2006 May 22 Monday
Senate Immigration Act Would Create Labor Bureaucracy

Tim Kane, Ph.D., Director of the Center for International Trade and Economics at The Heritage Foundation, says the US Senate immigration bill would create a big labor market regulation bureaucracy.

The klieg lights of the media often turn thoughtful policy discussions into cartoonish debates, and this habit is distorting the Senate’s consideration of immigration reform. Libertarians and pro-business conservatives who favor immigration and open borders are supposedly squaring off against conservatives who favor law, order, and national security. But the strongest libertarian advocates of free markets might want to take a closer look at the details of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S. 2611). The 600-page bill is stuffed with provisions that are difficult to decipher, some good, no doubt, and some that are alarming. Alarms bells should be ringing at the idea of creating a new bureaucracy within the Department of Labor tasked with centrally planning labor markets for untold numbers of guest workers. This would be a mistake.

If the goal of immigration reform is to enhance the liberty and prosperity of the U.S. and its citizens, then a robust flow of immigrants is desirable.[1] But that logic hinges on two assumptions: that immigrants are coming to America for work, not welfare, and that reform will improve, not hinder, the labor market.

Here are the problems Kane sees with the Senate CIRA legislation:

  • Ripe for Political Manipulation. The legislation envisions a “Temporary Worker Task Force” with ten members (all political appointees from the federal government, none from states). More explicitly, the Secretary of Labor would determine which occupational categories in the U.S. have unmet demands for labor. This structure is ripe for political pressure. Would industry lobbyists not get a friendly ear when they pressed allied legislators and appointees for increased quotas in their sector? Or what if a labor union demanded fewer immigrants in its sector? Markets, not bureaucrats and certainly not politicians, should determine the equilibrium for wages and where labor is employed.
  • Dramatically Expands Prevailing Wage Rules. Centrally controlling wages for every possible occupation is a breathtakingly ambitious project but would be mandatory for guest workers under the S. 2611. [2] Such micromanagement of the prices of heterogonous labor is hopeless because supply and demand for various skills are constantly evolving in unpredictable ways. On Friday, the Senate adopted by voice vote an amendment from Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) to make the Senate plan’s prevailing wage provisions even stronger. In his words, “This amendment would establish a true prevailing wage for all occupations.” If the Senate passed a law outlawing supply and demand, it would hardly be more amazing. Senator Obama summarized, apparently with no protest from other Senators, that the goal of his amendment is to ensure prevailing wages “apply to all workers and not just some workers.” That is a chilling thought.
  • Bogs Down the Labor Market. A dynamic economy requires its labor market to adjust constantly to different types of work (e.g., the burgeoning demand for software programmers, physical therapists, and nurses). A static, centrally-planned system assumes change must be justified and will slow economic growth.
  • Inefficient Paperwork Favors Big Firms. The law would require potential employers to submit paperwork making ten different certifications, including that any migrant worker won’t impact wages in the specific occupation they are entering. Employers also have to go through a Kabuki dance of certifying that no native worker could be found to do the work. Do Ohio companies have to do this when employing people from Michigan or Indiana? Expecting companies to resolve issues that remain unresolved by the sharpest academics in the world is folly. Such paperwork is ridiculous, inefficient, and especially prohibitive to small employers.
  • A Dangerous Precedent for Labor Market Intrusion. If the guest workforce reaches 7 million, then central planners will control 5 percent of the labor market. Once the pattern is established, what is to stop the new bureaucracy from “fixing” the labor market for all low-skilled workers, and then for all young workers, and then for all workers? Extending prevailing wage rules to the private sector creates a slippery slope.
  • Inefficient Centrally-Planned Markets. This kind of program is based on the fallacy that governments can centrally measure and plan the quantities and prices of labor and goods better than markets can. The history of failed socialist economies in Eastern Europe should not be so easy to neglect.

Big businesses will see some of these items as reasons to support this legislation. They can hire sharp labor lawyers and game the system quite successfully. They will pay less for labor, even adjusted for regulatory costs. Granted, the market will be less efficient and newer and smaller firms will face competitive disadvantages. But that's not a problem for big established corporations that higher expensive Washington lobbyists and make big campaign contributions.

America's elite is corrupt and its elected officials are not too bright. As Steve Sailer and Lawrence Auster have noted, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), co-sponsor of CIRA, doesn't look too bright (see picture at either link). These fools are easy marks for sharp big business lobbyists.

