Last month on a South Georgia weekend jaunt to visit family, blood and otherwise, I heard on the Troy Alabama NPR station about an unfortunate accident where a father and son lost their lives in a head-on collision while driving separate vehicles. According to the report, alcohol was a factor, and I infer it was a game of chicken sadly gone awry.
Before we left for Houston I signed a Georgia tax return; I did none of the heavy lifting. Georgia’s Sen. Perdue and Arkansas’ Sen. Tom Cotton cosponsored a bill dramatically limiting legal immigration to America. The Statue of Liberty is just old school I suppose. They argue low-skilled immigration hurts wages and by reducing the labor pool wages will move upward. As a Georgia taxpayer and South Georgia business owner without immigration, legal or not, Georgia crops could rot in the fields. Without agriculture, South Georgia dries up and blows away. I have a dog in this fight.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, roughly 200,000 construction jobs have no takers. If Sens. Perdue and Cotton’s hypothesis were true, builders would pay more, voila, problem solved. But construction work is physically demanding and can be seasonal. Plus construction jobs are not in areas with high unemployment. If you lost work in an Allentown, Pennsylvania, factory, jobs in boom areas are geographically impractical.
Conservative writer David Brooks pointed out in The New York Times the last time America drastically reduced immigration in the 1920s we had a much higher birth rate. With today’s lower birth rates, limiting immigration dries up the labor pool. Brooks used Houston, Texas, as an example of a city with affordable housing and an immigrant-friendly culture. More than 140 languages dot the city, and it is the fastest growing American urban area. Houston’s immigrant culture incubated the nation’s strongest philanthropic sector. So many volunteers show up for the Houston Rodeo, special privileges had to be scaled back.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, increasing immigration bolsters Social Security’s solvency albeit modestly. Per Social Security trustees 300,000 net immigrants decreases Social Security’s 75-year deficit by one-tenth. Reducing immigration makes a great sound bite but beware of the law of unintended consequences.
In the Feb. 23 issue of The Wall Street Journal, James Mackintosh reflected on how economies around the world adjusted to the 2007 subprime market crisis and compared the rebound to the returns of the last 100 years. He pointed out the economies that rewarded investors were those whose countries avoided anarchy or catastrophic wars. If deconstruction is a primary goal, economic chaos could be an unexpected side-effect, and investors, historically, have never done well under those circumstances. Those who fail to appreciate history’s lessons are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help figure out what you need. For specific recommendations, visit livingstonfinancial.net or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.