Questions about immigration

Following on my Op-Ed from yesterday, one loyal MR reader asks me, in an email, a few questions about immigration.  Here is my first cut at answers:

–Is there no amount of unskilled immigration that is too high? In other words, do you advocate open borders?

I don’t believe in open borders for today’s America.  I would increase current immigration quotas for all groups and allow illegals to move back and forth more readily.  Many current illegals would prefer to spend more time in their home country than is currently possible.  I don’t know exactly how much we can boost immigration and of course I don’t expect political progress on the issue.  But we should start with a twenty percent boost in the yearly quotas.    And how about another twenty percent increase two years later?

–Why do you have faith that federal policy can address the regionalized problems [with immigration] when you don’t trust federal policy to correctly judge which immigrant skills we ought to give priority?

I think the federal government is capable of giving more money to subsidize emergency rooms near the border.  This is an easier task than judging what professions we will need thirty years down the road.

–You mention the success of second-generation offspring of most immigrant groups, but let’s get real, this whole issue is about Mexicans, mostly, not Canadian economists. How have their offspring done? Of course, it might not even matter; if you’re right that a growing supply of unskilled labor isn’t bad, then does it make any difference if the second generation is also unskilled?

David Card and others have plenty of data on how well the second and third generations of Latinos do in assimilating and entering the mainstream of American life.  I find the overall portrait a reassuring one.  I will look for data on Mexicans per se and let you all know if I find anything useful. 

N.B.: If the quality of current Mexican immigration is "lower than you would like," keep in mind the current mix is partly an artifact of current immigration law, which encourages the least rooted and the most desperate to cross the border.   Young male teenagers are those who least mind being cut off from returning home.  Allowing immigrants to come and go would raise the quality of the pool.


Couldn't you just as easily argue that more open borders would diminish the stock of immigrants? As you lower the cost of crossing the border, the marginal border crosser's opportunity cost is going to be lower, no?

I think that the problem is that low-skilled immigration from Mexico, as I understand, is limited to family reunification. I don't think Mexicans can take part in the "green card lottery".

In addition to total numbers, US immigration policy should be made sane. I think we can handle nearly a doubling of current legal immigration levels (one million per year), but they should either all be in a lottery or they should all be auctioned.

It seems, from a geographic point of view, that we should focus on raising the standard of living as much as we can in Mexico in order to create a disincentive for illegal immigration. If, at that point, we still want to build a wall somewhere, we can do it at the Mexico-Guatemala-Belize border, which would be much easier to police. (Especially since the Mexican border guards most likely wouldn't be as "conscientious" as our own)

Immigrants, and particularly illegal immigrants, which is what we're talking about, aren't "just people". They're a particular kind of people, with lower intelligence, less education, less comprehension of English and higher crime rates than the average American citizen. They also, by definition, have less respect for the American legal system. Besides, if they're such an asset, why doesn't Mexico do anything at all to get them to stay?

Dear Tyler:

On the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, foreign-born Hispanics trail non-Hispanic whites by five to six grade levels by 12th grade (that's 114% of the notoriously large white-black gap).

American-born Hispanics still trail non-Hispanic whites by three to four grade levels (that 67% of the white-black gap).

This data was provided to me by Stefan Thernstrom of Harvard.

The data that Noah Y details is mis-leading. Some of the respondents
in California and the southwest may be illegal immigrants or Hispanics
themselves, thus skewing the results. You'd need to interview non-
Hispanic people to get accurate results.

I feel that Illegal immigrants not only take jobs away from Americans,
they lower the wages that all workers would earn in those jobs.

As for Robert's opinions, I can see where he's coming from. As a high
school teacher in Southern California, the students that I have had that
were illegal immigrants have been mostly poor, poorly educated, and of
questionable ethics. They don't stay in school very long.

That certainly doesn't mean that they are ALL that way, but that's what
I have learned over 22 years of being in the classroom.

Samuel Huntington of Harvard published data on academic performance by American born citizens of Mexican descent.

Here are the figures for % with a post-high school degree (including two year AA degrees):

2nd Gen: 9.3%
3rd Gen: 8.5%
4th Gen: 9.6%

All other Americans: 45.1%

Clearly, importing tens of millions of Latin Americans is pushing the US away from its traditional status as a predominantly middle class society and toward Latin America's traditional highly inegalitarian society.

Tyler seems to find deep aesthetic satisfactions in Latin American culture's artistic output that would make up, in his emotional estimation, for its civic and economic shortcomings, but others might not share his predilections. Moreover, Tyler is living in a fantasy world if he thinks that illegal immigrant communities here display much of the traditional arts and crafts that he cherishes in Mexican village life. He should come out to Van Nuys and see the lumpenproletariat future he's helping impose on America by his ill-informed propagandizing about immigration.

Roughly 80 million or so of my fellow American citizens score below the Hispanic mean on IQ, As a citizenist, I believe in making some sacrifices for the well-being of my fellow citizens, especially those less gifted in intelligence. Illegal aliens don't compete with me in the job market, but, according to the Law of Supply and Demand (which Tyler seems to believe somehow doesn't apply in the case of immigration), they do drive down the wages of the left half of the bell curve.

Patrick, the argument is that illegals take jobs from the least skilled of Americans. No one thinks Tyler Cowen is going to lose his job to an illegal. Its Americans who lack the skills to do anything more difficult than manual labor who are losing out.

Please stop this ridiculous comparison with immigration 1910. That immigration had:

1. No welfare state, all immigrants had to work. 31% of “hard working† Mexicans use some form of welfare program, more than twice the rate of natives. Unemployment is also twice as high.

Milton Friedman has stated that successful immigration and a welfare state are an impossible match. (now I am waiting for the laughable “well, we just have to abolish the welfare state than† libertarian pipedream).

1. There was a strong culture of assimilation, with internal as well as external pressure. Would you have been better of if Germans and central Europeans had not assimilated?

3. There was no entitlement ideology, no multiculturalism, no “my ethnic group above America pride† trumpeted by media and cultural elites.

Today 44% of Blacks and 22% of Mexicans readily admit they think about social and political issues as members of their ethnic group rather than as Americans, compared to 2.5% of those with English and 1% of those with German herigate (GGS, thanks to induktivist blogg).

4. There was a very high cost of immigrating, resulting in self-selection with those who wanted to become Americans. Hardly the same as Mexicans living across the border, and considering large parts of the US their “homeland†.


· What People say in polls hardly matters. If I show you a poll that says high gas prices are caused by monopolies, does that prove anything? People in areas with lots of immigration may find it worthwhile to invest in telling themselves immigration is good, in order to function better in society. Further in such states you have a large share that are immigrants/Hispanics themselves, more liberals, and a self selection where a lot of people bothered by immigration already moved out.

Patrick what I find interesting is the complete meltdown of intellectual standards from liberals/libertarians in this area. Who in this forum claimed immigrants “take jobs† from Americans? Of course that is not what illegal immigration does, it simply pushed the wages of unskilled Americans downward. If there is a “floor†, due to for example the ability to live of welfare, more unskilled Americans will drop of the labor market. Roughly 50% of young black men in this country do not work today.

Your second straw man points is even more pathetic. It is a undeniable FACT that Mexican immigrates do horribly bad in school and tend to be much more welfare dependent. You cannot square this with your politically correct fantasies, so instead of a reply we get a sneering tone, (which I am sure in your mind constitutes a counter argument).

I don’t care if Mexican immigrants do so badly because they culturally have less strong work ethics, because they have lower IQ (culturally or not), because they are selected from low skill groups, because of the incentives faces here.

It does not change the fact that they do not assimilate well, do not contribute to the US economically and engage in a host of behavior that involves large external costs to natives (crime rate 3 times as high as white Americans, welfare dependency, voting leftwing etc).

Now either show us well-reasoned arguments that show that Sailers facts and data is wrong or keep your cognitive dissonance to yourself.

More facts (evil evil facts)

I am going to, using the US-2000 census, compare the 250 million Natives, the 9.2 million Mexicans foreign born, and the 22 million other immigrants.

(the 22 are obviously all foreign born minus Mexican foreign born)

Let us start with labor force participation of those hardworking Mexicans.

Natives 60.2%
Other Forign born 57.1%
Mexican 54.3%

Per capita Income?

Natives 22.000 $
Other Forign born 25.000$
Mexican 13.000 $

Perhaps the best proxy for succes in society and welfare dependecen, the rate of pover r

Natives 8.3% (remember this figure next time you speak to a liberal)
Other Forign born 11.4%
Mexican 24.4%

Share speaking english at home, as good a measure of assimilation as anything

Natives 91% (remember 8% of natives are already hispanics)
Other Forign born 22%
Mexican 5.6%

Education? Surely only a nazifacistracist uncultured biggot from the South would suggest Mexican immigrants are not well educated.

Share of population with no high school diploma

Natives 17%
Other Forign born 25%
Mexican 70%(!)

Natives 25%
Other Forign born 32%
Mexican 4%(!!)

If anyone can show me any data that suggets second or third genration Mexican immigrants are assimilating please do so.


Prior to the end of apartheid, many South African whites argued that the movement restrictions on blacks should remain in place because blacks were more likely to be stupid criminals. What's your opinion on the end of apartheid? Do you think that it was a good thing?


In Stalin’s Soviet Union scientists that did not support the theories of Lysenko were sometimes tortured and killed in the Gulag. What is your opinion about this? Don’t you think in the end it was a good thing the Soviet Union collapsed?

Irrelevant question? Avoiding the issue? Meaningless guilt by association?

Do you actually have any arguments to claim that Hispanics and African Americans in the US do not commit crime at a disproportional rate? It is after all not a theoretical question.

Obviously non of this has anything to do with supporting state enforced apartheid, nor Staling, nor even Adolf Hitler.


