October 3, 2011

Would raising the minimum wage deter low-skilled immigration?

In VDARE, I offer my first response to Ron Unz's American Conservative article Immigration, the Republicans, and the End of White America. Next week I'll flesh out the idea of an actual "Sailer Strategy" for the GOP.

Ron argues that immigration restrictionism is a political nonstarter, but mass unskilled immigration benefits the plutocratic class, so it needs to be curtailed So, rather than restrict immigration to raise wages, raise wages to restrict immigration by boosting the minimum wage in the direction of prosperous Australia's sky-high one.

I think a carefully crafted minimum wage law could play a useful role in a "defense in depth" system, but enforcement would be an obvious problem:
Recall the old joke in which the starving economist on the desert island trumps the physicist and chemist in their debate over how to open a can of beans: "Assume we have a can-opener." 
Ron's suggestion implies: "Assume we have the rule of law." Of course, we don't anymore—at least not in labor markets corrupted by decades of illegal immigration. The honest Finns can pass legislation about employment with some confidence that the law will be obeyed. But we have depleted that ancestral patrimony. So a new law would mostly just put out of work law-abiding American citizens.

Read the whole thing here.

Ron defends the enforcement feasibility via email:
Let's assume that the MW legislation were enacted, and included very harsh penalties for violation, including prison sentences. Consider the following scenario: 
(1) Greedy employer hires Jose, just arrived from Mexico with little English as a dish-washer, paying him $7/hour rather than the required $12/hour.  Mr. Greedy laughs to himself about how he's saving $200/week because the Mexican he hired is so ignorant and dumb.  Ha, ha, ha... 
(2) Six weeks later, Jose cautiously goes to Mr. Greedy, and in broken English, mentions that his friend Hector had told him about the wage law, but he'd very much hate to get anyone like his kind boss into trouble.  In fact, the more he thinks about it, the more he really misses his family back home in Mexico and since he just needs $15,000 to buy a truck for his ranch, maybe his kind boss could give him a personal "loan" for that amount, after which he'd go away and never bother anyone again, avoiding all the legal problems for everyone.  Mr. Greedy decides paying $15,000 is better than risking five years in prison, pays the money, and decides that Jose was the most expensive cheap dishwasher he'd ever hired. 
(3) Presumably, in a few cases especially stubborn employers or especially angry workers would actually lead to prosecutions, with the resulting massive publicity terrifying all the under-paying employers and tempting all the under-paid workers.  The risk-reward ratio of ignoring the minimum wage laws would be so extreme that only the most insane employers would take the risk. 
(4) So, the question comes down to whether such harsh legal penalties could be included in the law.  Now the vast majority of powerful business interests already pay well above the minimum wage, and even the ones which would be effected by the new requirements normally have well-organized payroll departments, and would tend to comply with all these requirements.  About the only group at risk of the penalties would be the sort of very small-scale/informal/marginal businesses that don't hire big DC lobbyists, so none of the politicians really care about what happens to them.  In fact, their somewhat upscale competitors might prefer that they be driven out of business or at least inconvenienced so
as to weaken their competition.  And obviously almost all of these businesses are non-unionized, so on the Democratic side of the isle, the unions would like nothing better than to cause them trouble. 
Anyway, that's my take on the enforcement issues...

95 comments:

Matt said...

But if businesses already pay more than minimum wage and therefore aren't motivated by cheap labor, who is driving immigration policy and making restriction a non-starter? Unz's logic is baffling me.

Rather than a minimum wage, I'd just institute some kind of migrant/seasonal labor policy. Lots of rightists hate the idea, but appeasing the desire for cheap labor is more or less the price of doing anything about illegal immigration.

A.M. said...

Steve, most unpaid internships are illegal, because the intern is doing work that a full-time employee would otherwise be doing.

Yet these unpaid internships continue unabated, principally in trendy industries like music and entertainment.

These interns are middle class, and many are aware their own boss is breaking the law. If we can't get a handle on these, what hope do we have with illegal dishwashers?

Matt said...

Unz's scenario presupposes consistent political will to enforce laws unfriendly to big business. Regulatory capture ensures that this will never exist. Unz's law would either amount to nothing, or else it would end up being another tool for big businesses to prey on small ones.

Lawyers are expensive, and the expense scales in such a way that large firms are less affected than small ones. Unz's proposed regulation would do so much to hurt small businesses (who are also less well-prepared for price fluctuations) that it's worth scrapping for that reason alone.

Anonymous said...

Or the authorities could just maintain the borders...

Frankly, I think the problem is the likes of Bill Gates, who hire medium and high skilled immigrants on a temporary basis. The displacement of low skilled labor is very obvious, but there are huge numbers of displaced people higher up the feeding chain.

I've always suspected that the reason no one wants to talk about it is class. No one wants to put themselves in the same category as, y'know, those people.

So what happens with the medium and high skilled labor? You could, technically, stagger the minimum wage to aid those people, but you'd have to have a huge amount of govt intervention for it to approach working.

As a - sane - libertarian, I'm against it. The only solution is to actually maintain the borders, enact a immigration moratorium and then create a sane policy.

jody said...

artifically enforcing a minimum wage increases the unemployment rate. to what degree, is a matter of how high that artifical wage is set. but the ron unz proposition to raise it to 12 dollars an hour is pretty high. that would certainly lead to many employers laying off some of their unskilled, bottom of the barrel employees. which would raise unemployment rates...which would...yeah.

obama is never going to go for that.

you don't need an undergraduate degree in economics to have studied the business effect of what forcing an artificial minimum wage does to an actual businessman's business model. he lays people off. it was only last month that the CEO of carl's jr spent 30 minutes explaining why he was moving headquarters, as well as all new business, out of california, and to texas.

whenever california puts yet another new artificial wage effect into place, these fast food places, the employers of america's least unemployable, least useful citizens, have to lay off people.

Anonymous said...

uh, but how could anyone afford to get their dishes washed by these overpaid "Americans"?

Thripshaw said...

Why can't we just enforce immigration law? Unz is a high IQ idiot. Only a genius could be so unbelievably stupid.

Your response is devastating as usual, Steve.

Richard A. said...

Liberals do not have a problem in enforcing labor laws like minimum wage even if it means that it will be illegals that lose their jobs.

Raising the minimum wage is a much more important issue than immigration to Hispanics. If Republicans really want more Hispanics to vote for them, then they are going to have to support increasing the minimum wage with enthusiasm--but the GOP is a cheap labor party so they wont.

Tarvaris Jackon said...

I have to disagree with you on two issues.

1.) "In the U.S., the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but some states set their own higher minimums. Tellingly, the state of Washington leads the country at $8.75 (going up to $9.04 in January). The second highest minimum is in Oregon, at $8.50.

What do these two whiteopian, but not hugely wealthy, states share? Most famously, a strong urge to resist Californication: the influx of millions of outsiders.
"


Washington State and Oregon both have relatively high percentges of illegal aliens in the general population. Oregon is ranked #11 in per capita proportion of illegal aliens in the population. Washington is ranked #13.

http://www.statemaster.com/graph/peo_est_num_of_ill_imm_percap-number-illegal-immigrants-per-capita

Furthermore, many of the states with higher percentages of illegals tend to be southwestern (ie Arizona) or traditional immigration states (ie New York). So, really when you think about, Washington and Oregon are doing pretty badly for states this far up north.

As a Washingtonian, I can tell you that we have a lot of illegals in our state. Lots of the farmers, especially in central Washington, recruit labor from down south.

2.) "Australia is a big, sunny, empty, resource-rich place: California with duller scenery. It would attract many tens of millions of poor Third Worlders if the Aussies ever stopped coming up with excuses for keeping some of them out. Sure, the Australians could strip-mine their continent faster and sell all their minerals to the Chinese cheaper if they opened the floodgates to millions of coolies. But, what's the hurry? What's in it for the average Aussie?"

