Buy a House, Get a Visa

Add Thomas Friedman to Tyler, myself, Lee Ohanian and others suggesting immigration as a way to alleviate the recession:

Leave it to a brainy Indian to come up with the cheapest and surest way to stimulate our economy: immigration.

“All you need to do is grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and
Koreans,” said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express newspaper.
“We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to
pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate – no Indian
bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans because not
paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new
companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”

Note that the multiplier on the “buy a house, get a visa” strategy would be much larger than any possible domestic multiplier since the money would come from outside the economy (and efficiency would improve as well.)
I think there would be considerable support among economists that immigration (buy a house, get a visa), a payroll tax cut and maintaining state and local funding would be reasonably good policies in this recession (albeit not necessarily sufficient) yet these policies seem to be the ones that the political system rejects out of hand.  (See also Matt Yglesias here and here).  Now, I can understand rejecting these policies as compared to doing nothing, ala a precautionary principle, but why these policies are rejected compared to taking a trillion dollar gamble is puzzling even to someone like myself schooled in public choice.


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