One of Lowry's thought leader gigs last week was co-hosting a panel discussion on immigration policy at Jim DeMint's Temple of Conservative Orthodoxy, the Heritage Foundation.
This was the panel's stated assignment:
The crisis at our southern border is intensifying. President Obama’s failure to faithfully administer our immigration laws has handcuffed our border agents, jeopardizing the lives of those we entrust to maintain security and stability in the area. Just as troubling is the unprecedented wave of unaccompanied minors crossing the border from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.Of course, many conservative lawmakers, addressing the recent crisis of refugee children at the border, have already come up with fresh new approaches to "The New Politics of Immigration," stopping short of actual legislation, of course.
Unfortunately administrative amnesty and talk of comprehensive immigration reform have only escalated the situation. So, what steps should we take to alleviate this crisis?
Keep going, there's more . . .
For example, I'm still having nightmares in which I stumble upon Louie Gohmert, Glenn Beck and Dana Loesch, in night vision goggles, tramping around in the desert on a "coyote" hunt. Others suggested loading all new arrivals onto commercial planes with a cost-effective one-way ticket back to the homes from which they had sought asylum. Still others who are "real doctors in real life" decided that a little public health-scare might be in order and warned their unsuspecting constituents to take precautions against Ebola virus, leprosy and lice riding into town on Guatemalan niños.
But the Heritage Foundation is a capital-T Think Tank and takes a far more serious and scholarly approach to conservative policy prescriptions. And, so it is that a slightly tetchy Rich Lowry lost his pedantic cool and let loose with this manly sentiment:
The next time I hear a Republican strategist or a Republican politician say that there are jobs that Americans won't do, that person should be shot, he should be hanged, he should be wrapped in a carpet and thrown in the Potomac River. You know that's what they did to Rasputin, I think it was a different river. But let me tell you, it worked.Well. That sort of statement certainly should encourage a dynamic exchange of ideas on immigration in our national discourse. I'd be surprised if Lowry doesn't also fancy himself a proud American supporter of the First Amendment . . . which, as far as I know, does not include murder -- however expeditious -- as an acceptable remedy for opposing viewpoints.
At any rate, having said all of that, Lowry must have been annoyed by the cool kids laughing at him because he was inspired to print a brief defensive clarification and appeal to Republican Purity, to wit:
At the NR/Heritage event on immigration yesterday, I said the next Republican politician or consultant who says that there are “jobs that Americans won’t do” should be shot, hanged, and wrapped in a carpet and thrown in the Potomac River.That might have put an end to the incident, but, unfortunately, Lowry has a marked propensity for shooting himself in the foot even in the midst of a glorious big boy moment.
Not only is it not true that there are jobs that Americans won’t do, it is a sentiment that betrays contempt for those Americans who do the kind of jobs they aren’t supposed to be doing. So, it is the last thing anyone associated with what should be a party of work should say.
Show you what I mean . . .in the statement above, Lowery substantiated his point that it is "not true that there are jobs that Americans won’t do" by linking to a Breitbart.com article which cites a study published by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) which sounds impressive but is actually -- like its sister organizations the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA -- all parts of a network of fronts for dispensing some of the darker musings of John Tanton, a firm believer in "better living through eugenics."
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Tanton as "the 'puppeteer' of the nativist movement and a man with deep racist roots."
John Tanton is a punchline in political science academic circles, making Lowry either very clueless, very lazy or cynically opportunistic, judging by his source material. On this particular topic, most mainstream economists who concern themselves with immigration effects agree with Lowry that "immigrants do not do jobs that natives won't do" because the statement, itself, is misleading; but that acknowledgment does not lead them to many conservatives' conclusion that further restricting immigration is desirable to protect our economy.
Actually, the premise that restricted immigration benefits the American economy has been recently tested in the "laboratories of Democracy" and found to be a "man made disaster." In 2011, the Alabama state legislature proudly passed HB 56 which was touted as the nation's harshest anti-immigrant law, which resulted in a mass exodus of immigrant workers in Alabama followed by an economic trainwreck for Alabama's $5 billion/year agriculture business. Georgia did pretty much the same, with the same result.
That story is a complex and fascinating one and was very well-covered by Paul Reyes of Mother Jones. It's a long-read that's well worth the time.
Looking back on Alabama's disaster, economist Dr. Benjamin Powell, put the reality of the situation very succinctly:
Immigrants tend to be either high-skilled or low-skilled; Americans tend to be more toward the middle of the skill distribution. This means that immigrants aren’t substitutes for American labor but, instead, free up American labor to do jobs where it is more productive. That’s one reason economists don’t find that immigration depresses the wages of the native-born.The bottom line is that, at least on this issue, Rich Lowry has been an irresponsible, lazy editor whose word is, unfortunately, taken as gospel by hundreds of thousands of Americans and taken seriously by many unserious lawmakers.
As a number of economists have pointed out, immigrants don’t “do jobs Americans won’t do.” They do jobs that wouldn’t exist if the immigrants weren’t there to do them. By making life harder for a population of undocumented immigrants, the state government has ensured that future generations of Alabamians will be poorer than they would otherwise be.
William Buckley must be spinning in his grave if he knows anything about what this fatuous poseur has done to his National Review and probably wouldn't complain if we wrapped Lowry up in a carpet and shipped him elsewhere.