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Low skilled immigrant labor for a better middle-class?

15 August 2009

That, according to a paper written for the Cato Institute by Australian researchers Peter B. Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer.  Dixon and Rimmer’s study finds that enforcement of immigration laws directed at low-skilled labor costs more than it saves in public expenditures, and that:

Legalization would eliminate smugglers’ fees and other costs faced by illegal immigrants. It would also allow immigrants to have higher productivity and create more openings for Americans in higherskilled occupations. The positive impact for U.S. households of legalization under an optimal visa tax would be 1.27 percent of GDP or $180 billion.

In other words, it means immigrants would arrive with more money to spend (on things like housing) and less likely to rack up expensive state-funded assistance like emergency room visits (because they’d be able to go to a doctor before there was an emergency). And, because you had more lower-skilled workers available, it would create a need for more higher-skilled positions (managers, salesmen, etc.).

The Cato Institute, of course, is a “libertarian” think tank, which presumes that the market (whatever that is), and not the state, not religion, not cultural tradition, should determine the course of public affairs. And, to a large extent, was the thinking that brought us globalism and its discontents.

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