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Ed Driscoll

How to Increase Unemployment

January 10th, 2014 - 3:44 pm

It’s all summed up in the two halves of this sentence in a new article at NRO by Andrew Stiles: “White House adviser Gene Sperling laments that ‘our economy still has three people looking for every job [opening],’ while the administration calls for an immigration bill projected to increase unemployment:”

There was a time a when Democrats were unwilling to support measures that would increase unskilled and temporary immigration to the United States, because doing so would “exert downward pressure on wages at a time when we are already losing our middle class,” in the words of Senator Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), speaking in opposition to George W. Bush’s immigration-reform effort in 2007. There was a time when even the New York Times editorial board worried that amnesty for illegal immigrants “would depress the wages of its lowest-paid native-born workers.”

These bygone concerns are not without evidence to back them up. George Borjas, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he specializes in labor economics and immigration issues, has estimated that current immigration policy, on net, reduces the wages of U.S. workers in competition with immigrants by $400 billion a year, while it increases the profits of business owners employing immigrant labor by roughly the same amount ($437 billion). Low-skilled workers and African Americans are among the primary victims of this trend.

In light of all this, continuing to push for Gang of Eight–style immigration reform while simultaneously condemning the scourge of income inequality ought to give Democrats some pause. At the very least, it could prompt a broader discussion about immigration reform that isn’t singularly focused on a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. But it won’t.

Meanwhile, Hugh Hewitt explores “How Obamacare Killed The Jobs Market:”

What did economists expect with the crashing boulder of Obamacare headed downhill towards American employers?

Some things are obvious. One of them is that hiring is going to remain terrible at least until there are rules that are known and can be coasted [sic?] when it comes to hiring new employees.

As Kevin D. Williamson noted last month:

For the Left, politics is heroic — and every hero must have an antagonist. In 2013, those nominated to wear the black hats were Catholics, the wrong kind of business executives, insurance companies, one half of Congress, more than half of the nation’s governors, the Koch brothers and their allies (real and imagined), gun owners and enthusiasts, and people who cling to what was the president’s own view regarding gay marriage until 600 days ago.

We find ourselves, then, in a kind of crossfire: The battle between competence and incompetence rages on one front, while another war — one in which the participants understand themselves to be in an epoch-defining contest between good and evil — is fought perpendicularly.

Whichever side you find yourself on, know this: No sane person builds a widget factory in the middle of a battlefield.

If only we could have seen it all coming back in 2008.

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