Condo offer seen in Evanston, IL

December 5, 2007

Look closely at the sign on the bottom, as captured by Clif Brown in the near north suburbs of Chicago.

Is this developer having trouble finding even ONE buyer for a new condo?

Please send us the crazy offers you’re seeing in your area. No closing costs and a free granite countertop are great. But I want a Lexus!

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Yes, assimilating immigrants is important. America is at its best when new immigrants are thrown in the melting pot.So I’m sympathetic with concerns that say Spanish language instruction in schools, for instance, discourage Mexican immigrants from becoming fully American. Yet at the same time, legislating English only laws strike me as ridiculously provincial. Sometimes I wish all Americans were at least bilingual, the way some Europeans are tri and quad(?)-lingual.Also, I disagree substantially with folks who say we need to slow down or even stop the flow of immigrants into the U.S. Besides the obvious, that America is the land of opportunity and should welcome with open arms anyone who comes to work hard, there’s also the China argument.Economic growth is a function of two things: population growth and technology growth. Economies get bigger when there are more people to demand more stuff and when producers are able to supply more goods/services without using more resources in their production.In the long-run, if we want to stay competitive with China, with its domestic market over 1 billion people, we’re going to have to keep bringing in more immigrants. More people in America means more demand for American goods.And immigrants also help the supply side of the growth equation. They sell their labor cheap, which keeps prices down for all of us. A great way to ignite inflation would be to deport all 12m illegal immigrants (as so many in Republicans’ xenophobic camp want to do) and have Americans fill those jobs. Eating out will stop being economical if bus boys are demanding the same wages as waitresses.And I have to come back to the “land of opportunity” argument. Shouldn’t we, as Americans–whose parents and grandparents came here to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their children–be sympathetic to the desires of Mexican immigrants who are doing the same thing?Obviously continued growth in population presents its own problems. As population grows, it’s harder to govern, especially at the federal level, which is so far removed from everyday life. The solution to inefficient government, I think, is to return more power (and more tax dollars) to the states and to municipalities. I’m not saying we need less government so much as I’m saying we need less FEDERAL government.

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