Rich Lowry

At least Bush wants to attempt to depress the wages of higher-skilled workers, too. He is proposing to expand the number of H-1B work visas for higher-skilled foreign workers, who tend to get paid less than their native-born counterparts. Alan Greenspan recently conducted a thought experiment. "Our skilled wages," he said, "are higher than anywhere in the world. If we open a significant window for (foreign) skilled workers, that would suppress the skilled-wage level and end the concentration of income."

Indeed, it would. It also would cause a political revolt. Such a revolt doesn't occur at the lower end of the income scale because the natural representative of the interests of native low-skilled workers -- the Democratic Party -- has bought into high levels of immigration in the hopes of getting new voters.

Bush's failings at the border mirror his failings in Iraq. In both places, he underestimated the need for security and order and has undertaken a push for them only belatedly. In both places, he was motivated by a good-hearted belief in the essential fungibility of people. He thought that Iraqis naturally would have the same desires as Westerners; and on the border, he assumes that Mexicans are seamlessly interchangeable with Americans, since they seek employment here.

In Iraq, he has tried to compensate for his mistakes. On the border, he seems hopeless.


Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
 
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