Bryan Caplan/George Mason University: a true "economist" and "intellectual"
Bryan Caplan is an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University. His "thinking abilities" as well as his "economic" skills are on full display in the Economist guest post "Immigration Restrictions: A Solution in Search of a Problem". Let's take a look at this public "intellectual":
Every blogger I know tells me the same story: The fastest way to provoke angry comments is to post a kind word about immigration. In the blogosphere, as in real life, complaints about immigrants abound.
Of course, those complaints aren't usually about "immigrants" either in general or about "immigrants" personally. Usually, the complaints are about illegal immigration or large concentrations of illegal aliens, such as in our cities.
The funny thing, though, is that the complaints are diverse, but the cure is almost always the same: Cut immigration quotas, reinforce the border, and deport the illegals.
The last is, of course, quite close to - and probably meant as - the usual false choice offered between a massive amnesty and mass deportations.
Suppose, for example, that the complaint about immigrants is that "They take advantage of the welfare state." If that's the problem, the simplest solution is not the get rid of immigrants, but to make them ineligible for benefits. Make them pay the usual taxes, but make it clear that welfare, unemployment benefits, Medicare, Social Security, and the like are only for native-born citizens.
Yeah, what if. What if I could build a time machine? Wouldn't that be great? What people like Caplan are too ignorant to understand is that there's a great deal of pressure placed on local governments and even the federal government to continue such benefits. Some of that comes from racial power groups, others comes from corrupt businesses that enjoy corporatism. When Caplan does things such as offer false choices or conflates illegal and legal immigration he plays right into the hands of such groups. And, of course: no one wants to "get rid of immigrants".
What if the complaint is that immigrants endanger our political culture – in short, that they vote the wrong way? I'm sympathetic to this concern, but it's easy to tailor a solution: Don't let immigrants vote.
At this point, I'm laughing. It's easy to state such a supposed solution, it's not so easy to carry such a thing out. Unless we want think South Africa or Saudi Arabia are good American models.
In brief, Caplan is truly an "intellectual", and he's truly a top-tier "economist".