This morning I was at a Chicago Economic Club breakfast. The two panelists were Mayor Bloomberg from NYC, and Obama’s former chief of staff, Bill Daley. It was moderated by Andrea Mitchell. That’s about as middle of the road as we get in Chicago!
The panel was supposed to be about immigration. Some excellent points were made. Personally, I favor a very liberal immigration policy in the United States. We need high quality immigrants. They fill jobs, create businesses and add to the vibrancy of the US. What we don’t need are poor quality illegal immigrants. It seems to me that there is a supply for immigration and a demand for immigration. That means there are economics involved with real curves that intersect at a price. What’s hilarious to me is the fences we put up to stop people from leaving once they get in!
Gary Becker proposed charging for immigration and I think it’s a compelling idea. Immigration is not a zero sum game. There are huge network effects for countries that encourage immigration. The US is a net benefactor from immigration, particularly in the 20th century.
But the panel degenerated into the current political campaign and the statements made were telling. Especially some of the things said by Mayor Bloomberg. It reflected his deep distrust of the individual to make their own decisions. Given his recent policies, that point has been put into practice.
Bloomberg said that money in politics was corrupting the system. Not because of donations to individual politicians, but because of all the SuperPACs on each side of the aisle. He advocated for full disclosure of donations. I agree with him. Every dime anyone, or any company or organization gives ought to be searchable in an online data base.