If I were still an American, I would not be a Republican (unless Ron Paul were running!) or a Democrat. I am a libertarian. I favor free trade, not concocted regulated trade manipulated by USA war mongering or special interests that is labeled as “free trade.” I am not in favor of Hillary any more than I am of Trump. They are both evil.
And, having said that, I am delighted that one of them will win, probably clever Trump. They will drive out many good people that remain in the USA and thus help me in my consulting and residency business in Chile, and drive up demand for Chilean real estate, helping my construction business.
As an added bonus, the damage might be so great as to encourage more of my children to leave and return to Chile, too. In that sense I really favor Trump, and lament for people that have stayed in the USA. But that’s not my fault.
With either Trump or Hillary winning the Presidency, Chile will benefit by receiving more highly-qualified immigrants. America will not benefit. Indeed, it is a good time to make your exit and come to Chile. With either party's candidate winning, if I were still an American, Chile would be looking pretty good right now. Unless you are poor and thus have to suffer the consequences of the bad choices and culture of others, you might at least take a stake in Chile while you can--get a visa and a small Plan B residence.
To say that export-based Chile will be affected to the same extent by a downturn in the USA is dubious. Export-based countries that produce food and raw materials will be sought after under fascist and socialist regimes in the Northern Hemisphere that need to create jobs. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking in a vacuum while the world is a dynamic, rather than static place. Calamities produce other unforeseen changes that can actually benefit certain countries. Did neutral Switzerland benefit from World War 2? Yes. And, likewise, Chile will benefit from the next American President's policies.
I think Trump is too clever (and rich) to lose to Hillary. He will bring new, disgruntled voters in that have not voted in years to tip things in his favor. He will use his populism to tip things even more in his favor in swing states, garnering some democratic votes. In November 2016, they will appear and Trump will squash Hillary (especially if there is continued Muslim violence as was seen in Paris, San Bernadino and Orlando). He will dominate the media with his candor, nationalism and political incorrectness. He will run a more efficient campaign. The guy has a vote-gaining strategy beyond his populist rhetoric. Trump is an unprincipled, wily, pragmatic center-leftist that will do whatever it takes to get elected. He looks very dangerous and seductive, and the situation has an eerie resemblance to 1930s Germany or Italy.
The problem Americans face is that people like Hitler or Mussolini also were “a symbol of the widespread rejection of political-economic elitism.” This is nothing new. And Trump is scary on account his nationalism, protectionism, slippery principles and rejection of political-economic elitism. He looks very much like a fascist. Hence, there are some good reasons why Americans should be fearful of Trump.
Consider Trump’s list of nefarious ideas:
- he is willing to raise taxes “on the rich,” although he is now denying his original statement;
- he is willing to raise the minimum wage;
- he supports abortion in “exceptional” cases, although now he claims to have become more pro-life;
- he supports military buildup and war;
- he plans to retaliate against terrorists by killing their wives and little children;
- he favors use of weapons, like nuclear bombs, that necessarily kill innocent people;
- he favors socialized medicine, albeit not Obamacare exactly;
- he believes in social safety nets for the poor via welfare policies;
- he changes his mind on a whim; but unpredictability is not an asset when dealing with the devil;
- he wants to force businesses not to employ their resources in the least-cost environments, including overseas;
- he uses populist jargon to gain votes just like other politicians;
- he errantly believes that protectionism will help the middle class and others;
- he is a nationalist that supports state-idolatry and American dominance over the world;
- he is an unprincipled pragmatist that will do anything to get money and power, including donating lots of money to Hillary in 2012 or any other campaign that buys him privileges. Thus we have to ask the rhetorical question: "Is he really such an “outsider” or just an expert at playing the game?"
I do like that Trump is not politically correct, but neither were Stalin or Hitler (and I guess I can reluctantly admire both of them for that fact?). Hitler also started as an “outsider” and a longshot, building his platform on nationalism and populism. Do you disagree?
I looked at Trump’s official website. Texas Senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz was correct to say that Trump is not a conservative. He is a fascist.
Remember that I am a former American, with no emotional ties to the old country. I have no loyalty to it, nor do I wish it well. It is a bastion of evil, economic and moral, in the world today. I speak its language less than 10% of my day, and mainly only to communicate with family, send comments to my doctoral students, study or read the literature or news related to things that affect the world and Chile, and to write blog entries and books. My interest in America is academic or for business.
Is Trump a "blue collar billionaire?" Do not kid yourself! He is a pragmatic, ruthless, cunning, clever and unprincipled businessman who will do anything to make a buck or get more power. Trump is more of a fascist than anything else, so far as I can tell, and the change in the Republican party is not for the better but for the worse. Hitler also vastly improved the German economy (and war machine), bringing that country out of the Great Depression (1929-1934) before any other major country.
