Two things are readily apparent to the American people these days. There is a massive immigration problem, and prices for essential goods have skyrocketed. Yet as these parallel crises boil over, a counterintuitive progressive ruling establishment talking point has been regularly pushed forward: More immigration means less inflation.
“Though it’s a political hot potato, there’s no question about it,” Samantha LaDuc, a market analyst who frequently appears on big-box media outlets, recently told Yahoo Finance columnist Janna Herron. “Immigration absolutely has helped keep inflation from getting out of control and has brought it down.”
Anyone who’s been to the supermarket lately would find reason to argue.
“The reverse is often true, too. Limited immigration can drive up prices,” Herron added.
Immigration has “already done a great deal in bringing down consumer price growth to where it is now, experts say, even though the most recent data showed that inflation increased more than expected in December,” Herron writes in a self-contradicting sentence that should be commended for its stubbornness, if nothing else. “After taking office in 2021, Biden implemented more than 400 administrative actions to streamline the visa process and … staffed up the government offices needed to process visa applications.”
She had more happy news Americans didn’t realize they should be celebrating: “Another key factor was China fully reopening its borders in January 2023. Visa data from last year shows an increase of immigrants from China.”
Battered by High Prices? Try This Miracle Solution
Herron is far from the only brand-name media figure trumpeting the immigration-beats-inflation theme. There are too many examples to recite here. Forbes “senior contributor” Stuart Anderson “writes about globalization, business, technology and immigration,” his bio reads. Anderson last year took a particularly cheeky approach to the conundrum posed by Americans’ increasingly strong opposition to mass immigration.
“Economists say that one of the best ways to reduce inflation is to increase immigration, which can be done through expanding legal channels for temporary workers and admitting more family and employment-based immigrants,” Anderson wrote on May 4. “If polls are correct, that should be fine with Americans. Sixteen percent of registered voters labeled ‘inflation/cost of living’ the most important issue facing the country today, according to a recent Fox News poll, compared to 5% who considered ‘immigration/border security’ the country’s top issue.”
That’s a heck of a way to attempt to convince readers that Americans will support something they clearly do not favor. The Fox poll Anderson references had 19 different categories under the “top issue” question. A whopping 40% of those surveyed understandably chose “economy/jobs” or “inflation/cost of living” as their main concern.
But when specific questions were asked about immigration in this same poll, the numbers were overwhelmingly negative for the Biden administration’s lax approach. A stout 61% of those polled said they disapproved of how Joe Biden was handling the issue. Under the query, “[d]o you think the Biden administration is too tough in its treatment of illegal immigrants to the US,” 60% answered “not tough enough.”
Anderson closes by quoting an op-ed penned by George Mason University professor Justin Gest for The Wall Street Journal: “It’s well-established that immigrants fill labor shortages, promote economic growth and stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation. Our discovery of the link between migration and inflation highlights the way that immigrants also help labor markets be more responsive to local changes in demand and supply.”
If this is so, then why hasn’t Bidenomics been a resounding success? After all, it has opened the spigot for foreign workers to a startling degree.
“In a research note, Goldman Sachs economists said green card and work visas had risen by roughly 115,000 and 230,000, respectively, over the past 12 months, ‘reaching the highest level in years.’ They said that would mean 40,000 more workers per month than expected, adding up to about half a million over the next three quarters. That’s spread across a range of sectors and skill levels,” Politico reported in September.
The news site cites Carnegie Mellon University professor Brian Kovak, who said the Biden administration has brought an additional four million foreign workers to the US since 2021. Do Americans understand just how big a number we are talking about here? “In 2022, foreign-born workers accounted for a record high 18.1% of the US civilian labor force, up from 17.4% in 2021,” the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed last June. That’s nearly one out of every five working persons in the country.
Immigration Excess and a Housing Calamity in Canada
One glance to the north provides evidence of where a nation that allows itself to be overrun by massive immigration will end up. “Canada is caught in a population trap,” is the succinct title to a special report issued January 15 by the National Bank of Canada. It begins with an Oxford Reference quote defining the term:
“Population trap: A situation where no increase in living standards is possible, because the population is growing so fast that all available savings are needed to maintain the existing capital labor ratio.”
The report highlights the wave of immigration that has hit the nation. “Keep in mind that Canada’s population increased by more than 1.2 million in 2023, an incredible number given that it followed a rebound of 825,000 in 2022 after the Covid recession,” the paper explains. “These are staggering numbers when you consider that prior to this, you would have to go back to 1949, when Newfoundland joined the federation, to see our country’s population increase by more than 600,000 in one year.”
The bank lists the housing crisis plaguing Canada as a primary sign of the economic woes that come with absorbing too many newcomers too soon, and says the government has no ability to solve the problem.
“To address the situation, the federal government has recently introduced programs to increase housing supply. But to meet current demand and reduce shelter cost inflation, Canada would need to double its housing construction capacity to approximately 700,000 starts per year, an unattainable goal,” the report states.
Recent news reports reveal this same government was fully aware of the cause of the housing catastrophe in the Great White North.
“Federal public servants warned the government two years ago that large increases to immigration could affect housing affordability and services, internal documents show,” The Canadian Press reported on January 11. “Documents obtained through an access-to-information request show Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada analyzed the potential effects immigration would have on the economy, housing and services, as it prepared its immigration targets for 2023-2025. The deputy minister, among others, was warned in 2022 that housing construction had not kept up with the pace of population growth.”
All these migrants have not brought about the grand promises promulgated by US dominant media economic journalists. Like their neighbors to the south, Canadians are feeling the sting of higher prices for everyday products.
“According to the central bank’s fourth-quarter consumer expectations and business outlook surveys, roughly two-thirds of Canadians said they were reducing spending or planning to do so because of their expectations for interest rates and inflation,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
This is the ugly reality concealed by the establishment party line in credentialed American economic reporting today.