Saturday, December 28, 2013

Libertarians and Open Borders:  Immigration Is Not A Right

Why Libertarians Advocate Open Borders, And Why They Are Wrong

Libertarians believe we should have open borders, so that people from other countries can enter the United States freely. They believe it is a human right.

There are some good arguments for open borders. The first and most basic one for libertarians is that as free people, believing that all humans are by right (God-given or by Natural Right) free to use their minds, bodies and talents in freedom, and without coercion from others, no one has the right to STOP anyone from moving wherever they please.

All people are equal, and no one should abuse another's rights. This includes at borders to countries. When a government stops someone from crossing a border, it is violating that person's right to travel freely, and to exist in peace without coercion.

But libertarians also believe in private property. Ask a libertarian if we as individuals have the right to stop strangers from entering our homes uninvited. To a man, we will reply yes. There are long and convoluted arguments over the justice of private property, not worth going into here. It is sufficient when arguing the immigration question with libertarians to get them to agree that private property can be defended by its owners, and outsiders can be justly excluded.

Where libertarians fail in the immigration argument is in not considering the government as having any private property rights. Libertarians willingly give themselves rights in private property, but seem to consider the government as an alien of sorts, imposed upon us by Martians. But, how did the US government get here? It was founded by a compact of the original settlers to the US, and their descendents.

After stealing the land from the Native Americans, the early settlers staked out landholdings and drew up contracts with each other, giving themselves ownership of parcels of land. (For the moment let's ignore land grants by colonizing European governments.) They spread out, and new settlers came over from the old countries, and the White Man spread across the land, pushing out the Indians and carving out more and more owned land. It was these original owners and their children who conspired to create first the local governments, and later the States and then the Federal government.

We know where our government came from and how it came to be. It was the result of agreement among the people alive at the time, and repeated acts of agreement by later generations. For all the spitting and clawing over elections, and even a civil war, in general most Americans are and have been in agreement with the basic outlines of our government. We admire its better attributes, and work within the existing system of constitutional law to change those things we don't like.

Only true anarchists and straight up outlaws disagree. People who oppose the US government by violence in order to impose a different government, are outside of the question I am discussing here. (I'd say the Indians also have a right to be unhappy with the situation!)

In other words, the citizens gave up certain private property rights to the government, in order to gain the advantages they saw of having a central state.

Let me give an example in small, then expand it to national scope. Suppose a dozen families move onto a virgin tract of forest, cut down trees to build homes and make fields for crops. All is well. Everyone knows everyone else, so there isn't much need for a government. Private property rights are ingrained in the early settlers by tradition. But the village grows, strangers move in nearby and soon there are too many people to keep everyone straight. The original settlers decide they need a mayor and a sheriff, maybe a schoolteacher. They agree to pay a stipend for the upkeep of these few officials.

But, who are these officials in power over? So the citizens mark out the outlines of the village and voluntarily agree that the mayor and sheriff have certain limited powers within these bounds. Many early Americans were literate, and they didn't like being pushed around, so they wrote up contracts, outlining exactly what powers they were giving over to their new government. We do not have the situation in the US of alien warlords forcing a government on us. We are the alien warlords.

The original settlers owned ALL THE LAND. They made the streets themselves, cutting through private land, and along the borders between farms. They gave up some for streets, a city hall, a school. Public land, owned by the government, came from private land, and the rights to it were given up voluntarily. There was no force, no violence involved. The only injustice was done to the Indians, who were not asked their opinion. In time this whole process became habit, tradition, and the process of forming new towns almost automatic. As people moved west, they just assumed they would build up governing structures similar to what they knew.

The central government also purchased huge expanses of land from foreign powers (again ignoring the native inhabitants). This was bought with money supplied by citizens, operating under the rules they had agreed to, under the governing system they had entered voluntarily. Nothing changes just because the government bought that land. It is still private land, owned by the government. (Some portions of the Southwest were stolen outright from Mexico, but I don't care because the Mexicans were invaders too. They had no legal right to the land better than our claims.)

The US is so enormous, and its government so complex, that hardly anyone, libertarian, liberal or conservative, understands any more that it is in essence private. It is a government of, by and for the people. You may recall that phrase from somewhere!

Sure, it has grown to ridiculous size, but in essence it remains a government owned by the citizens.

Back to the immigration argument. The government is OWNED by the citizens of the United States. All public land is thus owned by the citizens. We each have a single stick of the bundle of rights all landowners have in their own property. The government merely manages it on our behalf, and since there are so many of us, and so many competing views on how the land should be used, we are forced to use such inefficient methods as voting for representatives who make laws controlling its use.

One of the most basic rights of a property owner is controlling who we let into our house, or walk across our land. You can argue that in an emergency we should allow people to cross our land, or even in extreme circumstances to break into a house, if a life is at stake.

