Reports say President Obama may use executive authority to enact an “immigration reform” of sorts, protecting some 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation and allowing them to work here.
In a future column, I’ll take a closer look at the costs and benefits to the economy of the estimated 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country. The short answer is that they are a consequence of our insatiable appetite for cheap, exploitable illegal workers and the failures of both governance in Mexico and elsewhere and the destabilizing effect of NAFTA.
“Reform” is a cause of progressives, the media and some in business. Many Republicans consider it amnesty for lawbreakers. I suspect a significant number of Americans are satisfied with the status quo, even if this permanent underclass in the shadows carries many pathologies. Allowing more immigrants to work legally would be fairer and bring other benefits. It would also potentially add millions to the competition for higher-paying (but still low-paying) jobs.
What do you think?
This Week’s Links:
• Why you may be better off saving for retirement than buying a house | Washington Post
• The great wage slowdown, looming over politics | The Upshot
• Why Keynes is important today | Vox
• Facts on U.S. income distribution, before and after taxes | Tim Taylor
• Corporate profit margins vs. wages in one disturbing chart | Naked Capitalism
• Further proof that the U.S. uses incentives more than the EU | Angry Bear
• Did anyone predict the 2008 crash? Will anyone predict the next crash? | Fabius Maximus
• On income stagnation | Paul Krugman
Today’s Econ Haiku:
Did they bury the Hachette?
The deal cuts both ways
h/t to reader “nwnativeson”