Now is the time to act and make your voice heard. Contact your US Senators to express your displeasure at their plan to deluge the United States with tens of millions of immigrants in the next 20 years then you can find the web sites of each US Senator in this list. Similarly, contact your Representative and tell him or her the House should not negotiate with the Senate over their bill. You can find contact information for your US House Representative here. You can also tell El Presidente Jorge W. Bush that you oppose his planned replacement of the United States of America with the United States of Latin America. When you email or fax or snail mail to Jorge Bush be sure to tell him you know how he's lying on immigration.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 May 22 04:40 PM  Immigration Policy

John S Bolton said at May 22, 2006 11:03 PM:

Often , anarcholibertarians use the vocabulary of capitalism, legalism and economics to conceal their underlying hostility to freedom from aggression. While giving the impression of being imbued with pragmatic concerns, even trying to use derision of opponents, as if organized society were impractical; no consideration can deflect them from their basic commitment to competition for sovereignty as a political ideal. War is competition for sovereignty; to try to idealize that sort of competition, would idealize any degree of violence and destruction of civilization.
Here we have stated as the opponents, two right wing elements; while, altogether too conveniently left out of the picture, are the left participants.
Marchers in the immigrant martial privileges movement are carrying signs of an 'international socialist organization'.
How much more explicit do they have to get?
Proceeding on the basis that there is a right to hostile immigration, can only mean wanting freedom for aggression, and no freedom from it.

Pete said at May 22, 2006 11:39 PM:

Randall, thanks for your articles here and your call to undertake political action. I've done just that-- called both my Senator and House Rep yesterday.

The depressing thing is, in my heart of hearts, I don't think it will make a dime's worth of difference. Let's say we get what would be, at the moment, the optimal result-- a total rejection of this immigration bill. I'll acknowledge that the House enforcement bill has no chance of passing the Senate, let alone of escaping a Presidential veto. But at the very least, we can defeat this repugnant Senate bill. Some idiots like Fred Barnes like to say that a failure of the immigration bill would show a "do-nothing Congress" and be damaging for Congress's credibility, but I'd rather have a do-nothing Congress instead of a do-too-much Congress that passes dangerous legislationg like the Senate bill. It's not the amnesty that infuriates me so much (though it *does* make me angry), it's the plan to raise our legal immigration intake to 4 million people annually, turning the US into a nation of serfs and wage-slaves.

Now, let's say that the House stands its ground and defeats this nutty bill. Then what? Then more such crazy bills get proposed in the future, secretive amnesties (the "Hurricane Mitch" sort-of amnesty) are put forward, the legal immigration quotas are slowly increased, and before we know it, we have an overcrowded US with 400 million people. Whites in the US are already down to a 1.5 per couple white birth rate, and it's going even lower because such crowding pushes down wages and makes land more expensive, hitting US whites hard. The hard truth is this-- even with sharp reductions to immigration levels in our laws, whites are still going to be a minority. With the current system, we'll be a minority by 2030. If the current immigration law passes, we'll be a minority in a decade.

Where I was from in California, the white fertility rate was estimated to be about *1.1*, one of the lowest numbers in the world. I don't see why any whites want to remain in California anymore, with the overpopulation there, pollution, ethnic hatred, political emasculation and unaffordability of the state.

In any case, I just don't feel that I have much invested in the US anymore. Why should I contribute so much to a country that spits on me and my kind? I don't want to become a "market-dominant minority," like the Chinese in Indonesia-- we all know what happens to them as the majority gets ever more resentful, yet that's what's in store for us whites in the US very soon. Much of Europe has problems and I'm not fond of their Socialism, but some countries have held strong-- they're still very homogeneous and still aggressive about protecting their culture and their majority white population. They have a cultural strength that countries like the US, Canada, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Australia will never have. Central European nations are good examples, basically a line from Denmark down through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, maybe with Spain in there too, will give you a list of very culturally solid countries which, while not totally homogeneous, nonetheless try to meet their labor needs by giving incentives to childbearing among the native population, while inviting in members of their own Diaspora abroad. They're proud republics that respect their own people.

How can the US stay an economic powerhouse if we become Brazil by 2045? The answer is, we can't, and I see no point in investing so much in a country determined to commit suicide while stabbing its white population and then twisting the knife. My family and I will probably be bound for a central European nation by 2012 or so. I'm sorry, but I just don't see anything changing the self-destructive US mentality, and I don't want to contribute to such a place.

Dave said at May 23, 2006 7:19 PM:

Pete, You are thinking of moving to Spain to get away from hispanics?, kind of ironic :) . Did you know Spain recently had an amnesty of its own, mainly for the North African immigrants, of which they have over 900,000 which is a lot when the population of Spain is only 40 million or so (I'm not saying they were all illegals, the amnesty was only for a few thousand). Italy has also had amnesties.

A Trade Union leader has recently called for an amnesty in Britain, using the same language as from the American debate, "they do the jobs we wont do", "our economy would collapse without them", "you can't deport that many people", what the fool doesn't say is that the reason the illegals are employed over Brits is to get around the 'minium wage' and tax regulations and if you legalised them they would soon be out of a job.

Pearsall said at May 24, 2006 12:23 PM:

Pete, the white tfr in the US is not 1.5, it's 1.83. See here.

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