Blacks, as I'm sure Sailer would agree, commit crimes at higher rates than whites. As a population, they're less intelligent (as measured by IQ tests), poorer, and more likely to use social services (welfare, etc.) than whites. For those reasons, pro-apartheid supporters in South Africa opposed ending mobility restrictions on blacks. How is that different from the arguments Steve is making in favor of mobility restrictions on Mexicans?

Apartheid was the cruel violation of citizen rights through government violence.

I see. Do you regard the mobility and employment restrictions on South African blacks as a violation of their civil rights?

Let me get this straight, enforcing our immigration law is the moral equivalent of South African apartheid?

Teller --

Thanks. So would it be fair to say that the your answer to my question:

Do you regard the mobility and employment restrictions on South African blacks as a violation of their civil rights?

is yes?

I already wrote yes, and explained why. I would also consider it completely legitimate for the Blacks to secede from South Africa in the areas that were majority black, and than restrict immigration of whites (or vice versa).

Restricting the mobility, transactions, political rights and property rights whiting a nation by the use of force does not constitute a moral equivocal of restricting who gets to enter your country/club/property.

Perhaps the most telling thing about this whole thread is the fact that defenders of current immigration policy aren't really discussing immigration or the impact of immigration at all. Rather, they are busy talking about South Africa and how horrible it is that their adversaries post multiple posts filled with an evil concept known as "statistics". As the man of many links and little text would say: "heh".

Tyler wrote:

"I will look for data on Mexicans per se and let you all know if I find anything useful."

Your comments, Tyler, are now full of data on the assimilation, such as it is, of Mexicans per se and Hispanics in general. Are you going to let your readership all know about this data by making a post about it? Or is this data not "useful" because it doesn't support your preconceived hopes and dreams about immigration?

dobein --

Even if Steve's statistical arguments are true (that Mexican's are less intelligent, more criminal, and are not assimilatng very well), the same could be said of the pre-apartheid South African black population. Was the South African government right to allow free movement of the blacks? If so, would that imply that we should allow free movement of Mexicans? If the answer to the latter question is yes, then there is no need to refute Sailer's statistical arguments.

Even if Steve's statistical arguments are true (that Mexican's are less intelligent, more criminal, and are not assimilatng very well), the same could be said of the pre-apartheid South African black population. Was the South African government right to allow free movement of the blacks? If so, would that imply that we should allow free movement of Mexicans? If the answer to the latter question is yes, then there is no need to refute Sailer's statistical arguments.

There we go! That's the cutting conclusion that silences once-and-for-all all those bastards who don't see how magical it is to import a Mestizo underclass to join our existing black one. Christopher Rasch has said that there is no need to refute real-world facts because if Apartheid-era South Africa was wrong to not allow the free movement of blacks within their own country, we clearly on a moral level cannot presume to slow the free movement of Mexicans into a country that is not their own. Give up and go home, ye immigration restrictionists. Good luck and Godspeed to that man Rausch, forthrightly refusing to engage with reality.

I simply do not accept the moral right of the state to undemocratically strip black citizens from their rights. Do you accept my right to form a club and not invite you?

Again forgot the heading:

Percent with Less than High School Education, (Ages 25 to 65) 2004

Asia 3.6%
Europe/Canada/Australia 2.0%
American white 6.5%
African Americans 12.1%

Mexico 16.9%

Table 4. Percent with a College Degree, (Ages 25 to 65) , 2004

Asia 57%
Europe/Canada/Australia 43%
American white 32%
African Americans 18%

Mexico 14%


If you formed a club and decided to exclude me, I would not have a problem with that.

What I question is your right to tell me who I can invite to join _my_ club.

Reading quasi racist idiots like Sailer and Teller (and in this case I believe the Ad hominem to be fully justified) makes me realize that my previous stance on this issue was too moderate. Not only should we have open border, we should be paying their moving costs!

Seriously though, sometimes I wonder how some people manage to stomach themselves.

Keith asserts:

"Commenters have to rely so heavily on the first two generations of Hispanic immigrants in order to avoid the awful truth: that assimilation is virtually complete by the 3rd generation."

No, that's not true. Look at the numbers above. There is a big improvement in educational attainment from the first (immigrant) generation to the second (born-in-America) generation, and then we don't see much relative progress after that at all.

As an example, quite a lot of the Hispanic population of New Mexico has been in the United States for a half dozen generations, since 1848. On average, they have not come close to closing the gap.

As for testing discriminating against Jews, that's one of the most common and yet silliest of the myths. Jews were doing so well on College Board tests that by 1922 Ivy League colleges had implemented admissions quotas to keep down the fraction of the entering class that was Jewish.

What we are seeing here is a fear and loathing of the facts about immigration and of the messengers bearing the facts.

Dear radek: It must be horrible to live in a world where Census data is “quasi racist†. I am glad you are not an idiot, given how easily you have refuted our arguments with facts and logic.


If I were to ever to immigrate to the US permanently the first order of business would be to learn English, and to teach it to my children. Nevertheless I apologize for mistaken in this American/Canadian homepage .

First of all the discussion was not gains to the economy, it was Professor Cowens claim that there is “plenty of data on how well the second and third generations of Latinos do in assimilating and entering the mainstream of American life.†

If by mainstream life we mean economic and academic success the answer is that this is wrong. 14% of Mexicans born and raised in your country have a college degree, compared to 32% of white Americans. Things do not seem to improve much even down to the 4th generation.

You have not discussed this issue at all. Do you have any evidence that immigration is "complete" by third generation, for Mexican immigrants? Provide it for us, rather than stating it as a fact. Do they jump from 14% to 28% in education? Huntingtons data certainly suggest they do not.

No High School Degree (1990 data)

First generation Mexicans 70%
First generation Mexicans 52%
First generation Mexicans 33%
First generation Mexicans 41%

All Americans 23.5%

Complete assimilation?

Post High School Degree (1990 data)

First generation Mexicans 5.4%
First generation Mexicans 9.3%
First generation Mexicans 8.5%
First generation Mexicans 9.6%

All Americans 45.1%

Complete assimilation?

(Rodolfo O. De la Garza, Angelo Falcon, P. Chris Garcia, "Mexican Immigrants, Mexican Americans, and American Political Culture," in Barry Edmonston and Jeffrey S. Passell (eds.) Immigration and Ethnicity: The Integration of America's Newest Arrivals (Washington: Urban Institute Press, 1994.) Cited by Samuel Huntington in Foreign Policy)

But if you prefer let us change the subject and discuss economic gains.

First of all let who do not know should be told that Harvard’s Borjas is within economics considered the chief authority on immigration and it’s effects on the US economy. The researcher with the most careful and robust research on this area, and the one who has written the article for Economic Handbooks, etc.

I do not doubt that there are direct economic gains from immigration, through lower prices for services for example. The high skill gain, and the low skill lose (about 8% of wages). The net effect is a gain of 0.1% of GDP to the Americans, and a 200 billion gain to the immigrants (if I remember correctly). This is by the way from all immigrants, including Europeans and Asians with high skills.

You claim that this data underestimates the economic gains, and point to the paper that estimates a (not very robust) “average real wage of natives receives a positive
effect between 1.1% and 1.2% from immigration† in the period considered.

But rather than overestimating the costs both this papers grossly underestimating the costs of unskilled immigration. Let me give you some examples:

· Welfare dependency. 31% of Mexican immigrants use one form or other of welfare program, more than twice the native rate. The costs (including the marginal tax distortion to raise the money) is staggering. Consider that there are an estimated 10-15 million Mexican born living in the US. Even with a very low estimate of nett welfare cost this represents perhaps 50-100 billion per year in direct costs, and thus 75-150 billion on economic costs.
· Crime. Hispanics are 3-4 times as likely to commit crime compared to non-Hispanic whites. A back of the envelope calculation give an additional 1050 murders per year for 10 million new Mexican immigrants, (about 16000 murders today). That is more than are killed in Iraq every year. The costs of law enforcement and the loss of utility due to insecurity are staggering.

· If you want to compensate the native underclass for their lowered wages you must have more government, which, means more distortions, more losing ground, more welfare dependency. Just adding the sums is not correct, this is not a Envelope theorem type situation.

· Costs of worse economic policies. Political politics predicts that more inequality (say mean to median average income) raises the demands for redistribution and taxation. By importing a new underclass you are pushing the country far to the left. All data suggest that Mexican immigrants are very liberal in economic policy, something that hardly will change in the future.

Consider that the difference in GDP per capita between Scandinavians in the US and in Scandinavia is about 60% higher GDP per capita in the US, or 18000 dollar per year per person. I think this is a fair estimate of the benefits of the US having a smaller welfare state (ca 35% government vs 55%). Even if Hispanics only increase the expenditure as a share of GDP by 5% this is equivalent to 450 billion in economic loss.

The coming demographic move to the left from what Bush and the senate will do will thus involve massive economic costs.

I have not included the costs of worsened schools by including more (objectively) bad students, the costs of more affirmative action, the costs of a bi-cultural bi-lingual-country and the costs of worse civil society and government though (objectively) worse social and political norms.

All of this make 0.1-1.5% changes in GDP second order.

Cowen understands that the question hinges on whether or not the Mexican immigrants eventually assimilate to the Anglo-Saxon protestant individualist rational empiricist enlightenment anti-government culture that created the most prosperous and powerful country in human existence. The answer seems to be no.

For all the idiots who call me racist: I would sacrifice a lot if I could magically transform Che- Guevara low IQ high crime Mexican immigrant to (say) Cuban or Filipino standards. Race has nothing to do with it, if the immigrants wanted to assimilate I would march with them in the streets and kiss Bushed feet.

But I am not going to stick my head in the sand, ignore the wealth of data due to some nostalgic notion of how I WISH immigration was working, rather than how it works.

