The Times Goes Know-Nothing on Immigration [Updated]

The New York Times editorial board is becoming more unhinged with every passing day. Maybe it’s Republican electoral success, maybe it’s the sight of one failed liberal policy after another, but something is driving the Times around the bend.

Today it was immigration, as the editorialists went after Jeff Sessions:

There was something bracingly honest about an op-ed article in The Washington Post last week by Senator Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican. Under the headline “America Needs to Curb Immigration Flows,” Mr. Sessions, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary’s immigration subcommittee, argued the case for letting in fewer foreigners.

Indeed he did: Sessions pointed out that America’s foreign-born population has more than quadrupled, to an unprecedented 40 million. He cited Harvard economist George Borjas, who concluded that this extraordinary increase in immigration has reduced the wages of lower-skilled U.S. workers by 7.4 percent. The Times editorialists have nothing to say about these data. As usual, they don’t argue, they just smear.

Even hard-liners on the same side of the issue as Mr. Sessions — like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas and Representative Steve King of Iowa — take pains to cloak anti-immigration arguments with benign-sounding words of tolerant welcome. They say they support legal immigration. It’s illegal immigration they oppose.

Everyone I know of supports legal immigration. But the relevant question is what level of immigration is optimal to serve the interests of the United States. The Times refuses to acknowledge that this is a legitimate subject of debate, even though polls consistently show that far more Americans want less legal immigration, rather than more legal immigration. It is Jeff Sessions, not the Times editorial board, who represents the views of most Americans.

He equates a wave of immigration from the 1970s to the present with the continuing “contraction” of the middle-class. Admitting too many foreign-born workers, he says, lowers the wages of Americans, and he worries darkly about the effect of so many foreigners on “schools, hospitals and many other community resources.”

The Times never acknowledges the body of social science research that documents the negative impact of low-skilled immigration on working class Americans. And the editorialists think it is ridiculous to believe that admitting tens of millions of immigrants has any effect on schools, hospitals and other community resources. They must not read their own newspaper, so how about some first-hand experience? Let’s send a a million or two million immigrants to the Hamptons and see whether schools and hospitals are affected. That is probably what it would take for the paper’s dim-witted editorialists to notice.

The Times goes on to cite the libertarian, Koch-funded, pro-free enterprise, pro-limited government, open-borders Cato Institute in support of its position. This is wonderful–the Times finally acknowledges Cato as a reliable source! Enjoy the moment, because it probably will never happen again.

The editorialists wax rhapsodic about the wonderful effect that immigration has on the economy:

Immigrants lift the economy as new workers and consumers, and they do not strain the welfare safety net. There is not a fixed number of jobs over which immigrants and the native-born grapple. The economy is far more dynamic than that, and a lot of its dynamism comes from immigration.

Admitting another 30 million immigrants will of course increase GDP, unless every single one of them is unemployed. And, naturally, the total number of jobs would increase somewhat. But that isn’t the question. The question is, what will such an influx do to the per capita incomes of existing American citizens? The editorialists’ blithe assertion that admitting millions more immigrants to compete for low-skilled jobs will have no impact on wages assumes that the law of supply and demand has been repealed. Either that, or the New York Times never understood the law of supply and demand in the first place.

The Times ridicules Sessions’ suggestion that the financial elite has an interest in keeping wages down. Actually, I would have thought this would be right up the Times’s alley. I’ll bet one could find a number of Times editorials that have said the same thing. Maybe the editorial board missed this story about the Silicon Valley company that was paying legal Indian immigrants $1.24 per hour to work 100 hour weeks. Do you think that might have been profitable for the company’s owners?

One of the problems with the open borders philosophy that proclaims more and more immigration, always and forever, an unqualified good, is that there is no limiting principle. There are around seven billion people on Earth. At least two billion of them would unquestionably be better off in the United States, even if you assume that the most they could ever aspire to is participation in our welfare system. So if immigration per se improves the economy, why not admit all two billion?

Hey, if the economic benefits are so great, we should be recruiting them! We should be paying their plane fare to come here! This is all good, right? No impacts on schools or hospitals? No environmental consequences? No overcrowding in the Hamptons, where no doubt millions of units of low-income housing would be built? The Times editorialists are all for it!

It has been a long time since anyone expected intelligence from the New York Times. But with the current editorial board, things have gone from bad to worse. They crank out one hate-filled editorial after another, all equally disconnected from reality. For a serious legislator like Jeff Sessions to be attacked by these dopes is a badge of honor.

No New York Times

UPDATE: Already, rather brilliant comments are coming in. From George O’Har:

It’s almost comical. In Boston, the Globe was fretting over the fact that now more than 50% of Boston public school students don’t speak English at home. Yet the Globe screeches for open borders and sanctuary cities. What did they think would happen? A new working definition of a liberal is a person who is completely indifferent to the consequences of policies he advocates. And obtuse in regard to them.

Like you, and anyone, I endorse immigration–within reason. Our legal immigration system is as screwed up as the illegal, possibly even more so.

And from Dave Begley:

The law of supply and demand has not been repealed with respect to the NYT. Market cap cut by two-thirds in the past decade. I guess the illegal aliens aren’t subscribers or buying six figure ads.

Much more to come, no doubt.

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