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The Weaponization of Milton Friedman

I’m pretty sure that I linked to this excellent essay by Shikha Dalmia when it first appeared back in July. But whether I did so or not, I link to it again here, for it’s filled with important context on Milton Friedman’s (in)famous expression of skepticism about open immigration into a country with a welfare state. And it is in this essay by Shikha that we find this especially relevant passage:

Now, if he [Friedman] had stopped at that, it would have been one thing. But he did not. He went on to declare that despite the welfare state, Mexican immigration was a “good thing” for America, particularly when it was of the illegal variety. Why? “Because as long as it’s illegal the people who come in do not qualify for welfare, they don’t qualify for Social Security, they don’t qualify for all the other myriads of benefits,” he pointed out. “They take jobs that most residents of this country are unwilling to take, they provide employers with workers of a kind they cannot get.”

In other words, as far as Friedman was concerned, free illegal immigration was perfectly compatible with the welfare state and slamming the door on it would be utter stupidity.