Guys, a little anecdote.

My parents and extended family were lucky enough to immigrate from Christmas Island to Australia before I was born. You could say they were on the poor side.

My parents came to find a better life. They expected to work hard and were willing to take lower wage jobs. We're now running a family business that is doing well. I'm 22 now, and studying economics (hons) at university. Would we have had these amazing oppotunities if my parents did not come here? Probably not.

Are they less intelligent than the locals? Did they help drive down wages? I don't know. But how can you justify keeping people out of a rich industrial nation on such selfish grounds?

A quick comment regarding IQ: The canard that "all new arrivals score low on IQ tests" (Not just IQ tests mind you, more like "every test known to man") is just dumb on its face: Chinese coming into the US today do not score low on IQ tests. Nor do members of other high-IQ groups. (Hell, chinese peasants score well on IQ tests!) As for Jews in the US, they empirically were pumping out Nobel winners (City University anyone?) after a relatvely short period of time in the US - US Mexicans are not.

Of course, the waving away of data and science in favor of moral posturing, faux(?) indignation, anecdote, extreme hypothetical ethical dilemmas etc. is rather telling in itself.

Uggh. This discussion really has descended pretty quickly. Just to remark on the comments about immigrant groups and IQ scores and, in particular, on the "myth" that Jews scored low on IQ tests early in the 20th century, let's queue up Thomas Sowell (

"Even before Professor Flynn's studies, mental test results from American soldiers tested in World War II showed that their performances on these tests were higher than the performances of American soldiers in World War I by the equivalent of about 12 IQ points. Perhaps the most dramatic changes were those in the mental test performances of Jews in the United States. The results of World War I mental tests conducted among American soldiers born in Russia--the great majority of whom were Jews--showed such low scores as to cause Carl Brigham, creator of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, to declare that these results "disprove the popular belief that the Jew is highly intelligent." Within a decade, however, Jews in the United States were scoring above the national average on mental tests, and the data in The Bell Curve indicate that they are now far above the national average in IQ.

"Strangely, Herrnstein and Murray refer to "folklore" that "Jews and other immigrant groups were thought to be below average in intelligence. " It was neither folklore nor anything as subjective as thoughts. It was based on hard data, as hard as any data in The Bell Curve. These groups repeatedly tested below average on the mental tests of the World War I era, both in the army and in civilian life. For Jews, it is clear that later tests showed radically different results--during an era when there was very little intermarriage to change the genetic makeup of American Jews."

I love Sowell, but he gets confused about the different results generated by the initial Army Alpha test versus the improved Army Beta test during WWI. The Army Alpha test turned out to be, in the grand military tradition, a goat rodeo because it required the test-taker to be literate in English, which obviously was unfair to new immigrants and to hillbillies and other native illiterates. Because of that, it generated a lot of anomalous results that Sowell has trumpeted for years, but that have never been replicated by more mature IQ tests. The subsequent WWI Army Beta test at least tried to be fair to those who couldn't read in English.

In general, IQ tests, which had only been invented in 1905, were immature during WWI, but the experience led to rapid improvements in the years right after WWI, and they've been relatively stable since the 1930s, in both the culture-fair variety and the language-dependent variety.

The United States military spends an enormous amount of money on IQ testing, and the military swears by the usefulness of the heavily g-loaded Armed Forces Qualification Test. (The military provided most of the test data to Herrnstein and Murray for the middle section of The Bell Curve.) For example, from 1992 through 2004, the military took only 1% of its new enlisted recruits from those scoring below the 30th percentile (an IQ of 92) on the AFQT. Lately, the Iraq War is forcing the Army to take a higher percentage of low IQ applicants, which is deeply disturbing to the Joint Chiefs.

If you examine the data, you'll see that the IQ scores for Hispanics are very much in line with other measurements of Hispanic performance, such as NAEP scores, SAT scores, ACT scores, high school graduation rates, college graduation rates, post-graduate degree rates, income, and so forth. So, even though it's fashionable to demonize IQ, it correlates rather well with real world results.


You debunking of the “myth† is itself based on a notorious error made by the otherwise respectable Thomas Sowell.

There was no testing of Jewish soldiers in WWI! There was a test of *Russian* soldiers, of which probably less than half were Jewish. Of course no one can know for certain, making any claim suspicious in itself. We do know that 50% of Russian immigrants during this period were Jewish, although it is more likely that the Jewish share in the army would have been lower than that. There is no basis for Sowell claiming the “great majority† of the soldiers were Jewish.

So how exactly can you make an inference from the average of two groups where you don’t know either? Indecently, the Russian group had the highest variance by far of all groups tested, I wonder why†¦

To talk about an “increase† from WWI of Russians to WWII for Jews is therefore silly, because you are comparing a sample of Russians and Jews with an unknown mixture to a sample of only Jews.

There were of course anti-Semites that used this kind of false results to claim Jews were not smarter than anybody else. Today given the desperation faces by the neo-creationism crowd to deny genetic aspects of IQ may matter any argument is used (and spread), oh we so dearly wish to hold on to our precious precious ideals.

Higher IQ was demonstrated for Ashkenazi Jews was demonstrated already at 1928. At this time, despite discrimination, Jews were already extreamly overrepresented in higher learning, as scientists and professionals, in Europe, US and in the Russian empire.

Read (if you honestly care) “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence†, Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, Henry Harpending or for data of accomplishments “The Jewish Century†.

Look at IQ and the Wealth of nations, here is a summary.

They have a new version of the book with even more tests, perhaps that one has Puerto Rico.

Cuba should be intresting, I will bet you good money the million or so who left have much higher IQ than the rest.

Quickly, I do think there is enough evidence that IQ has a genetic component. This is quite different from arguing that there are differences between groups that are due to genetics. Interestingly, the data Steve Sailor quotes shows three numbers for "Mexican Americans": 84, 95 and 84. The 95 figure (as compared with 100 presumably being the UK norm) is for "Mexican American children in Texas" while the 84 figures are for "Mexican children in California" and "Texas." I don't have time to go to the original source, but presumably this means American-born Mexican children do much better than Mexican-born children. The data support the argument some seem to be trashing here: children of immigrants do much better than their parents and that upward mobility in IQ is perfectly possible "even" for Latin Americans.

As for racial differences in IQ, the latest word is from Fryer and Levitt (2006) who show no differences in cognitive abilities among U.S. infants across races (except for Asians who do slightly worse than whites and blacks). How meaningful their test is remains to be seen (how well it predicts early school performance all else constant, for instance) but the fact that some seem so anxious to jump to the conclusion that there are race explains IQ differences without waiting for all the facts to come in is telling, to say the least.

A few comments:

- As Teller points out, the "Jewish WW I IQ tests" is one of the many falsehoods spread around by those seeking, for various reasons, to deny the importance of intelligence and intelligence testing. (Much of the material hails from the works of the late Steven J Gould, Lewontin and his "Science for the people" pals, etc.)

- Furthermore, even if an anno 1916 IQ test (of some variety) would have shown depressed Jewish IQ, it wouldn't be terribly relevant to social discussion regarding jews, as their extraordinarily quick academic and professional success would have rendered these results moot very quickly.

- What is remarkable about, say, the African-American-white gap on the other hand is its stability over time and close tracking with academic and social achievement. There has been no 'huge upswing in performance' for African americans , despite huge efforts at achieving that outcome and huge increases in social equality between blacks and whites.

- For mexicans, the supporting data for the IQ studies, in terms of educational outcomes, etc. are found in the thread above, and frankly, they don't look very good.

- Different classes of Mexicans have immigrated to different parts of the US. Mexico is a very heterogenous and stratified country, with a white elite lording over a mestizo and indian underclass. Selective migration patterns into the US should therefore be expected to skew results.

- "The latest word" in cross-racial IQ testing that you point to above is not an IQ test at all, but some sort of reaction test for 8-12 month infants. That black infants have shorter gestation periods and tend to develop faster than white infants and faster still than asian infants is not a new finding, but has been established earlier. You are in effect trying to pass off an infant reaction test as an alternative to IQ testing, despite the test having no known interesting social correlates.

Why does that matter? Well, that is the big thing about IQ - it actually works pretty well for predicting outcomes across a wide range of areas, despite being a measly pen-and-paper test, which is rather impressive. (Usually beating out all the other SES variables, unless you employ "stacking" - I.e. "correcting for income, ecucational outcomes, grades, criminal history", etc. - a technique Levitt among others is very fond of...)

- Still, Mark's approach illustrates an interesting technique for disputing the validity of IQ testing. Simply invite or cite new tests with few known social correlates, and then demand that people cease citing actual IQ data, as "the data isn't in yet" (for your newfangled test). Finally, imply that those not willing to stop using actual IQ data are obviously evil and racist. (As illustrated by their impatience in waiting a generation or two while waiting to evaluate the predictive power of your new test!) Simply brilliant!

Just a few more comments on the two links published on the main page. From the first link (the second one merely dumps you on the first page of the manhattan institute).

Let me start off with the conclusion of this supposedly supportive (of mass unskilled immigration) article:

"It is undeniable that disparities in educational attainment and income between Latinos and Anglos in the United States are pressing social concerns. The 2002 Latino poverty rate of 21.4% (compared to 7.8% among Anglos) and the fact that only 57% of Latino adults 25 and older were high-school graduates (compared to 88.7% of Anglos) NOTE 15 are not problems that can be explained away by the process of socioeconomic advancement across generations. However, to effectively address these problems, they must first be accurately identified."

Note also that he uses "latinos" instead of the more relevant "mexican" benchmark. I wonder why. He of course also employs the oh-so-scientific "well, the Italians kinda integrated well, so of course the Mexicans will as well"-argument. Heh.

