Wednesday, January 07, 2004

What's Wrong With Income Inequality?

The Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, remarks on inequality in America. His remarks are fairly interesting, but the big point is with immagration. As summarized by Irwin Stelzer in The Times of London:

There is no question that statistics show a rise in inequality. The main reason: America welcomes more immigrants - legal and illegal - than all the other countries of the world combined. These newcomers typically start on the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Exclude them from the statistics, calculates Easterbrook, and the increase in inequality disappears. Indeed, for the nine out of ten Americans that are native born, inequality is declining. And here is the reason that will surprise America's critics: the decline in inequality is due in good part to the rising affluence of African Americans.

This leads me to think two things:

1) America is not just for rich-white-males. Everyone thrives. The existence of super-rich just makes you ignore how much better our poor and middle classes are doing than the rest of the world.

2) I think even more strongly that the recent policy to monitor foriegn visitors and the policy to document needed illegal workers with jobs are both correct policy decisions and will actually benefit immigrants.

The former will inconvenience many, greatly hurt potential terrorists, and allow us to leave our borders relatively open. The latter will be an invite to enterprising immigrants, saying "if you want to come here and work, go for it", and a bummer to those who would only tax our system's generous welfare entitlements paid to the poor.

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