SPINNING IMMIGRATION….Matt Yglesias puts poison pen to virtual paper and writes:
Robert Samuelson earns his bones today as one of those white pundits, employed by white editors, writing for an audience of white people, who has the courage to speak uncomfortable “truths” about how non-white people are bad.
I gave up reading Samuelson a while ago because his selective misuse of numbers was so bad that it just wasn’t worth the time. His columns aren’t quite in NRO territory, but they’re close.
In today’s column, he quotes figures that aren’t even related to assimilation to prove that Hispanic immigrants don’t assimilate. But they do. He says that immigrants depress the wages of unskilled natives, which is at best only barely true, and goes on to say that immigrants also have a negative effect on the economy as a whole, which is not true at all. Then he quotes an email to imply that immigrants don’t learn English, which is also untrue.
Finally, to top it off, he makes the bizarre argument that the real problem is the combination of more immigrants and more old people. But our demographic problems will be worse if we don’t encourage immigration, not better. We’re going to have the same number of old people in 20 years no matter what we do, and an increase in immigration spreads the tax burden of supporting them to a bigger base of people.
No immigration policy is perfect. If we let in more legal immigrants, they’ll probably exert a small downward effect on unskilled wages. And we probably ought to figure out a better way to teach their kids English, especially since this is such a hot button among some natives. But those are fairly minor problems, really, especially compared to the benefits of a sensible immigration policy: increased wages (legal immigrants are generally paid more than illegals), less worker abuse, less crime, a growing population, and a small but real positive impact on the economy. What’s not to like?