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Man, I HATE immigrants

Title says it all. I HATE immigrants. Stay in your own country! You’re not doing us any benefit coming here and taking all our jobs!! The money we pay in taxes is all consumed by you foreigners in the form of free health care and education that WE deserve, not you. There is absolutely no economic benefit of any immigrant entering our economy. Zero, zip, zilch, nada.

Okay, fine. Maybe immigration does increase aggregate demand (AD) since consumption rises… so fine, maybe GDP will rise a bit and maybe unemployment may fall, but hey, that’s just gonna put us in inflation! Yup, prices are gonna rise and- Oh wait… immigration does also raise aggregate supply now that I think about it… more labour does means lower wages, less inflation, more GDP, less unemployment... Whatever! Who cares about GDP and unemployment and all those numbers that won’t affect my life ever?! I just lost my job at this factory to an immigrant! I’m never going to find any other job, everything’s gonna be taken away by these little-… Hmm wait a second. If GDP is rising and the economy is growing, new jobs will inevitably be created to actually be able to raise output, so maybe I’ll find another job in another industry… But none of this justifies the fact that these immigrants are taking all of our tax money and aren’t contributing anything back! Hah, I’ve got you now! Nothing’s gonna be able to argue against that-

Oh nevermind, I think I read some study the other day that said immigrants generally contribute more to taxes than they take. Well yeah actually, they do still pay taxes don’t they… it’s the illegal immigrants who are free-riders, and they only make up 3% of the population in the US… OKAY, but that doesn’t explain… it doesn’t explain the um- Hopefully by this point you’ve realized that immigration really is a win-win situation. Not only does it benefit the host economy (contrary to public opinion as I illustrated above), but it also benefits the home economy of the immigrant, as they may send remittances back home. If, economically speaking, immigration is so good, why does it cause so much political turmoil? Well, it all comes down to our instincts. We’re scared of aliens. We naturally tend to blame unfamiliarity over familiarity for events that we can’t explain. That’s why immigrants are always at the centre of political debate; they become scapegoats for phenomena that we can’t understand, like maybe why unemployment rises unexpectedly. But I mean, this is economics, there’s always going to be some trade-off with anything. Immigration is not perfect for the host economy. The only group victim to immigration are low-skilled workers. When more immigrants enter the economy, it raises the supply of labour and hence lowers wages. So, these low-skilled workers, who are already paid distressingly low incomes, get paid even lower incomes when the labour force expands. So yeah, immigration does increase inequality. But it should be the government’s responsibility to solve this. They must take some of the gains gained from immigration (possibly in the form of progressive taxation) and redistribute that income back. So next time, if you find yourself upset at a foreigner for taking your job, don’t blame the immigrant who is simply trying to make a living outside their country so they can send money back home to their family. Blame the politicians wasting time on deciding whether or not immigration is a good idea (when it clearly is a great idea), rather than more fruitfully debating on how to solve inequality.

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