Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Sane Immigration Policy for America

This is from my new favorite pastime - arguing with who is probably Los Angeles' most famous left-wing scribe - Marc Cooper, who writes often acute (domestic) political columns for the LA Weekly. He wrote a piece basically backing the Bush plan.

It is ideologically true that if capital is free to run around and find the best place to make a profit, then workers should also be free to transcend national borders to find where they can make the highest buck.

Capitalists obviously try to prevent that because the status quo keeps capital in the dominant position. So called “free marketeers” who don’t believe that need to be called out as the hypocrites they are. Today’s typical US liberal say they support this, while righteously (and hypocritically) calling for “labor and enviroronmental” standards - that do little more than add bureacratic hurdles to developing countries and local producers.

What no one seems ready to deal with is that there are serious costs and unexpected consequences with “freedom” of trade, capital or labor. Europeans understand this and therefore support a social development fund to smooth out the regional imbalances.

But as for those of us demonized as leftists/socialists who put the most vulnerable first, the question should not be to let the market work its destructive magic, but to use our brains - to do the research to find out what sectors will be most hurt and plan for their assistance. If it does not make sense to empty out Detroit’s manufacturing base - or Georigia textile workers - we should feel no shame about protecting them. If Mexico opening its corn market means the devastation of its rural heritage (and towns) AND higher prices, did that make sense? Much other “trade” in goods and labor is mutually beneficial.

Opening the US’ borders wider to provide vital workers (in agriculture, computer sci. etc.) is smart. But just opening the floodgates to anyone that makes it here (like only Cubans get today) is a recipe for disaster. The deadly, desperate attempts will only increase and we will be in trouble as soon as the next recession hits. Nevermind all the other stuff about schools, overcrowding, the impact on the uneducated…) Even though economists are happy to hit 5% unemployment, we should strive for 0%.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

leftside, can you explain further -- how would "opening the floodgates" be a recipe for disaster? Why would we be in trouble when the next recession hits? I'm having trouble following your argument.

I favor as few restraints on immigration as possible.

-A Human Rights Lawyer

10:22 AM  

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