Thursday, April 23, 2015

Immigration and the Minimum Wage

There are many in the U.S. now demanding a much higher minimum wage; some advocate a $15/hr minimum. They point out, correctly, that wages for entry-level jobs have stagnated.

Additionally, the (national) Libertarian Party essentially advocates for open borders, with exceptions for people who pose a security threat to U.S. residents. The LP does this despite recognizing the obvious conflict between a welfare state such as the U.S. and open immigration. In effect, the combination simply means that the U.S. permits more thieves into the country. Not that I am saying that all immigrants are thieves (aka welfare recipients), but a certain fraction are, just as a certain fraction of native-born Americans are.

I suggest that wages for entry-level positions have stagnated in the U.S. in large part because the supply of labor has been steadily growing as a result of greatly increased immigration. The chart below, from the Census Bureau, shows how immigration to the U.S. has increased substantially since 1970. Anyone not completely ignorant of economics knows that if the supply of labor is greatly increased without a concomitant expansion of the economy, wages will fall. In this case wages don't actually fall, but purchasing power does as a result of inflation.

So, rather than have the government dictate a higher minimum wage, why not restrict immigration, especially low-skilled immigration? This would help raise wages for entry-level positions without a government mandate, and additionally ease the welfare state burden on those who actually pay taxes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WTF? Are you actually proposing a Big Government crackdown as a solution to a social problem? Either you believe in free markets or you don't.

In addition, your rhetoric is alienating potential recruits to the LP!

Anyone with a family to support, working a min wage job that isn't cutting it, is likely to take advantage of food stamps.

Now that family oriented, working, tax paying citizen finds out about the LP, and comes to check out what the party has to say - and the first thing they find is people calling them a "thief" for using the rules as they currently exist to their best advantage.

Way to expand the base!

Freedom means being able to live, work, and play wherever the heck you want to, without government interference. I'm not in favor of a "path to citizenship", but people should be free to go where they will. If you see "welfare" as a problem, attack it head on with vigor, don't scapegoat the recipients.

Might as well attack every senior who cashes their Social Security check while you are at it - what a bunch of thieves! After all most of them get back more than they put in, right?