August 07, 2013
Evidently, though, it’s not.
Today, we comprehend that if, like the Weimar Republic in 1923, the government undermines the scarcity value of money, people could end up having to take a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy groceries. But the majority of the Senate that voted for the Schumer-Rubio bill to put tens of millions of foreigners on “a pathway to citizenship” by converting their counterfeit documents into new official papers showed little understanding of the scarcity value of citizenship and right of residence.
This willful ignorance isn”t surprising because politicians love giving big handouts to small numbers of people by nicking a small amount from big numbers of people. For instance, farm subsidies take billions from random taxpayers like you and me and give it to a small but well-funded lobby that has been enjoying record profits. Sure, it’s inane and corrupt, but is it worth your while to lobby Congress just to save a small amount in taxes?
Even more than they love taxing and spending, politicians adore a giveaway that doesn”t show up in the budget. Stumped by how to get minorities to earn more money, for instance, George W. Bush announced at his 2002 White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership his plan for letting minorities borrow more money: Reduce requirements for down payments and documentation on mortgages. What could go wrong?
Even better from the modern Senator’s standpoint is frittering away the scarcity value of your citizenship on various ethnic and business lobbies. In part, that’s easy to do because the notion that American citizenship has a cash value is not a concept that comes readily to the minds of idealistic Americans.
It sure does to foreigners, however. Randall Burns calculated in 2005 from Indian-arranged marriage ads that an H-1B visa adds $50,000-$70,000 to dowries. The gold standard of citizenship is worth even more. Similarly, Chinese birth tourism websites are extremely informative about all the advantages that accrue from glomming onto birthright citizenship.
Moreover, Americans don”t like to admit that the chief advantage of being an American is that our forefathers carved out for us a big, empty country where the short supply of labor and the ample supply of land would make a middle-class existence broadly affordable. Benjamin Franklin explained in the 1750s that in the Old World, in contrast to high-wage, low-cost America:
In countries fully settled…those who cannot get land must labor for others that have it; when laborers are plenty, their wages will be low; by low wages a family is supported with difficulty; this difficulty deters many from marriage, who therefore long continue servants and single.
Thus, Franklin proposed restricting immigration to preserve Americans” patrimony of economic independence.
That’s what the Senate is trying to give away with the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill. To them, Franklin’s vision of self-ruling Americans is annoying. In contrast, a nation of Latin American-style debt peonage, keeping citizens single and servile, is the Promised Land.