Australia does recruit significant numbers of immigrants. Last year, it gave about 163,000 permanent residence permits to foreign immigrants. It also gives out large numbers of temporary residence permits to workers and students, many of whom transition to permanet residents. When you consider Australia's population of 23 million, its per capita immigration rate is quite high. It is about twice our rate.

Australia also tends to be densely populated along the coasts and lightly populated everywhere else. So there's a very high cost of living in the population centers of Sydney/Melbourne, and immigration drives up this cost by making real estate more expensive. Similar to what we see in LA or SanFrancisco.

In many ways, Australia is more similar to high-cost, high-wage, selected immigrant northern California.

Tarvaris Jackon said...

3.) "Boosting the minimum wage is a not uncommon form of low-profile resistance to low-skill immigration. And it's not just effete Europeans. Affable, manly Australians do it, too. Ron cites booming Australia, where the minimum wage is currently $15.51 per hour in Australian dollars, or about $15 American. Yet, Australia's unemployment rate in August was 5.1 percent."

In Australia, quite a few migrants work off the books. Many also work in contracting jobs, such as taxi driving, which exempts one from the minimum wage.

For example, when Australia was taking in large numbers of Indian students, many went to work for immigrant restauranters, who paid them sub minimum wage, or drive cabs. Lacking much in money, lots ended up living in downscale areas with lots of African, Pacific Islander, Vietnamese, and Lebanese immigrants (not to mention aborigines and roughneck Aussie bogans), who beat them up and robbed them frequently. This was actually a huge issue in the Australian and Indian media.

Another issue is that real estate is expensive in Australia. The ratio of median house price to median household income is 3.2 in the U.S. In Australia, it is 6.3. In comparison, it's about twice as difficult to buy a house in Australia. So the minimum wage doesn't go as far as you think.

And why is this? Well, it's because immigrants are filling up the big cities. Making life more expensive for the average Aussie. All the Anglosphere countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, US) are making the same mistakes. (The UK seems to be getting common sense on the issue and is a bit more ethnonationalist than other Anglo nations).

TH said...

Moreover, every employer has to pay union wages, so there is reduced economic incentive to import less-skilled foreigners. If you have to pay everybody as if they are Finns, you might as well hire Finns.

You have a much too sanguine view of the Finnish job market. The fact is that low-skill sectors, particularly the construction industry, have been flooded with foreign labor, often from Estonia, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries. They have driven down wages, and made it impossible to enforce union wages, hours, and conditions. They are often not permanent immigrants but "employees posted abroad" who are employed by firms registered abroad, and stay in Finland not more than a few weeks at a time and do not pay any taxes to Finland.

The Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant construction site is a case in point. Recently, it was reported that Polish workers at Olkiluoto are earning "slave wages".

So, even in Finland, with its tradition of strong trade unions and powerful leftist pro-labor parties (the current Minister of Labor is a former chairman of the blue-collar union SAK), employers have managed to turn an increasingly borderless Europe against the interests of native workers. Therefore, I believe that Unz is being terribly naive if he thinks his scheme could be successful in America.

ZZ said...

Two arguments why people will comply with higher minimum wages-

ONE: You have to REPORT wages in order to deduct them as a business expense. Sure there is still a cash economy, but consumers use credit and debit cards more and more so it is shrinking. It is for this reason that lots of illegals work on the books with fake social security numbers.

TWO: We don't need the gov itself to enforce wage laws because private attorneys taking contingency cases will do so. The Supreme Court's Wal-Mart discrimination decision didn't stop these cases, it just stopped gigantic nationwide cases based on flimsy evidence.

Last week a conservative Kansas jury awarded $3 million against Tyson for not paying workers for the time they put on and took off their protective uniforms.

ZZ said...

"I'd just institute some kind of migrant/seasonal labor policy. "

And when they don't go home?

And when they give birth in the USA during their "season"?

ZZ said...

"Lawyers are expensive, and the expense scales in such a way that large firms are less affected than small ones. "

As Steve has noted here, small businesses are much more likely to hire illegals than large ones. One example is small immigrant retailers hiring relatives.

Tarvaris Jackon said...

High Cost of Australian Living

http://tgo.elated.com/2007/05/12/the-high-cost-of-living-in-australia/

For some reason, when I lived in the UK I was always under the mistaken impression that Australia is a cheap place to live. I suppose it is cheaper living in Sydney than, say, London, but it’s by no means “cheap”. In fact, in some areas, Australia seems more expensive than the UK.

For one thing, electronics goods tend to be pricier here – presumably because of the cost of shipping stuff to this remote island. (I’m really hoping an amazon.com.au will open here soon, and create some decent competition on pricing.)

Even foodstuffs are often more expensive than in the UK. For example, Tesco in the UK sells pretty decent own-brand wholemeal sliced bread for around 55p, or AUD $1.35. That’s for an 800g loaf. Try finding an 800g wholemeal loaf in an Australian supermarket for under $3. Other basics such as potatoes and tomatoes are pricey here, though they fluctuate wildly according to season. (Not much chance of Tesco influencing prices here now, either.)

Then again, it’s not surprising food is expensive, seeing as the supermarkets import half their goods from the other side of the world. You’d have thought with Australia’s climate that the shelves would be packed with Australian olives, but 90% of them are from Greece or Spain. I have a Woolworths own-brand jar of strawberry jam in the fridge that was made in Poland.

I suspect a lot of this is down to the supermarkets; there’s not really much competition amongst supermarkets here, with Woolworths and Coles pretty much sewing up the “supermarket market”. If you shop in small local shops, such as bakers and greengrocers, you often get better quality food – I guess that’s a given – but they’re often cheaper than the supermarkets, and you get a bigger range too. The opposite of the UK, basically.

It also doesn’t help that the government happily slaps 10% GST – the equivalent of VAT – on anything considered a “luxury item” in a supermarket – and this includes things like coffee, biscuits, and toilet rolls.

To be fair, some things, such as milk and tins of beans, seem to be roughly the same price in both Australian and UK supermarkets, and of course the exchange rate has a big effect on these comparisons too. So maybe there’s not a lot in it overall.

However, books are ridiculously expensive – often up to double the price of books in the UK – and to add insult to injury that 10% GST applies to books too. Doesn’t the government want its citizens to read?! On the plus side, this makes second-hand bookstores very popular here.

Electricity has traditionally been relatively inexpensive – compared to the UK – but thanks to the major drought going on here at the moment, that looks set to change.

It must be said, though – compared to the UK, Australian public transport is a bargain. And the beer’s cheap too!

Doug1 said...

The key and in fact crucial assumption that Unz is making in explaining how this might work to reduce illegal immigration, is that employers would rather higher e.g. low skilled blacks and whites than low skilled Mexicans if they had to pay each the same high hourly amount. I think for most physical labor jobs most employers would rather higher Mexicans and Central Americans with poor English language skills than blacks.

The perception and probably reality is that Mexicans work a lot harder and are a lot less prone to have attitude, high absenteeism, etc.

For this reason having a very high minimum wage might well encourage LOTS MORE illegal immigration.

bjdubbs said...

Most may have seen this, about Seattle and race:

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/deeply-embarrassed-white-people-talk-awkwardly-about-race/Content?oid=9747101

Bostonian said...

Steve knows that are millions of Americans with 2-digit IQs (besides below-average whites, there are blacks with average IQ of 85 and Hispanics with average IQ of 90), so he must know that there are lots of Americans whose labor is simply not worth much per hour. A higher minimum age does not make sense.

Glaivester said...

Matt- a migrant/seasonal labor policy would be fine, as long as all of our guestworkers are properly spayed or neutered to prevent anchor babies.

Veracitor said...

Unz' minimum-wage plan is infused with the special kind of racism that simply ignores the effect of proposed policy on vulnerable minorities.

If we raise the minimum wage enough to price Mexicans out of the US labor market, we will incidentally price black Americans out of the US labor market too, since they are, on average, even less desirable employees than Mexicans.

The nice thing about direct control of immigration is that it lets you avoid wage (price) controls and all their attendant distortions. The cost to taxpayers of a proper immigration-control regime would be much smaller than the increased welfare/unemployment costs and deadweight losses of much higher minimum wage.

