Bechhofer Immigration Bet
By Bryan Caplan
If I were in Obama’s shoes, I’d give life-long deferred action to every illegal immigrant, past, present, and future. I’d also immediately pardon all 20,000+ of the people in federal prison for immigration offenses.
But to belabor the obvious, Obama and I are two very different people. He’s a two-time gold champion of the political Olympics. I probably couldn’t win a election for Chief Dog Catcher. He’s based his career on pandering to the American people; I’ve based my career on flunking the American people. I was scoffing at voters’ intelligence before it was cool.
The upshot: When I hear that Obama plans to shield many millions of illegal immigrants from the nation’s draconian immigration laws, I’m skeptical. Such an action requires the very iconoclasm the democratic process ruthlessly screens out. Bold announcements notwithstanding, I expect him to (a) slash the numbers, (b) cave in to public pressure, and/or (c) fail to effectively deliver what illegal immigrants most crave – permission to legally work.
GMU econ prodigy Nathaniel Bechhofer is considerably more optimistic. Argument proved fruitless, so we agreed on a bet. The terms:
If, by June 1, 2017, the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, or Washington Post assert that one million of more additional illegal immigrants have actually received permission to legally work in the United States as a result of Obama’s executive action since November, 2014, I owe Nathaniel Bechhofer $20. Otherwise he owes me $20.
Of course, I hope Nathaniel wins. But hoping and thinking are two different things.
Update: The noble David Balan has taken the same bet against me for $100.