The government never grows tired of making people’s lives harder than they otherwise need to be, and if the every day struggles of paying the bills and putting food on the table weren’t hard enough, the government, through the wisdom of our enlightened bureaucrats decides that life must be harder on all of us. You would think people would get tired of this, eventually. You would think that workers would eventually rise up in revolution against these malicious attacks, but they cheer it on.
What is this latest assault on workers that I speak of? I’m speaking of course with regards to the government’s recent crackdown on companies hiring illegal immigrants. According to the Wall Street Journal (9/13/13) under the heading, “New Hunt for Illegal Workers”:
“The U.S. government has launched a fresh crackdown on employers suspected of hiring illegal immigrants by notifying about 1,000 business across the country in recent weeks they must submit documents for audits. The so-called “silent raids” are the largest since July 2009, according to immigration attorneys, and weren’t publically disclosed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that conducts such inspections.”
In other words, the government is going to force no less than 1,000 different businesses across the country, businesses that are working peaceably and are producing goods/services of value, to go through the pain (and expense) of preparing special documents for audits, in order to target a given group of workers who are doing absolutely nothing wrong.
Those who are more emotional are quick to scream in response, “THEY’RE ILLEGAL!!”, illegal by what standard? “They didn’t go through the immigration process!!” Good for them. The immigration process is, in fact, nothing more than useless paperwork. It proves nothing, it contributes to nothing. It is nothing more than an added cost that the public must pay for, and the cost comes in more than just the cost of paying bureaucrats to process all the paperwork. As Ludwig von Mises keenly pointed out, “There cannot be the slightest doubt that migration barriers diminish the productivity of human labor.”
The reason this is so is obvious; migration barriers hamper the division of labor by diminishing the capacity for labor to go from one area to another.
Thanks to our campaign of Nationalism, so-called “illegal” immigrants are denounced as lazy asshats with a bloated sense of self-entitlement, who pollute our communities with drugs, and rob/kill the otherwise natural citizens. This characterization of undocumented workers is entirely unjustified, and has no factual basis for it in the least, but that won’t stop the die-hard Nationalists from believing in it. Many people denounce this as racist, but this isn’t racist in the least; denouncing all Mexicans as the above would be racist, but you can plainly see that isn’t what’s happening here.
To make matters worse, the die-hard Nationalists consistently try to use economics to justify this nonsense. They try to saw for instance that “illegal” immigrants are taking our jobs. A quick glance at the immigration and job situation thoroughly discredits this idea.
They try to say that “illegal” immigrants are expensive to the tax payer because the tax payer has to bear the costs of healthcare, education, and other benefits that I… just don’t feel like listing. This statement on its own is fair enough, but in reality they are no more expensive that the other people being covered. If the government wasn’t offering these free services in the first place, would the undocumented still be expensive to the tax payer? Of course not, because then the individual would then be paying for his own healthcare, education, etc.. If anything, the undocumented are really doing you a favor; they are highlighting the absurdity of offering these free programs in the first place.
They try to say that “illegals” are bringing in diseases that we had previously wiped out or just weren’t here to begin with. They say that this is so because “illegal” immigrants don’t go through the health screening that “legal” immigrants go through. To thoroughly discredit this idea, you need only ask yourself, “How do you collect evidence for this claim when “illegals” rarely go to hospitals and are rarely caught by the government?” For more information on this, click here to be taken to a page hopelessly destroying the Nationalist (or Nativist if you prefer) myths on immigration.
I just can’t help but wonder when the people at large are going to get sick and tired of the constant lying, the slandering, the pandering to emotions, etc., etc.. For what immigration is supposed to look like, I refer you to some of the finer work that Milton Friedman has done.
Proponents of protectionist fallacies are never short of sophisticated arguments (sophistry) to support their agendas; they will invoke everything from patriotism to economics, and will even appeal to your emotions by throwing pity-parties for the domestic shopkeepers and laborers that are put out of business due to the "unfair” competition from foreigners.
To their appeals to patriotism I say, “When did America become a nation of whiny little bitches!?”
To their throwing pity-parties for domestic shopkeepers and laborers, I call it what it is; a fallacious appeal to emotion meant to shut down any argument against the protectionist agenda.
But to their appeals to the economic aspects of the problem, I’m afraid a more in-depth analysis is called for, especially in the case of “dumping”. Dumping describes a process by which an exporter of a product will “dump” his product onto a foreign market by selling it (or just giving it away freely) below cost of production. The theory is that by doing this, the foreign market will put the domestic suppliers for that product out of business. Then, when there are no more domestic suppliers of that product, the foreign suppliers raise their prices in order to recoup what they lost by dumping, and as a result, domestic consumers suffer while foreign producers profit by our expense.
For example, suppose it costs a Chinese manufacturer of computer chips $1,000 to create that chip. Dumping theory would have it that the Chinese supplier will then sell those chips to an American importer in bulk for what amounts to $100 per chip. Then, when the domestic supplier of those chips are put out of business, the Chinese supplier will boost the price of those chips from $100 to $2,500.
There is one problem here that should immediately jump out at you, even if you’ve never had any sort of training in economics; if you were the owner of a company that made computer chips and it costs $1,000 to make one chip, can you seriously see yourself selling that chip in bulk to anyone at $100 per chip? There is an obvious incentive right here to not try to engage in this sort of thing. Ah, but the protectionist will be quick to answer, “No, normally this would bankrupt you, but the Chinese government subsidies it’s exports, so these companies can maintain the loss for long periods of time.”
But even so, this doesn’t guarantee that domestic suppliers will be put out of business. True, there is a huge economic incentive to buy Chinese instead of American in the above example, but there are many people who’ll buy American no matter what. Even today in the real world, there are people who refuse to buy foreign-made cars and will go out of their way to buy American over Japanese for instance.
But, let’s entertain this thought for a moment that this foreign subsidizing of exports will put American suppliers out of business, and that they the foreign supplier will indeed raise his price well above. What this means is that foreign competitors will sharply undercut him. In our example of the Chinese Manufacturer of computer chips, if he indeed raises his price to $2,500, he will be undercut by a Japanese Manufacturer who’ll be competing for the American consumer. He will offer the same chip for $1,500 – $2,000, which puts downwards pressure on the price of Chinese computer chips, and this says nothing about the other countries that are in the computer chip business.
There are two other variables here that must be considered. First, there is the possibility that America might return to the computer chip business. If that is the case, the Chinese Manufacturer now has even more downwards pressure put on the price of his product.
The second variable here (and the one that is most likely to happen in my opinion) is that when the Chinese Manufacturer is dumping the chips in bulk at $100 per chip, American importers are most likely to buy as many of them as possible because they know the price of those chips are eventually going to go through the roof. This way, when the price does go through the roof, American importers of those chips have enough of them to not have to import any more of them. This throws a monkey wrench into the plans of the Chinese manufacturer who planned on profiting at the expense of Americans, and it completely destroys the dumping argument put forth by Protectionists.