Libertarians are quick – and rightly so – to criticize New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for nanny-state policies to restrict soda consumption, among other meddlesome ideas.
It’s just as right to acknowledge when Bloomberg is right, and his views on the power of immigration, the value of a free flow of labor as well as capital, are profoundly right. Here’s Bloomberg, in an editorial form yesterday, on the value of immigrants to the American economy:
In good times and bad, immigrants are dreamers and risk- takers. More than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or the child of one. A Kauffman Foundation study found that immigrants were more than twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a new business in 2010. (Today, the Partnership for a New American Economy, an organization I help lead, releases a report, “Open for Business,” confirming that was true in 2011, as well.) Similarly, a recent study by the American Enterprise Institute and the Partnership for a New American Economy found that high- skills immigrants not only contribute to productivity, they also generate jobs. Among those employed in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering, math — a foreign-born worker with an advanced degree from a U.S. university creates, on average, 2.62 U.S. jobs.
Communities as diverse as New York City and Lewiston, Maine, and Perry, Iowa, have been reinvigorated by immigrant entrepreneurs who opened businesses and revitalized neighborhoods. Standard & Poor’s found that cities with high immigration levels experience improvements in their credit ratings, tax bases and per-capita incomes. Yet while other nations are making powerful appeals to attract ambitious immigrants, the U.S. is stymied by outdated policies and politics. As a result, we are falling behind in the global competition for talent.
The editorial offers policies to encourage economy-boosting immigration, and is well-worth reading in full.