Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Necessary Immigration

Andrew Alfred Baker, circa 1909
My great grandfather was born in Germany in 1876.  He came with his mother and sisters to America in 1884, finding his way to Cleveland.

He would go on to join the infantry in the Spanish-American War, become a draftsman working for manufacturers, and raise a family in Northeast Ohio.

Then, the country needed immigrants like Andrew Baker (probably B├Ącker in Germany).  It's hard to imagine the industrial revolution happening in the U.S. and in Ohio in particular without a major influx of immigrants.

We need immigration now too. Pragmatism needs to win out if we are to experience the 21st Century version of industrial revolution.

Thus, President Trump faces what Joel Kotkin calls "The Immigration Dilemma."  Kotkin writes:

"Like most high-income countries, the United States’ fertility rate is below that needed to replace the current generation. If the U.S. cuts off its flow of immigrants too dramatically, we will soon face the labor shortages, collapse of consumer demand and drops in innovation already seen in the European Union and much of East Asia."

Without immigration in the mix of our population growth, we could struggle to grow our economy at a time when the shrinking working age populations of Germany, Japan, China, and the EU are giving our country a chance to grow.

See the whole Kotkin piece at JoelKotkin.com.

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