Monday, September 09, 2019

America Needs More People

The evidence is clear: net of immigration, the US population is both shrinking and ageing at an alarming rate. The United States needs more immigrants to maintain current levels of economic growth and welfare provision.  If the trend continues, it threatens both the economic vitality of the country as a whole and widely cherished welfare programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which require a young and economically active tax base. The right-wing call for Americans to have more children. But this only makes sense on the chauvinistic assumption that immigration is a threat for the country’s culture. Immigration is a faster and more efficient way to replenish the country’s work-force.

The demographic data  make the case that the United States needs increased immigration. But it also needs better economic redistribution and workers’ rights to make sure that the benefits of immigration are shared fairly within society as a whole.

Many argue  that immigration negatively affects certain sectors of the population, because it increases competition among workers and puts downward pressure on wages and working conditions.

Even if these claims were true, it wouldn’t necessarily be a weakness of the case for more immigration, since it shifts the debate to another terrain. 
If the problem is that immigration harms certain sectors of the population while increasing aggregate levels of growth, then surely the response should be to call for more economic redistribution alongside higher levels of immigration, so that everyone benefits from the added wealth generated by immigrants.
The same goes for working conditions. If there’s any reason to suppose that immigration adversely affects workers’ rights, it’s because a large proportion of the immigrant workforce is currently illegal, which makes it harder for them to unionize and claim the rights legal workers are entitled to.
The idea of open borders presuppose nation-states. The case for open borders also relies on premises of allowing the “invisible hand” of the market to determine where people live will benefit everyone because workers will naturally move to where there is more demand for them

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