Paul Ryan's Sensible Case for Immigration Reform

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
July 10 2013 4:43 PM

Paul Ryan's Sensible Case for Immigration Reform

170543383
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference, June 14, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In my opinion, discussions about GOP thinking about immigration policy have been excessively dominated by rather cynical arguments about politics rather than by thinking about the policy merits. Cynicism counts for a lot in politics, but pure electoral considerations can really be argued either way. If you look at how the Gang of 8 bill got through the Senate, a key role was played by a Republican from North Dakota who was looking out for his state's economic interests not looking for Hispanic votes.

While some Republicans make the case for political expediency, hoping to lure Latino voters in elections, Ryan sells his argument as an “economic-based immigration system,” one aide said. The idea is that the economy will be better served by eliminating the raft of undocumented workers currently serving in low-wage jobs, bringing them into the legal workforce and setting up the right number of visas for skilled employees in key industries.
“Immigration will help improve that, so that we have the labor we need to get the economic growth that we want, so that America can be a fast-growing economy in the 21st century. Immigration helps us get the labor force that we need so that we can have the kind of growth we want,” Ryan said last month at an event before the National Manufacturers Association. He added: “If you come here and put your hand over your heart, and you pledge allegiance to the American flag, we want you.”
Advertisement

From the standpoint of basic ordinary every day conservative economics, immigration reform seems like a total no brainer to me—it increases the marginal product of capital, thereby encouraging investment and economic growth. If you're a Republican who favors free trade agreements and capital gains tax cuts then you should love immigration reform.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 2:05 PM Paul Farmer Says Up to Ninety Percent of Those Infected Should Survive Ebola. Is He Right?
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 22 2014 2:27 PM Facebook Made $595 Million in the U.K. Last Year. It Paid $0 in Taxes
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 22 2014 1:01 PM The Surprisingly Xenophobic Origins of Wonder Bread
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 2:59 PM Netizen Report: Twitter Users Under Fire in Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.