Thursday, 24 June 2010

In Immigration Debate, Politicians are the Problem

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A recent influx of Hispanic workers attracted by jobs at local meatpacking plants” has so “angered” voters in Fremont, NB, that they “approved a ban on hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants” this past Monday. “Clint Walraven, who has lived in Fremont all his 51 years, said the jobs should go to legal residents who are unemployed — something he believes the ordinance would help fix.”

Unfortunately, Clint and his fellow Fremonters are scaping the wrong goats. If they truly want to “fix” unemployment, they should go after politicians and bureaucrats, not immigrants.

Government destroys exponentially more jobs than immigrants could ever “steal” – and it does so more subtly, too, fooling its victims into blaming everything and everyone but it. For example, “28-year-old Nicholas Rudin,” an unemployed “line-leader and forklift driver,” thinks he’s figured out why he can’t find work: “He has applied for dozens of jobs only to return later and find immigrants working there instead. A gas station he applied at hired a Jamaican immigrant who had been in the country for two months. At a warehouse where he recently submitted an application, he couldn’t even find somebody who spoke English to give his application to.”

No doubt, the legislators in Mr. Rudin’s locale all speak English – and there’s also little doubt that their zoning laws prohibit businesses from opening in places where they’re likeliest to succeed and, eventually, expand as they hire more help. They’ve probably passed regulations as well that stop folks from building on their own property, so that contractors -- and bricklayers, electricians, carpenters and plumbers -- go begging for work.

Add to this foolishness the economic havoc “professional” licensing wreaks. Many states compel the entrepreneur offering such harmless services as braiding hair or arranging flowers to obtain Leviathan’s permission first – but the board that dispenses said permission usually includes representatives from older, established firms in the field who don’t welcome competition and lower prices. They deny entry to newcomers with the excuse that they’re protecting the public, not their profits; never mind how many dreams and jobs they sabotage.

Slither down to the federal level and scrutinize Congressional legislation: even laws that seemingly have nothing whatever to do with labor and employment are as proficient at killing jobs as their sponsors are at lying. For example, take the “climate-change legislation … designed by Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA)” that “the House of Representatives narrowly passed … on June 26, 2009. … The 1,427-page bill would restrict greenhouse gas emissions from industry, mainly carbon dioxide from the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. …Net job losses approach 1.9 million in 2012 and could approach 2.5 million by 2035.” Even if every one of the 38 million “foreign born” in the country, legal or otherwise, “stole” a job from someone with the dumb luck to be born here, Congress must impose only a few dozen such disasters as Waxman-Markey to win first place in the job-gobbling contest – and it’s foisted 191 “public laws” on us so far this year alone. (“Public laws affect society as a whole, and make up most of the laws passed by Congress.”)

All this and we haven’t even mentioned taxation, nor its robbing us of money we would otherwise spend on products and services. That increased demand would not only enable existing businesses to grow, it would launch new ones. Instead, our wealth disappears into government’s insatiable maw. Tax forms speak English on white paper, and they aren’t as obvious as the Jamaican immigrant who swiped the position on which Nicholas Rudin assumed he had a better claim. But absent taxation, both Mr. Rudin and his Jamaican nemesis would have all the work they could handle.

Tragically, we play right into our rulers’ hands when we beseech government to “protect” jobs, whether from immigrants or from foreign competitors via tariffs. Protecting jobs – or “creating” them, for that matter – always augments politicians’ power while enfeebling us. Then, too, the State’s incompetence, compulsion, and corruption mean that overall it can’t safeguard jobs any more efficiently than it can manufacture them. Yes, it temporarily creates and protects a few, in favored industries or for companies its corporate cronies control or when it authorizes yet another bureaucracy. But these come at the expense of others. For instance, slapping tariffs on imported steel saves some American jobs by destroying ones in different fields. And ultimately, jobs that political pull conjures crumble under the market’s inexorable forces.

Even more frightening, a government able to grant some people a livelihood can – and does –deny it to others. Those who love liberty never cede such overweening authority to politicians and bureaucrats. No wonder the Founders didn’t list “Create and protect Jobs” among the Feds’ Constitutional powers.

They didn’t include “Control movement into and out of the country” among those powers, either. In fact, the nearest the Constitution allows government to approach immigration is “establish[ing] an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” But setting the standards whereby people become citizens is far, far removed from walling off our borders or erecting bureaucracies to harass everyone, American or not, with orders of “Papers, please.”

When it came to jobs or borders, the Founders knew better than to trust the State. Why don’t we?

Becky Akers, an expert on the American Revolution, writes frequently about issues related to security and privacy. Her articles and columns have been published by, The Freeman, Military History Magazine, American History Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Post, and other publications.

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