The Corner

GOP Can’t Run Against Obamacare but Back Obamigration

The CBO doesn’t have a great track record of estimating the fiscal or economic impacts of legislation. Nevertheless, their new projection that Obamacare would destroy at least 2 million jobs, if correct, would be disastrous. There were about 50 million working age, native-born Americans not working in the fourth quarter of last year — a number that hasn’t improved during Obama’s entire time in office. We’ve gone from one out of four working-age Americans not working in 2000 to nearly one out of three not working today. And now the equivalent of 2 million people who do have jobs will lose them.

Non-work table - BLS data

And we’re doing immigration reform?, to quote Erick Erickson.

How can the Republicans run against the anti-worker policy of Obamacare while championing the anti-worker policy of Obamigration? The massive increase in immigration and “temporary” workers found in the Senate’s Schumer-Rubio bill, and the House GOP principles that echo it, makes no sense economically or politically. Schumer-Rubio doubles future legal immigration and guestworkers, in addition to giving work permits to maybe 10 million illegal aliens. As Phyllis Schlafly wrote on the home page Monday, “If employers really are having trouble finding workers, the private-enterprise solution should be to raise the pay! A tight labor market is the best anti-poverty program.”

Not only does supporting a massive increase in immigration make no sense economically, it makes no sense politically. One of the GOP’s biggest electoral problems is the perception that the party is beholden to the Chamber of Commerce and to rich people with car elevators. Passing an increase in the importation of foreign labor at a time of record rates of non-work only reinforces the narrative that Republicans don’t care about average Americans.

What’s more, Republicans would be giving up a great issue. If they’d stop shooting themselves in the foot by endorsing massive increases in immigration, they could accurately label the Democrats as the party of cheap labor. Whatever one thinks of amnesty, it makes no political sense to support an increase in future flows — an increase that is integral to every version of “immigration reform” that’s been put forward. Even though no public official is even making the argument, most Americans support reducing immigration levels. Arguing for a tight labor market, based on enforcement of the law and reductions in the current level of permanent immigration (1 million annually) and guest workers (more than 500,000 annually), would resonate greatly with voters, especially those who stopped voting Republican over the past several elections.


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