What Is it About Immigration???

by Don Boudreaux on December 9, 2005

in Immigration, Myths and Fallacies

In a comment on this blog-post, Ivan Kirigin repeats a claim asserted frequently by people who are suspicious of open immigration: "illegal immigrants are more likely to be a burden on society through higher taxes."

I doubt that this assertion is true, but I confess that I don’t have any numbers to present at the moment to support my position.  But I do have handy a widely known fact whose persistence is evidence against Mr. Kirigin’s claim.

This fact is the government’s many restrictions on the ability of foreigners to work lawfully in the United States.  If immigrants come to these shores largely to free-ride on taxpayers, Uncle Sam wouldn’t have to spill so much ink and spend so much effort trying to prevent them from working.

But I confess that it’s possible that the numbers might show that the typical illegal immigrant (or even typical immigrant) drains more from taxpayers than does the typical native-born American.  If so, this fact does not mean that the net contribution of these immigrants is negative.  Against the amount they consume in taxes must be weighed not just the amount they pay in taxes but also the amount of value they add to the economy.

But let’s assume for the moment that the net contribution of immigrants, even properly measured, is negative.  Rather than restrict them from coming to America, the first and best step surely is to remove all restrictions aimed at preventing them from working.  Removal of such restrictions would surely increase immigrants’ contribution to the economy and reduce their reliance upon government.

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{ 32 comments }

Randy December 9, 2005 at 2:45 pm

Were the native americans right to resist the illegal immigration of european settlers? It seems clear that the economic results of that immigration were a net positive. Of course the culture of the native americans was "altered" somewhat, but that's irrelevant to the discussion – correct?

Ivan Kirigin December 9, 2005 at 3:49 pm

Firstly, there are laws against immigration right? But millions of illegal immigrants come here. There are also laws against working as an illegal, right? What do you think the chances are that people that broke the laws about immigrating will break the laws about working? I suppose the real ‘law-breakers’ here are the corporations who employ illegals in large numbers.

Do you think that the ability to work in higher paying jobs is restricted in illegals, because those employers are more likely to follow the law regarding their employment? I think that makes sense.

"Rather than restrict them from coming to America, the first and best step surely is to remove all restrictions aimed at preventing them from working."

Are they mutually exclusive?

I 100% agree that there should be no restrictions on working in America. On previous minimum wage posts, I've made that clear at least for letting the market decide pay. It doesn't make sense to limit the ability of people to help themselves.

Now for some numbers on the other costs. I disagree with Randall Parker of ParaPundit about the best course of action, but you can find some very interesting numbers.
http://www.parapundit.com/

Non-citizens are 43% of medically uninsured.
http://www.parapundit.com/archives/001731.html

One out of every 12 dollars spent on medical insurance pays for medical care of the uninsured.
http://www.parapundit.com/archives/002818.html

Almost half of Hispanics don't graduate high school.
http://www.parapundit.com/archives/001959.html

Crime is a huge, expensive problem.
http://www.parapundit.com/archives/cat_immigration_crime.html

You can add up some of the numbers. Some say $68B net loss. $10B net loss to the federal government.
http://www.parapundit.com/archives/002637.html#002637
http://www.parapundit.com/archives/002312.html#002312

I don't doubt that many immigrants come here and lead very productive lives to the benefit of all. Why don't we decrease immigrant rolls that aren't like that, and increase those that are?

Remove the caps on the educated, wealthy, or intelligent. All three can be tested. Make it easier to control immigration with a deterrent like a fence with many access points.

I'd even advocate removing part of the motivation for the problem:
- unilaterally remove all limits on trade to the US
- unilaterally remove all subsidies
- especially remove all farm subsidies, farm tariffs and import limits on food
- end the drug war with legalization and regulation
- liberalize gun laws

"It seems clear that the economic results of that immigration were a net positive."

Time change. Certainly government encroachment into all aspects of life has changed.

