Saturday, August 8, 2015

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus 

Immigration and immigrants are popular whipping boys for demagogues on both the left and the right. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders dismissed the notion of open borders as Koch brother plot which would impoverish the American people while Donald Trump took a page from Ann Coulter's book and labelled Mexican immigrants broadly as rapists. Here in Canada the ostensibly pro free market think tank The Fraser Institute published a study in 2013 which argued that foreigners cost native born Canadians some twenty billion dollars a year because of disparities between the taxes they pay and the services they consume. 2014 saw hysteria concerning the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) reach record levels as the CBC's yellow journalism incited a xenophobic backlash against foreign worker. The Harper government reacted by sharply curtailing the program.

While newcomers may make an attractive scapegoat for economic ills, real and imagined, immigration is a tremendous boon for both the newcomers and those of us who are already here. The people who leave get the opportunity to find higher paying work, often several times more than what they would get paid at home (the typical salary in Canada is 4x more than what people make in the Phillipine and 130x more than what people are paid in Sierra Leone) and in the case of refugees they escape war, famine or poverty. Almost always the governments they leave behind are even more despotic and kleptocratic than the one we suffer under. In Canada they get an opportunity to experience peace and prosperity. In return, Canadians benefit from a broadened division of labour society and additional opportunities for trade. Unskilled immigrants, especially those suffering from a language barrier, may have an appetite for demanding work with relatively little pay which most Canadians spurn and the income earned by newcomers in turn becomes demand for additional goods and services, creating more jobs. Even unskilled immigrants may be able to provide a new service, such as language tutoring in an obscure language.

The issue of net tax consumption is an important one but the real tax consumers are not immigrants employed in the private sector but politicians and their cronies who have been living high on the hog for quite some time. It is very typical of the establishment to practice a divide and conquer strategy of finding someone to blame so no one looks too closely at the man behind the curtain. The power elite want us to hate and mistrust each other so that while we are fighting they can continue to loot the wealth of the productive economic class and use the machinery of the state to fight pointless wars in the middle east or wreck our economy with high taxes, unnecessary regulation and constant inflation. It is thus vital for them that permanent and visible underclass exists, both so that this class can grow dependent upon the welfare state for survival (and in return off political support at the ballot box for social democratic politicians) and so that class war rhetoric can obfuscate the symbiotic role of rich and poor as well as the parasitic role of the political class upon the whole of society.

Instead of closing off our borders and huddling in fear of immigrants taking our jobs or terrorists blowing us up, we should welcome anyone who wishes to come here and experience freedom and prosperity.

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