Unz wants to destroy the village in order to save it.

Anonymous said...

@ am Yet these unpaid internships continue unabated, principally in trendy industries like music and entertainment.
remember the scandal at herseys over the summer foreign students were PAYING 'internships' to work there and ended up basically working factory jobs.

with immigration its all a matter of will of enforcement. our elite WANT to end the nation state. they WANT cheap labor. NOTHING can be done, even passing laws, (just look at the EU, just look obama prosecuting states for enforcing the law) until our elite are toppled from power and that won'thappen until the economy collapses which they are well on their way to achieving because of their myopic greed.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Not all low-skill immigrants are created equal. Those from Eastern Europe and SE Asia seem to a better match. Or perhaps, they assimilate better because there are fewer of them. I'm in favor of spreading it around.

Every illegal takes a spot that could have gone to a legal immigrant from another country.

Another County said...

It makes sense, but it's the kind of compromise that the right is generally unwilling to make. Getting rid of illegal immigrants is going to hurt business, that's a given. It's a cost, but it's worth it. The minimum wage depth approach would hurt business, but if it had the desired effect of keeping out immigrants, it could be worth it (depending on the ratio). Enforcement is a big problem and the thing would need to be draconian or else it would just give a bigger advantage to the guys paying under the table vs. the guys who are trying to it right. A big trick with enforcement is independent contractor issues. A lot of jobs would be "contracted out", so you need to factor that in to your calculations.
Other plans that the right won't except, but would help:
-Universal American ID. It's called a passport, we have it already, it's just not mandatory or used much. Everybody needs a picture ID. And the penalties for falsifying a national id have to be overthetop.
-End of paper money. Couple this with the ID and you can't get by without being here legally. This would have the other benefit of reducing crime and increasing sales and income tax revenue. But the right doesn't like it. Nobody does. Because it's big power to the government and it puts them in your business. News flash: Most voters are completely on the grid. Most voters regularly use credit cards because they earn points, are less of a hassle and easier for accounting. A lot of people like knowing that they could "go off the grid", but stores and streets have cameras, if they want to track you, they are already doing it. Better to pass laws limiting what they can do with the vast information than to try to hide the information from them.

sth_txs said...

Abolish minimum wage and payroll taxes. This ends the incentive to some degree to hire illegals.

Slowpoke Rodriguez said...

So, different minimum for teens vs. adults... Surely an acceptable sop to the "corporatist" GOP. Too bad the rest of the suggestions here (his, yours) are total bunk; was particularly disappointed by the elementary mistake embodied in the confusion of Finnish solidarity epiphenomena with real cause of their present disposition i.e. THEY ARE FINNS. And it'll be a shrewd political stratagem at the same time? Is Unz now at the Office of Special Plans?

Anonymous said...

Let's assume that the MW legislation were enacted, and included very harsh penalties for violation, including prison sentences.


Sounds to me like "Let's assume we have a can opener ..".

The chances of any such law being passed are slim to none. Both parties suck up shamelessly to the Chamber of Commerce, which will fight any such law tooth and nail.

Hell, we can't even pass mandatory E-Verify! The idea that we're going to pass a law sending employers to jail for hiring "undocumented workers" is ludicrous. I'd love to see it happen, but it never will.

IHTG said...

That "Ha, ha, ha" - I'd recognize it anywhere.

Q said...

Rather than a minimum wage, I'd just institute some kind of migrant/seasonal labor policy. Lots of rightists hate the idea, but appeasing the desire for cheap labor is more or less the price of doing anything about illegal immigration.



Uh ... you're a member of the "Hooray for more immigration, legal or illegal" crowd, so you would say that.

The problem with the desire for cheap labor is the desire for cheap labor. Nothing changes for the better if we declare the cheap labor in question to be legal rather than illegal.

The change we need is for the witless and corrupt American employers to understand that they do not have an inalienable right to hire people from anywhere in the world for whatever money they'll accept and bring them into what is, after all, our home.

It's in the nature of businessmen that they always seek to privatize their profits and socialize their expenses. The rest of us have the right and the responsibility to stop them from doing so. Capitalism does not consist of giving the business class whatever it wants.

Nanonymous said...

Unz is living in a fantasy world and does not want to consider real one. That "blackmailing Joe" scenario outlined in the email only works if there is political will to enforce the law. Guess what? Those who hold keys to enforcing the putative MW laws are the same people who are not willing to enforce immigration laws currently. Since cheap labor is clearly elite's motivation, why exactly would they want to suddenly work against their own interests?
The logic is weak to the point of making no sense.

Anonymous said...

Sailer, the fundamental problem with your strategy is that the cost would not be beared by the plutocrats. They would simply pass on the cost to the comsumers, namely, the middle class. You raise the labor cost and goods and services becomes more expensive. The middle clases do not suffer competition from cheap immigrants AND benefit from cheap restaurant bills bills and cheap law mowers. Also, more expensive wages would be a disaster for what remains of the American industry. The American industry has difficulty competing with China as is, imagine is wages suddenly tripled or quadrupled. Your plan has the marks for being an absolute economic disaster: much higher cost of living for the middle classes, more expensive goods and services which means less consumption and thus less economic growth, more difficulty selling American goods overseas, etc. The bottom 20% of the population would have more money to purchase, but the bulk of consumption is done by the middle classes and their consumption would drastically dimish. Then, there is the political aspect: the middle class, roughly 70% of the population, would never accept losing their right to pay pennies for their lawn mowers and restaurant dish washers. Your plan is dommed to failure.

Anonymous said...

As someone else said:

"The problem with Unz’s argument is that he assumes that Hispanics will assimilate the same way whites have. But there is a bit problem with this argument. About 98% of the Hispanics coming to the US aren’t Western.

As others have quoted at other websites:

The CIA World Fact books puts Mexico at:

60% Mestizo
30% Amerindian
and
less than 10% European

Using genetic testing, Ruben Lisker has found lower-class mestizos to be:

59% Amerindian
34% European (oft. Spaniard)
and 6% Black

Average mestizo IQ: 86

These people are not Western."

Dahlia said...

I thought Unz's piece was one of the most brilliant things I've ever read.

Just to pick one thing to recommend it was his elucidation of how and why nothing has been accomplished since the late '80s.

I added American Conservative to my bookmarks as a result and plan to subscribe soon.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to more of your analysis Steve, but Unz's argument - like all the pro immigration arguments - bore me.

From 1925-1975, we had very little immigration and did just fine. The idea that with 300 million Americans (there were only 200 million 40 years ago), and a 9 percent unemployment rate, we have a labor shortage that can only be met by immigration is absurd.

Equally absurd is the idea that if we raise the minimum wage it will effect anything. Very few make it, and as you state, if we won't enforce immigration laws, why would be enforce the minimum wage for illegals?

Plus discussions of the minimum wage always brings out the boring economic 'experts' whose knowledge of economic theory is only equaled by their bias and ignorance of the real world.

Dahlia said...

Reihan Salam, who devoted five posts at NRO and a column to Unz's proposal, pointed out something that complemented it well:

"While it is certainly true that the promise of government benefits will be attractive to at least some immigrants, the far more powerful magnet is what the economists Michael Clemens, Claudio Montenego and Lant Pritchett have called “the place premium.” After adjusting for all kinds of individual characteristics, including appetite for risk and level of educational attainment, they estimated that the wages of a Peruvian working in the United States would be 2.6 times what she’d make back home. A Haitian worker would make 7 times as much, while a Filipino worker would make 3.5 times as much.Even if we turn off the magnet of extraordinary government benefits, the prospect of tripling or quadrupling your income would likely remain very attractive, particularly for workers at the low end of the economic totem pole. That is why the United States has attracted so many less-skilled workers from Mexico. College-educated Mexicans tend to stay close to home, because though they might be able to earn more in the U.S., they also have more to lose. But when you’re living close to the economic edge, the prospect of a big boost in pay is very much worth the risk."