Rick Schmatz December 9, 2005 at 4:47 pm

How about all the hospitals closing in the south due to illegal immigration?

This is just one of hundreds of stories:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,150750,00.html

This of course leads to more clamor for socialized medicine, and an increasing number of individuals and at least potential voters who think they are entitled to have someone else pay for their healthcare.

J-Deal December 9, 2005 at 5:14 pm

Think there are a couple issues here, I dislike Illegal Immigration, because it makes legal immigration basically pointless. We all know people trying to do it the legal way, and it's a pain that takes year, I almost want to suggest to them, to just cross illegally.

However, I think you are also forgetting about the transitional costs of immigration. Let's take it to an extreme, lets say the entire third world decided to move to America next year. Taking it to that extreme it's easy to see what would happen. Wages would go way down, government services would be overrun, everything would be worse and America with the new influx of 1 billion people, would no longer be America.

I only state this to show there is a margin. I like Immigration, I don't think we let enough immigrants in legally, but we must decide what the right number per year is without disrupting the transition to much. I think a bit of homesteading should be considered also.

Randy December 9, 2005 at 5:29 pm

J-Deal,

Good point. There is indeed a margin. And with a government that shows no sign of recognizing this, people are afraid.

Mike Z December 9, 2005 at 8:11 pm

What part of "illegal" seems unclear to you? Setting aside the restrictions against hiring illegals will only do away with the concept of "illegal immigrant".

Remember that not all those who come here, come to work. Many come – at least in this state (California) – for the benefits, such as Emergency Room treatment of the smallest cold (all the way up to the proverbial gunshot wound).

They also come to put their children in our schools – which explains why California is way down in the rankings – because the children do not speak English and can't pass simple tests.

Those are some of the "unintended consequences" and almost-hidden costs attributable to immigration.

Mike Z December 9, 2005 at 8:11 pm

What part of "illegal" seems unclear to you? Setting aside the restrictions against hiring illegals will only do away with the concept of "illegal immigrant".

Remember that not all those who come here, come to work. Many come – at least in this state (California) – for the benefits, such as Emergency Room treatment of the smallest cold (all the way up to the proverbial gunshot wound).

They also come to put their children in our schools – which explains why California is way down in the rankings – because the children do not speak English and can't pass simple tests.

Those are some of the "unintended consequences" and almost-hidden costs attributable to immigration.

Nathanael Snow December 9, 2005 at 8:57 pm

The main problem people have with immigration is the amount of tax dollars spent on them. Fine. Stop the programs that they are milking. Problem is that too many Americans are sucking on the same teats. That's just plain selfish.
People are always more protective of their unfairly gained privileges than they are of their rights or liberties.
Would there be a sudden influx of immigrants if we opened up our borders?
Yes. Would that be a drain on the economy? No. Not if you get rid of minumum wages and other price controls. How long would it take for the maket to accomodate so many more mouths? Quicker than you can say legislation, which is the real problem.
(Why do we always focus on the mouths? For every mouth there are two hands ready to work!)
Conservatives have become way too emotional about this issue, and it has clouded their judgement. Immigration could be an issue that highlights and galvanizes the problems with a welfare state. Once you open the spout of federal funding for charity, the entire populace will clammor like a nest full of hungry chicks for the privilege of directing those funds.
I think the problem is that the conservatives secretly desire that statist power just as strongly as the welfare statists do.

Camilo December 9, 2005 at 10:12 pm

The issue of obeying the law and the issue of immigration hit close to home and so I would like to share the following:

I am Mexican and live in Mexico. Mexicans, unfortunately, have a very hard time accepting rules. From my perspective, laws are very important. Perhaps they are even the difference between a developed nation and an un-developed nation. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish my fellow citizens obeyed the law and other rules conducive to social well being.

