Congressman Dave Brat wrote a stunning Op-ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch (“Immigration is killing Americans’ job prospects“) in which he blames immigrants — both legal and illegal — for the current anemic economy. Rightly citing “meager job growth” and “stagnant wages” as symptoms, he then makes a crass and erroneous conclusion that the problem is immigration.
Immigration is not killing Americans’ job prospects — government policy is. We all know that. Why does Congressman Brat ignore the elephant in the room? Brat talks about statistics and “jobs availability” as if the economy was a zero-sum endeavor and there is a finite amount of jobs available to go around, from which outsiders are taking more than their fair share. That’s absurd.
The reality is that job creation and growth by businesses — signs of a healthy economy — have slowed to a crawl because of 1) excessive and onerous regulations unleashed in the last several years; 2) increased taxes, and the high corporate tax rate; 3) overreaching agencies such as the NLRB and EPA; 4) Obamacare; and so forth.
These are all aggressive, anti-business policies that small and large businesses have had to increasingly contend with in our country. They are the reasons why more businesses are closing than opening and investment has declined. Businesses can’t afford to stay in business, comply with government diktats, and create new jobs.
To go after legal and illegal immigration while simultaneously ignoring the government’s culpability is disingenuous at best and pandering at worst. With a diatribe that strenuously complains about “the presence and availability of immigrants — whether legal or illegal, permanent or temporary — in the job market,” Congressman Brat sounds like he may be setting us up for a Trump endorsement down the road; such a line of ridiculous thinking is more compatible with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan than any rational, logical economist — which is what Brat purports to be.