He also notes that the second generation of Mexican immigrants appear to gain substantially in wages, but that convergence becomes small in the third generation (still well below the white mean). If we want to sum the argument up, it's "well, it's bad, but not *that* bad, and the problem will probably go away by itself. Somehow. Perhaps." Not the most rousing call to the cause of mass immigration.

If this is the best immigration enthusiasts can come up with to support why massive Mexican (and other unskilled) immigration into the US is a good thing, well, that's not terribly impressive.


- You say: "Fryer and Levitt try to get around this identification problem by looking at early life before these things assert their influence and try to construct a measure of cognitive ability to determine differences across race."

True, they attempt to measure abstract reasoning ability before humans are generally capable of abstract reasoning. They then wave this non-IQ-test around as a rebuke to ordinary IQ tests. I believe the technical term is "charlatanism".

- You say: "IQ differences start to show up at around age 6 or 7 so we don't have to wait a "generation.""

To get somewhat comparable data to IQ data, I assume we would have to wait at least until people are out of puberty. This puts debate using existing science on hold for about 18 years or so, until somewhat comprehensive data becomes available on Levitt's non-IQ IQ test. Wonderful! (When / if these results come back negative, it is a fair assumption a new test will be then be devised. Perhaps a pre-natal one?)

- "But in order to believe it consistently, you have to believe that peer effects don't exist and that one's school and neighborhood have nothing to do with one's future IQ score."

This is of course completely untrue. The only people holding an all-or-nothing view in this debate is your camp, that very stubbornly and indignantly insists that intelligence differences between human populations are 100 percent environmental, and that any other position is not only wrong, but also morally defective.

- As for schools and peers, there are better ways of reducing this potential bias than replacing actual IQ tests (with known and useful correlates) with tests measuring abstract reasoning ability before humans can reason abstractly (without known and useful correlates).

- Huge sums have been spent on improving, say, school environment in US minority-dominated schools. Results have been rather unimpressive.

- Presented with three measurements of Mexican immigrant IQ, you follow occam's butterknife and pick the outlier. Splendid!

- Also, note that "mexican" as a racial moniker is somewhat unsatisfactory. Mexico has a racial class structure with whites (President Fox comes to mind) on top and mestizos and indians at the bottom of the ladder. Thus, *which* Mexicans you test is of huge importance for which results you obtain. (Independent of whether these differences are caused by genes or environment)

- Finally, some links that might be of interest. First a good overview: (Nature reviews neuroscience - "neurobiology of intelligence".

- Second a paper in Scicence discussing variations in allele frequencies for genes involved in brain development among various human populations:

Finally, regarding the open letter on the front page, it is telling that the signers again and again discuss "immigration" as if it was one issue, making pronouncements on "gains from immigration" etc. repeatedly, when the issue at hand is massive illegal (and legal) unskilled immigration from Latin America. Few suggest that the US should stop brain-draining the rest of the world. (Although that might be good in some ways for those of us outside of the US...)

This is an error of thought at best. Most likely though, it is a sleight of hand.

Also, not a single word about the external effects of massive unskilled immigration - crime, affirmative action, welfare dependency, increased need for redistribution, etc. And they expect to be taken seriously?

At least they admit the major benificaries are the immigrants themselves - always something!

I found this a particularly funny bit: "The American dream is a reality for many immigrants who not only increase their own living standards but who also send billions of dollars of their money back to their families in their home countries—a form of truly effective foreign aid."

Indeed - because we all know that direct cash transfers are a spectacularly successful form of foreign aid! (And that countries heavily dependent on emmigré remittances have a great record of strong remittance-based economic growth...)

Just to add to Steve's comments, Dr. Cowen, I'm currently studying transracial adoption literature, and the results appear fairly clear: Amerindian/Mexican children adopted/raised in white families and affluent households do little better on academic and IQ measures than their inracially raised counterparts. These measures have a direct relationship with economic outcomes. From a predictive standpoint, it doesn't matter if what these depressing results are showing us are the action of genes or the deeply harmful effects of a racist American society - a significantly larger percent of these illegal immigrants, of their American children, will likely never fully economically assimilate into American society, just as their kin still haven't all throughout Latin America, with its still highly European-blooded ruling classes. In other words you are allowing, nay demanding, that we import the same intractable and dramatic levels of race-based economic inequality that we see all throughout Latin America. And, consequently, all the well-known and insoluble problems of third-world Latin-American society.

This bad for America.

Bad for democracy. As massive economic inequality eats away at basic liberties (freedom of speech, etc), political corruption will veer ever-closer toward Latin-American standards. Autocratic, top-down, measures increase to control volatile economically and ethnically heterogeneous societies.

Bad for the free market. As economically uncompetitive Hispanics come to rival market-dominant whites in numbers, they will vote increasingly socialistic and race-based policies to level the ethnic playing field. Read the Amy Chua link provided above, this pattern repeats itself in every location in the world where there is ethnic economic inequality where the have-nots control significant amounts of votes.

Bad for America's future world role. As America's IQ - human economic capital - continues to dip, high IQ China will increasingly pull itself out of its totalitarian funk and assert itself on the world stage. With its massive, academically adept population, we are guaranteeing our own lost future world pull by deliberately sabotaging our own economic competitiveness.

Bad ideas have major consequences for America, Dr. Cowen, so I suggest you re-evaluate your ideas on the causes and consequences of human capital. Arguments that "we've always been wrong in the past" are an unacceptable cop-out. These are the facts we must deal with today: Economically relevant cognitive differences in black and Amerindian populations show up before age 3, some as early as age 1, which are not amendable by any known environmental measure (even early/late interventions so expensive and intensive that we could never feasibly foot the bill anyway), and this includes the environmental intervention of being adopted into upper-class white homes in infancy.

If I am wrong, then America gains little, but if you are wrong, then America is in deep, deep trouble.

Just to remark on the comments about immigrant groups and IQ scores and, in particular, on the "myth" that Jews scored low on IQ tests early in the 20th century

Sorry Mark, your Google-fu and second-hand sources are a poor substitute for actual familiarity with the early literature - the kind you get by actually spending time in dank University library dungeons. I discovered/have a full early literature review from 1930 on Jewish IQ research up to that point. The picture painted in that 1930 review is exactly the same as today.

Steve Sailer,

Thanks for the information. I only have one concern: the table shows that Mexican-Americans (and Mexicans) have higher IQ scores than Cubans. I find this rather hard to believe. This may be one of the anomalous results worth further investigation (just like the low IQ scores reported for Israel you mention in your essay). Call it a hunch, but it seems to me Cubans in the United States are generally a more economically successful and productive people than Mexicans are, perhaps excepting Afro-Cubans. Am I mistaken here?

'...according to the Law of Supply and Demand (which Tyler seems to believe somehow doesn't apply in the case of immigration), they do drive down the wages of the left half of the bell curve.'

To [re]introduce a little elementary economics into the discussion, I suspect Tyler is familiar with Say's Law, i.e. Supply is (implicit) Demand. Meaning that the supply of immigrant labor quickly turns to demand for others' labor. Which reverses the effect on wages that Steve Sailer is claiming. Even Borjas recognizes this.

While I appreciate the nobility in making sacrifices for others, I also wonder if; 1. that isn't merely self-justification, 2. why you'd think your choices ought to be binding on others, and 3. do you also deny yourself imported goods in order to help out your fellow Americans of lower intellectual caliber?

The immigration debate is turning into a massive self-inflicted black eye for the economics profession, because too many economists are engaging in propaganda and spin of the most derisible quality. The refusal by many prominent economists to confront the data in order to avoid calling into question their own prejudices is embarrassing.

Like a man with only a hammer to whom everything looks like a nail,
economists often tend to view the world only in economic terms.

There is a great deal more to the immigration issue than jobs and the net effect
on the economy.

I believe there are significant quality of life issues to consider
as well. The toll on the environment exacted by human activities is obvious to all.
The detrimental impact on forests and farmland, flora and fauna, that an increase
in population undoubtably brings should also be factored into any decision on
immigration. Also to be considered is the increase in energy consumption and rise
in pollution that comes with greater numbers.

I posit for your consideration that our long term quality of life and living
standards would be significantly improved with a net outflow of people from

"If it's okay to hire these Chinese [in China], I can't seem to see how the economic argument would work to make it wrong to hire them if they were living here, paying taxes here, buying food and homes and services here, etc."

There's a huge difference. Because if you brought unskilled laborers into the U.S., they would be imposing large costs on the rest of us while you were reaping the profits. The National Academy of Sciences studied the question in 1997 and concluded that immigrants without high school degrees cost $90k more in government expenditures than they generate in tax revenues.

This is a general issue that economists are doing a poor job of explaining to the public. The major economic political issues are seldom any longer about the market vs. socialism, but are instead within the market, who can dump costs off on whom?

Importers of illegal aliens are profiting by dumping huge cost externalities off on other Americans, while pocketing the profits themselves.

Some people have mentioned the "national club" idea. I like to think of in terms of a "nation contract". Contracts are something economists can understand.

Our nation is a large "contract" between all its members. The contract states how we will form the laws, and that if we follow those procedure we all agree to live by those laws.

As with a contract, all the parties expect to better off because of the contract and we expect the other party to meet their obligation under the contract.

If you allow others to "join" the contract at a later time, and extract the benefits the original signees were expecting, that is unfair and economically unsound.

That is what the business community is doing. They have reaped the benefits of a lawful society in which their property rights are respected. But they don't like having to live under the immigration laws that have been passed and have been in effect for years. So they are ignoring them and bringing in new "parties" to the contract to the detriment of the original signees - labor/workers.

If the business communities fails to respect these laws I see no reason why the labor communities should feel bound to respect other laws the benefit the business communities such as property ownership, etc.

