The Racist Roots of Anti-Immigration Activism Part III: Lies, Damn Lies and NumbersUSA

From co-blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

An old saying goes that "there are lies, damn lies and statistics" which means that data given to an audience out of context can be easily twisted to give the wrong impression. NumbersUSA specializes in just that sort of distortion.

The essential theme in all Numbers USA propaganda is simply - too many. There are too many immigrants who will trash the environment, clog the roads and make us all poorer. Without significant cut backs on immigration, the United States will collapse from bearing the burden of too many people. The answer, says NumbersUSA, is to stop illegal immigration entirely and cut legal immigration from an estimated 1 million people per year to a more "reasonable" 250,000 per year.

This almost makes sense if, like communists, you view the economy as a pie which we all must share. Each new person then, means a smaller slice of the pie for the rest of us, but we know from economists and from practical experience that this is not so.  Capitalist economies expand to meet the needs of those participating in it. 

Look at a small business. If it's run by just one person, he must do everything from run the cash register to design advertisements, ordering inventory and handling shipping/receiving. He keeps all the profits, but because the amount of work he can do is low, those profits aren't all that big. He is limited by his need to do everything.

But suppose he starts hiring people? First he hires a helper, leaving him free to spend time searching for better deals on his wares, then better advertising, better inventory systems and new products. Before he knows it, this extra helper is paying for himself and then some. New jobs come along and profits increase dramatically. This is the reason the CEO of IBM can take home millions and millions of dollars despite the fact that his business employs many thousands of people. There wasn't a "pie," but together everyone in the organization produces more than they could have otherwise.

On a larger scale, economists note that things work much the same way:

The US economy is dynamic, shedding and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. Businesses are in a continuous state of flux. The most accurate way to gauge the net impact of immigration on such an economy is to analyze the effects dynamically over time. Data show that, on net, immigrants expand the US. economy’s productive capacity, stimulate investment, and promote specialization that in the long run boosts productivity. Consistent with previous research, there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States.

Or, as pointed out in this article:

'The US has benefited greatly over the years from the ’brain gain’ of immigration,' said author Darrell M. West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution. 'To stay competitive, we must make way for the next Sergey Brin, Andrew Grove, and Albert Einstein,' West argues, citing the co-founder of Google, chief of computer chip-maker Intel Corp. and history’s most famous physicist.

As noted, it is economic freedom that provides the environment that allows people to produce. People who produce are not a "drain" on some theoretical pie that we all must eat from - they add value to our economy, from the lowest day laborer to the most ambitious entrepreneur. More people means more specialization and more specialization means more wealth. This is all fairly simple economics.

However, NumbersUSA is not interested in simple economics. They are more interested in duping the public into being scared of immigrants and to support the policy goals of racists who wish to keep America white. NumbersUSA was founded by Roy Beck, under the auspices of US Inc., founded and run by infamous racist John Tanton. Beck was also employed by John Tanton as an editor for his magazine, The Social Contract, which published such gems of articles under his editorship as this one:

[M]any white Americans feel considerable unease at the prospect of becoming a minority in a country that traditionally has been European in character and culture. Is it possible for them to argue against this outcome - now looming about five decades away, given current policies of immigration - without being made to feel that they are the sort of bad people that immigration promoters claim they are?

The article goes on to claim that:

In a climate of Euro-phobia, we have every legitimate reason to fear and resist a substantial racial/ethnic shift. Assimilating non-European immigrants into America's traditional Euro-culture is difficult. Europhobia makes it nearly impossible. As many of the newcomers absorb this hostility, European-Americans will face increasing tension, discrimination, and perhaps physical danger. We are under no moral obligation to accept these risks either for ourselves or our children.

Beck has never denounced or dissociated himself from US Inc., John Tanton and The Social Contract, but Roy Beck isn't a racist. He said so.

NumbersUSA is doing its best to dupe the American public with distorted statistics meant to give the false impression that immigrants are "drains on society." They lie to us and claim that a growing population means growing poverty.  This despite what the history of the United States and any other country who has begun to liberalize indicates, such as India or China, both of whom have grown by leaps and bounds in both population size and wealth. The reason for the lies is very simple; they know that their real position is that America must remain "Euro-American" (i.e. white) for us to remain prosperous.  They are fully aware that idea would fail miserably in the realm of public ideas.

If you are a conservative who has been duped by NumbersUSA's slick lies, I urge you to reconsider your position. Look at the economic facts as they are, not as gum balls in jars. And look at the motivation of the people who are lying to you.

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