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A Range of Perspectives



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I don’t think other policy debates have this problem, but because immigration is an up-down issue rather than a right-left one, you often have the appearance of diversity of views where none exists. That’s why bipartisan immigration deals are usually bad — they’re crafted by a pro-amnesty Democrat and a pro-amnesty Republican, McCain-Kennedy being only the most notorious example.

This struck me when I read a notice for an upcoming event at Brookings. It features the expansionists’ favorite economist, plus two roundtables “representing a range of perspectives.” Here’s the range: NPR’s ombudsman, 3M’s general counsel, the HR guy for a California ag business, Chuck Hagel (here’s more on his 2006 amnesty bill), the founder of a Silicon Valley VC firm, the head of La Raza, and the president of a leftist labor union. So: a pro-amnesty economist, a pro-amnesty media person, a pro-amnesty corporate guy, a pro-amnesty farmer, a pro-amnesty former politician, a pro-amnesty investor, a pro-amnesty professional ethnic, and a pro-amnesty union boss. Some “range”!

And, consistent with progressive delusions, this is all just based on facts, all very technocratic. The project within Brookings that’s hosting the event says its proposals are “based on credible evidence and experience, not ideology or doctrine”. Riiiight. As Russ Roberts said on this week’s Ricochet podcast, “What we really talk about when we talk about economic theory often is our biases and our ideology and our philosophy veiled in our theories. . . . I think we should be more honest as economists that what we really believe in is often ideological and not very scientific.”



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