I also got the vibe that Unz wrote it in such a way as to appeal firstly, not mainly, a fine distinction, to the center-Left. If he went firstly after the Right, his proposal would go nowhere. If the Left gets excited about it (and why wouldn't they), the Right is then forced to go along or lose.

Brilliant.

David said...

>Unz's proposed regulation would do so much to hurt small businesses [...] that it's worth scrapping for that reason alone.<

Well, there you go. Marginal operators come before Country. Let 'em hire as many illegals as they possibly can.

Q's comment is right on.

Shawn said...

Good post. Caught some things:

"lly benefit working class whites, such as an immigration moratorium. (Immigration, the Republicans, and the End of White America, American Conservative, September 21, 2011]. "

Where is the other [?

"Ron also treats respectfully VDARE.com’s central contention: there are mass immigration is causing problems, both politically (especially for the GOP) and economically (for example, worsening income inequality.)"

Sentence errors.

Anonymous said...

PPP adjusted, the Australian minimum wage is $10 per hour.

Australia is currently experience a commodity boom , so its currency is strong. You have to adjust for that.

Anonymous said...

There has been a shift in sentiment regarding illegal immigration among Republicans.

The general population is also more anti-immigration, because of the 2007 push and due to the economy.

If Romeny wins, with a little luck he might decide fix the border (though not reduce legal immigration). Romney is a slimy opportunist, and a slimy opportunist is exactly what we need right now.

Perry, Obama and Christi, not so much.

Anonymous said...

According to the NLSY, the I.Q of Mexicans born in the U.S is 92, or about 11 points lower than whites. There is no reason to believe that gap will narrow.

Unz is too clever by half. Smart people tend to have pet theories they stick to.

nsam said...

Many of the wealthier countries in Asia (Singapore is the example I have in mind) have extensive guest worker programs at the lower tier, employment pass (sort of like a H1-B visa) for higher skilled and give very high skilled immigrants green cards/citizenship. All of this is legal and it works because there is absolutely zero (and I mean zero) chance of any guest worker having a child during the work stay; in any case you cannot become a citizen or legal resident by birth and overstaying is pretty much impossible (heavy penalties). About 25% of the Singapore population are guest workers. Although many of these things are not feasible to implement here, I do not see how long term immigration reform can exclude a well regulated guest worker program. It seems that tightening the border and getting rid of the citizenship by birth requirements are pre-requisites.

Matt said...

"Matt- a migrant/seasonal labor policy would be fine, as long as all of our guestworkers are properly spayed or neutered to prevent anchor babies."

Worker IDs would only be given to workers, who typically don't bring their families with them, and would be less inclined to if they could just go back to Mexico at the end of the season. Of course they could have affairs with natives and have babies that way, but those babies would be citizens regardless.

Now of course you'd have some people taking advantage of the system, but overall most illegals don't care in the slightest about being Americans...they just want the money.

"Uh ... you're a member of the "Hooray for more immigration, legal or illegal" crowd, so you would say that."

I am? I'd end all immigration tomorrow if I were supreme ruler, but I'm not. Politics is the art of the possible, and if you don't appease the people with the money, you don't get what you want. What's the alternative? In case you haven't noticed, the status quo is not on our side. I'd rather have 15 million seasonal laborers, 14 million of which go back home every year than 30 million illegals forming a permanent underclass.

Anonymous said...

All the Anglosphere countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, US) are making the same mistakes. (The UK seems to be getting common sense on the issue and is a bit more ethnonationalist than other Anglo nations).

Its a commonly held belief here in Britain that Australia has a more sensible system than ours, points based immigration.

To my mind thats just a slower motion suicide than we are committing.

Anonymous said...

Guestworker programs suppress wages. I'd rather we implement the German/Japanese model of allowing travelers, rich entreprenuers, and very small numbers of highly qualified temporary migrants. A complete shut off of all immigration is not feasible, but bringing the numbers near zero (and making most it temporary) works for me.

I'd cancel H1B completely. The only tech workers I want are those with a substanial amount of capital and a willigness to invest/hire locally. South Korea will give you citizenship if you invest $5 million in the local economy. I wouldn't mind something like that.

The bottom line is that I want immigrants who can benefit the average American and I want them in very small numbers. Anything large scale, even if temporary, is bad.

Anonymous said...

Even foodstuffs are often more expensive than in the UK. For example, Tesco in the UK sells pretty decent own-brand wholemeal sliced bread for around 55p, or AUD $1.35. That’s for an 800g loaf. Try finding an 800g wholemeal loaf in an Australian supermarket for under $3. Other basics such as potatoes and tomatoes are pricey here, though they fluctuate wildly according to season. (Not much chance of Tesco influencing prices here now, either.)

Lol! A friend of mine from the UK, who now lives in Australia, was bemoaning her lack of access to Tesco to me in an email.

Tesco expansion is into 2nd tier markets, Australian supermarkets may not be in its league but I think it sees the Australian market as too developed.

Tesco is expanding into Eastern Europe but not Western Europe, Thailand but not Australia. You get the picture.

Anonymous said...

Its a commonly held belief here in Britain that Australia has a more sensible system than ours, points based immigration.

To my mind thats just a slower motion suicide than we are committing.


In a way. Australia brings in immigrants who contribute (mainly Asian, Indian, European), while UK brings in lots of Africans and Pak/Bang/Asian Muslims. However, the overall numbers of Australia are really high. David Cameron is trying to bring net migration to 40K per year, which is pretty reasonable (zero would be better). Given high levels of EU migration, that should effectively shut off most migration from outside Europe. Cameron is now in the stage of denying residence permits to those who've worked in the UK for 5 years, which should help too.

The UK ran a very reasonable immigration policy until Blair-Brown opened the floodgated in 1997. Now the Tories are trying to close it, but with major opposition from Lib Dem.

Compared to Americans, Brits have quite a bit more sanity on immigration.

Nordic insider said...

A higher minimum wage is a bad idea because it will make America (and lower-IQ Americans) even less competitive on the international scene. Any industry that the U.S. has left will pretty quickly disappear to Asia.

In addition to what TH said above, the very high wages in Nordic countries have made it so that we can no longer produce anything, except for a few things that require high-ish IQs to make (some ships in Finland and oil platforms in Norway, for example).

In a very vicious circle, a large portion of everyone's higher wages goes toward very high taxes (you may have heard that we are famous for those). The very high taxes goes to paying for a very comprehensive welfare state. The very comprehensive welfare state supports something like 20-25% of Nordic populations who are simply not fit enough to pay very high wages to work (i.e. older people and a lot of people on disability). That is why we have such low unemployment rates. They are artificially low because a large segment of the population is kept out of the workforce because they are not cost effective. It is better to simply redistribute the wealth to keep them out of the workplace.

However, such a Ponzi scheme was not built to last. Most of the Nordic countries are now building down their welfare states, partly because they are simply not affordable, and partly because Nordics simply do not want to donate their wealth to peoples from Iraq and Somalia. It has only worked for so long as it has in Norway because of the oil riches.

Higher wages is not the solution for America. As many have said in the comments here, Ron Unz sounds as though he is too smart for his own good.

Big bill said...

This is so cute! You have to go read Alex Cockburn's article at this link.

Alex describes Ron Unz's plan with a wide-eyed astonishment that suggests Alex never even thought about the issue before. He explains to his lefty readers that (1) tens of millions of cehap wetback illegals drive wages down.

Isn't that Econ 101? Isn't the reserve army of unemployed a fundamental Marxist concept? Did he think that the wetbacks were all arriving of their own accord? Did he think the employers were hiring them for good money because they worked twice as hard?

Then Alex notes that paying people $15K to go back home might lure millions more to the USA, so we have to be really really careful when we inspect the Mexicans' proof of 5 year residency documents. Did Alex not do 5 minutes of homework? Does he truly not know that Mexican document forgery and the willing complicity of bleeding heart liberal bureaucrats meant that millions of Mexicans got amnesty the last time based on forged documents?

