Tucker Carlson is Wrong
By David Henderson
instead we’re getting waves of people with high school educations or less. Nice people, no one doubts that, but as an economic matter this is insane. It’s indefensible, so nobody even tries to defend it. Instead our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.
This is what Tucker Carlson of the Fox News Channel said on December 13 about some immigrants to the United States coming through our southern border. He replayed it at about the 15:07 point here.
Let’s consider what he said point by point:
Nice people, no one doubts that.
But Donald Trump has expressed a lot of doubt about that. Is Tucker, a guy who claims to follow the news, not aware of that? Hard to believe.
It’s indefensible, so nobody even tries to defend it.
It’s actually quite defensible. Which is why many people–Bryan Caplan, Alex Nowrasteh, David Bier, and I, to name four–have defended it. And here’s the economic defense (as opposed to the moral defense) in a nutshell. There are gains from exchange. Many of those people bring valuable skills that they will provide at a relatively low price. Both sides gain.
Can Tucker Carlson, who has had Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute on his show more than once, really believe that “nobody even tries to defend it?” Either Carlson has a really poor memory or he’s a liar.
Instead our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this.
He’s probably right about some of our self-appointed leaders. If so, they’re wrong to tell you to shut up.
We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.
We seem to get nowhere when we talk about moral obligations and so I won’t try. But the last part about making our own country poorer and dirtier is absurd. Immigration makes us wealthier; again, think about gains from exchange. And if Tucker is right that we get a lot of people with high school educations or less, immigration probably makes our country cleaner. Immigration makes it less costly to hire people to clean our houses and our yards and to cut our trees.
As to making our country more divided, he may well be right about this. If he were to switch positions, though, it might make our country slightly less divided.