Nationalism and xenophobia are two other features that Trump and Hitler or Mussolini have in common, making their country "great again." Some say Trump is more like chameleon fascist Mussolini than Hitler. They may be right. The question is merely academic for me. There are similarities that make Trump equal to Hitler o Mussolini, and I think those similarities are undeniable. He has been flip flopping lately, too, on things like abortion. So we see him acting pragmatically rather than on principle in order to get power. However, he is a wild card, like other fascists, and I am not sure anyone really knows what he will do as President. He could be really scary. Again, he is a cleverer vote-seeker than people give him credit for. Count him out of the race to your peril if you live in Los Estados Juntos.
Trump does not understand economic theory. Anyone who thinks (1) that raising the minimum wage help the least capable, (2) that permitting abortion “in certain cases” is good for an economy, (3) that immigrants (illegal or otherwise) are bad for an economy or (4) that countries that have a favorable balance of trade with the USA (like Mexico), i.e. the USA has a trade deficit with Mexico of 58 billion dollars annually, as a result have a pile of cash lying around in government coffers with which they can pay for a border wall, is an economic ignoramus. Forcing people to pay more for goods and services to protect certain groups never helps the overall economy, any more than saving buggy whip and kerosene lamp makers jobs would have helped progress.
Moreover, it is an error to state that open borders only benefit the elite, top 0.01% of society. On the contrary, protectionism and border walls (if they worked) do that. Protectionist ideas heralded by Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, et al are bad for most people. They only benefit relatively few businesses and their workers. Trump apparently does not "get" this fact. By holding to protectionist ideas, Trump is bad. Furthermore, (5) Trump's rumored "solution" to eliminate the national debt by indirect default is nothing new, and hardly clever, but is certainly dangerous. Lots of wealthy people and mutual funds, along with sovereign governments, hold U.S. debt obligations. Making them mad by telling them that 90% of their principal will vanish by decree can lead to instability, bad relationships for trade and even violence. Sure, we have all known for years that the debt cannot be paid. So what? Putting default in the face of creditors as a bully or fool, will not make the proposed victims very happy, and it will not bode well for future business deals with them.
Trump's economics knowledge is pretty abysmal, and he apparently does not have any trained economic advisors to ask, but his understanding of consequences is even worse. In the end, you might then, well, someone has to do the default eventually, why not Trump? Default may be inevitable, but there are ways to default that are subtler and wiser, at least for those that want to avoid war and maintain whatever vestiges of trade possible post-default. Public policy is always problematic. Indeed, (6) any politician, including Trump, who thinks that public policy can improve the quality of life in generally, not just for a few elites and rent seekers, is a voter-panhandling, demagogic nincompoop.
Trump says he wants to halt illegal immigration in order to reduce crime and protect American jobs. Yet, if immigration were really a problem, then it would be best to privatize the border and let competing firms find a way to optimize it. But letting the state handle it will likely only make the “problem” worse. It will do something stupid and expensive like build a big wall that desperate people will easily find a way to conquer and circumvent. A new crisis will always emerge and thus feed those never-ending needs for more state "solutions."
Are immigrants an economic problem?
The fact is that immigration in and of itself is not a problem. It helps the economy of any territory. Immigrants commit fewer crimes percentage-wise than native-born people. Please consider this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal written by a libertarian from the Manhattan Institute. It provides data that show that immigrants, illegal or otherwise, do not commit more crimes (percentage-wise) than native-born people. That fact means that one's wife and daughters, including my daughters Grace and Rachel, face greater danger from native-born, publicly-educated and Hollywood/porn-gazed/beer-guzzling morons that speak only English than some wild-eyed immigrant. Indeed, immigrants often help out nationals, too. This article from the Foundation for Economic Education, a famed libertarian educational institution, makes that case.
Might I also be so bold to remind you that there is nothing more dangerous to Americans and their families than the United States government and its henchmen. The abuse and financial/emotional rape that many suffer from bogus criminal investigations and wicked Family court, IRS or Child Services Division decrees are case in point. It is almost certain that you know more people assailed by the U.S. government or brutal cops than you know that were raped or robbed by Latino illegals. Thus, if you really were concerned about the safety or your wives and daughters you would have already left the “land of the free.” So let us be honest and say that you are not really all that worried about their safety, right? You are not really any more scared of illegal immigrants than I am. But you should be more scared of your government than you are.