The adherence to laws and social norms benefits everyone. Usually, at least in so called “democratic” states, they represent everyone’s best interest. Why is it important to stop at red lights? If I look both ways and clearly see that no one is coming, why can’t I ignore a red light? Because it only takes being wrong once to possibly kill someone and so it is in everyone’s best interest that everyone stops at red lights.

Mexicans don’t stop for red lights. Mexicans don’t stop for anything. Mexicans are raised to do everything and anything they want. Hegel defined true freedom as adherence to the law and caprice as its opposite: the very worst of all oppressions. I tend to agree. There are few things more oppressive than the knowledge that you are one of the few paying taxes and stopping at red lights when it’s every man for himself all around.

I have seen with my own eyes what Latin Americans, legal and illegal, are capable of in the U.S. If I were an American citizen and I had to put up with the lack of respect for others that Latin Americans typically display, I would want them thrown out as well. Human emotions are, well, human, and therefore understandable.

On the other hand, many of the people crossing the border are, sadly, are among our best. I say sadly because the ones that risk life and limb to live and work in a nation that holds laws in high regard (normally) are exactly the people we need to keep. These entrepreneurs take the most menial and thankless jobs upon there arrival. Many of them save their money and start businesses of their own and their children often continue the upward movement.

Those immigrants contribute positively to the U.S. They consume, they pay taxes, they put money into social security (without getting anything in return), and they even employ. They are assets and it is a tragedy that we cannot retain them here at home.

The issue isn’t, I believe, that immigrants and/or their employers have the right to break certain laws. Instead, I would phrase it this way: the laws should be changed. These employees and entrepreneurs should not be illegal because what they are doing should not be contradicted by law. Productive behavior should not be contradicted by law. The parasites and the delinquent should be expelled. But it is in America’s interest to adopt the others. If only their own country would.

Camilo December 9, 2005 at 10:30 pm

That being said, I completely agree with DR. Boudreaux's earlier post regarding the "minutemen". They really are officious, narrow-minded, xenophobic, and selfish.

Michael December 10, 2005 at 6:52 am

I live in the UK, and I must profess my ignorance, but I have NEVER heard arguments in favour of illegal immigration – they just don't exist here – and I have completely failed to glean from this thread what they are. So, out of curiosity, what are they, and why the difference in the UK? Is it because we have the NHS, or is it because we don't restrict the movement of unskilled labour within the EU so get loads from Eastern Europe anyway? Or is it just because the US is almost entirely populated by immigrants that you have a different view of it?

I particularly don't get this comment:

"If immigrants come to these shores largely to free-ride on taxpayers, Uncle Sam wouldn't have to spill so much ink and spend so much effort trying to prevent them from working."

Surely if illegal immigrants are draining money from taxpayers then it's in the government's interests to stop them, so that they get re-elected by the taxpayers?

Michael December 10, 2005 at 6:56 am

… unless Don Boudreaux thinks that you can't freeload off the taxpayer AND work without paying taxes – in which case, although that first sentence makes sense, I still don't get the underlying logic.

Tom Kelly December 10, 2005 at 7:50 am

Thank you Dr. Boudreaux for being a consistent reasonable voice pointing out the foolishness of our immigration policies.

Our standard of living is determined by our productivity- not just in the U.S. but on the planet. Immigrants, legal or illegal, move to parts of the planet where they can personally be more productive.

Any law anywhere that restricts the movement of people or the products/services they produce takes a bite out of overall productivity.

If immigrants put more of a burden on "free" government services that they contribute, the problem is the availability of the "free" government services, not the presence of immigrants.

Libery is prosperity.

jfn December 10, 2005 at 11:34 am

No one can dispute the costs on American society of “illegal” immigration. Since these costs will eventually be transferred to American businesses it is not in the fiduciary interests of business to engage in “illegal” hiring practices.

Swimmy December 10, 2005 at 12:23 pm

Surely if illegal immigrants are draining money from taxpayers then it's in the government's interests to stop them, so that they get re-elected by the taxpayers?