But the basic point stands. A landowner can control who he lets onto his property. The government owns all the public land, and we own the government. We, through laws passed by our elected leaders, can justly prevent non-citizens from entering the USA. It's our land. We own it. We can tell them to stay out, or make non-citizens get out if they get in.

When we were at peace, after the cold war ended, I was a lot more in favor of open borders, or at least fairly easy entry. Now, like it or not, we are at war again, with an enemy even more alien to American values than the communists were. They have lots of money, and they have just as much raw brainpower, man for man, as we do. Too many are rich, smart, and dedicated to the destruction of the US. They are trying to make or buy nuclear weapons. Our private property rights allow us to exclude others from our homes. Our government has the same right.



Unemployment rate is meaningless

The headlines read that the unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest point since Obama took office. This is a case where a headline can be 100 percent true and completely wrong in its implications.

If the unemployment rate drop from 7.3 percent down to 7 percent is actually meaningful, the Federal Reserve should immediately end its bond-buying program, called “quantitative easing.” One can assume that the economy is rapidly heating up, and we should all be concerned about inflationary risks created by more monetary pumping. When coupled with the net 750,000 new hires reported by the Labor Department over the past three months, the economy must be on fire.

However, the same report that shows the unemployment rate drop is disastrous when comparing data for the past three months.

The Labor Force Participation Rate dropped by 0.2 percentage points in that two-month period, meaning 666,400 fewer people were in the labor force in November than in September, roughly the equivalent of an entire congressional district.

The number of employed people is almost as grim. If you are to believe the unemployment report, only 83,000 more people were employed in November than in September.

The unemployment rate did not drop because of people getting jobs, but instead due to another massive labor drop-out. If this sounds familiar, it is because our nation has seen a staggering drop in the labor participation rate over the past five years.

Since Obama took office, the civilian non-institutionalized population age 16 years and over has grown by approximately 11.8 million people. However, the labor force has only grown by slightly more than 1 million people. Fully 91 percent, or 10.7 million of the increased population that are 16 years old and over are not only not working; they are not even trying to find a job.

This precipitous workforce participation rate decline of 2.7 percent has reached lows not seen since Jimmy Carter was president in 1978.

And it isn’t old people leaving the workforce in droves. Instead it is a startling drop in participation by teenagers and young adults who are failing to launch their lives.

While the unemployment rate for teenagers is virtually identical today as it was in January 2009, at 20.8 percent, the percentage of teenagers actually in the workforce has declined by 4.5 points. This means that while the unemployment rate for teens is virtually the same, the number of teens who are actually employed has declined by 716,000.

Headline writers love to take the easy unemployment rate top line, but almost three quarters of a million fewer teens have jobs today than when Obama took office, with half a million fewer even looking for work.

This is the reality of Obama’s new normal economy: Carter levels of labor participation and teens failing to even try to get a job. Of course, with revelations that the unemployment rate books may have been cooked by the government, it is probably wise to ignore their reported unemployment rate altogether.



It’s a Very Merry Christmas for Washington’s Parasite Class

Daniel J. Mitchell

Last year, while writing about the sleazy and self-serving behavior at the IRS, I came up with a Theorem that explains day-to-day behavior in Washington.

It might not be as pithy as Mitchell’s Law, and it doesn’t contain an important policy prescription like Mitchell’s Golden Rule, but it could be the motto of the federal government.

Simply stated, government is a racket that benefits the DC political elite by taking money from average people in America

I realize this is an unhappy topic to be discussing during the Christmas season, but the American people need to realize that they are being raped and pillaged by the corrupt insiders that control Washington and live fat and easy lives at our expense.

If you don’t believe me, check out this mapshowing that 10 of the 15 richest counties in America are the ones surrounding our nation’s imperial capital.

Who would have guessed that the wages of sin are so high?

But even though the District of Columbia isn’t on the list, that doesn’t mean the people actually living in the capital are suffering.

Here are some interesting nuggets from a report in the Washington Business Journal.

"D.C. residents are enjoying a personal income boom. The District’s total personal income in 2012 was $47.28 billion, or $74,733 for each of its 632,323 residents, according to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s Economic and Revenue Trends report for November. The U.S. average per capita personal income was $43,725."

Why is income so much higher? Well, the lobbyists, politicians, bureaucrats, interest groups, contractors, and other insiders who dominate DC get much higher wages than people elsewhere in the country.

And they get far higher fringe benefits.

 "In terms of pure wages, D.C., on a per capita basis, was 79 percent higher than the national average in 2012 — $36,974 to $20,656. …Employee benefits were 102 percent higher in D.C. than the U.S. average in 2012, $7,514 to $3,710. Proprietor’s income, 137 percent higher — $9,275 to $3,906. …The numbers suggest D.C. residents are living the high life."



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