Does the American Economy Need Immigration?

Richard Reeves, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, criticized Trump’s immigration rhetoric, asserting, “America needs immigration.”

“At the most banal level, this is a question of math. We need more young workers to fund the old age of the Baby Boomers.”

“Immigrants are now twice as likely to start a new business as native-born Americans. While rates of entrepreneurialism are declining among natives, they are rising among immigrants. Immigrant children typically show extraordinary upward mobility, in terms of income, occupation and education. Among children born in Los Angeles to poorly-educated Chinese immigrants, for example, an astonishing 70% complete a four-year-college degree.”

“Of course, while immigration might be good for the economy as a whole, that does not mean it is good for everyone. Competition for wages and jobs will impact negatively on some existing residents, who may be more economically vulnerable in the first place. Policymakers keen to promote the benefits of immigration should also be attentive to its costs.”

“America First” and Increased Defense Spending Popularity Signal Public Opinion Shift

Pew Research Center released a report on May 5 investigating the American public’s view on the U.S.’s role in the world.

Among the findings were a sharp uptick in support for increased defense spending.

“Most of the increase has come among Republicans. Fully 61% of Republicans favor higher defense spending, up 24 percentage points from 2013. Support for more defense spending has increased much more modestly among other partisan groups. And the gap in support for higher military spending between Republicans and Democrats, which was 25 percentage points three years ago, now stands at 41 points.”

“Still, 57% of Americans want the U.S. to deal with its own problems, while letting other countries get along as best they can. Just 37% say the U.S. should help other countries deal with their problems. And more Americans say the U.S. does too much (41%), rather than too little (27%), to solve world problems, with 28% saying it is doing about the right amount.”

The logical contradiction of growing public support for increased defense spending and a growing desire for subdued international activity may be explained by threat recognition: Americans are far more likely to see non-state actors as a threat than Eastern rivals.

How the “B-Minus” Economy Is Impacting the Race

New York Times: “As the political scientist Lynn Vavreck… has pointed out, people are generally not angry about the economy, at least by historical standards. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders will certainly keep highlighting what they see as big weaknesses in the economy, and Hillary Clinton will keep talking about how she would improve it. But if most voters are doing sort of O.K., this approach may have a limited impact.”

The evolving condition of the American economy may transform the race for each of the presumptive nominees.

For Trump:  “Indeed, the lack of stark economic problems may have allowed Mr. Trump to push unconventional policies. If the economy were repeating the plunge of 2008, fewer voters might be prepared to support a candidate whose policies would disrupt world trade and whose tax cuts would almost certainly lead to a far bigger budget deficit.”

“But think about it: If there is one force that can derail him, or restrain him, it’s the threat that the economy won’t tolerate his more unconventional policies.”

For Clinton: “George H.W. Bush won in 1988 against Michael Dukakis by promising to take the country on much the same course as President Reagan did. But while the economy has achieved steady gains under President Obama, Mrs. Clinton might not gain a big advantage by portraying herself as his economic standard-bearer. The economy just hasn’t been growing fast enough. Economists expect the economy to grow at around 2 percent this year. In the second half of 1988, it grew at nearly double that rate.”