Yup. "This Time It's Different!" If we are just a leetle bit more careful when we look at the illegals' proof of residency documents everything will be OK, won't it?

I can't tell whether Alex really believes what he is saying.

David Davenport said...

Abolish minimum wage and payroll taxes. This ends the incentive to some degree to hire illegals.

Why would that abolish the tendency to hire illegals and pay them less than minimum wage?

Oh, you're hoping that you'll be able to hire destitute Americans and pay them less than minimum wages? What a wonderful future that would be.

Dahlia said...

Steve Sailer said,
"While I quite enjoy being depicted as the evil brains behind the operation, rather like how Cardinal Richelieu is portrayed in The Three Musketeers..."


Tim Curry will be playing you in the "Steve Sailer" biopic. With carefully crafted and executed angles to add height.

Anonymous said...

But when you’re living close to the economic edge, the prospect of a big boost in pay is very much worth the risk."

So...what's the risk? What are the death rates for those coming here illegally? Not 1 in 1000, I'd wager.

My opinion has long been that a higher minimum wage = less illegal immigration. Sure there will be scofflaws, but I think businesses would have greater incentives to support enforecment of minimum wage laws because there's greater risk of private action, i.e., an employee(s) filing a complaint.

Without a mimimum wage you get more business plans reliant on cheap labor in order for success, and thus more businesses arguing they have created jobs that "Americans won't do." But with a minimum wage no business can assume labor will be available at any wage they offer.

Unz's point here seems so obvious as to be beyond debate. Higher minimum wages are one area where pro-enforcement Republicans can undermine their alleged business lobby "allies."

Unz: Pete Wilson’s narrow 1990 gubernatorial victory over Dianne Feinstein, which significantly relied upon his criticism of “racial quotas,” was achieved with 53 percent of the white vote, 47 percent of the Hispanic vote, and 58 percent of the Asian vote...
But all of this permanently changed following Wilson’s harsh 1994 reelection campaign


Sorry for the long quote of Unz, but I have to call bullshit here. Unz is a Californian so maybe he really does know better than me, but IIRC, there may have been an election between 1990 and 1994, and in the election that may or may not have occurred in a year evenly divisible by four, Dianne Feinstein may have won a US Senate seat 54-38, Barbara Boxer may have won a US Senate seat 48-43, and Bill Clinton may have won California's 54 electoral votes 46-33. Did Prop 187 travel back in time and affect the 1992 election, too?

I suspect one thing that really turned California to the Left for permanent was the 1986 amnesty. It meant a huge increase in naturalization of Hispanics from 1989-1991. If you were to pick a year where the political effects of the 1986 amnesty, the 1965 immigration law, and other demographic changes were all really starting to have political consequences, especially in California, some time in the early 90s wouldn't be a bad bet, Prop 187 or no.

hbd chick said...

the problem with unz's suggestion is that he skips over a couple of basic premises, namely: 1) that mexicans (and that's mostly who we're talking about here and now) are unlikely to be able to truly assimilate to american society and culture; and 2) the presence of tens of millions of them in this country will mean that they will fundamentally change this country.

i left a longer version of this comment over @tac, but it was never approved. i can't imagine why not. (~_^)

Anonymous said...

Steve, do you ever send any of your writing to Limbaugh?

After all, what Rush latches onto is what all GOP candidates must eventually listen to.

beowulf said...

1.the question comes down to whether such harsh legal penalties could be included in the law
Beyond DOL workplace enforcement and mandatory E-Verify, the AFL-CIO has been pushing state-level wage theft laws that would do precisely this (presumably a federal one could be enacted as well). New York's is typical, "workers can get double their stolen wages back... firing or disciplining a worker who charges wage theft can carry a penalty of up to $10,000."
http://news.change.org/stories/wage-theft-prevention-act-passed-in-ny-what-now

2. Australia's sky-high minimum wage (with unemployment far lower than ours) is excellent, not least of which is it doesn't force taxpayers to pay welfare to support the working poor. The antecedents to our EITC, food stamps and Section 8 programs is the UK's Speenhamland System.
The Poor Law Commissioners’ Report of 1834, summarizing the failed program, called Speenhamland a “universal system of pauperism.”
“In the long run, the result was ghastly,” wrote economic historian Karl Polanyi in his 1944 classic The Great Transformation . “Wages which were subsidized from public funds were bound eventually to be bottomless.” The result was that, as Notre Dame University Teresa Ghilorducci puts it, “The government subsidized wages so much they went broke.”

http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_19_3/tsc_19_3_rubenstein_3_printer.shtml

3. Adjusted for inflation, the 1968 min. wage $1.60/hr is $10/hr, adjusted by Social Security Average Wage Index is $12/hr, Adjusted for labor productivity growth is $20/hr. Mark it up an even $5/hr from current $7.25/hr and then adjust annually by CPI-U.

4. Transition costs could be minimized with a Pigouvian virtual wage subsidy for employers. Let's say minimum wage is hiked overnight to $12.25/hr. An employer (or its payroll company) would get a $5/hr tax credit for every min wage employee, which could be used against FICA, corporate or income tax obligations. Using a 50% phase out, every $1/hr above minimum wage would cut wage subsidy by 50 cents. Phase out subsidy $1/hr per year so small business owners know from the start they have 5 years to adjust. Perhaps keep it in place to target long-term unemployed or first-time teenage workers. Obama's American Jobs Act takes a step in this direction (remember $5/hr x 2000 hour work year = $10,000).
SEC. 351. LONG TERM UNEMPLOYEED WORKERS WORK OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDITS.(a) IN GENERAL.—Paragraph (3) of section 51(b) of the Internal Revenue Code isamended by inserting “$10,000 per year in the case of any individual who is a qualified longterm unemployed individual...
http://www.scribd.com/doc/64723281/American-Jobs-Act

Reg Cæsar said...

Oops... I hastily assumed from a quick read of Steve's Vdare piece that he and Unz were talking about raising the minimum wage for immigrants alone.

That idea was floated by Randall Burns at Vdare back in 200 7, though he never kept at it, nor fleshed it out. He suggested maybe a $3 or $4 premium on immigrant labor (so you couldn't pay a foreigner less than $11 if the US minimum were $7), and he seemed to assume Congress would have to pass such a law.

My tougher proposal: raise the non-citizen minimum wage to the median wage of citizens. That's between $15 and $20 these days.

And let the states do this-- indeed, let the people, in those states with ballot initiatives. States already have both the authority to raise minimum wages, and to discriminate between citizens and non-citizens.

If states can keep foreigners out of the voting booth, it would be daft to argue they can't keep them out of minimum-wage jobs.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Unz is brilliant, and has a clear grasp of the immigration issue, and yet...I have to believe that his timing is all wrong:

1) Reducing illegal immigration via a higher minimum wage is a great tactic...for 2006. In fact, I was making the minimum wage argument back in 2006/07 (including here, under a different pseudonym). If we ever get back to a time of low unemployment, a higher minimum wage will be a great way to hold down illegal immigration.

2) Reducing legal and illegal immigration will have to be addressed directly at some point. There is really no other way around it. We're not going to nickel and dime our way down from 1 million legal immigrants a year to, say, 300 thousand; down from 11 million illegals in the US to none. It will ultimately have to be addressed directly, and now, with 9.1% unemployment and a still stagnant economy, is the best time to do that. Why wait for when the economy is better (if it gets better) AND the minority electorate is larger?

Even now I would support a higher minimum wage, to maybe $10/hour or so. By all means add it to the quiver. Hold it over the head of the business lobby. But it's not the best tactic for the moment, and Unz is at least 4 years too late.

Anonymous said...

Minimum wage laws might be useful in some industries, but not one's where you can get away with paying piece rates instead of minimum wage rates.

In horticulture for example, you simply pay people a low piece rate (which only a few guns can make money at)and you can then pay most of them less than minimum wage.

In New Zealand we our findingworks a treat for getting the most out of our Pacific Island seasonal guest workers.

JSM said...

