The political point here is that Democrats, and here I include both Lofgren and the New York Times, want to import more poor people. They like poor people, who vote Democratic, and they feel that they`re being charitable in admitting them. The point system is intended to select people who will be net taxpayers—engineers, computer people, business owners.

Of course, all this does is displace a better class of people, but it doesn`t add to the welfare rolls.

But if "employers and consumers" want to import a poor person, they`re volunteering to add to other people`s tax burden. It`s rent-seeking by employers, and imported voter-seeking by Democrats, and that`s why it`s legitimate for the government to interfere in the market—because it`s a market in tax dollars.