Monday, June 6, 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Immigration is a band-aid

The American Conservative has published my new op-ed, "The Immigration Band-Aid," in which I discuss the connection between low-skill immigration and the native underclass. A sample:
It is often said that immigrants “do the jobs that Americans won’t do.” While there are no major immigrant-dominated jobs in the U.S.—even about half of drywall installers are native-born—the claim does contain a kernel of truth. For over 50 years, a growing percentage of native-born American men have dropped out of the labor force altogether. For these men, every available job is a job they won’t do. Rather than focus on reversing the trend of idleness among native men, American politicians and business leaders have bandaged the problem with immigrant labor. A steady supply of new immigrants means less need for low-skill native workers, and the idleness problem is left to fester.
Read the whole thing there. And stay tuned for more from me on this topic.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Updated blog list

I don't usually get a chance to mention my short pieces here on my site, so please check both my National Review and my Center for Immigration Studies pages regularly for new posts on those sites. They are linked on the "My Other Blog Posts" section on the right. There is some good material there that you may have been missing!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

New immigrant welfare analysis published

Earlier this month, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) published my new report on the cost of immigrant and native welfare use. The analysis was fairly involved, since it required not only averaging household costs in the Survey of Income and Program Participation, but also imputing the cost of non-cash programs and adjusting the totals to match budgetary data. The main results are shown in the table below.



The report garnered some media attention -- so much, in fact, that it briefly felt like three years ago. I've collected a few media clips below.

First, kudos to Stephen Loiaconi with the Sinclair Broadcast Group for an excellent news article on the study. In an age when many online journalists do little more than re-phrase a press release, Mr. Loiaconi truly did his homework, interviewing multiple experts on both sides of the debate and digging into the methodology in a way that no one else did. A colleague of mine noted that he was so accustomed to biased reporting on immigration that his brain could barely process such a fair article!

I reflected on some of the other reactions in a blog post for CIS.

I was not able to find online clips of most of the radio interviews I did, but here is one from the Joyce Kauffman show. (Not sure what happened to the audio near the end.)



Finally, WorldNetDaily did both a taped interview and a live interview.

Update: I found the first half of my radio interview with Bill Kelly on WKRO.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

More on politicized science

Thanks to Stefan Molyneux for hosting a great interview. In the video below, we talk about the wage impact of immigration, diversity in higher education, and public-sector union dues. The common thread is the politicized science that plagues the discourse on these topics. Give it a watch!





P.S. – Some commenters caught me in an embarrassing slip of the tongue. I off-handedly referred to people picking “mushrooms” in the hot sun. Of course, most commercial mushrooms are grown indoors.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Public-sector compensation and compulsory union dues

Earlier this week I wrote a blog post for NR on the correlation between compulsory union dues and excessive pay in the public sector. The centerpiece of the post was a chart showing the compensation premium in each state. Unfortunately, the editors removed some of the state labels in order to squeeze the chart on to the blog. Below I've reposted the entire piece, with the full version of the chart available by clicking on it.
Public Employees May Soon Be Less Overpaid

As James Sherk, Mark Pulliam, and others have already noted here, the Supreme Court appears poised to strike down all compulsory union dues for government workers. I have no legal analysis of my own to offer, but as a policy matter it is important to point out the correlation between compulsory dues and the degree to which public employees are “overpaid.”

A couple of years ago, Andrew Biggs and I compared state workers’ total compensation – meaning wages plus benefits – with the compensation of similarly-skilled private workers. We found that most states pay their workers a premium over private-sector levels. The chart below orders the states from the largest premiums to the smallest. Union dues are compulsory for public workers in the states colored blue, while dues are not compulsory in the states colored red. (Categorizing each state by its treatment of public union dues can be tricky, but the website Watchdog.org appears to have done the most thorough job.)

Click for a readable version.
 
Compulsory dues are clearly associated with larger premiums for public employment. State workers in compulsory states are paid 17.0 percent more on average than comparable private workers, while state workers in non-compulsory states are paid just 5.6 percent more. And note that Michigan and Wisconsin only recently switched to voluntary dues, so most of the impact has yet to be felt in two of the higher-paying voluntary states.
The usual caveat about correlation and causation applies, but the data are consistent with the view that union strength really does matter. When dues are compulsory, unions have more money to lobby public officials for generous pay packages. If the Supreme Court limits union funding to voluntary donations, public-employee compensation will probably still be excessive, but less so. It’s a start!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Revisiting the Mariel boatlift

Last week I wrote a piece for Real Clear Policy detailing the new debate over the Mariel boatlift. From the intro:
Does immigration lower the wages of native workers? There is perhaps no event more often cited on this question than the "Mariel boatlift." After Fidel Castro announced in 1980 that anyone wishing to leave Cuba could do so via the port of Mariel, 125,000 Cuban immigrants came to Miami between April and September of that year. The sudden influx of workers generated an intriguing test of how immigration affects wages in one city.
Update: The Center for Immigration Studies has published an expanded version of my piece as a backgrounder.

I then appeared on Breitbart Radio ostensibly to talk about the article, but not surprisingly we talked more generally about immigration policy. (The boatlift is a dry topic, no pun intended.) Listen to the interview below, or visit the original Breitbart page here.