This is technically true – politicians are more interested in getting re-elected than doing what is right. Boudreaux's point was that eliminating employment restrictions will lead to more pay throughout the immigrant community and likely higher wages over time, thus increasing their contribution to the economy and the amount of taxes they must pay. This may be a counter-intuitive answer, and therefore unpopular among the general population.

We're talking about a free-rider problem. However, it's a problem of our own doing; we have told the free-riders that they cannot contribute, that their free-riding is rather a function of their very presence.

We could just let them contribute. No more free-riding.

Ivan Kirigin December 10, 2005 at 4:34 pm

jfn:
"Since these costs will eventually be transferred to American businesses it is not in the fiduciary interests of business to engage in “illegal” hiring practices."

Ha! Just like subsidies to certain businesses or individuals eventually get the entire system taxed, right? The whole point is that there is a concentrated benefit, paid by a distributed cost, so businesses have a net gain.

Tom Kelly:
"Any law anywhere that restricts the movement of people or the products/services they produce takes a bite out of overall productivity."

FALSE. Certainly if people can me more productive in America than Mexico, average global productivity increases with their immigration. But, just looking at the US, remembering productivity is the biggest indicator of standard of living, average productivity _decreases_ with more unskilled immigrants.

Think about it like this: farms which cannot hire cheap hands are forced to automate. Productivity increases.

This is one argument against unlimited immigration by unskilled laborers. People look at Japan and think, "their robots are related to their immigration policies". They are correct.

Given that, globally, productivity increases with people being free to work for themselves, I don't think this is a valid argument (though I would love to see more robots around. Soon, they will be cheaper than minimum wage.)

Note that this isn't a small-minded, xenophobic argument. Considering productivity maps to standard of living, it is a straight forward statement independent of cultural issues: higher immigration from unskilled laborers lowers domestic productivity.

Nathanael Snow:
"The main problem people have with immigration is the amount of tax dollars spent on them. Fine. Stop the programs that they are milking."

Some of the programs are actually very needed. Prisons and hospitals come to mind. For the latter, unless you want to make it legal for an ER to turn away patients who can't pay (which is one reason India is so much cheaper than the US for certain procedures), then there is not good change to the program which would help significantly.

Further, as has been stated, people like their welfare programs. It's hard to eliminate them. It would be easier and more popular to decrease illegal immigration.

K December 10, 2005 at 5:47 pm

Immigration occurs for various reasons. If we limit the discussion to those seeking work in decent conditions it is fairly certain that they improve the economy.

But other motives can prevail. A nation with free medical care, high welfare payments, good schools, etc. would not last long without restricting how those benefits are meted out. So we test eligibility for welfare, and cap the amounts, provide limited free medicine, and scrutinize admission to top schools. The tests apply to citizens as well as immigrants.

Immigration into a nation is similarlly a benefit. When it is totally free of cost, inconvenience, or waiting, then the world's poor will surge to where they get a better deal. In fact they will be transported, and gladly, by their own governments to the richer nation.

So either immigration is controlled, or billions become so rich that immigration is not desired, or internal policing keeps immigrants from getting benefits (a harsh technique with a poor performance rating), or -insert your answer -?

Make your choice. The poor seeking a better place certainly will make theirs. They are not bad people but when faced with poverty and despair many will see no reason why a seemingly willing nation should not support them.

Scott December 10, 2005 at 6:39 pm

Ivan Kirigin: "But, just looking at the US, remembering productivity is the biggest indicator of standard of living, average productivity _decreases_ with more unskilled immigrants."

Just because the average productivity is going down doesn't necessarily mean it's harming anyone.

For example, suppose in a really small country there are 3 people. Individually their productiveness is $60K, $50K, $40K, so the average is $50K. Now suppose an immigrant moves to the country. The productiveness of the original 3 in real terms is $65K, $55K, $45K and that of the new immigrant is $20K. Average productivity is now $37K. Can you realistically argue that because of the new immigrant that the original 3 are worse off? Sure the average productivity is lower but each person is now better off.

