Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bill O'Reilly versus Geraldo

Watch, this clip. I thought they were going to come to blows.

(The background is the death of two teenage girls in Virginia Beach. They were killed by a repeat drunk driver who just happened to be "undocumented".)

One blurb,

Geraldo - Illegal aliens commit crimes at a lower rate than citizens do...


I guess he doesn't consider jumping the border, overstaying a visa, or identity theft to be "crimes".

Geraldo, you actually said "illegal aliens" don't commit crime. That would be like saying "Fat people aren't overweight".


The Owner said...

LOL... O'Reilly is really losing it these days. That was frightening to watch.

The thing I don't get about the immigration "debate" (as if there is a real debate going on and the "solutions" haven't already been chosen while this all plays out and generates news and publicity for politicians who are intent on seeing taxpayers distracted from all the other horrible things they do in their name) is this talk of rights... O'Reilly says that the illegals have no "right" to be here. Why? Because the US Government arbitrarily said its borders are here rather than there?

In that case, say a Mexican from Tijuana hops the border tomorrow and winds up in San Diego. He has "illegally" entered this country and "should be deported." The next day, he is deported back to Tijuana. That same day, the US government declares that it is officially annexing Tijuana and that all residents of Tijuana now have US citizenship. Now this "illegal" may move about "his" country "rightfully" with no fear of pissing off the authorities by having done so. All that has changed in this situation is an imaginary line in the sand.

There are a lot of US citizens who commit crimes and drunk drive, too. I don't really see why their claim to "rightful" residence is any better than a Mexican's, just because they happened to be born in San Diego rather than Tijuana.

I think this point is missed by many... people in favor of closing the border and using force to halt peaceful people from "trespassing" government property realize there is no logical argument behind their position and so turn to this vapid "law and order" rant that, if it is the deciding criterion on people who "belong" here or not, would lead to the deportation of millions of US citizens.

We're having an interesting discussion on the immigration topic at my google group I invited you to under the topic "Austrian econ should be positive not normative."

The Owner said...

Yikes. I tried to sit through the whole thing and I just can't. It's so incoherent and unnecessarily emotional. Too bad Geraldo is such a moron, he makes his position look even worse than O'Reilly makes closed-borders look.

CaptiousNut said...

O'Reilly isn't for "closed borders".

The Owner said...


Whatever you want to call O'Reilly's position, it's certainly not one of "open" or "no borders." He specifically criticized Geraldo for wanting "open-borders anarchy," meaning O'Reilly wants something less than that.

Whatever O'Reilly's preferred policy is, it's inherently "closed-borders" until the select times or for the select people it is opened to.

One of the more nuanced immigration theories is that of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, an economist affiliated with the Mises Institute whose basic explanation of the premise of free immigration as forced integration can be found here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/hermann-hoppe1.html .

I've got a number of problems with his position, although he does a good job of arguing it. One of the biggest faults I find is with his proposed solution-- Hoppe says that the government should treat the country as a monarchist might treat his country, ie., allow immigration, but only allow in people who add to the capital value of the country.

This sounds all well and good until we remember that it would be the government in charge of such decisions, and as Hoppe should well know (he wrote a book on it, for heaven's sake! not to mention he comes from an economic school that was instrumental in making this bit of economic obviousness obvious) governments inevitably make economically inefficient decisions because they are unable to do proper economic calculations.

This means this immigration policy would be just as arbitrary and unjust as the next. Until Hoppe can explain how the government could overcome its calculation problem, his policy proposal fails.

If he DOES ever figure out how to solve this problem for the government, however, it'd go a long way towards solving a lot of what is wrong with government in general... and take us further from freedom in the process as government becomes more "right" in many people's eyes.

CaptiousNut said...

I believe the issue is too complicated to be dichotomized. It's very MSM to reduce every issue to the binary.

To me, the silver lining in the illegal immigration chaos is that it potentially demonstrates the bankruptcy of the welfare state.

The Owner said...

"I believe the issue is too complicated to be dichotomized. It's very MSM to reduce every issue to the binary."

I assume you were making a general observation about the quality of the "debate" raging in the MSM, not about anything I had just mentioned. In that case, I have to agree with you.

I also agree with your silver-lining remark. One of the issues people unwittingly appear to be waking up to as they search for reasons why immigrants should be stopped from entering this country is that many illegals use welfare resources. This is helping to bring some critical light onto the entire welfare scam as a whole.

The next best thing that could happen as an auxillary to this is for people to ask themselves, "If illegal immigrants don't deserve welfare because they don't pay taxes, why do welfare recipients deserve welfare when they don't pay taxes?"

Either way, "serious immigration reform" can never even be contemplated until "serious welfare reform/repeal" has begun, because the critics of open immigration do have one thing right... welfare handouts are a major draw, and if we are serious about slowing the influx of immigrants into this country we ought to END THE INCENTIVES FIRST. Otherwise we're just imposing more and more costs on ourselves.

Anonymous said...

"Hoppe says that the government should treat the country as a monarchist might treat his country, ie., allow immigration, but only allow in people who add to the capital value of the country."

Even supposing governmental benevolence, a monarchist schooled in sensible economics would immediately reject the idea that any central planning board could figure out which immigrants would add the most value. The only way to solve that calculation problem would be to let a labor market exist in which firms and immigrants establish prices for which immigrant labor may exchange.

CaptiousNut said...