Immigrants regularly take lower-paying jobs and at times better-paying ones when they come. Does this affect local employment? Of course! Competition does that. They lose their jobs thanks to the way markets work: employing capital and resources in their most efficient manner. Forcing businesses to pay more just to keep people inefficiently employed at higher wages only leads to higher consumer prices for products and the standard of living for everyone going down. It also harms poorer people in other countries that lose their jobs. Protectionism may sound good and welcome until one considers the overall economic impact and lower standard of living it brings to all in order to help a relative few. It is a dangerous policy, too, since like all force it engenders resentment and thus potential violence. The solution is to avoid be undercut by competing labor.
For these reasons, we all learn to specialize and have skills that make us more desirable than others, immigrants or otherwise. Specialization and expertise make us more valuable. Putting oneself in the position of not having specialized in some sort of labor makes us vulnerable to others taking away our work by underbidding us in the marketplace for labor services. Blaming immigrants because I am not specialized or have let my laziness in pursuing greater personal efficiency in my work is ridiculous. When a person no longer wants to keep improving and be ahead of the game, he will fall behind competitors and thus only have one option to keep his services values in the market: lower his labor price. What happens when he does fall to the competition, just like businesses do that fall, is to go to the state and seek a means to have force applied to protect them from competition.
But this tactic is evil and immoral. It means that the many are harmed to benefit the few. All state proactive policies and probably all policies of inefficient provision are the same. Think of what a “blessing” central banking is, or child services and family court, the DEA, ATF, IRS and EPA, not to mention departments of education, commerce, transportation and energy. Think of what a great job states do in catching criminals or making our environment safer and cleaner. Yet people still ask and trust the state to solve problems when its track record is abysmal failure. The welfare state itself distorts labor markets by increasing the booty available for illegal immigration that would otherwise not occur. If there were no welfare benefits, some illegal immigrants might keep coming but they would be far less of a "social problem" and less costly, too.
Does it hurt to have to change careers? Of course! I know what it is like to have to change careers. I spent over 26 months without a regular paycheck and had to ditch trying to continue being a college professor and to learn instead to be a general manager of a construction company. It was painful but in the long run was beneficial for me. I realize that others do not want to make such drastic changes in their employment or learn something new, but that is the way for overall prosperity personally and benefit for a country generally.
Are immigrants costly to a society?
For many people, immigrants just "seem" to be the "obvious" problem. But science does not bear this conjecture out. Often what is just “common sense” and "seems to be" the case from what we see in actuality is false. Other explanations are actually correct. How many times does an event or phenomenon appear to be one thing and even “obvious” or common sense to the common man but in reality the answer is something else. Science confounds the weak conjecture of men.
Twentieth Century economist Dr. Julian Simon, author of The Ultimate Resource 2, famously concluded by using economic reasoning that immigration is an economic blessing. Simon contends that there are nothing more important than human minds to make an economy grow. There is no natural resource more important or more innovative. Minds cannot be synthesized like natural resources can. Even if we have 10 million hapless, stupid, otherwise worthless immigrants “sucking off the teat of the state” and producing little, and we have only one Steven Jobs, et al, in that number, we have more than made up for the social loss generated by the 9.99999 million. Of course, unlike natural births, governments control immigrant quality to a large extent, meaning that a country should do far better with immigrants than natural births.
Immigrants usually come more educated and thus benefit their new society. The most expensive (young) part of their lives, “socially speaking,” has been paid for by the "old country." This theory is not weird economics. It is widely-known to be clearly correct. Immigration helps an economy on net. It does not hurt it. Immigrants are more educated, even if they have never been to school and just have life experience, than newborns that must be trained, raised and educated for more than two decades at very high “social cost.” Even the most backwards immigrants from Poland, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Albania, etc. knew more about life than newborns did, and they caused a special flourishing in the USA. Compared to college-educated Americans and Europeans, illegal immigrants are usually ignoramuses. But in terms of life experience and adding value they are not more ignorant than common men in the new country. That fact is one reason they can earn a wage: they add value. Otherwise they would be paid the same as newborns that know nothing: zero.
Trump's border wall idea will not work anyway. Oppressed, desperate and economically-motivated people will hardly be stopped by obstacles, even 30 foot tall ones. Like leftist pundit John Oliver correctly pointed out, a 30 or 40-foot-high border wall will only create or increase market demand for 31 to 41-foot-long ladders to climb up, and about the same amount of rope to get down the other side. Besides this fact, drug dealers are already in the habit of throwing packages across the border to waiting accomplices, or launching drug packages across with catapults. A border wall will not stop that activity. Indeed, the wall will be more effective in keeping complacent Americans in than Latinos out. I do not know about Mexicans in general, but given a few nails, a hammer, any saw and any kind of scrap wood, my Chilean maestros could knock out a 31-foot ladder in two hours or less. They build ladders all the time. I do not buy ladders for them.