And this may come to pass, as well already see it happening in South America.

The business communities should honor the original terms of the "national contract" and abide by the laws that are in place. George Bush should enforce those laws.

Once we reach that point we should begin our discussion of changing those laws.

Any economics worth his salt knows that contracts are the cornerstone of a prosperous society. Economist should demand that the national contract be honors just like any other contract signed between multiple parties.

The reason for the anomalously low IQ score for Israel is easily explained by the fact that not all of the Jews living in Israel are Ashkenazi jews. There are the sephardic ("oriental" jews) jews who came from the Arab countries as well. Then, Israel does have a relatively large number of palestinians as well. Only the Ashkenazem have the high mean IQ (around 115). The others do not. This inexcapable fact has resulted in Israel having rather large social-economic divisions that our press rarely talks about. The Israelis tried to paper over these divisions in the early years of Israel's existance by basing the economy on Kibbizu-based socialism. The fact that the Ashkenazem have ended up running basically everything in Israel indicates that their socialistic economy policy failed to make everyone "equal".

Israel is slowly moving towards a more free-market system by gradually de-regulating business as well as reducing the progrssivity of its income tax rates.

Cuba is largely a mixture of European whites (mostly spanish) and Africans. The Africans have always been at the low-end of the ladder in Cuba. The Cuban-Americans living in Miami area look very "white" to me. They have very little physical resemblance to the Mexican illegals flooding into the U.S. Southwest (and the rest of the U.S., too). They are the upper class Cubanos (mainly from Havana) that fled to the U.S. during Castro's take over of Cuba.

One will note that Castro and his cronies also look very "white", atleast compared to the average Mexican mestizo, not to mention native American or African person. No matter what the political ideology, "white" people are always at the top of any Latin American society.

1. Regarding the “reassuring† evidence: First of all the American Immigration Law foundation does not look at Mexicans, both look at all Latinos, including Cubans, Puerto Ricans and other more successful groups. Nice.

The second paper is better, but it largely confirms our point. Even using their trick of looking at cohorts after 3 generations 2/3:ds of the wage gap remains. Again, aren’t immigrants supposed to be assimilated? Earning 83% the white rate means you earn slightly more than the average African American, after 3 generations! Also more than 40% of the education gap remains, and again no college graduation data is reported. 12 years of education means on *average* you go through high school, not very impressive. The massive increase compared to the parents means nothing, given how awfull the parents did, and given the secular increase in average education levels for everyone in the US compared to the 1930s.

The two papers presented by professor Cowen *confirm* that Mexican assimilation is far from complete even by the third generation. As the numbers increase things are bound to become worse, clearly even this slow rate of assimilation is becoming slower.

It would also have been great to see comparisons with other groups of immigrants that arrived in the late 19th century (remember the grandchildren of these guys are earning no more than slightly above than African American income). Take Irish or East Europeans that arrived in 1900 and compare to the Mexicans, it would be interesting indeed.

2. Trade and immigration are not the same thing, economically speaking. Exported textile does not commit crime, and does not live on welfare. If the 90 k figure is correct the cost of 10 million Mexican immigrants with no high school diploma is 900 billion dollars. No such problem exists with trade (of course the Mexicans largely work in the non-traded sector, so that the gains are hard to realize from trade. However the economic gains to Americans are minuscule compare to the total costs)

3. Norway is richer than the US because Norway has only 4.5 million people and massive massive amounts of oil. That has nothing to do with how well their economic system works (subtract the oil from GDP and Norway is as poor as Sweden or Finland).

There are millions of Scandinavian/Nordic immigrant descendants in the US, many blue collar I am not looking at professionals. You are right that the immigrants to these countries would depress their GDP, but the effect is probably small, because only about 3-4% of the population of Sweden/Denmark/Finland are immigrants from third world countries. Furthermore a system where high skilled immigrants do extremely bad in the labor market is an argument itself against welfare state.

Secondly, if the Americans of Scandinavian ancestry earn 23 percent more than the average American, hence working disproportionably at higher skilled positions, would it not seem unfair to compare this with the average Scandinavian (including, then, also the native born blue-collar workers, as well as low skilled immigrants in the Scandinavian countries whom were so important to differentiate in all the previous) and from this infer the benefits of smaller government. You may well be correct, but this evidence is somewhat shaky.

4. To sailer:

There are clearly economists on both side of this issue; the media just tends to give more weight to the pro-immigration anti-fact group.
Some blame should go to the protectionism pale-cons who poisoned the waters with the Nafta/outsourcing debates. Now many economists don’t think a step further and assume their role is like in the trade/outsourcing debate to warn people against close minded irrational nationalism. (of course using identity based heuristics in determining which side of an issue you should stand on instead of analysis *IS* something economist should be ashamed of).

Tyler and Alex are really smart guys, sensible and open-minded about most things. I read them every day. But, clearly, on immigration, as this impressive commment thread demonstrates, they've gone out of their way not to learn the facts and are allowing their emotions, tastes, and self-interests to drive their policy recommendations.

And Tyler and Alex are among the best of the bunch.


I was trying to respond to the argument that broadly says that allowing unskilled immigration is a way to benefit the right end of the bell curve at the expense of the left end, because unskilled immigrants take the jobs of native born people mostly at the bottom of the skill/intelligence/wealth ladder. If you buy that argument, you have to buy it both for immigration and for cross-border trade, because it doesn't matter to me whether I lose my job to a Mexican living in Mexico or a Mexican living in Los Angeles, I'm still out a job. In this sense, I don't see how the citizenist approach you take in this debate adds much. When I do better trading with Alice than with Bob, Bob loses, but Alice and I gain, and it's essentially never a good idea to let Bob impose rules to keep me from trading with Alice.

I agree that the spillover effects are a problem. The short-term ones are pretty easy to see, and I can kind of see some notion of how to address them--maybe by selling green cards and using some of the proceeds to pay for those costs. After all, the most obvious way to handle a problem of people consuming services they're not paying for is to charge them for those services, one way or another. This will never work perfectly, but we could at least minimize the cost-shifting games this way.

The long-term effects are a lot harder to deal with, for two reasons:

a. They're much less clear cut. It's easy to predict how much more it will cost to educate another 10,000 students in the California public school system; it's enormously harder to predict what those kids' grandkids will really be doing. IQ statistics, data on past assimilation, etc., may give us some idea--maybe the best idea we can have right now. But we're still talking about predictions about the far future, and those are always deeply uncertain, and most examples of plausible, intelligently reasoned predictions about things that far in the future that I can think of have been all wrong.

b. Many of the concerns you're raising are things we don't normally want government micromanaging. By existing demographic trends, some big part of the US population will end up Mormon in the next few generations. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but I'm very sure I don't want it to become the subject of national political debate and government policy to "fix." Similarly, are the wrong values and tastes coming out on top in our culture? Is rap music and violent TV turning all our kids into illiterate thugs? These are all important and interesting questions, but I can't see political/government solutions to these questions working out in any good way.


Your questions were for Steve but I'm dying to respond to a few points:

IQ statistics, data on past assimilation, etc., may give us some idea--maybe the best idea we can have right now.

I think Steve could verify that IQ scores have been relatively stable among various racial groups in the US since, at least, World War I. There is a mountain of evidence linking IQ, economic well-being, and overall social success. I don't think we are working with something vague; rather, I think you, like so many others, are just willing to ignore the obvious but emotionally unpleasant conclusions provided by the data available.

Many of the concerns you're raising are things we don't normally want government micromanaging.

Micromanaging is such an overused term. Managing would suffice in this instance. Yes, I think many of us do, in fact, want the government to properly manage immigration.

Albatross writes:

"Many of the concerns you're raising [about selecting who our neighbors and fellow American citizens will be] are things we don't normally want government micromanaging."

It's always fascinating to me to see the widespread objection to selection of immigrants by the same people who are obsessed with elitist selection by universities and employers. Alex Taborrok, for example, recently wrote a piece for Slate about the wonders of George Mason U.'s selection policies for economics professors, such as himself. Similarly, readers of this blog tend to be obsessed with getting their kids selected by exclusive colleges.

And, yet, the same people who obsess over selection in private want to rule out of public debate the entire topic of rules for selecting our neighbors in America. Immigration policy, by its very nature, is about discriminating, about selecting whom we should admit and whom we should keep out. It is one of the fundamental responsibilities of our elected representatives because if they don’t decide, inevitably some private interest is going to decide who gets in.

And, basically, that's what the people who are trying to quash public debate are doing. They benefit from the current arrangements, so they do not want the citizenry to discuss whether it is in the best interests of the citizenry as a whole.

I'm always amazed by how economists never seem to apply their basic skeptical tools of analysis to their own hopes and dreams. For some reason, economists are the only non-self-interested people on Earth.

May I suggest you read my article on this topic?

As the Mayor of Los Angeles pointed out yesterday, the staggering high school dropout problem in that city is a _2nd_ and _3rd_ generation immigrant problem. Nation wide the hispanic dropout rate is more than 50%. So much for "assimilation."

I wonder how much of this open borders stuff among "libertarian" economists is simply a left-over from the Rothbard-cult youth of so many of them -- i.e. at heart they are still wild anarchists who don't believe in governments, nations -- and national borders.

Well boys, what's the truth?

I'm sure very few of you economists appriciate such an argument but I'm pretty sure sociologists would argue that class structures have something to do with the lack of assimilation. (I belong to neither one of these two categories; hell: I'm not even American so the issue is not affectual to me, but it is an interesting debate.)

For instance, there are studies of working class britons - of the alledgedly high IQ variety: whites - that developed a distinct culture where formal eduction and upwards striving were frowned upon (I could look up sources if someone is genuinly interested), probably as a defense mechanism because the chance of actually ending up somewhere else than at the local factory was so small.

