The Anteroom

Curtis Barry on the Economics of Immigration with a Personal Case in Point

Milton Friedman 2


Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal recently opined “What Would Milton Friedman Say? (about immigration).” Based upon actual conversations and statements by Friedman, the maharishi of free market philosophy, Moore unveils that Friedman was an immigration proponent, stating that Friedman “…wholly rejected the idea that immigrants are undesirable because they compete with Americans for jobs and lower wages.  The free enterprise system, he argued, ‘created the high wages in the first place'”; and further, “His point was that as long as immigrants are attracted to the U.S. for jobs and economic opportunity, they are contributors… (to the economy).”

As an example, my father was an immigrant, coming to the United States at age 13.  (Conversely, my mother’s family arrived in New England just a handful of years after the Mayflower deposited William Bradford and the rest).  First a student (also having to learn English), then a soldier serving in the South Pacific in the Second World War, then a business owner.  My father came to the United States for the right reason – opportunity that few other countries and economies could provide.  As Moore summarizes, consistent with Friedman’s outlook, necessary immigration reform should provide opportunity for those who wish to become contributors, but only those who seek economic opportunity via our economy, not those who seek financial opportunity via our government.