Tamar Jacoby, CPAC, immigration, and not yet clued-in bloggers

There was an immigration panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend, and a few bloggers have reports. Unfortunately, none of those bloggers have yet seen the light, but that might change.

First up we have "Anti-Immigration = Anti-Capitalist" from Ryan Sager. His bio:

...a member of the editorial board of The New York Post... worked and written for the Cato Institute, Reason magazine, The Wall Street Journal [,...less objectionable outfits...]

At his post I left the following comment:

There's so much in this post that's incorrect, so it's difficult to know where to begin.

Let's start with those quotes and them not being taken out of context. They were indeed taken out of context: the context being these are the same AILA slogans that Bush keeps repeating over and over.

Your concept of what constitutes a "labor market" is skewed as well. Illegal labor is also massively subsidized labor. If you support illegal labor, you also support subsidies to those who employ that labor. How much would companies have to pay their workers if those workers didn't have access to free schooling, free (emergency room) healthcare, discounted college educations, etc. etc.

The final comment is "liberal"-level race-baiting. We already admit 800,000 legal immigrants per year, many or most of whom are like "them."

For more on Tamar Jacoby and Bush's bracero program, see this.

You can hear an interview with her here. Let's just say she didn't win the argument. ;)

Moving on, we come to "CPAC Shadow Blogging*, Part I: Immigration". It quotes from Sager's post and offers a few misconceptions of its own. PrestoPundit leaves a comment, and this is the one I left:

...[Sager's] quotes were indeed taken out of context: the larger context of those being the same AILA slogans Bush repeats on the rare occasions when immigration is discussed...

In addition to PrestoPundit's argument, let's consider your quote about "entice Americans to do the back-breaking work involved in strawberry picking".

Let's think about what that means for a moment. What you're suggesting is that we can either give up strawberry production, or we can invite in a foreign serf class to do our nasty jobs. Isn't that the way they do things in Saudi Arabia and Japan? And, hasn't America already been down this road before a few times? Slavery, indentured servitude, coolies, etc. etc. Is that really the model we should follow in the future?

How about we either mechanize strawberry production, or we let it die. I'm sure it could be mechanized if necessary. Plenty of other crops are, and in some cases mechanization has been hindered for political reasons. Isn't that the better way to do things?

Other less worthy and virtually content-free posts about the immigration panel are here, here, and here.