"Sailer, the fundamental problem with your strategy is that the cost would not be beared by the plutocrats. They would simply pass on the cost to the comsumers, namely, the middle class."

The middle class ALREADY bears the burden, in the form of taxes that funds the welfare state that provides for the needs of the illegals that his low wages can't pay for.




Dumbshit.



"You raise the labor cost and goods and services becomes more expensive. The middle clases do not suffer competition from cheap immigrants AND benefit from cheap restaurant bills bills and cheap law mowers"

Benefit? How? Like by catching e-coli dining in that restaurant staffed by illegals who do not know to wash their hands?

Benefit? How? Like by "allowing" their teenager to sit around all summer instead of earning his car insurance through summer lawn mowing?

If deporting the illegals means I as a middle class person eat out less often and mow my own lawn, but my kids inherit a cohesive, homogeneous country that cares about THEIR interests, sign me up.

JSM said...

"Worker IDs would only be given to workers, who typically don't bring their families with them, and would be less inclined to if they could just go back to Mexico at the end of the season. Of course they could have affairs with natives and have babies that way, but those babies would be citizens regardless."

You are stupid. Do you have any idea how MANY illegals come without their families NOW, willing to abandon their families for *years*? Even so far as abandoning their kids for *years* to Gramma back in Mexico?

Since vast numbers of them are already wiling to NOT return to Mexico, even though their families are there, what use is a guest worker program but to encourage MORE Mexicans to come, the ones who currently are NOT coming because they don't want to leave their families for years?

We tried a bracero program. Eisenhower dealt with the inevitable ensuing problem of them refusing to go home with "Operation Wetback."

Anonymous said...

"Let's assume that the MW legislation were enacted, and included very harsh penalties for violation, including prison sentences"

The harsher the sentence for trivial, bureaucratic crimes, the less likely it will be enforced and less likely it will be reported and the stronger the political opposition to it will be.

Already rewards and punishments exist for turning in people who violate labor laws. Where are the thousands being prosecuted now for employing illegal aliens? Attempts to make everyone a Stasi informer will fail and further damage America.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"The middle class ALREADY bears the burden, in the form of taxes that funds the welfare state that provides for the needs of the illegals that his low wages can't pay for."

The middle class burden isn't bourne only through higher taxes (esp. at the state level, where tax rates are generally less progressive and most of the costs occur), but via lower wages and salaries and also by increased housing costs - we have to spend a lot more money to get away from "them."

but my kids inherit a cohesive, homogeneous country that cares about THEIR interests

Homogeneity doesn't guarantee that. There are folks aplenty ethnically similar to me who haven't the least concern for my or your interests. Mys tate legislature is mostly WASP Republican and they have given us the most illegal immigrant-friendly policies in the country.

The real issue with immigration is in not creating a country that has significantly less human capital than it does now. Overall, about 30% of Americans graduate from college. Only about 10% of Hispanics do. An America that is substantially more Hispanic will be poorer, dumber, and less cultured.

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

"The perception and probably reality is that Mexicans work a lot harder and are a lot less prone to have attitude, high absenteeism, etc."

Uh, maybe the ones who just crawled over the border last week. The ones who have been here for any length of time start to develop an attitude.

And as for raising the minimum wage, I can't believe a smart guy like Unz is so blind as to not see that it's inflationary. Raise the wage of the dishwasher in a pizza joint to $12, you think the guy baking the pies or the assistant manager aren't going to demand more money?

Seems to me we just ought to enforce existing immigration laws.

Rohan Swee said...

Is there a point to analyzing the immigration control ideas of people who don't want immigration controlled?

Bostonian:Steve knows that are millions of Americans with 2-digit IQs (besides below-average whites, there are blacks with average IQ of 85 and Hispanics with average IQ of 90), so he must know that there are lots of Americans whose labor is simply not worth much per hour. A higher minimum age does not make sense.

The economic value of even unskilled labor depends on supply and demand, no?

Anyway, what does it really mean - long term, big picture - to say that the labor of the left side of the bell curve just isn't worth enough to allow them to sustain a decent existence on what they could earn? Do willing-to-work stupid Americans deserve a decent standard of living and decent working conditions? (And really, the question applies to the not-so-stupid, too, since there are jillions of people with normal and above-normal IQs in the world to swell the supply and drive down "worth".) What's a stupid or not-quite-bright-enough guy to do? Eat s*** and live in a favela, I guess.

If that's the endpoint of an "advanced economy", well, that's a damned funny joke, ain't it? We struggle toward the heights for centuries, and, over the summit, we glimpse for our grandchildren...São Paulo. If fortune smiles, the nice gated parts with the security guards. (But you are right, Bostonian, that a higher minimum wage isn't going to solve anything.)

josh said...

But, Steve, you have the can opener problem too. Your implicit assumption is that the United States Government can be made operate for the benefit of its citizens without first radically altering it structure. This is absurd.

Matt said...

"You are stupid. Do you have any idea how MANY illegals come without their families NOW, willing to abandon their families for *years*? Even so far as abandoning their kids for *years* to Gramma back in Mexico? "

Thanks. The theory though, and it sounds plausible to me, is that illegals often stay here at the present time because going back and forth across the border is too risky. They're aware that they aren't supposed to be here, and aren't as stupid as many rightists seem to think. By legalizing what they want to do--come here and work--then they will be far more likely to return every year to Mexico and spend what time they can with their families. Also, their ontological status will change...no longer will they be in this odd place where they aren't really citizens but are de facto permanent residents. They will be expected to return home every year at the end of the season.

Now maybe the theory is wrong, but I haven't heard anything better. If there's a better way to appease the business interests and the left then I'm all ears, but railing at the heavens and the injustice of it all like the right seems to prefer to do is useless.

Anonymous said...

"Homogeneity doesn't guarantee that. There are folks aplenty ethnically similar to me who haven't the least concern for my or your interests."

I think a problem people have when looking at the US is that they equate the country's ethnic groups as being united groups.

That is not true. The white population of the US is too big, at least for now, for it to unite in one ethnic group. For now, there is no need to do so.

"Mys tate legislature is mostly WASP Republican and they have given us the most illegal immigrant-friendly policies in the country."

Exactly. The white US population is not a nation; it is a series of tribes.

The WASPs in your state legislature are defending their tribe - the WASPs. They do this by giving them cheap labor, knowing that their own tribe doesn't have to send their kids to school with either blacks or immigrants. They either go private or they isolate their public school districts.

They also know that their own kids and grandkids will not have to compete for jobs with the new arrivals, because Mommy and Daddy's friends will hook them up.

At the moment, you can't assume that any white person will defend your interests. They will defend the interests of their own tribe.

Rohan Swee said...

Nordic insider: A higher minimum wage is a bad idea because it will make America (and lower-IQ Americans) even less competitive on the international scene. Any industry that the U.S. has left will pretty quickly disappear to Asia.

Can't think of anything that keeps "lower-IQ Americans" out of Third World living conditions that doesn't make them "less competitive on the international scene". Unless it's, um, what's that word? It's right here on the tip of my tongue...

In a very vicious circle, a large portion of everyone's higher wages goes toward very high taxes (you may have heard that we are famous for those). The very high taxes goes to paying for a very comprehensive welfare state.
[...]
It is better to simply redistribute the wealth to keep them out of the workplace.

Ah, yes. "Redistribution". That's it.

However, such a Ponzi scheme was not built to last. Most of the Nordic countries are now building down their welfare states, partly because they are simply not affordable,[...]

Not enough gains to redistribute, eh? But, my beautiful theory...

... and partly because Nordics simply do not want to donate their wealth to peoples from Iraq and Somalia.

I don't know why. I'm assured by economists that those Iraqis and Somalis are absolutely crucial to your future competitiveness on the "international scene".

Higher wages is not the solution for America.

I agree, a de jure minimum wage isn't going to solve anything. But if lower wages (with no concomitant drop in the cost of living) are the solution, maybe we need a fundamental re-examination of the problem. ("Sir, we had to immiserate the village to make it competitive".) Or, just import more Somalis.