A strong reason for this was that they carried so many typical working-class traits, such as a distinct accent, that they were very unlikely to be accepted anywhere else (because of predjudice, rigid habits, parents that could not afford them to go to university or whatever). Perhaps skin colour is one such marker. I know that the US is 'the land of opportunities' and that skin colour is not suppose to matter, but the argument that some appear to be making is that 'the less white, the less successful' (asians excepted).

Could that argument have some bearing?

Immigration in recent decades of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to be small. . . While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to our economy, including lower consumer prices

What a Rawlsian trainwreck, Alex. Low-skilled American workers are precisely the people we have the highest ethical duty to lift up. Furthermore, by allowing Mexico's white elite to shift a substantial portion of their poverty burden over to America, we hamper their incentive to make the necessary economic reforms in Mexico.

Nationally harmful Immigration may be altruistic in the global sense, and there are utopian ethical arguments that can be made here, but even on that I believe maintaining America's domestic and global strength and values are in the world's best interest in the long run. Economic inequality will damage America's might and erode its superior (democratic and capitalist, etc) values, which otherwise promise to lift all boats if we can maintain them and transmit them to the world.


I have yet to see anyone provide data to show that resources would be better spent on border enforcement and illegal immigrant round-ups rather than trying to improve the quality of education.

Then I seriously doubt you have bothered looking into the issue of education expenditures or the cost of illegal immigration to the public sector.

You can check out Steve Sailer's site, V-Dare or this guy:

Here is a section of ParaPundit's education articles:

There are a few articles there pertinent to race, standards, and spending in education that should be revealing.


Please. Schooling has a very high payoff for young smart people (which is why so many go to school†¦), and close to zero economic payoff for adult unskilled workers. Read Heckmans debate with Krueger on this subject.

“But to say that education cannot solve the problems of low skilled Americans would be equally misleading“

Really? If the problems of the adult low skilled poor could be solved by schooling WHY HAVE THEY NOT ALREADY BEEN SOLVED after 40 years and trillions upon trillions of spending? Let me guess,

* Racism
* Alesina hypotheis: Dumb biggoted americans don’t spend enough on welfare (you know, like Italy and France, where povery has been succefully eradicated)
* Public Teachers only earn 65.000 dollars per year with benefits, if we would only listen to unions†¦
* It’s just a matter of time, anyday now the billions spent on the underclass will pay off, and government will solve povery.

“What is the marginal effect on unskilled wages from a dollar spent on immigration enforcement instead of education?†

Do a back of en envelope calculation yourself. You need say 20.000 aditional guards to secure the border, say 100.000 $ per guard. That’s 2 billion dollars. This is solely a political question, the economic cost of enforcing immigration are miniscule.

8% reduction in the wage of those with no high school diploma is equivalent to 32 billion dollars in losses to those with no high school diploma. The social spending of the US on the poor is something in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year.

Mark, At the best schools, underperforming minorities still underperform.

See this article:
Addressing Racial Disparities in High-Achieving Suburban Schools

[This paper concerns racial and ethnic achievement disparities in places where schools are reputedly excellent. All racial and ethnic groups in these districts are represented throughout the achievement distribution—at the top and the bottom. However, blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented at the top and heavily overrepresented at the bottom.]

"In my post above (way way above) I would like to drop the "quasi" from the "quasi racist". In retrospect, it's become clear that that particular word was a mistake."

Just to summarize your participation in this discussion:

Invective: 100 %

Reasoning: 0 %


"Which direction is prudent? Suppose we put the kind of controls into place to make sure that each immigrant isn't costing us more in services than he pays into the system."

This is impossible. The immigrants are poor and will remain poor. How do we permanently block them from receiving entitlements? You can't short of constitutional amendment. Moreoever, their children are likely to remain burdens, do we exempt them too?

"waves of immigration in the past sparked genunie concerns that the immigrants would never assimilate, would change the character of the country, would drag down our economy because they were all unskilled and apparently pretty stupid Irishmen or Italians, or Russian Jews with all kinds of weird cultural baggage, not speaking English, and not even Christian, etc."

How much did we spend on public education then? Did we have Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Welfare? How demanding was the economy in terms of education and skill level? How much of GDP was spent on medical care; did we have a medical inflation problem? Did the Italians or Irish think they were resettingly some mythical ancestral land? STOP COMPARING THE PAST WITH THE PRESENT. We live in a completely different world and face a completely different immigration pattern; today immigrants are increasingly monolithic and there is no end in sight, compared to the past when immigration was diverse and cylical (it ended).


Do you always tell people to ignore the past when making predictions about the future? It seems like pretty silly advice to me.

If you note, I'm not saying the likely outcomes of the immigrants are parallel (that Mexicans are going to assimilate the same way Irish did). I'm saying that the value of long-term predictions of doom driving big policy changes depends a lot of whether those long-term predictions are accurate, and historically, they haven't been. Many of you who are arguing against this comment right now will find yourselves agreeing with me next week, when we start talking about radically restructuring industrial society to decrease greenhouse gasses.


If Say's Law was true there would never be any unemployment. Supply doesn't create demand, look up "Great Depression."

For Christ’s say Says law has nothing to do with it.

Immigration by increasing the SIZE of the labour force will not change wages (in steady state).

Immigration that changes the COMPOSITION of the labour force (by increasing the share of unskilled workers) will change wages, in this case reducing low skill and raising high skill. Stop babbling about Say (which is generally true, on the long run).

Radek let me raise your status from “not idiot† to "genius". Your careful counterarguments have deeply impressed us all. Clearly UC-Davis is producing some great intellectual minds these days!

Tyler Cowen:

“Bryan offers evidence that living near many immigrants is more likely to make you pro-immigration.†

No, he doesn’t.

Caplan significant relationship between share of immigrants and being positively disposed to immigrants (corrected for what immigrants think) DISAPEARS if you control for per capita state income, which I did (p 0.24, i.e not significant). R-square 0.16-0.27 increases if you include income. Per capita state income is a strong explanatory factor of the share that are positive to immigration, share of immigrants is not.

The pro-immigration crowd will use any argument, however weak. When emotions rule logic takes a back seat.


Swizerland, though contonization. California, through geographical and socially segmented society and large transaction cots.


I don’t think the present immigration policy will be so negative that it will force people to move out of the US. What will happen is that more people will move out of the areas with lot’s of immigrants. Crime will go up, income inequality, ethnic fragmentation and ethnic conflict will go up, taxes will be increase and the government will expand.

Bush and the Democrats are creating a new permanent underclass of Hispanics. Cowens own “reassuring† data shows that after 3 generations Mexicans are earning slightly more than 80% of the White income.

Some comparisons:

Full time working African American men 69% of white mean
All African Americans 72% of white mean.
African American women 90% of white mean.

So (as a comparison) it seems that with the most positive data out there that Cowen gave us you will end up with a situation where tens of millions of Mexican immigrants will permanently be in a economic (and probably social) level somewhere above African American men and somewhat below African American Women. Yes, that sure sounds like complete assimilation to me†¦

African Americans were mostly taken to the US by force from Africa, and subject to centuries of oppression. They have massive economic and social problems, but are nevertheless American, with rights that follow. History of slavery and segregation cannot be changed. But now that you have a choice, why would you voluntarily like to double or triple the American Underclass?

For the Democrats this is purely positive, since it will strengthen their power. The success of the American middle class has been the greatest threat to the left, now they will have plenty of new voters that demand populism, regulations and big government.

Shortly the US will move towards what California looks like today.

Now I don’t think California is some sort of hell, it is still a reasonably good place to live. But the development is not an improvement for most Americans. It doest not bring economic gains, as some economist are claiming.

Poor Americans will se their wages pressed downward.

Middle class Americans will have to pay higher taxes, and be subject of more crime, and have a harder time getting their children into good school because of affirmative action.

Higher income Americans will get cheaper services, but also pay substantially higher taxes, and be forces to isolate themselves geographically and socially even more than they are doing today.

Great plan, thank you Bush, Marginal Revolution, President Fox and Democratic party.

Of course libertarians are digging their own political grave. The political and philosophical support for limited government among Hispanics is and will be non-existent. They are however socially conservative on many issues, which libertarians of course appreciate.

The US will move toward more central planning and more infringements on individual liberty (remember by 2045 a quarter of voters will be Hispanic).

I don’t live in the US. The effect on me will be that the US will move to the left, and have more social problems, which makes it less of a positive example for Europe (“see? They have high poverty, low taxes lead to poverty!†)

In this debate on immigration, I have to say that Steve Sailor and "Teller" have the most compelling arguments. Jason Malloy's posting is particularly compelling. Steve Sailor, Randall parker, and others have compiled considerable amounts of impirical data to back up their arguments. The pro-immigration people like Christopher Rasch and "radec" prefer to counter this argument not with impirical data of their own but, rather, with handwaving with lotfy moral cries of of "racism" and "immorality". This is not the basis of rational discussion. The only pro-immigration person here who is making any kind of rational arguments is Tyler Cowen. The rest of you who are pro-immigration, if you feel that Steve Sailor and others are presenting wrong data or not backing up their arguments with enough objective data, present your own data to show how they are wrong. Argue on the basis of facts and reason, not emotions and subjective value judgements.

Handwaving with lofty moral statements only serves to convince those of us who are undecided on the issue that you have no imperical data to back up your arguments and that your opponents are correct.

Thomas Malloy has a particularly cogent point here. If he is wrong, America looses little. However, if he is correct, America could end up loosing alot.

In medicine, the basic principle is to "first, do no harm". Applying this basic priciple

Cs Caplan did control for the share of immigrants, in his second graph (perhaps even overly strongly, assuming all immigrants are positive to immigration). The effect is weakened but remains.