Chile lets all sorts of Peruvian and Bolivian illegals come in and they do lots of work here, despite the fact that there is a literal minefield above Arica on the Peruvian border. To say that a wall makes the border less “open” than otherwise is also insane. It just raises the cost of crossing slightly to the Mexican, et al, and imposes a huge cost on US Taxpayers to build it. So what is more insane?
The issue of welfare state largesse cannot be underestimated in this discussion. As my friend and fellow Chilean resident Ken Shields pointed out, the US government subsidizes illegal immigration by allowing immediate public benefits to those who have broken immigration laws by entering illegally. There is also taxpayer largesse doled out to businesses: China, Korea and Japan have notoriously subsidized their businesses over the last decades by crushing any collective bargaining and aiding and abetting the low international prices of finished goods with direct (but semi-secret) grants along with dirty float currency manipulation. Of course, as Milton Friedman pointed out in Free to Choose, Americans should not complain if foreign governments are sending them gifts by means of subsidies. If Trump actually did deliver on his promise to send negotiators around the world to revamp managed trade agreements, replacing them with true free trade ones, then something good might happen. But why should we believe that he or his representatives would do such a thing?
Culture argument, the evil state, and self-defense against violent Muslims
Culture also matters because institutions matter. Thus, the culture of immigrants matters at the margin. Some institutions are superior to others, and therefore some cultures, like Western culture, are superior to others. Consequently, in general, immigrants from superior cultures will be better than those from inferior ones. Yet, it is not just Europeans that have good ideas and spur economic growth with innovation. Entrepreneurship spans all races and social classes. (So does crime, wealth and other things of course.) Not all great immigrants have come from Europe. Not all rich and innovative people are white, and Mexico has some very rich people. And let us not forget northeast Asia. Cultural arguments tend to be nonstarters. The real issue is the ineffectiveness of the evil state.
When states are created, so are restrictions and privileges. These actions pervert incentive structures and institutional arrangements which have spontaneously emerged. Its legislation trumps or infects law that existed prior to the state. The nation thus has to adapt in order to learn to live with the infection. Both conservatives and leftists make the mistake of thinking that states and public policies can really solve problems efficiently and cleanly. They often ignore the special interests that benefit each time at the expense of the mass of people that have to pay the price. It seems too easy: we have a big problem, let us just pay taxes so the state can fix it. The problem sometimes gets fixed, at huge and inefficient cost, but usually it just gets patched so that the next crisis can erupt from it and generate again more need for the state to get involved. State actors like problems and love crises.
The problem is the state: our great enemy, not particular policies that elites use to their benefit. I will say that certain cultures are superior to others in producing many things, for example eternal life and economic efficiency, like protestant Christianity. But xenophobic culture arguments are really weak: Immigration helps an economy, period. Changing religions and cultures requires preaching and evangelism, not public policies of evil, predatory states.
The word "nation" has been hijacked by politically ambitious men. Even when Bible refers to a “nation,” it means a people group, ethnic group with a common language or heritage; not a group of people within political boundaries. Libertarians have no problem with the idea of nations. They have a problem with the state. Protecting “national” interests in also a problem in that sense, unless one refers to a collective defense (which some libertarians, like Rothbard, say should be entirely privatized). Libertarians believe that institutions are important: law, religion and churches, collective defense and other insurance, private charity and private or market-based regulation.
I am all in favor of self-defense against violent Muslims. That is a libertarian position. On the other hand, I am not entirely sure that building mosques or even the spread of Islam indicates we are in a great danger. Maybe so, but the conjecture seems to be extrapolated from relatively few data points. (Of course in Chile there are hardly any Muslims. So we have little to worry about if this preoccupation were actually true.) But I think we face greater threats from politically correct atheists than we do from Muslims.
Culture is important and religion is the most important component of it along with language. There are superior cultures, just like there are superior surgeons or basketball stars. Do we have reason to fear bad cultures that will either use personal violence against us or state power against us? Of course! Libertarians are big promoters of self-defense, and even collective defense. But these things should not be confused with using state power to benefit the hapless or sluggardly that cannot or will not compete to make themselves more valuable in the marketplace via personal education, better use of tools and equipment, better utilization of helpers.
Trump's fascist seduction, his faulty economics and his bad arguments against immigrants or worse solutions such as building a border wall, all underscore reasons for concern. However, there is an alternative: leave the United States now; or at least get Plan B in place. I suggest that you strongly consider Chile for your expatriation destination. While Chile may be slightly worse now than it was three years ago, it is still better than where you are from, and there are reasons to be optimistic about where Chile is going. I cannot say the same thing for the "Land of the Free.
Until next time,
Escape America Now