October 18th, 2005 - Open Knowledge
Oct. 18th, 2005
11:48 pm - Against the Wall
Randall Parker, in his futurepundit persona, finds an enormous number of fascinating science articles. As parapundit, he's virulently anti-immigration. Most of the time I resist the temptation to respond to his parapundit posts, but this time I couldn't resist:
I've been reading your blog (via the Livejournal RSS feed) for over a year, so I'm familiar with many of your arguments. (And I have great admiration for the breadth of your reading -- futurepundit is quite fascinating.)
That said, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to respond to a suggestion to read a book-length archive of blog posts. So instead I'll respond to the specific points you raised.
1) Whether or not poor Mexicans can pay for the bonds depends on a) the amount of the bond b) the expected earnings of the Mexican in the U.S. Assuming for the moment that the purchase of such bonds could be enforced, how much of a bond would you require before allowing the average Mexican into the U.S.?
2) You claim that a barrier could be erected for between $2 - $8 billion. Leaving aside whether such a barrier would be effective, proponents of government initiatives are not known for their accuracy in estimating the costs. For example, In September 2002, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Iraq war would cost $1.5 billion to $4 billion per month. In fact, it costs between $5 billion and $8 billion per month. Moreover,
"Prior to the war, White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsay estimated the war would be about 1 to 2 percent of the gross national product, or about $200 billion on the high end. Lindsey left the White House post several months later. Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels called Lindsay's estimate "very, very high" and told news organizations the cost would likely be between $50 billion and $60 billion." (5)
The U.S. has already spent $312 billion on the war, and current CBO estimates put the final tally at $700 billion. (2) The costs of all earlier wars have been similarly underestimated. (2)
And it's not just war -- the costs of Medicare, Social Security, and other great society programs have been similarly vastly underestimated. For example:
"At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion," wrote Steven Hayward and Erik Peterson in a 1993 Reason article. "The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare would cost only about $12 billion by 1990 (a figure that included an allowance for inflation). This was supposedly a 'conservative' estimate. But in 1990 Medicare actually cost $107 billion." (4)
Why should I believe that your projected costs are not similarly underestimated?
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