I like Tucker Carlson's FOX News show.
He is sharp, quick and funny but when he goes bad he goes real bad.
When he is off, his laugh and the faces he makes are almost a caricature of the sound Tucker Carlson.
Last week, he went way off the deep end.
He had on as a guest Ray Keating who was one of nearly 1,500 economists who signed a letter to President Trump and congressional leaders saying immigration is good for the U.S. economy.
Carlson doesn't think such immigration is good. Keating did a serviceable job defending immigration but he is nowhere near in the league of Carlson when it comes to television debate.
Here's the clip with my comments following.
The Carlson absurdities start right at the top. At the 45 second mark, he says that
The underlying assumption is that all immigrants are the same.Where the hell does he get this idea from? Does he really think that people who hire the immigrants hanging outside a Home Depot have the same skill set as software programmers coming from India?
Does he really think people offering the Home Depot hanger outs a couple hours of work are doing so because they expect those immigrants to knock out a software program?
I know of no one that holds the view that the skill set of all immigrants is the same.
Carlson then goes on to claim that some people are "hurt" by immigrants. If by this he means that some people (immigrants) are getting particular jobs, he is correct though I wouldn't call it "hurt." To take Carlson's "hurt" theory one step further, the same could be said of Carlson's employment. Because he was hired by Fox for a certain time slot and took the job someone else didn't get it. According to Carlson logic, he "hurt" that alternative hire. Should we ban Carlson from America because of this?
But none of this means that the American people, who aren't working at the jobs where immigrants work, are sleeping on the sidewalk. Does Carlson think the person that was next in line to get his job at Fox is sleeping on the street?
Further, because an American isn't willing to work for the same low wage as an immigrant means the American has more attractive alternatives, otherwise he would compete with the immigrant for the job.
Both find jobs. And this has to be the case if they want jobs. The only time this wouldn't be the case is if wages were at zero, To think otherwise is to deny the fundamentals of supply and demand economics. Markets clear, (I hasten to add there can be non-voluntary unemployment caused by minimum wage laws, but this is unemployment caused by government law, not immigrants.)
That both work also implies an increase in general production. No one is going to hire someone unless they expect to gain more in product than what they can currently spend the money on that they pay an immigrant worker.
Carlson then claims that China and Singapore have no immigration and they have spectacular growth, but this means nothing with regard to the argument on immigration. This argument is just incorrect economic methodology. It could mean that China already has a lot of cheap labor and therefore there is no edge for an unskilled immigrant to attempt to sneak into China. Further, it does not say anything about what would happen if China and Singapore allowed immigrants, maybe their economies would show even more impressive growth.
The point is that we don't know what these economies would look like unless there is free movement of labor. Carslon is talking here as though we live in a world of equilibrium where all the facts are already laid out in front of him and it is simply him working out an equation to reach an answer: "Singapore and China don't have immigrants. They have growth. Therefore the U.S. should not allow immigrants" Does Carlson seriously think this is how answers to economic policy can be reached?
He also introduces California into the question and suggests that it is immigrants that have caused the California economy to decline. Thus ignoring crazed lefty laws, regulations and high taxes. Playing this bogus Carlson methodological game, one could blow Carlson up and point to the massive 19th century and early 20th century immigration into the United States and the growth during the period and claim it was precisely because of the immigrant growth that the country showed such spectacular economic growth.
Carson then goes on to attack Keating for saying that there is a type of "entrepreneurial DNA in the United States" that causes entrepreneurial immigrants to come to the US. But isn't there?
Aren't respect for private property and the rule of law fundamental to economic growth and strong here in the U.S. (though fading)? Why wouldn't an entrepreneurially oriented immigrant want to take a shot in the U.S. versus in a totalitarian country?
Keating was spot on with this point and it is shocking that Carlson mocked this on national television to gain a debate point.
Carlson then goes on at the 4:15 mark to say there are immigrants who are a net drain. He could be talking about immigrants on welfare or be confused about workers. He wasn't clear. For a communicator, this comment was a total abortion on his part. Who knows what he really meant? Or even if he knew what he meant? Maybe he was just trying to score more debate points.
At the 4:26 mark, he then suggests an "affirmative" program to bring in people with skills and wealth. Wow, what a central planner!
Where does he get the idea that these are the kind of people the US needs to enter the U.S? Maybe we need people from other countries to mow our lawns and clean our offices? Or is Carlson going to cut back his hours on air and mow the lawn at Fox and empty the trash baskets three days a week so that fewer immigrants enter the country?
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on iphone and stitcher.