Scott December 10, 2005 at 6:42 pm

Sorry, the average should be $46.25K, not $37K, I accidently divided by 5, not 4.

But the point is still the same, average productivity is lower $46.25K vs $50K, but each of the original 3 citizens are better off and presumaly the immigrant is better off.

J-Deal December 10, 2005 at 6:55 pm

"On the other hand, many of the people crossing the border are, sadly, are among our best. I say sadly because the ones that risk life and limb to live and work in a nation that holds laws in high regard (normally) are exactly the people we need to keep. These entrepreneurs take the most menial and thankless jobs upon there arrival. Many of them save their money and start businesses of their own and their children often continue the upward movement."

This comment is not talked about enough. In a sense immigration is hurting Mexico a lot worse than America, we are taking the very people who would force change in their country and absorbing them.

I'm not really sure where I stand on this, but I wish more people would talk about this. It's as if we have taken the top 10% of the workforce for an entire country. How will Mexico ever change? And are the Mexican Pols pushing this, because they know it will keep them in power.

Aaron Krowne December 10, 2005 at 7:30 pm

Here is a paper I wrote that discusses how illegal immigration is (I claim) largely caused by our tax system:

http://br.endernet.org/~akrowne/writings/illegal_immigration/illegal_immigration.pdf

Among other things, in this paper, I sketch a proof that illegal immigration is *necessarily* a net drain on society.

The key thing to note is that the main benefit of illegal immigration (lower prices in the labor market) is exactly cancelled out by lost tax revenues.

Why? because the ability to settle for lower wages is precisely caused by forfeiting those taxes!

Once you pile on all of the social ills to this zero-sum exchange, you get an overall undesireable phenomenon.

Also, as I point out in the paper, another effect which seems to have been ignored is that illegal labor must lower the cost basis for even legal work, subjecting tax-paying citizens to "competitive" forces that shouldn't even exist. This causes widespread pain amongst the "disadvantaged".

Some people have posted elsewhere in this discussion some good stats on the societal carrying cost of this group.

Scott December 10, 2005 at 8:33 pm

Aaron, one of the assumptions you seem to make is that all jobs performed by illegal immigrants automatically displace citizens, but this isn't necessarily true.

Using your numbers, if I value landscape work at $6.50 per hour, and illegals set their wage at $5.60 then I will be purchasing their labour and will have $0.90 surplus value. However, if there were no illegals and the citizens rate is $7 per hour, then I will not be purchasing their labour. So, it's not necessarily true that without illegals, citizens could work as landscapers for $7 per hour (i.e., elasticity of demand).

Additionally, if you value landscape work at $10 per hour, then the results of illegals underbidding citizens from $7 per hour to $5.60 per hour means you now have $1.40 more per hour to spend offsetting the $1.40 the government loses in revenue. So, rather than the government spending that $1.40 as it chooses, you choose how to spend that $1.40.

If you're like me, and believe that mutually beneficial voluntary free trade builds wealth as opposed to forced trade (or taxation) just transferring wealth, then the $1.40 in savings will, at least, improve your derived value by $1.40, otherwise you wouldn't engage in trade. This improves the overall productivity of the economy.

Scott December 10, 2005 at 8:44 pm

As for addressing the costs of social services used by illegals, there is obviously a net loss from a goverment point of view, but not necessarily from a societal point of view.

Using my example above, if I have a surplus value of $0.90 from the hiring of illegal landscapers that offsets the social services costs those illegals have on the government. If their costs to the government are more than $0.90 per hour, then yes, they are a net burden. But if their costs are less than $0.90 per hour (whatever that works out to annually), then there is a net gain.

Ivan Kirigin December 10, 2005 at 9:48 pm

Scott:
"Can you realistically argue that because of the new immigrant that the original 3 are worse off? Sure the average productivity is lower but each person is now better off."

