FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Milton Friedman on Immigration

Open letter to President Obama (Part 618) (Emailed to White House on July 22, 2013)

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

______________________________

FREE TO CHOOSE “Who protects the worker?” Video and Transcript Part

In 1980 I read the book FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman and it really enlightened me a tremendous amount.  I suggest checking out these episodes and transcripts of Milton Friedman’s film series FREE TO CHOOSE: “The Failure of Socialism” and “What is wrong with our schools?”  and “Created Equal”  and  From Cradle to Grave, and – Power of the Market. Milton Friedman shows in this episode how the worker is best protected and it is not by the government!!!!!!!

The essence of what Milton Friedman is saying in this episode is found in this statement:

“The situation of immigration restrictions really has to do with the question of a welfare state. As I say in the film, I would favor completely free immigration in a society which does not have a welfare system. With a welfare system of the kind we have, you have the problem that people immigrate in order to get welfare, not in order to get employment. You know, it’s a very interesting thing, if you would ask anybody before 1914 the U.S. had no immigration restrictions whatsoever, I’m exaggerating a little bit, there were some immigration restrictions on orientals, but it was essentially, mainly free. If you ask anybody, any American economic historian was that a good thing for America, everybody will say yes it was a wonderful thing for America that we had free immigration. If you ask anybody today, should we have free immigration today, everybody will __ almost everybody will say no. What’s the difference? I think there’s only one difference and that is that when we had free immigration it was immigration of jobs in which everybody benefited. The people who were already here benefited because they got complementary workers, workers who could work with them, make their productivity better, enable them to develop and use the resources of the country better, but today, if you have a system under which you have essentially a governmental guarantee of relief in case of distress, you have a very, very real problem.”

Pt 5

L. WILLIAMS: Dr. Friedman and Walter Williams go back in history and they take a look at a situation where America was empty, where we didn’t have anything like the sophisticated industrial economy we have today, but had a much more agricultural and rural kind of economy and of course when the __ when the impoverished peasants of Europe, my ancestors and most of our ancestors, except for the slaves, which is another situation, but when these people came from Europe and came to a wide open continent with the most fertile soil then available to anyone in the world, naturally there was progress; and I or any of us would be mad to deny progress. But as that developed and as population increased and as we moved into a much more sophisticated industrial economy, we moved then into the situation in the 1930s, or earlier than that , at the end of the century. As some of the more skilled jobs came along, the labor movement didn’t happen by accident. Didn’t happen because there wasn’t a need there. The results of this development, even with all the wealth available in America, the results of this development was that many working people were not having anything like, by standards of civilization or whatever, anything like their fair share in this progress.

MCKENZIE: Now you’re arguing that in a free market, for labor, everyone benefits. Does that mean that you would favor abolition of all immigration restrictions?

FRIEDMAN: The situation of immigration restrictions really has to do with the question of a welfare state. As I say in the film, I would favor completely free immigration in a society which does not have a welfare system. With a welfare system of the kind we have, you have the problem that people immigrate in order to get welfare, not in order to get employment. You know, it’s a very interesting thing, if you would ask anybody before 1914 the U.S. had no immigration restrictions whatsoever, I’m exaggerating a little bit, there were some immigration restrictions on orientals, but it was essentially, mainly free. If you ask anybody, any American economic historian was that a good thing for America, everybody will say yes it was a wonderful thing for America that we had free immigration. If you ask anybody today, should we have free immigration today, everybody will __ almost everybody will say no. What’s the difference? I think there’s only one difference and that is that when we had free immigration it was immigration of jobs in which everybody benefited. The people who were already here benefited because they got complementary workers, workers who could work with them, make their productivity better, enable them to develop and use the resources of the country better, but today, if you have a system under which you have essentially a governmental guarantee of relief in case of distress, you have a very, very real problem.

MCKENZIE: But this is true of every western industrialized country.

FRIEDMAN: That’s right and that’s why today __

MCKENZIE: Yeah.

FRIEDMAN: __ under current circumstances you cannot, unfortunately have free immigration. Not because there’s anything wrong with free immigration, but because we have other policies which make it impossible to adopt free immigration.

MCKENZIE: Well I’d like other reactions. Is it at all feasible to open the door of the labor market internationally now? Bill Brady?

BRADY: I would __ I would say yes providing they open the door to us. I think that the door to not only the labor market, the door to all markets should be __ should be open. That is the product markets.

W. WILLIAMS: My feelings about the undocumented workers of Mexican-Americans are inscribed at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. I think that the people should have the right to come to this country. Now, those who would say, you know, I hear a number of people saying that, well the immigrants are contributing to our unemployment problem. And I point this out to some people, I said, “look, you know, this is the same rhetoric that the Irish used when the blacks were coming up from the north, ” you know, they’re using blacks as scapegoats. They’re saying, “get those people back where they came from so that our members can get jobs, ” you know. Unions were as well doing this, you know, they called them scabs, strikebreakers, etcetera, etcetera. So I do not wish for Mexican-Americans to become the new scapegoats of our particular national problems. They are not the problem, and our nation benefits to the extent that these people come here and work. And to that extent __ to that extent__ so it’s kind of good for them to remain illegal aliens as opposed to being legal aliens where they’re subject to our welfare programs, so that we don’t want them to come here to __

(Several people talking at once.)

