The Democrats' conundrum: If you want less income inequality, does that means fewer illegal immigrants?

Mickey Kaus makes a very interesting observation. It will be interesting to see if the Democratic party even tries to square the circle on this issue or just ignores it:

If you're worried about incomes at the bottom, though, one solution leaps out at you. It's a solution that worked, at least in the late 1990s under Bill Clinton, when wages at the low end of the income ladder rose fairly dramatically. The solution is tight labor markets. Get employers bidding for scarce workers and you'll see incomes rise across the board without the need for government aid programs or tax redistribution. A major enemy of tight labor markets at the bottom is also fairly clear: unchecked immigration by undocumented low-skilled workers. It's hard for a day laborer to command $18 an hour in the market if there are illegals hanging out on the corner willing to work for $7. Even experts who claim illlegal immigration is good for Americans overall admit that it's not good for Americans at the bottom. In other words, it's not good for income equality.

Odd, then that Obama, in his “war on inequality,” hasn't made a big effort to prevent illegal immigration–or at least to prevent illegal immigrration from returning with renewed force should the economy recover. He hasn't, for example, pushed to make it mandatory for employers to use the “E-Verify” system, or some other system, to check the legality of new hires, preferring to hold that reform hostage (sorry!) in order to try and achieve a larger “comprehensive” bill that included a conditional amnesty for the 11 or so million illegals already here. (In Washington, if something's obviously desirable that means it's a bargaining chip.) True, Obama has tried to make a big deal of his administration's deportation numbers, but only as a nose-holding effort to placate the right sufficiently to get a mass legalization bill through. And the deportation numbers themselves are suspect.

Income inequality has become a big issue on the left. And as the job market continues to stagnate, I wonder to what extent the blue collar parts of the Democratic base will put pressure on the party to do something about immigration reform.

Beltway ConfidentialIllegal ImmigrationUnemploymentUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Man accused of killing 94-year-old Glen Park resident has troubled past

Neighbors had complained about ‘paranoid and aggressive behavior’

Newsom says rules for reopening California fitness centers coming ‘in a week or so’

By Phil Willon Los Angeles Times Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said… Continue reading

Fishermen, port struggling to recover from Pier 45 fire

Loss to fishing industry alone could be in the millions

Larry Kramer, ‘Normal Heart’ playwright and AIDS activist, dies at 84

By David Colker Los Angeles Times A frail man stood outside the… Continue reading

Most Read