We all know that blind squirrels can find acorns from time to time. But can politically blind socialists find their lukewarm oatmeal on occasion?
James Woods says yes — at least where Bernie Sanders is involved.
Back in 2015, you see, Sanders gave an interview to Vox impresario Ezra Klein in which he said something regarding immigration that might have his supporters a bit uneasy.
“You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view,” Klein said during the conversation. “I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the U.S. are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders. About sharply increasing …”
“Open borders?” Sanders replied. “No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.”
Hrm. Well, let’s try again: “Really?” Klein asked.
“Of course. That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States,” Sanders continued.
“It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?” Klein said.
“It would make everybody in America poorer — you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that,” Sanders said. “If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them.”
This isn’t a particularly right-wing point of view, which should be obvious, but the rest of the answer is pretty much spot-on. And, James Woods was willing to quote “Bank Fraud Bernie” — referring to Sanders’ wife’s alleged role in a bank fraud case — on his Twitter feed.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) August 3, 2018
Yes, Sanders found an acorn of wisdom. Don’t tell him, though — he might get freaked out.
Sanders indeed took a lot of ribbing from the left on this account. This includes the magazine that put on the interview; just days after the conversation, Vox’s Dylan Matthews wrote an article titled “Bernie Sanders’s fear of immigrant labor is ugly — and wrongheaded.”
In the article, Matthews — recently mentioned in these pages for writing an article which claimed that Sanders’ $32 billion “Medicare for all” bill was “kind of a bargain” — stated that he believed an amendment should be added to the Constitution guaranteeing open borders.
“There is no single policy that the United States could adopt that would do more good for more people,” Matthews wrote. “An average Nigerian worker can increase his income almost 15-fold just by moving to the United States, and residents of significantly richer countries like Mexico can more than double their earnings. The humanitarian gains of letting everyone who wants to make that leap do so would be astounding.”
Matthews doesn’t mention just how economically unsound this entire argument is. After all, if paid at the same rates as American workers, unskilled foreign labor becomes significantly less attractive. Those that could find jobs would push Americans out of work and drive down wages thanks to the laws of supply and demand. These conditions would incentivize a parallel system in which immigrant labor was paid under the table at below-market rates, as well. (I’m assuming Mr. Matthews wouldn’t be doing away with the minimum wage.) This is to say nothing of the massive unfunded liability that unlimited immigration to a country with a robust welfare state. (I’m again going to assume Mr. Matthews isn’t planning on dismantling that.)
In other words, Sanders understands economics and the labor market better than Vox does. Just let that sink in. Even James Woods seems to have trouble believing that.
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