But if you also control for state income the effect goes away. Rich feel-good states can afford to be mentally generous to immigrants, while poorer states feel more squeezed.

Regarding the cost of family formation:

I put more weight into Sailers and Huntington’s argument that immigration from Latin nations threatens the foundation of limited government that has made the US rich.

It is amazing to me that Caplan of all people doesn’t not get it. The greatest “natural† resource of the US is the individualist and pro-market Anglo-Saxon ethos of its population. They are less rationally irrational than other nations (ideological consumption of socialism is smaller), have withstood the forces that demand expanded government better, and are now therefore the richest nation on earth.

Free enterprise Classical Liberalism is a Anglo-Saxon invention, and has never gained any strong ideological foothold among the majority anywhere else. The most free economies of the world are ALL culturally Anglo-Saxon (USA, UK, Hong-Kong, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zeeland). The only exception really is Singapore, and until a few years ago Switzerland, that is now quickly converging to the rest of Europe.

Leftwing populist Latinos are not assimilating in this regard. They may oppose abortion, but they love big government. By making the US increasingly less WASP, culturally and NOT racially, you are digging the grave of libertarianism.

Less rational voters = bad.

Patrick Sullivan, the Black Plague sent wages skyrocketing because it increased the ratio of land (and high-quality land) to labor, driving up marginal labor productivity in agriculture, the primary industry at the time.

Modern information economies are not constrained by land or capital supplies to the same extent, so instantly losing a random 1/3rd of the population would not raise wages by anything like the same amount.

Immigration is a human rights issue. Do immigrants descendants from native American Indians (Aztecs and Mayans etc.) have lower average IQs than Caucasians in general, probably. Are they less diligent in regards to schooling and education probably? Do they lower the wages of low skilled low IQ Americans, yes by a buck or two. Do they vote more socialist yes. Is the welfare state a big mistake that makes all these things worse and exacerbate all of the above, Yes. But†¦

But still where do we get off using force to keep individuals from crossing the boarder to work for our fellow Americans who are willing employers who are willing renters etc. It is a human rights issue.

Now lest we all become depressed, because the government won’t stop the flow of people any better than it stops that flow of drugs no matter how many laws you pass, I will say why the bad points above are not as bad as you think.

1. On IQ:
An average IQ of 90 is not all that low and in the future in America their offspring will have higher IQs due to the Flynn affect (better nutrition) (maybe 93 or 94) and American blacks who are growing in number relative to Caucasians have an average IQ of only 85 and that with USA nutrition.

2. They vote socialist
If you think that most white Americans do not want and vote for socialism you are kidding yourself. By the time new immigrants get to vote we will have long since become a socialist country.

3. American means less to them
The Roman catholic immigration already changed this. To protestants America meant freedom from oppression to Roman Catholics it meant prosperity. To this day Roman Catholics are more likely to vote democrat (socialist ant-economic freedom.). (Where I grew up in Roman Catholic Providence RI protestant evangelicals where persecuted to a small degree.)

4. They lower wages.
Poor Americans have intractable problem that are not solvable by higher wages. In fact middle class Americans with brains and diligence can live well on minimum wage. Poor Americans cannot. Poor Americans poverty is unsolvable the poverty of some Mexicans can be solved by a green card. For example two more dollars an hour to a drunk will just allow him to drink more.

5. Welfare is having a negative effect on Americans not just immigrants but maybe the American voter will slow their march to more and more welfare if they see it going to Mexican immigrants. The USA has less generous welfare than most of Europe Maybe because American votes see it going o blacks. The southern states are less generous with welfare than the other states perhaps for the same reason. So maybe the American people with not continue to make welfare more generous with a lot of Mexican immigration. Perhaps Mexican immigration will inspire a move against the absurdity of affirmative action. It is easy to the absurdity of affirmative action in regard to Mexican they do not have the excuse that blacks have of slavery.

Kurt (and Teller),

Actually the situation in SA was not altogether that much different from what is happening in the US. The homelands which were granted independence under apartheid largely corresponded to the areas traditionally occupied by blacks. The objective was to keep them from flooding the white cities and towns so as to avoid racial conflict. As is happening now in the US it was mainly the short-sighted and unsatiable demand for cheap labour which undermined the only rational and humane response to a very complex and volatile situation. The relative calm we are experiencing now will not last for ever. As soon as the ANC have done stripping the country of all of its assets they will surely blame whitey for their followers' unmitigated misery, hanging us out to dry.

Yeah, and I stand by it.

"This data was provided to me by Stefan Thernstrom of Harvard"

should read

"THESE data WERE provided to me by Stefan Thernstrom of Harvard"

For Chrissakes, learn some ENGLISH!

LOL! Actually, you Philistine, Sailer's use was correct and yours incorrect.

Or, do you say "THESE rice WERE provided to me by my English teacher"?

A great story that highlights the lack of honesty in the immigration debate:

Now what you really need to understand with the total hand-over of this so called government of our nation to mexico city and the drug dealers where will you! live in 5 to 20 years when this nation has 400 or 500 million hispanics who don't like living with Americans? SEE: AZTLAN FOR MORE INFO, Bush is the enemy of all free people.


I'm not surprised about that - however my point was the MEXICO more resembles the RSA during apartheid. I wonder why we aren't hearing more about the "white racist elite" whose policies and corruption are a significant factor in why we are facing this problem now (and why useful idiots like Bush, McCain, Kennedy, Durbin et. al seem to think its not a problem at all).

The electric fences on RSA's northern border to keep poorer nations' citizens out of their "racist hellhole" is similar to the Mexican crackdown on "illegals" from Guatemala and other nations to their south.

It gets even worse than that, Will: the US is failing to learn the lessons of two very troubled countries, South Africa and Israel. In both cases, European populations established settlements in largely empty land. (Unlike the case of the Spaniards and Porteguese in South America, who mainly established plantation economies dependent on native labor) The success of these settlements attracted the surrounding native populations, and the settlements gradually converted themselves into plantations. The natives who flocked to the settlements were enriched thereby - but they inevitaby came to resent their benefactors. The US was for centuries the epitome of the "settlement" model (with the notable exception of the South), but now seems determined to follow the path of SA and Israel to a seething plantation.

The issues raised by Teller, Steve Sailor, and myself have yet to be addressed by our opponents. The statement by Floccine makes it clear that he or she does not understand what is at stake here. When I was living in Malaysia, I read a book by Amy Chua called "World on Fire". This book depicts the various peoples of the world of being in roughly two catagories: "market minorities" and "sons of the soil". The market minorities tend to have work ethic, pro-education, and are natural-born entreprenuers. The "sons of the soil" tend to be pretty much the opposite.

America was built by "market minorities". As is any successful technological society.

Having spent much time in Malaysia and the rest of SE Asia I can tell you: her book is spot on. The central thesis of her book was that societies composed of both market minorities and sons of the soil are not peaceful prosperous societies, but tend to have considerable political stability. Of all of the countries in the world that mix both groups, Malaysia is probably the most sucessful at doing so. It also has many problems and it is debatable if Malaysia will be the Bosnia of 2020.

There are Chinese, Indian, and Malays. The Chinese are pretty much what you expect them to be: hard working, entreprenuerial, and given to seek education. They are, in short, the urbane merchant class of Malaysia, concentrated mostly in Penang (which is 50% Chinese), Ipoh, and KL. The Malays are generally the opposite of the Chinese. Many of them are from the country side and tend not to get educated. They are definitely not entreprenueral in nature. Now, of course there are exceptions. I know of several tremendously sucessful Malay entreprenuers in both KL and Penang, who easily hold their weight against the Chinese. However, they are the exception to the rule and readily admit such. They even tend to hire Chinese or Indians, in favor to their "own" Malay people. Talent hires talent, regardless of ethnic identity. This is the reality.

The differences between Chinese (market minority) and Malay (sons of the soil) is something that Dr. M used to talk about all of the time, when he was PM. He even wrote a book about it sometime in the 70's, shortly after becoming PM.

The reality is that many Malays resent the success of the Chinese, even with the affirmative action and priveleges the Malays get from the government. It is this resentment that the more Islamic political elements are exploiting to whip up support for their policies (which includes sharia law in Kelantan state). Even though it is illegal to talk about it publicly, everyone here admits that if Malaysia was mostly Chinese (like Singapore) it would be as successful as Singapore (basically like Japan or the U.S.) If Malaysia was 90% Malay, it would be as poor as Indonesia (which is pretty bad, but not as bad as most of India). This is reality.

It is not clear to me what Malaysia will be like in 10-15 years. The politics is becoming increasingly ugly. As goes Malaysia, will America follow?

I consider Malaysia to be a perfect case study on these issues. Few Americans have visited Malaysia. They also do not read history. Hence, they do not understand the issues and what is at stake.

Malaysia is just one example cited in Amy's book. It is the one I am most familiar with. The historical and current events evidence suggests that societies that have a majority of "market minority" people become successful, technologically and economically speaking. Societies composed of "sons of the soil" largely do not. A society composed in initially of "market minorities" that allows large numbers of the "sons of the soil" immigrants in endangers its future technological and economic prosperity. This is reality.

Floccine, I suggest you visit Malaysia. If your situation permits, you should spend significant time there (2-3 months). Spend time among the Chinese and Malays. You will come to appreciate what I am saying here. There is no substitute for direct personal experience.

