Jonah Goldberg

Last week, when the Congressional Budget Office issued a report that the immigration bill would increase GNP per capita by 0.2 percent and slightly reduce the deficit in 20 years, Democrats hailed it as a vindication.

It fell to Republicans to note that the same CBO report assumed the legislation would reduce immigration by a mere 25 percent and would very modestly reduce average wages in the first decade. Schumer has been selling the bill as a way to make illegal immigration "a thing of the past." A 25 percent reduction doesn't sound like the dustbin of history to me.

Liberal wonks raced to defend the bill on the wage issue by noting that average wages wouldn't necessarily go down for existing workers. (If 10 people make $100 a day, and you add an 11th who makes $50 a day, the average goes down even if everyone's wages don't.) But arguing about how much wages will or won't go down is a far cry from claiming wages will go up.

Polling shows that there's a huge amount of consensus about what to do on immigration. If people here illegally meet strict requirements -- pay back taxes, a fine, etc. -- support for a path to citizenship is high, even among Republicans. Without those requirements, it plummets.

The same goes for border security. Convince people that this is a one-time thing and not a replay of the amnesty under Ronald Reagan, and most conservatives are eager to put this issue behind us.

The hitch is that the right is just not in a trusting mood. They feel, with ample justification, that Washington, including the GOP, has been betraying them -- by accident or on purpose -- for too long. I can understand that completely. What baffles me is why rank-and-file Democrats don't feel the same way.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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