The Wobbly Guy said...

As a native Singaporean, I would like to expand on what nsam said, and why minimum wage laws, even selective ones for immigrants, won't work.

In Singapore, foreign workers are classified into several categories. The highest level, E-Pass, enables firms to hire as many of them without needing to adhere to a quota. But, the foreigner needs to be paid a minimum salary of 3000 SGD (IIRC).

Guess what? The employers game the system. Instead of paying a fair wage of 3K to local workers, they hire foreigners on E-Passes, pay them 3K each, then extort 1.5K back from him under the table.

If such underhanded tactics can work in Singapore, which is already as police-state as it can get, it would be a breeze in the US.

Granted, the PAP government seems hellbent on importing even more foreigners into Singapore, which may be why enforcement is privately regarded as a farce by locals.

Our population is now at least 33% non-citizen. Keep an eye on us, because what happens to us next may be your future.

Anonymous said...

What's the National Guard for if not to protect my border?

The CA National Guard was called up several times for riots in the streets in the 60s so why the hell can't we put them on the border.

The problem with us is we forget that Keep it Simple, Stupid is sound advice.

How we get the illegals out is a problem; how we keep them out should not be a problem at all.

Anonymous said...

An ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 69% of Republican voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

In the 2010 primaries, multiple Republicans were damaged in part because of their support for amnesty, including Bob Bennett in Utah and Mike Castle in Delaware; and now Rick Perry, who could easily have walked away with the nomination, may have just committed political suicide.

It's a long time in coming, but support for illegal immigration is finally starting to become a serious political liability. Having finally gotten to this point Unz is suggesting we lay the issue aside and focus on less direct and less "offensive" ways of fighting the problem?

Sorry, but no.

Anonymous said...

"Most may have seen this, about Seattle and race:"

There's some goddamn great fucking writing in that piece...

Gah.

Carol said...

From 1925-1975, we had very little immigration and did just fine.

I don't think we have the class of experienced ag workers that we had back then. Experienced meaning, they can work fast in the hot sun of Texas, Georgia and even eastern Washington, and are accustomed to the gypsy life. Back then lots of white and black workers did it, as they grew up doing farming or sharecropping anyway.

With welfare, SSI etc I just do not see either native whites or blacks putting up with that life again.

Tom said...

When The American Conservative was owned by Buchanan and Taki there were some pretty tough articles on immigration. Read some of Sam Francis’s old articles there. Now under Unz's ownership, TAC just parrots the latest open-borders propaganda from Michael Bloomberg and the NY Times. I’m definitely going to let my subscription expire. The magazine has gone completely downhill.

Anonymous said...

It would not, there are 13 states with a higher minimum wage, and California has a slightly lower youth employment rate than Texas(which has no minimum wage), but the states not on the border have a reasonably healthy youth employment rate.

The best thing to deter low-skilled immigration is distance from the mexican border it seems.

Paul Mendez said...

Enforcement of minimum wage is not a problem.

First, the state Departments of Labor already do an excellent job of enforcing fair wage & hour labor practices.

Second, the many "immigrant rights" groups, like CASA de Maryland, also stand ready to assist their "clients" getting fair wages.

Wandrin said...

"Would raising the minimum wage deter low-skilled immigration?"

It would encourage more people to come. It would encourage employers to employ more illegals to avoid paying it.

.
"Only a genius could be so unbelievably stupid."

They're not stupid. They're evil.

NOTA said...

Perhaps I'm just being dense, but if I'm already hiring someone illegally to save money, why am I going to refrain when the minimum wage is increased? Why would it be easier to enforce this law than the existing ones w.r.t. hiring illegal immigrants?

My prediction is that this would price more left-end-of-the-bell-curve laborers out of the labor market, and create bigger incentives for hiring illegal immigrants.

Fake Herzog said...

I think the evidence suggests that the minimum wage will hurt the American folks we want to help by keeping out the illegals:

http://showmeinstitute.org/publications/policy-study/taxes/346-the-economic-effects-of-minimum-wages-what-might-missouri-expect-from-passage-of-proposition-b.html?qh=YToxOntpOjA7czo3OiJuZXVtYXJrIjt9

JSM said...

"but my kids inherit a cohesive, homogeneous country that cares about THEIR interests

Homogeneity doesn't guarantee that. There are folks aplenty ethnically similar to me who haven't the least concern for my or your interests"

True, but not homogeneous GUARANTEES a squabbling, balkanized society where my kids' interests are CERTAINLY not going to be assured.

Q said...

I don't think we have the class of experienced ag workers that we had back then. Experienced meaning, they can work fast in the hot sun of Texas, Georgia and even eastern Washington, and are accustomed to the gypsy life.



This seems to be a mind-blowing idea to some people, but there is no reason why ag-jobs have to be done in the US. Lettuce grows just as well south of the Rio Grande as north of it.

We're busy outsourcing all sorts of good jobs abroad - from heavy manufacturing to making computers to programming. Vast swathes of American industry which used to provide good jobs for middle class Americans are moving abroad - and at the same time we are told that we have to import cheap peasant labor to toil in our farms!

What's wrong with this picture?

Q said...

Matt said ... If there's a better way to appease the business interests and the left then I'm all ears

Appeasing business interests and the left is what is currently destroying the country. The correct solution is to stop doing it, not to do more of it or to do it "better".

Anonymous said...

And as for raising the minimum wage, I can't believe a smart guy like Unz is so blind as to not see that it's inflationary.
really, and why have the out of control increases of top incomes not been? The ratio of CEO to lowest paid worker in the US has become ridiculous - and every year execs increase bonuses even if they perform like crap.

Anonymous said...

Carol said... "With welfare, SSI etc I just do not see either native whites or blacks putting up with that life again."

Jesus H. Christ. How about some picking machines/robots then? That seems like a better solution to me.

beowulf said...

I think the evidence suggests...
we look at Australia and its A$15.51/hr minimum wage.

Minimum wage laws are like hummingbird wings. In theory they shouldn't fly, in practice they work just fine.

Rohan Swee said...

Carol: I don't think we have the class of experienced ag workers that we had back then. Experienced meaning, they can work fast in the hot sun of Texas, Georgia and even eastern Washington, and are accustomed to the gypsy life.

Q: This seems to be a mind-blowing idea to some people, but there is no reason why ag-jobs have to be done in the US. Lettuce grows just as well south of the Rio Grande as north of it.

We're busy outsourcing all sorts of good jobs abroad - from heavy manufacturing to making computers to programming. Vast swathes of American industry which used to provide good jobs for middle class Americans are moving abroad - and at the same time we are told that we have to import cheap peasant labor to toil in our farms!

Good questions. Why are we protecting and subsidizing people with archaic, uncompetitive business practices? Maybe libertarians can only perceive a "buggy whip maker" when he hasn't got the dosh to purchase the many fine varieties of personalized protectionist legislation available at our many conveniently located representative venues.

Q said...

Would raising the minimum wage deter low-skilled immigration?


"Perhaps", is the only reasonable answer. But the question itself is wrong, because it implies that low-skilled workers are a problem. And they're not. There is always going to be a need for some low-skilled workers.

The question is, what is the proportion of low-skilled workers that we need, keeping in mind that they constitute a net drain on the economy.

The current economic transformation of America in which skilled jobs are shipped abroad while we transition to a low tech agricultural economy must make the average American poorer. It is making the average America poorer, though this is hidden to an extent by the government printing money and borrowing money.

Raising the minimum wage will make all low-skilled workers more expensive, not just low-skilled immigrants.

You want an intelligent American industrial policy? Tax companies at a higher rate on money they invest abroad than on money they invest in America. If GM wants to spend money on a new factory in Brazil, let them. But don't give them American tax breaks (or even tax dollars) for doing so, which is what we do at present.

Instead of raising the minimum wage, institute a guest worker program. A real guest worker program, one where the employers pay real money (at least a few thousand dollars per year) for the privilege of hiring foreign workers, and where the employers take full responsibility for the actions of their "guests". End the current system under which the costs of the low-skilled immigrants are picked up by the taxpayers while the profits made off them go to a few private individuals.

