Monday, June 25, 2007

Skilled Immigration

One of the many frusturating things not spoken of in this whole immigration debate is the particulars of legal immigration. We have been told that a guest worker program is vital to American Commerce (doubtful but I wouldn't doubt that it is beneficial) and that the absence of horders of unskilled or low-skilled immigrants will cripple the economy. I tend to think that the distributional effects of unskilled immigration are not neutral and skew upward. This does not make it bad or good in and of itself. Unskilled immigration whether legal or illegal helps generate economic growth and improve our livelihood in the long term but in the short term puts pressure on the native born or recently emigrated unskilled workers. Now back to my point which I have neglected severely, consider for a moment that we increase skilled immigration by between 50%-100%. Now imagine the consequences of having dentists, doctors, accountants, IT folks, and engineers from afar flood the country. Who would be hit primarily? Professional classes. But we would all benefit, tremendously. Imagine how much you semi-annual checkup would cost if all of a sudden your family dentist had to compete with Iqbal the neighborhood pakistani dentist who is willing to charge half the mark up that your regular guy is. Just a thought.

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