A couple of the podcasters I listen to have recently quoted Thomas Sowell, who says that there are no solutions—only tradeoffs. Since catastrophic 2020, it’s clear that Sowell’s words have already been forgotten, and because this is an economics article, I’ll call out those—regardless of political affiliation—who’ve forgotten Sowell’s wise words. With the immigration issue raging, some have suggested that illegal immigrants should be able to gain citizenship via ‘service’ in the military. I’ll argue why that’s a good idea—and a bad one.
Speaking of a solution (which doesn’t exist), I’d very much like to see an end to the U.S. regime’s pointless and proxy wars, but again, I’m discussing tradeoffs, not solutions. Last year, I argued that low rates of military enlistment are actually a good thing, but again, hoping for the solution that is an imploding Department of Defense requires dreaming, not tradeoffs. It is those low rates of military enlistment that have spurred some to advocate filling the gap with illegal immigrants. And why not? The regime won’t simply stop waging war due to a lack of interest from those it parasitizes.
“But, but, but,” conservatives seem to groan, “dying in pointless wars is an honor reserved for my children, not illegals.” So very odd. And depressing. We happily pay others to do the “dirty” jobs we’d rather not do, so why do the right of center yearn to work such a lousy job? Also, each illegal ‘serving’ in the military frees one citizen to help defend the border, about which, in my opinion, conservatives are justifiably enraged. I’ve also seen Olympus Has Fallen, but are conservatives aware that it’s not a documentary? Even if illegals taking over the military were an actual concern, the tradeoff would be to make the military weaker and, therefore, less of a threat to its own citizens. After all, the current president keeps reminding us that one needs an F-16, not an M-16, to fight the regime, so a smaller military might prevent a sitting president from saying something so ludicrous, insulting, and obnoxious. If the regime doesn’t meet its enlistment goals, will it simply call it quits and bring the troops home? The question answers itself, and I’d think those on the right would prefer illegals in the military over legal conscription.
For those on the political left who’ve been calling for ‘service’ as a path to citizenship, why would illegals put their lives on the line for citizenship when they’re already treated better than citizens? Yes, leftists have also forgotten tradeoffs, and maybe they never learned of them in the first place. One works a job for a paycheck; exertion, one hopes, is commensurate with compensation. However, if one were offered a salary for no slog—ask any parasite—the job will go unworked. That is precisely what liberals seem to be suggesting. “Citizenship?” illegals seem to ask, “we’re doing just fine being illegal.” This proposal, emanating almost entirely from those who are left of center, not only ignores tradeoffs but incentives as well. Where’s the incentive for citizenship when illegal immigrants can get a driver’s license and, in some cities, are about to be granted suffrage? It also seems that those on the left aren’t at all curious as to why rates of military enlistment have plummeted, despite the regime’s problem being seen as a possibility back in 2020. This proposal is a tradeoff that trades something for nothing.
The lack of regard for tradeoffs seems to contribute to the deteriorating political climate. When half of the country wants to force their solutions on the other half, is it any wonder why politics is so ugly? If there’s only one solution, most will be unhappy, but that’s exactly what politics does and is why I loathe it. Politics eviscerates tradeoffs and, therefore, voluntary exchange. No, a new president with a different set of solutions won’t save us; he’ll merely shift the misery to another tribe, which is why if there were fewer and fewer aspects of our lives that the regime controls, tradeoffs would help relegate policy solutions to where they belong—the realm of fiction.