A piece of work is Professor Walter E. Williams of George Mason University. Back in February, I flagged a column by Williams in which the nimble prof performed the lump-of-labor fallacy shuck and jive. One of the venues for that rendition of Will Automation Kill Our Jobs was David (“Trump is 100% right”) Horowitz’s FrontPage Mag.
Little did I know at the time that just three weeks earlier, Williams had penned a defense of Trump’s (Sessions’s, Miller’s) immigration policy, Immigration Lies and Hypocrisy also published at FrontPage Mag. One may admire the accuracy of article’s heading as a label of its contents until one realizes it is not actually intended as a confession.
I wrote to Professor Williams about the bizarre discrepancy between his January 30th column and his February 20th claims. I don’t really expect to hear back.
Dear Professor Williams,
I appreciate that you “can’t respond to every query” but my question raises urgent questions of morality and intellectual integrity. In February of this year, you wrote an opinion piece decrying the so-called “lump-of-labor fallacy” that you claim lurks behind concerns that automation will “kill jobs.” I noticed that one outlet that carried your syndicated column was David Horowitz’s “FrontPage Mag.”
Today, the Guardian featured an interview with Mr. Horowitz in which he asserted that Donald Trump’s immigration policy is “100% right.” Horowitz, the article notes, was a mentor to Stephen Miller, the Trump advisor who in 2015 authored Senator Sessions’s “Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority.” Here are a few excerpts from that document:
The last four decades have witnessed the following: a period of record, uncontrolled immigration to the United States; a dramatic rise in the number of persons receiving welfare; and a steep erosion in middle class wages. But the only “immigration reforms” discussed in Washington are those pushed by interest groups who want to remove what few immigration controls are left in order to expand the record labor supply even further.
No issue more exposes the Democrats’ colossal hypocrisy than their support for an immigration agenda pushed by the world’s most powerful interest groups and businesses that clearly results in fewer jobs and lower wages for Americans.
Here are the findings from a poll of likely U.S. voters commissioned by GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway:
- 77% of respondents said jobs should go to current U.S.-born workers or legal immigrants already in the country—instead of bringing in new workers to fill those jobs
- 88% of conservatives, 78% of moderates, 78% of independents, 71% of Democrats and 62% of liberals says current U.S. workers should get jobs preference
- 80% of respondents said businesses should recruit the currently unemployed instead of expanding the labor supply with new workers from other countries
How are any members of the Democrat caucus going to explain why they are determined to provide instant work permits to every illegal immigrant and visa overstay in the country? How are they going to explain why they want to double the number of guest workers when we don’t have enough jobs for the workers here right now? How are they going to explain why they voted for legislation that will surge the labor supply at a time when wages are down and a record number of Americans can’t find work?
As you will no doubt agree, these arguments conform with what you have denounced in your column as a lump of labor fallacy. In fact, at the time the handbook came out, Walter Ewing of the American Immigration Council countered the handbook’s claims with one of the fallacy claim’s stock surrogates — the “not a zero sum game” rebuttal:
Employment is not a “zero sum” game in which workers compete for some fixed number of jobs. Immigrant workers spend their wages in U.S. businesses—buying food, clothes, appliances, cars, etc. Businesses respond to the presence of these new workers and consumers by investing in new restaurants, stores, and production facilities. And immigrants themselves are 30 percent more likely than the native-born to start their own business. The end result is more jobs for more workers. The economic contributions of unauthorized immigrants in particular would be amplified were they given a way to earn legal status.
So, what does Walter E. Williams think of this Trumpian lump-of-labor fallacy policy? Judging from your column published in January of this year, people who disagree with that policy are liars and hypocrites. Your automation column was published about three weeks after your immigration column. How do you reconcile the discrepancy?