Tag Archives: us senate

The East German Immigration Model


A U.S. Senate candidate in Alaska thinks that the U.S. should follow East Germany’s example when it comes to immigration. GOP nominee Joe Miller told a town hall audience, “The first thing that has to be done is secure the border. . .  East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow.  Now, obviously, other things were involved.  We have the capacity to, as a great nation, secure the border.  If East Germany could, we could.”

He’s darn right “other things were involved.” See CEI’s video on the Berlin Wall for details. What a terrible choice of example.

Miller also forgets that East Germany’s 858 miles of fence weren’t meant to keep people out. That fence was meant to keep people in. Against their will. On pain of death.

It’s almost certain that Miller doesn’t really want the full-on East German border enforcement model. It was probably just a tasteless slip of the tongue. But he clearly favors a border fence. Which, of course, he should oppose if his goal is actually to reduce illegal immigration.

Many undocumented immigrants only stay in the U.S. for a few months. Get a job, make some money, go back home and share it with family. A border fence will keep a lot of people like that out, yes. But it also keeps current undocumented immigrants in. Unwillingly, in many cases.

If Miller wins his election, there is a lot he can do to reduce illegal immigration. Building an American version of the Berlin Wall is not one of them. As Alex Nowrasteh and I wrote, “The immigration black market only exists is because the government has made the legal market as cumbersome as it can.”

Miller should make legal immigration less cumbersome. People will come to America, no matter what. That’s what happens when you have one of the freest, richest, most dynamic nations on earth. That’s a fact of life that our broken immigration system does not take into account.

Neither, apparently, does Joe Miller.

 

Senate Passes $18,000,000,000 Spending Bill: Will it Create Jobs?

The Senate just passed an $18 billion spending bill. Since the House already passed it, the legislation is now headed to President Obama’s desk to await his signature and become law.

The hope is that the spending will create jobs. If you’re reading this blog, then you probably know enough about economics to know that isn’t what will actually happen. Remember: anything that Washington giveth, it must first taketh away from somewhere else. It’s a zero-sum game. All those new jobs that politicians will be touting for the cameras will have come at the expense of other jobs elsewhere. On net, they’re not creating a thing.

Take the payroll tax break for small businesses that’s in the bill. Yes, those small businesses benefit. Maybe the money they save will even be used to hire more workers. That’s easy enough to see. But that money had to come from somewhere. That is harder to see. Too hard for the Senate to see, at the very least.

The reason is this: the government is foregoing some payroll tax revenue. But since it isn’t cutting spending to match, it has to borrow more. And there’s only so much investment capital to go around. Because Washington is borrowing more, less is left over for private investment opportunities. At the very least, companies will have to offer investors higher interest rates to lure them away from government bonds.

That makes getting loans more expensive. And when something gets more expensive, there tends to be less of it. Because of today’s bill, about $18 billion less capital will be available for the private sector to create jobs.

The legislation the Senate passed today is no jobs bill, at least on net. It is a spending bill. It doesn’t create jobs, it only redirects them.