I think that you are probably right, in a static analysis.

Additional people working with fewer skills probably won’t actually affect those higher skilled people, or their standard of living.

The one exception is the incentive for technological growth.

Believe me, I work in robotics. The technology that would enable a robot to successfully compete with a human in, say, picking some delicate fruit, or handling glass to wash, would have a big effect on MANY other industries.

In that sense, the lost incentive for automation is pretty costly.

But as I mentioned, the productivity argument is already weak when looking internationally.

Aaron Krowne:
"The key thing to note is that the main benefit of illegal immigration (lower prices in the labor market) is exactly cancelled out by lost tax revenues.

Why? because the ability to settle for lower wages is precisely caused by forfeiting those taxes!"

This sounds wrong for the same reason why companies welcome illegal immigrants: those getting the most benefits aren't paying proportionally for the taxes. This is probably related to progressive taxation: 80% of tax revenues come from the wealthiest 20%. This means a great chunk of people can easily enjoy lower prices and insignificantly higher taxes.

This doesn't mean the 'net gain' argument is wrong, just that labor prices aren't determined by taxes.

LowcountryJoe December 11, 2005 at 10:15 am

From the Cato Institute:

"…the cost to U.S. taxpayers of making one arrest along the border increased from $300 in 1992 to $1,700 in 2002, an increase of 467 percent in just a decade.

"Enforcement has driven up the cost of crossing the border illegally, but that has had the unintended consequence of encouraging illegal immigrants to stay longer in the United States to recoup the cost of entry. The result is that illegal immigrants are less likely to return to their home country, causing an increase in the number of illegal immigrants remaining in the United States. Whatever one thinks about the goal of reducing migration from Mexico, U.S. policies toward that end have clearly failed, and at great cost to U.S. taxpayers."

And:

"In a poll of eminent economists conducted by Stephen Moore and me in the mid-1980s (see Simon 1989, Appendix C), with update by Moore in 1990, we found agreement that immigration had (and has now) a positive effect upon the economic condition of the United States; Moore found comparable results in a 1989 poll, too. Included in the surveys were 38 persons who had been president of the American Economic Association, as well as those who had been members of the President's Council of Economic Advisers…

"What impact does illegal immigration in its current magnitude have on the U.S. economy:

Economists (percent)
Illegals have a positive (74)
Illegals have a neutral impact (11)
Illegals have a negative impact (11)
Don't know (4)"

Rick Schmatz December 11, 2005 at 11:18 am

No one yet has even mentioned national security, which happens to be the number one reason right now to try to limit, and regulate illegal immigration.

I know what is coming now– all of the 911 hijackers were here legally. I think all of them came here legally but most had overstayed their visa.

That, however, is an indictment against how we regulate legal immigration, rather than evidence that we should merely let everyone in.

Scott December 11, 2005 at 7:08 pm

As a Canadian my knowledge of terrorism in the U.S. isn't the best, but what country was Timothy McVeigh from? John Walker Lindh?

Seriously though, I don't think anyone is advocating wide open borders with no restrictions. Obviously, criminals and threats to national security shouldn't be ignored, but how big of a threat is it really? What percentage of illegal immigrants threats to national security? 10%, 1%, 0.1%? Should the other 90%, 99%, 99.9% be shut out because of them?

This is a desctiption from the Center For Immigration Studies. "The mechanism for selecting legal immigrants is very complex, but all legal immigration flows have at least three components ? family, employment, and humanitarian."

Perhaps a better policy is to remove immigration quotas and let anyone immigrate provided they can prove they have a clean criminal record and agree to a mandatory probabtion period. Obviously that won't stop all threats to national security, but at least you can be somewhat more assured that the guy who still resorts to sneaking across the border is doing so because he actually has something to hide rather than just a desire to live in the country.

J Crain December 12, 2005 at 12:52 pm

The best common sense explanation of hostility to immigration that I've seen recently is at Coyote blog: http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2005/11/immigration_ind.html.

