By your’s truly, Pie Guevara. Full disclosure: Pie Guevara is an unregistered trademark of Engulf and Devour Investments LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walton Industries which, in turn, is wholly owned by David Walton. Image Accreditation: I stole the “Pie Guevara” image from National Lampoon artist/humorist genius Terry Gross who did the cover for the hilarious Is Nothing Sacred? issue. GIMP software was used to modify the original artwork and render it into the image you see here. Thank you Terry, thank you National Lampoon and thank you GIMP. You can follow me on Twitter (@PieGuevara) but I would not recommend it.
The Big Fat Lie (Part 1): Statistical Hogwash
More than a few analysts agree that the paucity of reliable statistics on illegal aliens makes enumerating and analyzing their economic impact on the United States challenging and difficult. This dearth of reliable data has given rise to a diverse number of methodologies and plethora of conflicting and contradictory conclusions.
Couple the scarcity of reliable data and data gathering instruments to the increasing rates of illegal border crossings and the newly favored practice of flooding points of entry with applications for asylum and the whole thing becomes even more of a statistical nightmare. US border facilities, courts and border control agencies have been completely overwhelmed. So are the bean counters.
Moreover the issue is politically contentious. Politics makes whores out of economic statisticians as easily as it does NASA climate scientists. Politics corrupts everything, hard science, especially soft science and even mathematics. The proverbial warning “There are lies, damned lies and statistics” is not a popular aphorism for nothing.
That said, it I think it should be pretty obvious (to any reasonable person) that anyone who claims to have irrefutable evidence that the enormous influx of illegal aliens into the US is a big plus for the economy is, well, full of it. The same goes for the converse. They cannot know and do not know to a statistical certainty what the economic impact is. Therein lies The Big Fat Lie.
Nevertheless, despite the sparseness of reliable data, there are plenty of folks happy and willing to blow smoke up your gluteus maximus. Blowing most of that smoke are Democrats and their volunteer propaganda arms which control a vast majority of the MSM. They consistently tout that illegal alien migrants are a big economic plus. So do many capitalists. Given the contempt Democrats routinely express towards capitalism (except when begging for campaign money) I don’t think you could find a stranger pair of strange bedfellows. Different goals, needs and ideologies do not get in the way of the hot pursuit of new voters or cheap labor.
What follows is a short list look at a few of the hypotheses and claims from various studies the smoke blowers tout. My personal observations are pretty much heterodox to the progressive Democrat propaganda machines that dominate the discourse. For myself, I do not claim to have any special path to the truth. The paucity of economic statistics on illegal aliens precludes any such claim. I merely present the following for your thoughtful consideration.
Firstly, what few statistics have been garnered on illegal aliens are so threadbare and unreliable that even the number of illegals in the US is disputed. For example, in 2018 the Department of Homeland Security released a report estimating that in 2015 there were 12 million illegal aliens residing here. Shortly before in 2017 Yale University’s Dr. Mohammad Fazel Zarandi presented a working paper that estimates there are 22.8 million. My hunch is that there are much more than 22.8 million but that hunch is unqualified and so I won’t belabor it. The point is, those are astonishing numbers — be it 12 million, 22.8 or more. Depending on which numbers you choose and when, illegal immigrants constitute around 3 to 6% of the entire US population. Their impact on the economy is likely to be significant even if not very well understood.
What is the Real Impact of Lowering Wages for the Poor and Middle Class?
Many studies agree that illegal immigrants lower wages for the poor and sectors of the middle class. This is largely due to the fact that most illegals want to work. The increased competition for unskilled and low-skilled labor and the willingness of illegals to work for pay under the table drives down wages. It is a mechanical statement of the law of supply and demand — illegal immigrants flooding the US inevitably reduce the price of work.
Some economists argue that the US economy needs more unskilled, low-skilled, uneducated and low-educated, low wage immigrant workers, legal and illegal. But is that true? Should we not favor Americans citizens no matter their education and skill sets and let them compete for jobs amongst themselves rather than allowing the induction of such large numbers of illegal aliens into the workforce?
Of course the result of increased competition for labor translates into lower productions costs. This ultimately saves consumers money and boosts production due to increased interest in business investment inspired by a low wage market. Yet does this actually result in a healthy, stable and sustainable economy? I suggest that the people who claim to know the answers actually don’t. They haven’t enough reliable data on economic impact of such large numbers of illegals to say it is one way or another.
What Is The Magic Number?
Studies generally conclude there is a small adverse impact on the wages of lower-skilled workers from immigration (legal and illegal) and some benefit for higher-skilled workers. I question the characterizations of small and some benefit.
There simply do not exist reliable statistical instruments by which to measure the true impact of the millions of illegal immigrants already here and the millions more to come if the laws do not change. Because there is no reliable, broad database from which to draw from there is no way to know or estimate how many is too many, how many is enough or what a reasonable rate of introduction should be.
This situation presents a bone of contention for me. What kind of stable and sustainable economy must rely on a increasing influx of exploitable low wage immigrants, legal or illegal? Is this the sort of economy we want?
Are we stuck in an economic system that demands an ever increasing number of impoverished unskilled, low skilled and largely uneducated low wage workers? Or is this just so much hogwash from politically motivated dastards seeking new votes or capitalists seeking to exploit a low wage market?
This is the 21st century yet we seem to still be living by 18th century rules where the economic growth of the industrial revolution was fueled and maintained by an enormous flow of cheap labor moving from the agrarian sector into the new industrial sector.