GREEN: I think that this country cannot have a group of workers to remain outside the framework of our laws and our protection. And as long as we have workers who are attracted to the United States because of the standards of living; and I think minimum wages play a part in that as part of that attraction. But it seems to me to have undocumented workers without providing either a means of protection for them and it seems to me that we’ve got to go to the question of providing the amnesty for those generations of workers who have come here over a period of time, now two, three, maybe four generations. We have to see that they have the same rights and protection of all other workers. And as it stands now, large numbers of them live outside the framework of the laws and statutes that we have on the __ on our books.

MCKENZIE: Comment Milton.

FRIEDMAN: They do and the tragedy of the situation, as what Walter Williams point out, that as long as they are undocumented and illegal they are a clear net gain, the nation benefits and they benefit. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t. The tragedy is that we’ve adopted all these other policies so that if we convert them into legal residents it’s no longer clear that we benefit. They may benefit, but it’s no longer clear that we do. What Lynn Williams said before is again a travesty on what was actually going on. The real boost to the trade union movement came after the Great Depression of the 1930s; that Great Depression was not a failure of capitalism; it was not a failure of the private market system as we pointed out in another one of the programs in this series; it was a failure of government. It was not the case that somehow or other there was a decline in the conditions of the working class that produced a great surge of unionism. On the contrary __ unions have never accounted for more than one out of four or one out of five of American workers. The American worker benefited not out of unions, he benefited in spite of unions. He benefited because there was greater opportunity because there were people who were willing to invest their money because there was an opportunity for people to work, to save, to invest. That’s still the case today. You say, we have to provide them with something or other Ernest. Who are the “we”?

GREEN: We the people.

FRIEDMAN: How do we the people __ but how do we the people do it?

GREEN: And it seems __ we the people provide them the protection by seeing that their safety __

MCKENZIE: You’re talking about the immigration population now.

GREEN: __ and occupational health codes that protects the environment that they work in, see that they have civil rights laws that protect their own person. See that they have civil liberties laws that protect them further. We the people of this country provide that protection.

W. WILLIAMS: Why are they coming here it’s so bad? If they don’t have, you know, you’re kind of painting an image, you know. Why are these people coming? We’re not pulling them here by chains.

GREEN: It’s obvious why people come here; it’s one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

(Several talking at once.)

MCKENZIE: Gentlemen, don’t all talk at once. Lynn, and then __

W. WILLIAMS: So what are you talking about protecting them?

GREEN: Why did you leave Little Rock, Arkansas to go to Philadelphia? It seems to point__

L. WILLIAMS: It seems to me that it’s obvious __

W. WILLIAMS: Would you extend the courtesy to finish. Look, look, first thing, look, let me say the following things: There’s some basic things that we need to know.

L. WILLIAMS: Well now are you going to say the thing I was interrupting and then say five more things. I mean there isn’t all afternoon.

W. WILLIAMS: You know, labor unions, and minimum wages for that case cannot improve the condition of the working people of the country.

L. WILLIAMS: We do it everyday.

W. WILLIAMS: Because if__ are you suggesting __

L. WILLIAMS: We improve the working conditions of working people in countries all around the world, everyday.

W. WILLIAMS: Well you know this __ you know what you’re telling the audience, you’re saying that you can solve the problems in Bangladesh. You can make them a rich country if you tell them to unionize like we are __

L. WILLIAMS: I didn’t say that.

W. WILLIAMS: __and demand high wages.

L. WILLIAMS: No, I didn’t say anything remotely like that.

W. WILLIAMS: It’s productivity that keeps income low.

MCKENZIE: Lynn, let him finish.

BRADY: I come back to my initial question: why are so many leaving the union?

L. WILLIAMS: There aren’t very many leaving the union.

BRADY: Oh, there are too. I’ve given you the statistics.

L. WILLIAMS: Ah, now, do you think I’m __ you grind off some percentages. I live in the labor movement.

BRADY: You __ do you have other percentages?

FRIEDMAN: In or on?

L. WILLIAMS: In, with and on. And of course they pay me, of course, and I don’t have any objection to that at all.

FRIEDMAN: Neither do I.

L. WILLIAMS: At least we got you a few minutes ago __ we got you to get the labor movement up into this century. And I agree with the observation you made __

(Laughter)

L. WILLIAMS: I agree with the observation you made that the industrial union movement __ that there was a union movement came out of the, out of the dirty ’30s and out of the depression and grew and that was essentially and industrial union movement. But I wonder if __ I wonder when I hear your commentary on the film and so on about unions and restricting practices and restricting access to industry and all of this, I really __ I don’t mean it disrespectfully, but I really wonder __

FRIEDMAN: Don’t mind being disrespectful, it’s all right. I’m used to it.

L. WILLIAMS: I really wonder if you, if you do understand how the industrial union movement, which is __ the more recent part of the union, how it really operates. We’re not telling anybody who they have to hire.

FRIEDMAN: (Laughing)

___________________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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