Immigration Quota Management
By Arnold Kling
There’s going to be a point system to determine who gets one of the precious 380,000 visas that are up for grabs. Highly educated people get points. People with skills that are in high demand, whatever that means, get points. Young but not too young? Points. Speak English well? More points for you…
Some people complain that the Bush Administration is too free market. But the idea that Washington bureaucrats can figure out which skills are in high demand is an idea straight out of the old Soviet Union. It would be great if we could get some old communists from the politburo to administer it, but we won’t be able to. They won’t score high enough on the point system to get a visa.
Read the whole thing. Of course, we have immigration quotas as it is, and they are not administered rationally. It would seem that the logical recommendation, which many economists have made, is an immigration tariff.
Which leads to the next logical idea. Instead of a tariff, where the proceeds go to the government, treat citizenship as an individual property right, including alienability. Dwight Lee was the first to suggest this approach. It’s an idea that only an economist could love.