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“Illegal Immigrants Steal Americans’ Jobs.”

Written by Gary North on December 17, 2014

This is another cliché of protectionism. I keep adding more, here:


The logic of economics applies across borders: county, state, and national. Deny this, and you deny economics.

Conservatives deny economics. They promote tariffs and import quotas across national borders, but not state and county borders.

Ludwig von Mises had a word for this: polylogism. This means multiple systems of logic.

Conservatives usually oppose trade union restrictions on hiring. They understand vaguely that the politicians have gotten into the act, and they have created legal restrictions on employers who wish to hire workers who are not members of a trade union. A few conservatives may even understand that restrictions on hiring non-union members discriminates against non-union members. The law forces non-union members to seek employment from non-unionized businesses, which pay lower wages.

A very few conservatives may recognize that this form of labor discrimination is a subsidy to non-unionized businesses, which can hire non-union workers at below-market (government-protected market) wages. Usually, only libertarians are willing and able to follow the logic of unionized labor this far.

What we find, over and over, is that conservatives who reject the idea of union discrimination in the labor markets favor tariffs, import quotas, and laws against employing people who are not American citizens or green-card holders. In other words, as soon as they see an invisible line where a customs gate is located, they adopt exactly the same economic logic that is used by union members to justify discrimination that subsidizes them. This is polylogism.

It works both ways. There are liberals who favor free trade, but they also favor government-protected labor unions. The most famous liberal in this regard was Lyndon Johnson. But Teddy Kennedy was right up there. Jack Kennedy was not far behind. You may have heard of the Kennedy Round of GATT negotiations. GATT was the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Wikipedia reports:

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was a multilateral agreement regulating international trade. According to its preamble, its purpose was the “substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis.” It was negotiated during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment and was the outcome of the failure of negotiating governments to create the International Trade Organization (ITO). GATT was signed in 1947, took effect in 1948, and lasted until 1994; it was replaced by the World Trade Organization in 1995.

What was the Kennedy Round? Another Wikipedia entry says:

The Kennedy Round was the sixth session of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) trade negotiations held between 1964 and 1967 in Geneva, Switzerland. Congressional passage of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act in 1962 authorized the White House to conduct mutual tariff negotiations, ultimately leading to the Kennedy Round. Participation greatly increased over previous rounds. Sixty-six nations, representing 80% of world trade, attended the official opening on May 4, 1964, at the Palais des Nations. Despite several disagreements over details, the director general announced the round’s success on May 15, 1967, and the final agreement was signed on June 30, 1967–the very last day permitted under the Trade Expansion Act. The round was named after U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated six months before the opening negotiations.


Teddy Kennedy was the ramrod in the Senate for the Immigration Act of 1965. Lyndon Johnson signed it in 1968. This pried open borders, and low-wage workers by the millions streamed through. These workers were a threat to the labor union movement. Cesar Chavez organized a labor union in 1962 to keep non-union workers from lowering wages and working conditions in the fields. His first major strike was in 1965. The following Wikipedia article mentions the split in the Kennedy family.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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