By Tyler Bauer
I have an ultimatum for the Democratic Party – support a welfare state, or support open borders. You can’t choose both. To quote Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, “It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.”
The Welfare State
I have blogged about the welfare state before (you can find that blog here). It goes without saying that a welfare state is expensive, and when your government is over $21 trillion in debt, excessive spending isn’t the solution – it’s the problem. In Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017, welfare spending accounted for 60% and 58% of the federal government’s expenditures, respectively. Although our population’s growth rate has decreased in recent decades, our population is still growing. This means that the number of individuals dependent on welfare will only continue to grow, so our expenditures will grow. If you expand the definition of welfare to include things like schools, infrastructure, etc., the growth in expenditure becomes much larger.
Now, let’s suppose that open borders become a reality. Rather than growing at a rate of 0.71% per year, our population would grow at a much faster rate. For better or worse, the metaphorical floodgates would be opened. This would only exacerbate the expenditure issue I just highlighted.
Our country is already in debt, but allowing open borders AND the welfare state would be the nail in the coffin for our country economically. Even if new immigrants weren’t receiving direct government assistance through programs like Medicare, they would still be benefitting from public goods like the national defense, transportation, and school systems. This, in turn, would place a much larger burden on our public goods, necessitating an increase in spending. Seeing as the welfare state is largely responsible for the current debt level, any increase in the size of the welfare state – such as an increase brought on my unmitigated immigration – would only worsen the situation.
Let’s Get Real
Obviously, the welfare state is bad economically and bad for individual freedom. Every time you get paid, a portion of your income goes to the government through taxation. Whether you like taxation or not, what you earn is yours – the government didn’t do that work, you did. If the Democratic Party wants to drastically increase the national debt and taxes, they should remain on their current path of championing the welfare state and open borders. On the other hand, if the Democratic Party wants to help the country, they will only choose one. (Ideally, they would abandon the welfare state in favor of open borders.)
Sadly, I don’t think they’ll ever get smart, so look for the Democrats to push for both leading up to this fall’s elections.