With Critics of Immigration Like This, Who Needs Advocates?
By Bryan Caplan
I occasionally quip that I like the whole range of economists from Mises to Krugman. We can squabble amongst ourselves, but it’s amazing how much we really agree. Now Krugman is voicing doubts about immigration, but once again, he doesn’t disappoint me. What’s bad about immigration, according to Krugman?
First, the net benefits to the U.S. economy from immigration, aside from the large gains to the immigrants themselves, are small. Realistic estimates suggest that immigration since 1980 has raised the total income of native-born Americans by no more than a fraction of 1 percent.
Horrors! Only a small gain to native-born Americans? Something’s got to be done to fight this small gain.
Second, while immigration may have raised overall income slightly, many of the worst-off native-born Americans are hurt by immigration — especially immigration from Mexico…. George Borjas and Lawrence Katz… estimate that U.S. high school dropouts would earn as much as 8 percent more if it weren’t for Mexican immigration.
My word, we could give high school dropouts as much as an 8 percent raise by deporting millions of desperate foreigners, and we haven’t done it! How do we look at ourselves in the mirror?
As Homer would say, “In case you couldn’t tell, I was being sarcastic!”