Thursday, November 06, 2014

Can you advocate for both a universal basic income AND increased immigration?


SG, a loyal KPC reader writes to me, "How is it possible to provide a basic income and universal healthcare and at the same time increase immigration? To me it appears unsustainable. Too many people would want to immigrate to the US under those conditions. Furthermore single-payer universal healthcare would appear to me to increase government interference in our lives, not lessen it. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this"


I actually think single-payer would result in less overall interference as it would just be one layer instead of the system we have now where the Government is regulating/paying off insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, medical device manufacturers and us.

I would prefer to bust up the AMA cartel, somewhat deregulate the practice of health care, increase the supply of doctors (through immigration), and have a free market in health care, but I still prefer single payer over the ACA.

Turning to immigration, we can always place some limits on entry if mooching is thought to be / turns out to be a big problem. There is a very large area in between where we are now and an open border "free for all".

For example, if we gave green cards to all foreigners who earned graduate degrees here in the US, they would probably not increase use of the welfare state. Or we could limit UBI to citizens if there were strains on the system.

We are just shooting ourselves in the foot by turning away hundreds of thousands of talented people each year.





11 comments:

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I posted about Angus' Tuesday posting on my blog:

http://www.rawillumination.net/2014/11/a-political-manifesto-from-oklahoma.html

ConnGator said...


Simple say non-citizens must be self-supporting or risk deportation after 3-months on the dole.

Tom said...

For the title question, the answer is "of course!" There is no requirement under the First Amendment that one's positions be consistent or that anyone "do the math".

As to "immigration,... [and] mooching [being] thought to be ... a big problem", hordes of conservatives think this with great vigor. Even I think it is some problem, with or without immigration. An entitlement is bound to make some people feel entitled.

Steve Schow said...

I'm pro-open borders (put me a couple notches below Bryan Caplan) but I had to fix this for you:

"...if we gave green cards to all foreigners who earned graduate degrees..."

Foreign graduate degree diploma mills would pop up as fast as you try to accredit/discredit them.

You already have engineers in Central American universities who can barely complete a simple statics problem.

I don't have a better solution I'm just thinking out loud.

MK said...

Re single-payer: people get very caught up in the identity of the perceived ultimate payor (e.g., govt or me/insurance). But a patchwork of regulations, mandates, regulatory regimes, etc is basically a huge and dangerously decentralized web of state-sanctioned "interference" in people's lives, in that it creates masses of rent-seeking and agency problems whose costs are all passed on to consumers.

Even single-payer (eg. Canada) retains occupational licencing, a welfare-reducing policy, but it's better than an untraceable network of corp welfare and political capture.

Angus said...

Steve. you are right. I meant to say grad degrees at accredited US universities. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Actually, people who immigrate to the US *are* required to show that they won't become a public charge either via the level of income of the person petitioning for them (e.g. a US born husband for his foreign born wife) OR via a joint sponsor (someone else who agrees to assume the financial burden for the immigrant, which usually is an extended family member or close family friend). The form all immigrants are require to submit is called the "Affidavit of Support". This also applies to those aliens adjust status while in the US.

To date, the only entity who has seen fit to actually go after people for it is NYC. No one else, not a city, state or federal entity has EVER asked someone with a Lawful Permanent Resident Card or a naturalization certificate to reimburse public coffers via their sponsor.

The exceptions are employer-based, investor, and self-based petitions. The public charge test does not really apply to that category of immigrant; which of course stands to reason because those are the immigrants who come with education, or are outstanding in their field, and a job/income/millions in hand.

There is also a public charge section of the INA that can be used to deny someone a tourist visa or other non-immigrant based visa.

So in reality, it isn't that the law isn't in place to keep out the indigent, or to demand reimbursement and protect public coffers. Instead, it's that the legal system in the US chooses *not* to enforce that law/option.

Source: I'm a vice consul with the US State Department and I spend my days evaluating petitions and interviewing applicants to determine if they are able to exercise their legal standing to immigrate to the US by virtue of having an approved petition from USCIS.

Jim Oliver said...

I think it would OK if Government paid for all healthcare (above some deductible) that has strong evident of net positive effects. I do not trust our corrupt politicians to do anything like that.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think UBI is going to increase inmigration. This is a WORLDWIDE conversation. UBI has to be implemented worldwide. Then forget about inmigration. Eliminate frontiers.

Unknown said...

I have to wonder if open borders are perhaps the solution to our social security woes.

If social security is a transfer plan by which current workers pay previous generations of workers who no longer work (aka a Ponzi scheme), and our previous generations of workers is exceeding the carrying capacity of the current workers, then a simple an obvious solution would seem to be to allow in some hundreds of thousands of talented people who can pay into the system to support previous workers.

Think about it - instant population and payer growth.

We may be doubly shooting ourselves in the foot.

Matt Caron said...

The above comment about social security and Ponzi scheme was from me - the google integration doesn't seem to get my name from my login or whatnot.