Anonymous said...

"Sailer, the fundamental problem with your strategy is that the cost would not be beared by the plutocrats. They would simply pass on the cost to the comsumers, namely, the middle class."

The middle class ALREADY bears the burden, in the form of taxes that funds the welfare state that provides for the needs of the illegals that his low wages can't pay for.




Dumbshit.



"You raise the labor cost and goods and services becomes more expensive. The middle clases do not suffer competition from cheap immigrants AND benefit from cheap restaurant bills bills and cheap law mowers"

Benefit? How? Like by catching e-coli dining in that restaurant staffed by illegals who do not know to wash their hands?

Benefit? How? Like by "allowing" their teenager to sit around all summer instead of earning his car insurance through summer lawn mowing?

If deporting the illegals means I as a middle class person eat out less often and mow my own lawn, but my kids inherit a cohesive, homogeneous country that cares about THEIR interests, sign me up."

JSM, you are by far the most aggressive and stupid of all of Sailer's readers, and I am getting sick of your attitude. You either start talking respectfully to me and other posters or I will simply ignore you. If you were in my presence, I assure you wouldn't talk to me like that.

Now for your "critiques". No, the middle classes would be economically much worse than they are now if minumum wages were raised, and here's why. The middle clases do NOT spend more money on taxes supporting immigrants and their children theen they would otherwise spend if there were no immigrants. Without immigrants, low-skill labor would be far more costly than it is now(supply and demand) and this higher cost would be reflected on the price of goods and services that depend on low-skilled labor. This includes restaurant bills, the price of food(dependent on the cost of agricultural labor), the price of servants, dish washers, etc. Even the cost of gas would rise dramatically as the oil wells in Texas depend to a large degree on Mexican immigrants and wihtout them the refineries would need to spend 3 or 4 times more on personnel, and they would simply repass the cost to the consumers. Also, the middle clases do NOT pay the bulk in taxes. The bulk in taxes are payed by the top 10% of the population, in the form of income tax and corporate tax. The middle classes benefit economically immensely from cheap immigrant labor to a much higher degree than they are burdened economically by it. The bottom line is that: INCREASING MINIMUM WAGE WOULD DRAMATICALLY DECREASE THE LIVING STANDARD OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES, WHICH COMPOSE THE BULK OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Are you mentally capable of understanding this? Good.

RS said...

I shall have to finish the Unz piece in sections, if ever, but I got down to the graph of the Sailer, Black, and Hispanic hypotheses.

There's an irony, in that Unz vividly sketches the LA White exodus, then runs correlations on White political responses to non-Whites by state. The potential causality of these correlations is partly negated by the fact that Whites have probably disaggregated from others to quite a considerable degree, by moving to Whiter states, as in the LA exodus. I think this would be particularly true of non-Southern Whites, Southerners being noted for their rootedness - and in general, the problem it presents seems pretty striking in potential size.

Anonymous said...

Also, the middle clases do NOT pay the bulk in taxes. The bulk in taxes are payed by the top 10% of the population, in the form of income tax and corporate tax.

That's for federal taxes, and only income taxes at that. The bulk of immigrant costs are bourne at the state level (esp. education) and state taxes are generally far less progressive.

JSM said...

"By legalizing what they want to do--come here and work--then they will be far more likely to return every year to Mexico and spend what time they can with their families. Also, their ontological status will change...no longer will they be in this odd place where they aren't really citizens but are de facto permanent residents. They will be expected to return home every year at the end of the season."

Swell for them.

But your plan helps American-Americans how?
Not at all, that's how.

Making it *easy* for illegals to do what they want, work a few months and go back home for a few months, just makes the imminvasion WORSE because now you've paved the way for the worrywarts who were too nervous to leave Mexico, to come, too.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how raising MW will help. All it will do is raise the costs of living for everyone; which means more inflation and money printing.

Bottom line, if someone is worth $7/hr today and it takes him 50 hours a month to pay his $350 per month apartment, raising MW to $10/hr only means his rent will jack up to $500. And then all costs across the board go up. And to keep wages in line with productivity, the gov has more money printed so enough is allowed to go around so everyone keeps at the same proportionate level.

So, if it takes a low skilled worker 50 hours to be able to afford an apartment, as an example, it doesn't make a difference what the wage is. It means some guy has to toil for 50 hours just to get by and keep a roof over his head. That is how people approach life in these situations. It comes down to how much sweat does it cost versus opportunity costs (i.e. is there a way I can work for 20 hours and play instead for 30 hours and still get by?? and then you get the usual scamming from men trying to hook up with nurses or ladies with decent incomes who will carry them) People in these low skilled jobs do not get theoretical about things. We should not either.

So if you can't find Americans to work hard just to get by in life, then you will have illegals coming in who will. At least for a generation or two I suppose.

Rohan Swee said...

Q: You want an intelligent American industrial policy? Tax companies at a higher rate on money they invest abroad than on money they invest in America. If GM wants to spend money on a new factory in Brazil, let them. But don't give them American tax breaks (or even tax dollars) for doing so, which is what we do at present.

A man can dream, can't he? Veering OT here, but our "unintelligent" industrial (immigration/trade/etc) policies are only unintelligent from the quaint point of view of something once known as "national interest". They're intelligent policies (at least in the short- to medium- term) for the people who buy them from the politicians who probably aren't intelligent enough to realize what they're doing. (Or, even if they have the brainpower, are too addled by re-election ADD to soberly consider the long-term consequences.)

But I know you know that.

I have noticed more bien pensants furrowing their brows over their (very belated) recognition that trade deficits and loss of industry kinda, maybe - who knew? - matter, but I predict any action along those lines is going to be channeled into approved outlets - like pretending it's all the fault of the Chinese for manipulating their currency. (As if the Chinese were the ones responsible for looking out for our national interest, lol. See Krugman, of late.)

Rohan Swee said...

Anonymous@6:37: JSM, you are by far the most aggressive and stupid of all of Sailer's readers, and I am getting sick of your attitude. You either start talking respectfully to me and other posters or I will simply ignore you. If you were in my presence, I assure you wouldn't talk to me like that.

Now for your "critiques". No, the middle classes would be economically much worse than they are now if minumum wages were raised, and here's why.[...]

Anonymous@6:37, your capacity for understanding the economic ins and outs of immigration/minimum wage is vastly exceeded by your comic talent for petulant foot-stamping.

David said...

>What's a stupid or not-quite-bright-enough guy to do? Eat s*** and live in a favela, I guess. If that's the endpoint of an "advanced economy", well, that's a damned funny joke, ain't it? We struggle toward the heights for centuries, and, over the summit, we glimpse for our grandchildren...São Paulo<

The West accumulated capital (capitalism) for this? The same old perennial widespread poverty, with a handful of feudal lords o'erseeing it all. Money really warps thinking - there never was a real political revolution in the West, merely a lot more cash floating around because people saved and invested more, and so modern science was able to get off the ground, making the population a little cleaner so it could explode. But that's all. You can throw all your Hegels and Fukuyamas and other wizards in the discard.

Anonymous said...

Also, the middle clases do NOT pay the bulk in taxes. The bulk in taxes are payed by the top 10% of the population, in the form of income tax and corporate tax. The middle classes benefit economically immensely from cheap immigrant labor to a much higher degree than they are burdened economically by it.


Let me use one of your own responses.

Dumbshit.

Nordic insider said...

I said... "The very comprehensive welfare state supports something like 20-25% of Nordic populations who are simply not fit enough to pay very high wages to work (i.e. older people and a lot of people on disability). That is why we have such low unemployment rates. They are artificially low because a large segment of the population is kept out of the workforce because they are not cost effective. It is better to simply redistribute the wealth to keep them out of the workplace."

My estimate (20-25%) was an under-estimate for Norway. The figure of working-age people on disability in Norway is, in fact, 33%:

One in three Norwegians on benefits