The Corner

Re: The Market Works

Some readers misunderstood my post, and are ascribing to me a “shocking degree of economic illiteracy,” in the words of one correspondent. I meant to debunk the claims of amnesty supporters that work will not get done without immigrants. If you think that’s a straw man, you haven’t been paying attention. The market will respond to the changed labor market conditions caused by immigration enforcement. What’s more, there would be socially and economically beneficial results, including modernizing certain sectors (like ag) and offering higher wages and more opportunities for our less-educated (or simply less-capable) countrymen. Would there be an economic cost? Probably, though all unskilled labor combined accounts for less than four percent of GDP, so increasing the wage paid to it won’t have much, if any, inflationary effect. But two points: First, of course, man doth not live by bread only. But even if that’s all we consider, the National Research Council has demonstrated that the tiny economic benefit from immigration is swamped by the social costs it creates. Ignoring the inevitable costs of importing low-skilled labor into a modern society is what really shows “a shocking degree of economic illiteracy.”

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