Trump vs. Reason

Donald-Trumps-Hair_zpswqc4ev8gJust imagine. The United States federal government randomly picks 11 million people from the street, puts them on a boat and deports them. Imagine the economic catastrophe for the remaining people (their landlords, grass cutters, food stores, hairdressers, etc.). Now, imagine they are foreigners and think again about the economic consequences. Wait. Don’t do it. It’s actually the same[1].

Now imagine this. The federal government picks 11 million thugs, thieves, con artists and crooked bankers, puts them on a boat and deports them. Imagine the blessings on the economy. Imagine these 11 million are American citizens, with a heritage that goes back to the first American colonies. Now, imagine they are foreigners and think again about the blessings on the economy. Try to find the differences in both hypothesis. Wait. Don’t do it. It’s actually the same.

Last exercise. Imagine 11 million people on welfare, all depending on the State, are put on a boat and deported. Imagine how this eases the taxpayers’ financial burden. Imagine these people are white, with blond hair and blue eyes and a heritage that goes back to the first American colonies. Now, imagine them all shorter, with darker skin, black hair and brown eyes and try to find a different economic consequence. Wait. Don’t do it. It’s actually the same.

Let’s stop for a second and think what this all means: Nationalism is not that different from Marxism. It is also a polylogism, but it has more fans.

Trump has said a lot of things about the immigration problem, but I would like to address his main concern: according to his bias, Mexican immigrants get into the United States to commit crimes. Curiously, immigration’s mortal sin is working, not robbing (at least according to the immigration services’ questions: ‘Thou shall not work in this land’). Criminals should be arrested and judged regardless of their nationality, unless Mr. Trump is implying that American criminals should get a preferential treatment.

During the last century, a false concept was globally accepted: the immigrant ‘steals’ jobs from the locals and that is bad for the economy. Debunking this idea is key to achieving a real and effective immigration reform. During financial crises or periods of economic unrest, this error is fueled even more, leading to the old rite of finding a scapegoat. The foreigner is perceived as a threat, the cause of misfortune and the gods’ wrath. But, if the problem is that the foreigner steals jobs, don’t younger locals steal jobs too? Following that reasoning, new births should also be stopped.

Financial crises are not caused by immigration, but by banks expanding credits. Actually, when National banks expand credit, businesses go broke and people lose their jobs regardless of their nationality. Both locals and foreigners are victims of this process. These crises naturally stop immigration and are an incentive for emigration.

Mister Trump should ask himself why the United States had its main wealth expansion and became the most important world power at a time when it had a wide open immigration policy. People arrived from all around and grew everyone’s wealth, while multiplying even more the demand for workers.

The rebuttal for Trump’s mistake is the following: an economy incorporates more resources to produce more, not to produce less. A country does not get poorer with immigrants. Everyone gets richer in a growing and more productive economy.

That having been said, there is never any economic reason to have an immigration police. This should be handled under market conditions and the market only needs to clear the criminals. If criminals are foreigners they could be deported, unlike Americans who have to be held prison by public spending. It  ends up that the former is cheaper than the latter, but both do the same harm.

It is useless to focus on a technicality (in a positivist concept of legality truly away from the American tradition). A legality that is overwhelmed by incentives, extremely restrictive and just leads to companies leaving American soil, looking for better and cheaper labor conditions. Instead of hiring immigrants in America, companies just pack up and go overseas.

Finally, Milton Friedman argues against immigration, focusing on the increasing Welfare state costs and the burden to taxpayers. This is, in my opinion, a complete fallacy and here are the reasons:

  1. Immigrants know better than anyone that the United States is a strong market economy and they want to make money. They know what a failure the Welfare state is (it involves no welfare, but the simple administration of discomfort), they have suffered it in their countries of origin, and it’s the reason why they’re leaving them.
  1. Going back to the exercise at the beginning, is an immigrant taxpayer different from a born and raised taxpayer? Are the immigrants the ones that actually increase welfare spending? Or is it, maybe, just maybe, everyone?
  1. Labor is just a resource, and immigrant labor adds up to and grows the productive power of the whole economy. Any spending, justified or not, rational or not, is distributed more widely.
  1. At the end of the day, everyone’s tax money is going to be used for supporting all the government’s bad ideas and structures, regardless of their country of origin.

In case Mr. Trump wants to deport foreign criminals, he can go ahead, as there is no reason to support them on the taxpayer dime. But let’s face it. Let’s not waste time looking for ideas that can only make this country similar to many Latin American ones for immigrants. Let’s look into what well-established American universities are producing in terms of ideas, with real absurdities as departments dedicated to “Equality and Diversity”, because that is the real problem.

Finally, did Mr. Trump or his supporters have any evidence of the growth of the economies that those 11 million people or the previous generations of immigrants leave? Because following his concepts, they should have experimented the rise of better an well paid jobs and less Welfare spending.

[1] Selecting people randomly would be much cheaper.

By Jose Benegas

Abogado, ensayista y periodista. Master en economía y ciencias políticas. Conductor y productor de radio y televisión. Colaborador de medios escritos, televisivos y radiales. Analista y conferencista internacional desde la perspectiva de la sociedad abierta y las libertades personales a las que ha dedicado su obra intelectual. Dos veces premiado en segundo lugar del concurso internacional de ensayos Caminos del la libertad.

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