Fact-Checking The Wall Street Journal’s Attempt to Sell Mass Immigration as a Solution to Inflation
With a large majority of Americans concerned about inflation and the economy, the open-borders lobby continues to promote the highly questionable claim that more immigration will fix both. Such spin may earn an A for effort, but deserves an F as far as substance and logic are concerned. That’s because the “immigration lowers inflation” argument ignores the main cause of inflation while callously proposing sacrificing the wages of American workers instead of addressing the root causes of high inflation.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an opinion piece by professor Justin Gest purporting to explain “How Immigrants Tame Inflation” (the editorial’s title). Claiming that “[l]abor shortages apply upward pressure to wages and thus prices,” the open-borders-affiliated author seems to put the blame for inflation on Americans moving from high-priced metropolitan areas like New York City, San Francisco, or Los Angeles to more affordable areas due to pandemic-era remote work policies. Had those pesky Americans not shown up, he contends, “employers in these hot spots would have recruited international migrants to meet incoming professionals’ needs.”
There is a logical contradiction plaguing this argument. If labor shortages drive up wages and prices, then shouldn’t inflation be higher in places that people are leaving and, therefore, reducing the size of the local workforce? Moreover, according to the author’s thinking, wouldn’t the “international migrants” he mentions have driven up local inflation?
This contradiction is only the beginning of the piece’s flaws. While there may be some local variations to the impact of inflation, the editorial misses the elephant in the room: the huge role of massive government spending driving high inflation. The COVID-19 pandemic was used to justify such spending sprees, exacerbated by both lockdowns and enhanced unemployment benefits. Ignoring the rapid recent expansion of the U.S. money supply, while shifting the blame to American citizens for moving away from overpriced and crime-ridden metro areas is deeply dishonest and unfair.
In fact, the pro-mass-migration lobby’s claim that more immigration would reduce inflation was debunked less than a year ago by FAIR’s research. Having analyzed historical inflation and immigration trends, FAIR found no direct relationship between the two. A study by the Center for Immigration Studies similarly found that any deflationary impact from increasing immigration would be very minimal, while the financial impact on lower-income and lower-skilled American workers would be quite painful.
What Gest also misses is that migrants are not robots who do nothing but labor. While their work may illegally pad the bottom lines of some employers by keeping down wages for American citizens, the immigrant workers must also live somewhere and purchase food and other goods and services. That creates upward pressure on prices. Thus, for every article touting the supposed deflationary blessings of importing more cheap foreign labor, one can find an article on mass immigration driving up prices, particularly for housing.
The editorial in The Wall Street Journal is yet another example of a sad reality: rather than attempting to understand and solve problems, such as high inflation, the pro-open borders lobby prefers to punish the American working class on behalf of the profits of big business.