Don’t get me wrong, the industrial revolution, on balance, was a positive force for mankind and improved the lot for a large number human beings who otherwise would have starved to death without it. My concern is for American citizens in this century who seem to have been abandoned by their own government favoring illegal aliens.
Consumer Demand and Spending
It has been claimed that nearly every dollar earned by illegal immigrants is spent immediately. This has been, ostensibly, translated by some to mean that approximately 8 million US jobs are dependent upon economic activity produced by illegal immigrants.
Yet other studies show that a large portion of wages earned by illegal immigrants are sent back their country of origin. Considering that illegals have historically been predominately Mexican in origin this means that Mexico has been essentially solving its problems of poverty by doing nothing. Doing nothing forces Mexico’s impoverished citizens to enter the US illegally to get work. The illegal immigrants then send money earned back home to help their impoverished relatives and a corrupt Mexican government does not need to do anything about improving the lot of its own citizens.
I would say that is a pretty good scam.
If other corrupt governments south of the border are any indication, Mexican officials are funneling US foreign aid into private coffers. But even supposing they don’t, Mexico still gets the full benefit of American largess and good will and while at the same time using us to solve their widespread poverty problems by doing nothing to help their own impoverished citizens.
You are paying for it. Do you feel even a little bit used and abused?
National Public Radio noted in 2006 that supporters of a crackdown on illegal immigration argue that the US economy would benefit if illegal immigrants were to leave because US employers would be forced to raise wages to attract American workers.
NPR also noted that critics of this approach say the loss of illegal immigrants would stall the US economy because illegal workers do many jobs few native-born Americans will do.
The criticism of a crackdown on illegal immigration ultimately led to Senator John McCain’s infamous insult of his own citizens in 2007 where he declared that illegal immigrants “do the work Americans won’t do.” Whether true or not, that statement did not sit well with a lot of US citizens.
So which is it? Will the economy benefit by gaining control over and reducing illegal immigration or stall? My opinion is that either hypothesis it is unknown and cannot be known because of the paucity of reliable data.
Law professor Francine Lipman asserts that “illegal immigrants actually contribute more to public coffers in taxes than they cost in social services” and “contribute to the US economy through their investments and consumption of goods and services.”
Again, given the scarcity of statistical data on illegal immigrants and the lack of statistical instruments to track such data how can she possibly know this with any statistical certainly? She can’t. Moreover, Lipman is a political activist with an agenda and trusting activists to generate valid statistical analysis is counter intuitive.
Hotsi-totsi, Trump’s a Nazi
But earlier it was “Talk policy, not personal”
“This is not a political issue… I am mad, ya’ll” clip. Yep, “mad” is the operative term, ya’ll.
The following bloviation is so intensely, incredibly and insanely wrong at so many levels it is nearly impossible to parse. I suggest you not waste your time trying to. I merely dare you to watch it in its entirety without tossing your cookies —
Stupidest Comments of the Week Contest
From the “Why is liberal California the poverty capital of America?” comment thread. The Braying Jackass Award goes to…
Braying Jackass Award Notes: Poor purple faced Chris was having a very bad day. (When is he not?) So in desperation he naturally regressed to paradigmatic progressive puerility. The result was this wonderfully delicious diatribe full of rage, moronic misrepresentation, cretinous conclusion drawing and crass name calling. Kudos Chris! You did it with such brevity! You’re the man!
Schadenfreude is alive and well in the Guevara Compound. Chris, we feel your pain and delight in it. The “Next” punchline was a particularly amusing condescension. It must have been humongous ego boost, gratifying and soothing for the miserable schoolyard bully/brat. Well, perhaps outside of calling me a racist twice! That had to empowering!
Does anyone besides me see a pattern here?
Chris’ comments reflect precisely what passes for “critical thinking” for him and 99% of all progressives I have ever encountered. No doubt he learned his finely honed communication skills as an English major at a California university. Just imagine what he is passing on to his students.
When you get right down to it, there is really only one definitive answer to Chris’ consistently silly and nasty behavior in the Post Scripts comments section —
Friday Free-For-All Weekend Entertainment
From the Golden Age of radio… Escape!
“I had to focus and then my breath froze in my throat. The decks were swarming with dark brown carpet that looked like gigantic fungus but undulating… and on the masts and yards, the guys and all, were hundreds, no thousands, no mi…I don’t know, and endless number of enormous RATS!”
“Three Skeleton Key” Escape! radio broadcast, March 17, 1950
As much as I love Vincent Price, I prefer the original William Conrad radio adaptation of Georges-Gustave Toudouze’s short story. November 15, 1949
“The Twelve Chairs” (1970)
Mel Brooks’ screen adaptation of the classic 1928 satirical novel by Odessan authors Ilf and Petrov. This comedic send up of life in the former Soviet Union is a delight. Plenty of slapstick, subtle and not so subtle jokes and nods to other film makers (Brook’s most obvious nod is to Ingmar Bergman in the walking to Moscow montage).
Ilf and Petrov’s novel inspired at least 18 film adaptations in Russia and abroad. Nazi Germany’s 1938 adaptation “Thirteen Chairs” did not credit the novel’s authors, probably due to Ilf’s Jewish origins.
Starring Mel Brooks, Frank Langella, Ron Moody and Dom DeLuise.
I hope Post Scripts readers have as much fun perusing this Post Scripts blog post as I had authoring it. I probably should rename this effort “Pie Guevara’s Occasional Friday Free-For-All ” because I do not know if I can dedicate the time to create this post once a week. Let me know what you think in the comments section.
I gratefully thank Jack and Tina for so graciously giving me the opportunity to join their wonderful blog and hope I can be worthy of their kind invitation.