Sunday, October 23, 2011

Breaking the logjam

Alex Tabarrok is unimpressed with the Schumer-Lee buy-a-house-get-a-visitor-visa immigration proposal.  So as not to offend unions and their supporters, the visa does not allow the holder to get a job.

U.S. immigration policy is awful in many ways.  In a better world, labor and capital would be free to seek their best opportunities.  But for the U.S., the demand for labor and capital are clear while the politics continue to be protectionist and mercantilist.  Schumer-Lee seemingly looks for a compromise.

Over at EconLog, the bloggers have discussed various proposals for entrance fees (perhaps paid off over the years that the immigrant works here) that would let more people in and, perhaps, placate protectionist opponents.

I have no idea whether enough political support can be garnered in this way. To break the logjam, perhaps the entrance fee revenues could be earmarked for infrastructure projects, green energy, teachers, police and firefighters, etc.  If the new revenues could be shown to support all of the pet projects of the protectionist left, we might make some progress.   Schumer and Lee might even come on board.