Open Immigration

I think the biggest problem with immigration is that government limits it.

Good legislation mirrors social norms and the social norms recognize that most illegal immigrants are hard-working people looking for opportunity through value-added work effort rather than value-draining government benefit programs. That’s win-win. We should eliminate government limits on immigration to match what we believe to be true that we generally accept immigrants.

Now, some folks make the case that immigrants attracted by government handouts are a drain on society. However, I think that should be taken as a valid case against government handouts rather than immigration.

Others worry about the cultural impact of open immigration, yet the U.S. has survived many waves of immigrants before. I’m not sure I understand why a current wave should be feared, especially if they are coming here for opportunity.

Update: Here’s a good, related post on Arnold Kling’s askblog. In response to the analogy “Illegal immigrants are to immigration what shoplifters are to shopping,” Kling wrote:

Let me continue with the analogy. We have a store that makes the process of dealing with the sales clerks very complicated, with people having to stand in line at the cash register for years. Maybe we would not have so much shoplifting if we fixed the checkout process–or at least if we offered an “express lane” to people willing to pay a fee of $5,000 or so.

One of Kling’s commenters took it a bit further and wrote:

Illegal immigrants are to immigration what front-of-the-bus riders are to Jim Crow.


On the Cyprus bank deposit tax

At least that’s a transparent theft of money, as opposed to the less transparent inflation that results of printing more cash.

Note: Yes…I originally referenced Greece in this post. I am dumb and do not know my Mediterranean geo-politics. But, I’m learning.

Jon Stewart’s view on taxes

While flipping channels tonight, I came across a segment of the Jon Stewart Show where Mr. Stewart claims John Boehner referring to taxation as theft showed a lack of understanding of the United States Constitution.

Here’s a link to the full clip.

I’d be open for Mr. Stewart, or the writer of that joke, to point me to the part of the Constitution he believes Mr. Boehner doesn’t understand.

Article I, Section 8 of the CoTUS gives Congress the power to ‘lay and collect’ taxes. However, it does not say that taxes are not theft.

I’ll give Mr. Stewart the benefit of the doubt that he is referring to meaning of theft as the unlawful taking of another person’s property without their permission. Since the Constitution makes taxing power lawful, then (I’m guessing) Stewart believes taxes are not theft.

However, some folks believe the more salient meaning of theft is the part where another person’s property is taken without their permission. In that view, many taxes are theft.

I’d rather have elected officials who see taxes the way Speaker Boehner sees them than the way Mr. Stewart sees them.

Stewart was miffed that Boehner’s (what he thought was a) “mistake” didn’t get media attention, while President Obama’s lack of understanding of Star Wars and Star Trek did.

Maybe others in the media were concerned that Mr. Boehner’s view on taxes would make sense to people, especially folks fresh off their 2% payroll tax holiday.

What is ‘modest’?

Bob Murphy makes a good point while responding to Elizabeth Warren’s discussion of a $22 minimum wage:

We’re not talking about a “modest” change that Krugman et al. hide behind when we free-marketeers go nuts on this stuff. (Even here, I’m still waiting for someone to show me why going from $7.25 to $9/hour–which is a 24 percent increase–is “modest.” If the government cut the deficit by 24 percent in a year, I doubt Krugman would dismiss it as “modest.”)

…or cut government spending by 24%, lowered tax rates by 24% or increased tax rates on the poor by 24%.


We do judge books by their covers

Text and link copied from Instapundit:

Poll: Majority Back Republican Ideas Until They Hear that the Ideas Came From Republicans

When I clicked through the story, I was disappointed to find that it was narrowly limited to the budget plans, because I experience this often with many topics.

If you just talk issues, I find that quite a few people side more with the conservative/right-side. But, when you put names — be they parties or candidates — to the positions, things change.

On a couple of rare occasions I’ve had issue discussions with folks who I was sure going to tell me they were Democrat, but when party came up they were strong conservative.

It’s unfortunate, but brands work. Wrappers matter. I do recall, it was a tough transition for me as well. It’s been even tougher to throw my vote away.

Good quotes

The Pretense of Knowledge shares some good quotes on liberty and on the sequester. A couple of which I’d like to capture here for my future reference.

On liberty, from Laurence Auster:

Once the government becomes the supplier of people’s needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right.

On the sequester, from Thomas Sowell:

Back in my teaching days, many years ago, one of the things I liked to ask the class to consider was this: Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do? The answer, of course, is that it would cut back on the medications for children. Why? Because that would be what was most likely to get the budget cuts restored. If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.

Crunch and soggy

One of my beliefs is that all problems can be traced to trouble in feedback. Whether you are overweight, work for a company that is losing customers to competitors or in a society that keeps funding a failing policy, there is very likely an explanation that lies somewhere in the feedback.

Some feedback is easier to respond than others. Instapundit links to classic article from the Financial Times written in 2001 by an editor who recently passed away.

In a crunchy system, the feedback is clear. I often use the military as an example of this. In most cases (especially those where a challenge to sovereignty is made), whether the military wins or loses is evident.

In a soggy system, the feedback is not so clear and that can lead to folks misinterpret and respond incorrectly, or not at all, to feedback. For example, government programs is a soggy system that tends to give more weight to intentions than to results. Even the military, when acting beyond its basic purpose of defense can become soggy.

I would publish some good snippets from the article and link to the article, but after reading the Financial Times toddler-like copyright and sharing policy, I thought I’d first laugh and then take a pass on trying too hard to recommend and source their content.