The Other Problems with Roy Beck on Immigration
By David Henderson
“You should have 2 servants and I should have 8.”
In my previous post on Roy Beck’s dramatic use of gumballs to make a numerate point about immigration, I focused on the fact that, contra Beck, making one million people better off really is a big deal. But I wrote not a word about the other way in which Beck misleads. That is that he makes it sound as if we Americans are doing foreigners a big favor at our expense by letting them in. [It feels weird when I write “we Americans” because although I am an American, I am also an immigrant.] But the fact is that Americans gain from immigration also.
In a discussion of immigration about 15 years ago, a fairly wealthy colleague of mine, an economist named Pat Parker, said the statement I put in bold above. What he was getting at is that if the U.S. government opened its borders to immigrants, many of us would have people from, say, Guatemala or Bolivia or Kenya working for us in our homes. They would be better off–Beck’s point–but we would also be better off–Parker’s point.
The gains from trade from dropping immigration restrictions would be huge.
HT to Robert Eaton.