I think we can also mostly agree on at least a few points:

a. The current handling of immigration is a disaster. We have 10+ million people living and working here illegally, which makes them natural targets for all kinds of crime and exploitation, and also which makes them natural customers of document fraud operations. Whatever the endpoint for fixing the immigration system, it must not leave this situation as it is.

b. There are tremendous incentives for people to come here from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc., because the wages are much higher here, and there are many more jobs. Similarly, there are tremendous incentives to hire people who will work at half the wages of citizens, who will never sue you for discrimination or anything, and who will be happy to work off the books if that's what you want. It's not going to be easy to get in between those two groups and prevent those transactions.

c. Whether illegal immigrants as a group make the country richer or poorer is an empirical question, and one that I think a lot of people here are much more qualified to answer than I. But it's clear that many local services, like schools and hospitals, are getting clobbered by the added costs of illegal immigrants. We need to address this in some way, so that we don't have illegal immigration mean that nobody in immigrant-heavy states even tries to go to an emergency room, because he knows it will be a six hour wait.

Yes, Brent. If Mexico does indeed resemble South Africa during apartheid it is because they are both societies where whites are in the minority. The "racism" of whites are directly proportional to their sense of threat. If you allow America to become a "seething plantation" (thanks Jimbo), there will be very little to distinguish white Americans from them retarded racists in Mexico and South Africa.

Tino quotes Alex on education:

3. “Instead, we should promote policies, such as improving our education system that enables Americans to be more productive with high-wage skills.†

To quote from a blog post of my own on the big increase in education spending that has failed to lift the Hispanics and blacks up to white levels of performance - let alone Ashkenazi Jews levels:

Hispanics perform poorly in American schools. Some claim more money for schools would solve the problem. But see this table "Total and current expenditure per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools: Selected years, 1919-20 to 2001-02". From 1971 to 2001 the total expenditures per student in inflation adjusted dollars doubled from $4884 to $9614. Going back even further the expenditures tripled from 1963's $3228. Money is not the problem.

Libertarians are fond of advocating educational vouchers. They've been tried in some places and appear to provide a small benefit. But they also do not raise up blacks to white levels of edcuation and economic success. So money doesn't fix the problem of lower performing minorities and vouchers won't either.

A lot of the greater life success attributed to education is a function of the higher average IQs of people who go to school more years. It is the higher IQs and not the time in school that produces the greater successes in many cases. Teachers and college professors greatly exaggerate the benefits of their services.

The teachers are able to get away with their deceit because IQ as a cause of differences in outcomes has been made taboo by people on the Left in mainstream discussions. They just jump all over people who bring up IQ differnces, calling them racists and Nazis (see above) to stifle discussion of empirical evidence produced by the psychometricians.

Imagine that a group of physicists decided that the strong nuclear force was a taboo subject and that only the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity could be discussed as fundamental forces. They'd be derided as quacks. Well, the social scientists have done something in their own field - making IQ taboo - that would be considered quackery if such an important factor was ruled out of bounds in physics. Lynn and Vanhanen, in their IQ and the Wealth of Nations, showed that most social scientists are acting like quacks by ignoring IQ and evolution when trying to understand human nature.

The social scientists do not have to engage on IQ when debating immigration because the taboo allows them to frame all their arguments without reference to a very important determinant of economic outcomes. Even the social scientists who know the taboo hides important truths make lots of mistakes in their reasoning because they don't get corrected for not factoring IQ into their mental and mathematical models.

A lot of the truth about human nature is ugly. I understand why people shrink from it. But shrinking from the truth does real harm. Stop doing it. Study and debate the evidence. You are making really big mental errors if you fail to do so.

Cheap DNA sequencing is going to put an end to the era of taboos about human differences in IQ and other aspects of cognitive function. I figure we are 5 to 10 years away such cheap DNA sequencing costs that the evidence will extend all the way down to the molecular level with so much detail that the Left will no longer be able to enforce the taboo. The cracks in the taboo are already showing. For example, see the recent paper A Map of Recent Positive Selection in the Human Genome. God did not hold out his hand 50,000 years ago and stop all local selective pressures for genetic differences in cognitive function. Brains evolved to fit local conditions just like other body parts did. The brain does not stand above selective pressures. We have not not escaped the forces of natural selection.

Brad DeLong's somewhat more left-leaning readership is in revolt over at his blog too.

Unsurprisingly, not many facts flowing in from the other side over there either. Isn't it telling how conspicuously this so-called "consensus statement" is unable to marshal any real facts or references in its favor? How flimsy the arguments of its supporters?

Kurt what you forget here is that research flows over borders. If Japan develops more autoimmunization technology US firms can buy the robots and reap the same benefits.

However immigration will reduce US economical growth in a much more simple way, by substantially lowering the average quality of the workforce.

The per capita money income of the US 2001 was 22.850 dollars. But this is hiding a lot of information. In fact the US is two parts, 69% non-hispanic whites, 31% everyone else.

The per capita income of the former market dominant majority was 26.100,
the (mainly African American, Hispanic) minority 15.500. This despite the fact that the Asian group does as well as whites.

Let’s assume, as seams reasonable, that this is proportional to GDP.

Today the US has a GDP per capita that is 34% higher than Japan (Japan has slightly higher GDP per capita than Euro-15). But if you only look at the non-Hispanic white population the US has a GDP per capita that is 53.4% higher than Japan!

By 2050 non-Hispanic whites will be 50.1% the population. Let’s say the same income distribution applies 2050 that it does now (in reality the share of more successful Asians will go up, but the relative income of Hispanics is likely to be further reduced).

Even assuming the higher Hispanic share has no downward effect on white earnings through higher taxes the demographic transition itself will reduce measured US GDP per capita by 9%.

This about this. The “true† advantage of the American system over Europe how much more American of European decent earn in this more free-market system, which is a staggering 58% more (or 16.600 dollars per person).

But because of the downward pressure by lower skilled groups the GDP advantage only looks like 38%.

But with 2050 demographics, assuming the Muslim demographic shock to Europe will not be very strong (it won’t, Americans tend to forget that most European immigrants are from other European countries) the US advantage will only look like 26%, though having imported millions of unskilled workers from the third world.

True advantage of American economic system to Europe 58%
Measures advantage ignoring demographic factors 26%.

Unfair, isn’t it?

Than you will get some idiot socialist like Krugman writing in the 2050 edition of the NY-times that the conservatives overstate how good capitalism works, Europe and Japan don’t do that much worse than the US. Who is going to write in and complain?


I wouldn't pass off the bulk of the 'viva amnestia' rhetoric entirely on the liberal-left. I know quite a few progressives who realize exactly how bad the future may look for the things they care about - personal freedom, workers rights, the environment - if CIRA or something equally bad becomes law. The pro-business 'the more short-term profits the better' wing of the GOP seems perfectly content with the "invade the world, invite the world" strategy ($1 to Sailer). Its the panderers on the Democratic side that are willing to "compromise" with the cheap-labor robber barons across the aisle, because they're shrewd enough to realize that the vast majority of these "future Americans" will vote for them. As always, follow the money/power.


Thanks, I was beginning to worry. . .invective and irrelevancies are NEVER in short supply, I'm sure you'll get the mix right in due time. . .si se puede!!!!


Will the US workforce be able to produce what American consumers demand in 2050? Will we be able to pay for what China produces? Will the Chinese still be holding the same percentage of US Treasuries as they do today?

To our heavy artillery, Tyler and Alex: while we’re coming up with our snappy comeback, it would be awfully nice if you could provide some cover for awhile.

Seriously: I look forward to reading your responses. Maybe I don’t get out enough, but his has been the most instructive series of exchanges about immigration I’ve ever encountered. Thank you, one and all.


Sailer has this all wrong. It's not "invade the world, invite the world", it's really "invade the world, invite the world, indebt to the world". The United States isn't just importing poverty on a heroic scale, we also importing debt at rates unheard for a major power. Sadly, America has become the poster boy for globalization gone bad.

kurt, stop being thick, "pro-immigration" is clearly being sarcastic. The other side doesn't usually brag about using nothing but invective or irrelevancies or argue that externalities and supply and demand are discredited!



Economical growth though higher per capita productivity (source of most growth) will raise the income of workers, and increase demand along with supply. this is Say's law, and has been true almost always historically. When it has not (for example depression) the reasons have been specifically disturbance, not general lack of population growth.

Schaeffer and other: don't mix the issues here. Foreign debt is not a problem at all. One reason some economist are pro-immigration is that the anti-immigration camp mixes bad and good arguments.

The high-skill parts of the US economy are growing extremely fast, it is completely reasonable to borrow a little from future income when interests rates are so low. Remember the federal debt/GDP ratio has only gone up by less than 10% since 2000.

"Insufficient consumption" is Keynesian idiocy. Satisfaction is never achieved. That's why one common definition of economics is the study of the allocation of finite resources to appease infinite wants. Increasing the productivity of an economy will permit greater investment and consumption.


I guess I'm thick in accepting "Pro-immigration" at face value. Nonetheless, I felt the need to clarify myself, less my position be interpeted as "racist".

The rest of you: I can tell you that many Asia immigrants (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese) share many of the same attitudes as the immigration restrictionist express on this board. I can also say that they do not have much respect for the "PC liberal-left" as it manifests itself in this country and Europe, and thats putting it mildly. My wife thinks that people who are politically left-wing (and they have them in Japan, too) are like little children who have not grown up to accept reality. She doesn't think much of christian right people, either, although she thinks that they are slightly more in touch with reality than the PC left. Slightly is the operative word here.

You do not want to know what most Asian people think about what Fred Reed calls "the unassimulatible minorities" in the U.S.

i have no problem with immigrants they are fine. what harm are they doing coming here besides populating the country? they are just trying to have a better life that they can share with their friends and families. Its really what we all want. Just put yourself in there place.

American-born Hispanics still trail non-Hispanic whites by three to four grade levels (that 67% of the white-black gap).

This data was provided to me by Stefan Thernstrom of Harvard.


"Still trail." That's hard to believe and smells decidedly fishy, simply given my own story which admittedly starts in the 1950s. Where can we find this "data"?

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