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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.

Volume 7, Issue 52: December 27, 2005

  1. Immigrants and Economics
  2. Bush Replays LBJ Presidency
  3. Castro and China
  4. Tanzania and Globalization Debate: Cudjoe Replies to Pres. Mkapa

1) Immigrants and Economics

Nearly 8 million immigrants came to the United States in the past five years, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. Although they have contributed substantially to the U.S. economy -- conservative estimates put their net contribution at $20 billion -- anti-immigration attitudes are common. In his latest op-ed, Independent Institute Research Fellow Benjamin Powell debunks some of the economic myths of immigration's critics.

Powell, who directs the Institute's Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation, argues that immigrants pose no overall economic threat to American workers because although immigrants add to the supply of labor, which can lower wages for some, immigrants also add to the demand for labor, which in turn creates more jobs and pushes wages back up. Further, by increasing the total supply of goods and services, the labor of new immigrants results in a reduction of prices overall and increase of the purchasing power of wages.

"We need not fear that immigrants will burden our economy, take more jobs than they create, or depress our wages," writes Powell. "Quite the contrary, immigration brings economic benefits, so it should not be artificially limited. Current guest worker proposals by President Bush and the Senate do not go far enough. A truly beneficial reform would concentrate on creating an open immigration policy while dealing with real problems that increased immigration could bring."

See "The Pseudo Economic Problems of Immigration," by Benjamin Powell (12/22/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1641
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"Los Pseudo Problemas Económicos de la Inmigración"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1641

Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation (Benjamin Powell, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/coei/

For more on immigration, see
http://www.independent.org/issues/search.asp?subID=26

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2) Bush Replays LBJ Presidency

Despite his attempts to portray himself as an exponent of limited government, President George W. Bush closes the year by reminding Americans of his similarities to Lyndon Baines Johnson. Both presidents increased military and non-military federal spending (with Bush spending more than any president since LBJ) and both took the United States into war by touting falsehoods, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland.

Just as Johnson had his "War on Poverty" and his Gulf of Tonkin Resolution fraud, so Bush has his "No Child Left Behind" education policy and Iraq's non-existent nuclear weapons program -- and both presidents' follies will have lasting long-term consequences.

Writes Eland: "Although the U.S. economy performed well during LBJ's term, his economic policies reverberated far into the future. For example, in the 1960s, LBJ's profligate spending on unsuccessful Great Society social programs and the Vietnam War helped cause the stagflation of the 1970s. Similarly, although the economy is performing well now, Bush's big government conservatism will likely have future negative economic effects that are not apparent at the current time."

See "Bush's Presidency Most Resembles that of LBJ"
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1642
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"La Presidencia de Bush es la que Más se Parece a la de Lyndon B. Johnson"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1642

To purchase THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=54

To purchase PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK IN U.S. DEFENSE POLICY, by Ivan Eland, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=19

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/copal/

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3) Castro and China

Although analysts have discussed Fidel Castro's and Hugo Chavez's increasing affinity, Cuba's strengthening of ties to the People's Republic of China have largely gone unnoticed. For Cuba, which has suffered from the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the gain is economic as well as political: China has become its third largest trading partner, following Venezuela and Spain.

In contrast, China's main benefit from Cuba is not economic but military: it has gained important listening posts for acquiring intelligence about the United States, according to Independent Institute Adjunct Fellow William Ratliff. In a recent op-ed, Ratliff names two probable listening posts near Havana, Lourdes and Bejucal, and speculates about why U.S. officials have remained silent on the matter.

"Washington and Beijing have not ranted at each other since the Hainan EP-3 incident almost five years ago," writes Ratliff. "Why? Perhaps because both have decided the current placement of surveillance networks is a tolerable tradeoff for now in a dangerous, suspicious, imperfect world.

"Future Sino-Cuban relations will depend on unpredictable developments in China, Cuba, the U.S. and beyond. They could range from China's more intensive use of Cuban bases and contacts in the Americas, particularly under a post-Fidel authoritarian government, to Beijing deciding Fidel is too much of an expense and embarrassment to support, particularly if facilities in Cuba could be traded off in a deal with the U.S. on Taiwan."

See "Fidel Castro and his Chinese Friends," by William Ratliff (12/21/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1640
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"Fidel Castro y sus Amigos Chinos"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1640

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/cogp/

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4) Tanzania and Globalization Debate: Cudjoe Replies to Pres. Mkapa

Franklin Cudjoe's op-ed of Nov. 7th -- castigating Africa's leaders for imposing regulatory barriers to the economic development of their own countries -- has prompted a long passionate reply (Dec. 7th) from Benjamin William Mkapa, the former president of Tanzania.

Defending his policies and past speeches, President Mkapa wrote: "Mr. Cudjoe's misrepresentations and sweeping statements hardly move us forward on what are serious and urgent matters regarding Africa's future. And I believe The Independent Institute, as well as Mr. Cudjoe's audience and readers deserve better."

In response, Cudjoe (Dec. 12th) expresses admiration for President Mkapa's determination to encourage local entrepreneurship, reaffirm the rule of law, and protect private property. But Cudjoe concludes by citing a recent World Bank report that examines doing business in Tanzania and other African countries, showing that the Tanzania's policymakers have a long way to go if they intend to adopt policies most conducive to economic progress.

See "Globalization Rocks, but African Leaders Fail to Understand It," by Franklin Cudjoe (11/7/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1613
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"La Globalización es Buena, Pero los Líderes Africanos Fallan"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1613

"Rejoinder by Benjamin William Mkapa" (12/7/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1632
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"Respuesta del Presidente de Tanzania Benjamin W. Mkapa"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1632

"Franklin Cudjoe's Response to Tanzanian President Mkapa"
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1633
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"Respuesta al Presidente de Tanzania"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1633

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/cogp/

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