I have read and re-read the Bloomberg article; “On Trade and Immigration, the GOP Has it Backward.” I was surprised that an article written to insult me could be so tedious. I was all set to give a damn but I don’t and that is disappointing.
The article undermines its point in the very first paragraph:
“Despite its overall benefit, trade creates domestic losers as well as winners. Immigration, on the other hand, is at worse (I think worst works better here) a wash and at best a huge net positive for groups across the economic spectrum."
That is exactly the opposite of what actually occurs and I expect they know that, but it didn’t fit their narrative. If they don’t know that, shame on them.
During the debate on the North American Free Trade Agreement two decades ago the entire business community was supportive of its passage by the Congress. They made the argument that there were no winners or losers. They were correct.
Everyone knows someone injured by a government action, but government decisions should not be predicated on anecdotes. They should be based on what provides the most good for the most people. Free trade improves the economic circumstance of both nations by increasing the number of jobs, the standard of living and thus the number of consumers in both nations. They buy more from their country and from other countries.
Before NAFTA there were fewer than one million personal computers owned by the entire population of Latin America. Today, after NAFTA and Central America Free Trade Agreement, there are nearly 20 million smart phones in Brazil alone.
People from the New York Immigration Coalition demonstrate with the Statue of Liberty in the background July 14, 2014 in New York's Battery Park. As part of the New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform Campaign, the group is calling for US President Barack Obama to take executive action on immigration reform. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
On immigration, Bloomberg’s attack on the Republican position reminded me of the famous line by Victor Hugo: “Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.”
We are informed that Republicans favor immigration reform “until they find out that puts them on the same side as the President.” Well, how shallow can we be?
We are told that partisan bickering “gives meat to the Tea Party/Minuteman wing of the Republican Party, which opposes immigration for all sorts of reasons unconnected to its economic impact.”
This would have been a good opportunity for the author to list those “all sorts of reasons,” but that was not done. One of those reasons might have been the reluctance of the Tea Party wing of the party to embrace reform that is done unconstitutionally. But that too would harm the narrative.
I have been active in the Republican Party for 45 years. I am a movement conservative and find myself very comfortable with the people and the ideas that animate the Tea Party. To equate them with the Minutemen was gratuitous. It may have caused approving nods in the faculty lounge, but it added nothing to the discussion.
What was ignored in the screed was any attention to reality or candor. There is a reason a business magazine would pimp for a policy that abuses the Constitution or the laws. They want cheap labor. There is no good reason for them to ignore the costs it incurs.
According to the 2010 Census, in 2009 57 percent of households with children that were headed by an immigrant were on welfare compared to 39 percent of native headed households.
We have learned that providing Social Security cards to an additional 5 million people makes them eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The Commissioner of the IRS told a Congressional panel that they may apply for the credit for the past three years and that he had no idea what it would cost. They will also be eligible to register to vote.
A bill passed by Congress requires a fiscal statement by the Congressional Budget Office before it can be considered. The president acted without any cost estimate by any agency.
And as for the promise that immigration is a “huge net positive for all,” it is worth noting that immigrants captured two-thirds of the job growth in President Obama’s first term. It is hard to find winners among the 92 million Americans who are not working.
There are many legitimate arguments for increasing the numbers of people who would be eligible to come to the United States legally and become part of our economy. Unfortunately, Bloomberg made none of them. Nor did they understand that opening an argument by insulting of the very people whose support you are seeking is probably not a good idea.
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