I like the idea of say a fifty grand price tag for any one person that wishes to enter the country. Maybe it should be higher.

Banks and/or employers would pay or lend to the immigrants deemed safe investments/borrowers.

Welcome to America: cover charge $50,000.

The next 1 million immigrants would bring in $50 billion in revenue PLUS they'd be a much better group than the last million border jumpers.

Of course, every place I have ever been to with a cover also has bouncers....


Illegal immigrants do pay taxes to the extent of withheld income (on someone else's social security account). In fact I just heard some numbskull on O'Reilly say it last night. As for the illegals that get paid under the table...well plenty of legals do the same. Bless them all. I have spent many an hour myself trying to figure out how to earn untaxable income. Nonetheless, welfare, we are against for everyone, even taxpayers, are we not?

I have a feeling that people would still come to America in droves even with a greatly reduced welfare state - as my grandparents did decades ago.

I believe the great risk of current illegal immigration is the development (and exploitation) of a new permanent underclass that would adulterate the political process AND foment even more socialist inertia.

The Owner said...


I know immigrants pay taxes through the withholding mechanism (not to mention sales tax, gas tax, etc. when they make various purchases). I was making a crude remark to serve a point-- many people think illegals don't pay any taxes and use this as part of the qualification for keeping them out of the country.

I'm not sure why you support a $50,000 fee for immigration. Why are you interested in increasing the governments revenues? So the government has another $50 billion to waste?

And then there is the whole matter of "is it just or not?" Ask yourself, is it? Where does the government derive the authority to charge any person, citizen or not, $50,000 for crossing some line it says it is sovereign inside?

I'd rather the immigrant keep his $50,000 and at least disburse a majority of it into the economy before the government inevitably sees some of it through taxation anyway.

You've made a cute metaphor for immigration and border enforcement with your club w/ cover charge and bouncers, but you seem to miss why it's appropriate for clubs to charge covers and regulate entry with bouncers-- those clubs are owned privately. Compare that to "publicly owned land" (which, to reiterate, is the land we're talking about when it comes to immigration... we're not discussing an immigrants "right" to trespass over private property along the border)... if the government doesn't legitimately own any property (which it doesn't), then how can it rightfully enforce the boundaries of "its" property and stop people from "trespassing" over it?

To go beyond that and say the government SHOULD enforce this illegitimate boundary is to then say that you would be personally willing to take care of enforcement. Would you be personally willing to forcibly stop immigrants from traversing government land if you had to (ie., if there was no border patrol, would you still support this policy if it was up to you to enforce it)?

We are against welfare in general. I am not sure if you thought I implied I didn't feel that way or if you were realizing my point (that if illegals should be deported to stop them from using welfare, so should welfare-using citizens).

Either way, I agree with you... many people would still come to this country even without the promise of welfare payments. But at that point, do we really want to forcibly discourage those people from doing so? If they aren't coming for welfare, then they're coming because they want to work, and the more productive people the better. We'll all benefit from that.

I'm not really sure why illegal or legal immigrants would become a permanent underclass. If everyone is free to sell their labor and buy from others, I don't see this underclass developing. With the help of the welfare state, it's a possibility, sure, but then the solution is to get rid of the welfare state, and any doom and gloom predictions of this "underclass" remaining permanent despite this solution just shows you're not a very faithful conservative and you accept the state, as it exists now, as a given, that nothing can be done about. Immigration may bring more socialist sympathies, it may bring more free sympathies. Either way, we have a very large socialist undercurrent in the political system as it is, and this can't exactly be blamed simply on immigrants... we've got a lot of communicating and convincing of "our fellow Americans" to do either way.

As for your grandparents... do you think they would've made it into this country with a $50,000 price tag on their heads?

CaptiousNut said...

My maternal grandparents had to wait two years for their immigration application to be accepted, even though they both had college educations. My grandfather managed a 150 person diamond mining operation in South Africa and before that he ran a dynamite factory. He was a highly skilled engineer fluent in five languages. In 1955 there would have been numerous American companies and/or banks eager to pay for his entry. Under my proposal, he needn't have waited two years to get in nor would the countless Phds abroad who'd are anxious to get in today.

Fifty thousand bucks is not a lot of money. A fifty thousand dollar mortgage at today's rates is only $300 per month. Apple pickers and cleaning ladies alike could swing that.

My cover charge would retard and systematize immigration - it wouldn't preclude it.

If you don't like my cute cover charge metaphor, then think of it as a turnstile. Surely you see the practicality in that!

More generally speaking, my "solution", like all others, is surely imperfect. Nonetheless, it would effect a Marginal improvement, on Earth, in 2007.

The elegance of your "solution" lies in its unbridled idealism - but that's also its greatest weakness.

Bear in mind that my last comment was in response to James - regarding how to decide who's allowed in. And obviously it provides a path for highly skilled labor to get in rather seemlessly.

It's Friday night. Now go sneak into a bar!

Anonymous said...


Suppose your suggested $50k per immigrant entry fee were implemented tomorrow. Who should become the owner of the collected revenues? Justify your answer.

CaptiousNut said...

It really doesn't matter. $50 billion in revenue per year is a drop in the bucket in today's economy. I have no doubts that it would be wasted.

Consider that bouncers at bars often times pocket all of (and only) the money they collect at the door. They serve the purpose of regulating customer inflow even though none of the cover charges redound to the bar owner.

Don't worry guys, I have plenty of "offsets" to my proposed expansion of government power.