Tuesday, April 18, 2017

When Tucker Carlson Goes Bad

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.


  1. Funny how these conservatives suddenly lose all their skepticism of big government when it comes time to centrally plan the composition of the country's population.

    1. It was Tucker who, in a snarky manner, quipped that he didn't 'worship' the Market as a god, during a lively debate between him and Alex Nowrasteh (from CATO).

      Now, Nowrasteh is a much better debater than Keating. Yet Carlson used the same bad arguments and absurd bromides against Keating as he used when debating Nowrasteh. There's a person unwilling to learn.

      What I found most disturbing about Tucker's arguments is how they were cemented on a truly socialist notion that people are OWED a job or even a community of a certain make up by the mere accident of being born within certain borders. I don't make this insinuation lightly: the idea behind these anti-immigrant attacks is socialiatic in essence.

  2. Funny, Tucker is talking about illegal immigration a distinction the left fails to grab.
    I guess illegal immigrants do keep the cops and undertakers busy.

    1. Who cares if they're "illegal"?

      No one, least of all a libertarian, should give a shit what label the state attempts to place on someone.

  3. Funny how libertarians use government to force us to pay for welfare.

    1. Seems like it's the conservatives who want to force us to fund the imposition of their segregationist utopia.

    2. How many of the immigrants have you taken into your home and have become your financial responsibility for their children's schooling, their healthcare, room and board, etc?

      Sticking your hand in my pocket and take my money to give someone else is not charity.

    3. Then quit sticking your hand in my pocket to pay your ICE/CBP goons to harass and kidnap innocent people.

    4. Re: JaimeInTexas,

      --- How many of the immigrants have you taken into your home and have become your financial responsibility for their children's schooling, their healthcare, room and board, etc? ---

      One thing good coming out of this nasty immigration debate is that the closeted Marxists are breaking the door (not just coming out) with flamboyant glee.

      If you want to argue like a Marxist, fine. As a libertarian, I've heard them all: Oh, you're a hypocrite because you use ROADZ! Oh, you're a hypocrite because you use the police! Oh, you're a hypocrite because you juat want to smoke pot without risking jail! The newer iteration coming from the anti-immigrant Marxists (all full of envy) is "you're a hypocrite because you're not giving your home to all those immigruntz who takum er jebz!"

      The criticism me and other libertarians offer is that the goverment does not have the right to impose itself between perfectly voluntarily relationships between locals and foreign migrants. If a person wants to hire, rent to, sell to or even marry an immigrant, the government does not have the right to impede this. Neither do you. Nor do I.

    5. Francisco, as you see it you can sell your house to anyone including an 'illegal'. When the govt prevents it you see it as un-libertarian. I understand that argument. Do you also see the other argument? People are tribal. The majority don't want illegals and want less legal immigration. The majority want to limit who an individual can sell a house to. The govt is acting on behalf of the majority. In a world of a thousand PPSs I think restrictions on ownership would be common. E.g. I live in PA where in the early days a settler bought land from William Penn. The colony of PA was an example of a PPS.

    6. Marmite,

      "People are tribal" is an certainly explanation for state control of migration, but nothing approaching a moral justification for it.

    7. 1) natives consume FAR more welfare than immigrants
      2) illegal immigration > legal immigration in that the illegals have to be productive to earn an income and are, through legislature, barred from welfare. You should be celebrating illegal immigration, as Milton Friedman had.

  4. Just another culture warrior. All this anxiety over immigration is totally misplaced. The number of third world.immigrants over the past generation roughly equals the number of American abortions in the same period. We're just importing the people we didn't birth. Tuckers anger at immigrants is the anger of the dead at the living.
    In California on a Saturday morning the parks in the Hispanic neighborhoods are full of little kids playing soccer were as the parks in white neighborhoods are full of little old ladies walking dogs.

    1. As an old ex-Californian, I agree. The state would die without cheap illegal labor.
      Hell, we stole it from them in the first place. I just don't like the "anchor baby" results from the (court interpreted) 14th amendment.

    2. We didn't steal it from "them". "They" used to be known as the Spanish, and Geronimo and the Apaches, as well as the Navajos, Hopi, and others kicked their cajones.

    3. @Donxon,
      The abortion numbers are skewed by a specific ethnic group which aborts at a rate 4 * everyone else. Is there really any connection between abortions and the way the US has degraded into warring tribal factions? Surely these are 2 unrelated problems.

  5. So because an individual is born in a place like Mexico he can pack his bad and go anywhere he wants without getting!? Only a lefty would believe that.

  6. Re: TOM GREEN,

    ---So because an individual is born in a place like Mexico he can pack his bad and go anywhere he wants without getting!? ---

    Setting aside your clumsy writing and the sleazy load in your question, the bigger problem is your assumption that people don't have a gawd-given right to move from one place to another. No one is saging that a person has the right to move on to someone else's private property without invitation, but immigrants are not trespassers - they're gruly being invited in, by people who want to hire them, rent to them, sell to them and even marry them. The entity that is trespassing in the middle of that deal is the government.

    1. Have you applied for your, and your family's, green card yet?

    2. Re: JaimeInTexas,

      That question is best answered with: Mind your own business.

    3. Why not just make Mexico great again and then nobody would want to come here.

  7. Now that I've stopped laughing at your lousy writing, your comment is absurd.
    Without borders there is no law and order and no they have to be vetted. My son is applying for US citizenship and doing it legally

  8. My son has a Green Card. He attended University in SC on a baseball scholarship and works in Boston. It costs a fortune to get citizenship legally.
    We all love the USA

  9. Interesting that the left doesn't distinguish between legal and illegal immigration.
    I'm pro legal immigration and against illegal immigration.
    I'm pro enforcing the laws that are on the books.

    1. It's a stupid distinction.

      Why should any libertarian give a rat's ass whether or not someone's carrying their permission slip from the state?

      Move to Venezuela

    2. Re: TOM GREEN,

      ─ Interesting that the left doesn't distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. ─

      The distinction is MEANINGLESS, just like the distinction between illegal and legal prostitution. They're government-imagined constructs.

      ─ I'm pro legal immigration and against illegal immigration. ─

      Then you're not pro-immigration. Period. Because being "legal" may mean imposing as many restrictions and hurdles you can throw against anyone who tries to do things the 'right' way. During Prohibition, there was "legal" booze. In places with heavy restrictions on guns, there is such a thing as possessing "legal" guns. Ask what does it take to get one.

      Reasonable and thinking people don't fall for those semantic traps. You're against immigration - PERIOD. Just like those who say they're in favor of "reasonable gun laws" are against guns. Period.

  10. Spoken like a true left wing idiot!

  11. There is nothing more American than climbing over a government fence. The type of immigrant who refuses to let some stupid government program get in his way is exactly the kind of person we need more of in America. That's what built America. Tom Green, I hope your whipped pup of a son goes home. I'm sure you have plenty of stupid rules for him to follow there.

  12. Why would he go home? He has a great job, great friends and travels all over the US and Canada. He got a free education and not on the US taxpayers dime. That's what America needs not some wasters!

  13. I hope that Tom's son and all the illegals stay (and that more women on the margin choose not to have abortions.)

    People seem to be underrated these days.