Saturday, July 28, 2012

Immigration Data Audit

I thought more about immigrants and I worked out that the studies showing immigrants make the country richer cannot possibly be correct.

Tribal affiliation warning: I still maintain immigration is none of your business until an immigrant imposes externalities on your property, and then you should have the right to sue. It is the immigrant's sponsor's responsibility to make sure they impose no externalities, or to pay in advance for indulgences.

This is instead a screed against the economist and academic tribes, because their tribal norms enrich them at everyone else's expense. In this case, some random asshole from the internet notices a hole larger than any factor the supposed experts actually accounted for.

In an efficient market immigrants would be good, because labour isn't like other goods. Each immigrant would work hard enough to make their own stuff and then some - society would gain from the excess. However, we know that most immigrants are not high-value workers; they have a small surplus at the best of times.

The government taxes. The government provides benefits. Is there any chance that the government doesn't cost society more per immigrant than the immigrant provides in surplus?

Of course, each immigrant provides votes, and even illegals provide sales tax. In other words, the government - those who by definition have the power to determine immigration - gains money and power cost-free for every immigrant.

Don't forget that sovereign accounting is weird. They essentially don't have to pay for benefits, because it is funded by inflation. However, more taxes means that the individuals involved in government have more to influence and more to skim from.

To check my conclusion, the first search hit seemed sufficient.
"On average, immigrants appear to have a minor positive net fi…scal effect for host countries. Of course, these benefits are not uniformly distributed across the native population and sectors of the economy."
My reading: immigrants cost society benefits, but it's okay because they pay slightly more in taxes.

So, the government taxes or inflates, then provides services with these dollars. Taxes have deadweight costs, and public provision costs 10-100 times as much as a comparable private provision, especially accounted in terms of stuff.

Then, it turns around and taxes immigrants. With more deadweight costs. On the margin, it uses these taxes to hinder pre-existing wealth-creation activities.

These effects are not accounted for in the official studies.

But, I'll in turn check my reading...
"Borjas and Trejo (1991) calculated that the average immigrant family costs $13.5k for the welfare system over the course of their US stay, compared to the $7.9k cost of a native family.

Baker and Benjamin (1995) found the Canadian experience to be somewhat different. Immigrants, apart from refugees, consumed less unemployment benefits, social security, and housing support than natives."
Did you notice the reverse broken window fallacy? They included things easy to calculate, but assumed nothing was spent on the more difficult factors. Even setting aside the natural wealth-destroying properties of government action, they haven't included the cost of public education, wear on public roads, (both the immigrants and the trucks supplying their stuff) subsidized water mains, government provision of electricity...

Haha, oops. They found the conclusion they wanted, then stopped. If they hadn't found it, they would have kept looking, or, Robert Putnam style, not published.

In turn, if there's anything I've missed, kindly let me know. However, the case seems to me overwhelming even in estimate.

Also, real economies aren't very efficient. They're especially slow at redistributing labour. (This is mainly the government's fault too.)
"On the other hand, some more recent studies have found larger effects, and many studies note that the negative effects are concentrated on certain parts of the native population. The parts of the population most typically affected are the less-educated natives"
Fancy that.

"Immigration levels and ‡flows for some Northern European countries have a relative strength on par with traditional destination countries like the US. These …significant economic magnitudes, combined with Europe's ageing population, make immigration a …first-order policy question and research concern. Empirical lessons are drawn from several literature strands."
The effects can be safely assumed to be big.

I don't think academics are stupid. I think they are indeed experts, but not at academics. They're experts at fellating their patron, the state. Even if every fact they propound is true - and I rarely have reason to doubt that - they are liars, because the expertise their authority is supposed to be derived from is a lie. These supposed economists are neither trained nor equipped to understand economics, which is why some random asshole can be better at it than they are.

Their lies are truly exquisite, though. As a representative,
"They also found that immigrants assimilated towards higher benefit incidence with duration of stay, a result that Crossley et al. (2001) later disputed."
Academic dispute, between pro-immigration and anti-immigration! Without any conscious planning by anyone. Except, you can be sure it will come down on the pro side, because this is the only sentence where the disputant is mentioned immediately - the Kerrs is so uncomfortable with stating the con case that it cannot go unanswered. Note also the framing of the pro side as the single instances proves much of anything. But.

Just as the Republicants exist only to give Demobrat voters something to fear, the dispute exists to be refuted.

I would like to see a social graph of the authors cited in this survey, because it beggars my imagination to assume they gained entry solely on merit. (Long, try page 6, number 47. Step 93 on page 10 is also key. Via.) Starting with whether the authors are married. Similarly, it would likely be informative to discover how the con-side dissenters' views changed over time, and whether that was correlated with career.

We will see none of this highly relevant information in any article, academic or jounalistic.


Kent McManigal said...

Immigrant, "legal" or not, also pay property taxes through their rent (or mortgages).

Some, even borrow a Social Security [sic] Number and end up paying into an "account" (yes, I know there is no such thing) that they have no way of ever collecting from.

But, no matter what else, no State has the right or the authority to control where people travel or live.

Anonymous said...

Well, a “state” based on the model of, say, a gated community could, or at least make the patron responsible for his guests.