Worth reading the whole thing, IMO.

Mr. Econotarian December 12, 2005 at 12:54 pm

I'm sure we'll will win the war on illegal immigration right after we win the war on importation of illegal drugs.

Yes, no doubt our all-knowing, all-powerful government will eradicate the drug-money fueled violent gangs and immigration coyotes their anti-market policies have created. Have faith in the anti-market!

Aaron Krowne December 13, 2005 at 1:10 am

Scott:

Actually, I don't at all assume that each illegal worker employed displaces someone. I claim there is a mixed effect of bidding-down of "natural" wages at the low-end of the labor market, as well as probably some significant amount of displacement.

Thus, while your constructed example is correct, it is refuting a straw man argument I never made. I can construct plenty of examples that show how illegal workers lower wages or displace legitimate workers. Surely there is some mix of these effects.

The more important point of yours is that the "surplus" value gained when employers "tap out" money the government would have otherwise taxed allows that money to "escape" the governmental system.

This is a good point, but I doubt you'll find much sympathy for it outside of the ivory-tower economics set. If this money is really being better put to work by keeping it away from the government, why don't we all do this? Why not advocate total tax rebellion? Or another perspective: isn't following the law a moral issue, especially for a tenet as basic as taxation?

Even the efficiency claim is dubious, as it neglects the carrying cost of the illegal resident population, as well as the secondary costs from social strife (harder to price, but I don't doubt they are large). Finally, I think the assumption that every dollar the government taxes is 100% wasted is a little bit extreme.

Ivan:

I honestly don't know how you can say that labor prices are not determined by taxes. Are you forgetting the non-income tax income taxes (social security, medicare)?

An argument I don't make in my paper, but probably should, is that unemployment insurance and health insurance should, as evaded overhead costs, also be treated as tax evasion. While they are not technically tax evsion, all of these things have just as significant (if not more so) free-rider effects on society. The continuous debate about whether they should be federalized is evidence of this.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more massive the labor market benefit must be from evading all of these overhead costs.

Your point about where the bulk of tax revenue raised comes from isn't actually very relevant. I should be clear about this: I never meant to claim that the virtual "free rider tax" every legal citizen will experience as a result of illegal residents is actually large enough to notice. My core points related to this are merely that (1) the effects are felt acutely in the labor market, especially at the low and, end (2) this is enabled by the cumulative effect of the virtual "free rider tax", regardless of its per-capital magnitude.

Scott December 13, 2005 at 12:12 pm

Aaron:

Speaking of straw man arguments, I don't ever recall saying that I believed 100% of government taxes are wasted. I said, I believe it's more efficient in the hands of private individuals to trade freely rather than being forcibly taken by the government.

As for advocating total tax rebellion, have you read any Libertarian or classical liberal proposals regarding taxation? I strongly believe that most, if not all, services provided by governments should be eliminated. Here in Canada we recently had a high ranking member of the governing Liberal party (think a little to the left of Democrats) basically come out and say that parents can't be trusted to raise their own kids and that they're more likely to spend returned taxes on popcorn and beer as opposed to providing for their children. That's how big government is created, with this ideaology that people can't be trusted to do what's best for them and they should be grateful they government is watching over them.

If you truly believe that illegal immigrants are costing society because of the social services they use without paying, doesn't it make just as much sense to advocate cutting back these social services as it does to eliminating illegal immigrants?

James Henty April 8, 2006 at 8:31 pm

Always enjoy the posting. However, individuals here in the United States illegally should be documented and subjected to a process similar to those immigrants that have arrive via legal methods to our soil. Lets not reward them or place their disregard for our laws ahead of others (legal entries). While we are at it we should pass English as the language of America and secure our southern border and prevent the next wave of desperate immigrants fleeing Presidente Fox's pittiful government. Mexico continues to wallow in a sea of corruption, which has spaned several decades.

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