Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Alleged Economic Benefits Of Immigration And More Sobering News On The Economy.

When discussing mass immigration proponents will tell you that immigration increases a nation's economic activity. The implication is that the national standard of living increases with it. Therefore it is absurd to be opposed to mass immigration because who is opposed to increasing one's standard of living? It may be true that mass immigration does bring an increase in a nation's economic activity but this does not necessarily translate into an increase in the national standard of living.

To take a simple but not unrealistic example imagine an immigrant from South Korea who settles in Toronto and opens a neighbourhood corner store. He has already contributed to Canada's economic activity simply by traveling here because he would have employed the services of others to get here. He will also employ the services of others to help him navigate Canada's immigration laws. He contributes further to Canada's economic activity by buying basic goods and services. To make a living he opens a corner store. This too contributes to economic activity. Despite all of this he has thus far done nothing to increase the standard of living of Canadians and most likely never will. The fact that he is in Canada and has opened a small business has almost no effect on increasing Canadian's standard of living. The only ones who benefiting in this arrangement is immigrants, not Canadians.

It could be argued that one doesn't make a difference but many do. As reasonable as this sounds this isn't the case. Having gleaned this Australian op-ed piece from this thread we read:

That's fine for them, but it doesn't necessarily follow that a bigger economy is better for you and me. Only if the extra people add more to national income than their own share of that income will the average incomes of the rest of us be increased. And that's not to say any gain in material standard of living isn't offset by a decline in our quality of life, which goes unmeasured by gross domestic product.

The most recent study by the Productivity Commission, in 2006, found that even extra skilled migration did little or nothing to raise the average incomes of the existing population, with the migrants themselves the only beneficiaries.

This should be taken in consideration of a 2008 British House of Lords study that concluded the economic benefits of immigration to Britain is negligible. Since Canada accepts more immigrants per-capita than either Australia or the U.K. it is quite likely that any economic benefit mass immigration brings to Canadians on average is nil.

Toronto may be the canary in the mine. According to a recent survey Toronto ranked as the "most miserable city" in Canada. I don't know if I care to give this study much credence because how do you measure something like happiness? I will say that immigration has not made Toronto a more desirable place to live. Indeed, I say it is ruining it. What good has it brought to those who live there? A diversity of dishes in the guise of ethnic restaurants that are predominantly frequented by the city's childless cultural elites? Okay, what else? Take your time, I know it's hard to think of something else. Cultural festivals that most Torontonians don't go to? Anything else? That's it? Can't think of anything else?

What mass immigration has given Toronto is the worst gridlock in North America and as a consequence adding stress to the daily lives of Torontonians through increased commute times and more polluted air. It has contributed to escalating hydro rates through increased demand, has increased wait times in the city's emergency rooms, and is adding strain to the city's public services. Toronto now has a garbage problem it does not know how to solve. Immigration has created a scarcity of affordable housing and maintains upward pressure on the prices of single family dwellings thus negatively affecting both the poor and young families alike. Since housing in Toronto has become unaffordable to many, immigration is what is fueling urban sprawl threatening some of the most fertile soil in all of Canada while bringing Toronto's urban problems to the suburbs and beyond. The city is being divided up into ethnic ghettoes (including white ones) creating social tensions while becoming a place many a Canadian would find alien (and cause many a tourist to stop and make sure that they are in fact in Canada). And this is saying nothing of the jobs that will be denied to many Canadians in Toronto for the sake of "diversifying the workforce". Toronotonians, possibly all of Ontario, can expect higher taxes just to address the problems mass immigration has brought to the city. Talk of toll roads is just the start. So, if Toronto has become the "most miserable city" in Canada then it should be obvious why. These are things that determine one's quality of life and standard of living and immigration has attack it negatively while contributing to the economic activity of the city. Oh yeah, staged car accidents are on the rise but I'm sure it's unrelated.

With the above in mind the Toronto Star reports on a study that projects deepening income divides in the city by 2025.

Toronto is headed toward a scenario where nearly two thirds of residents will be in the low income bracket by 2025, according to a study released Wednesday.[...]

Prior to this latest update, one released last year that was based on the latest census data showed that 15 of the city’s middle income neighbourhoods have disappeared since 2001. The majority of these areas reverted to low income, where individual earnings were 20 to 40 per cent below the city average.

It shows that if current trends continue, a total of 10 per cent of the city will be middle income earners by 2025; 30 per cent will be upper middle income; and a whopping 60 per cent of Toronto’s residents will be in the low to very low income bracket, sources say.

That’s quite a swing from 1970, when 66 per cent of Toronto neighbourhoods were middle income, 15 per cent were upper income, and 19 per cent were low income.

But I'm sure immigration has nothing to do with. It's only a coincidence that the city's immigration and "minority-majority" population will also be around 60% at the same time.

So what of the economic health of the nation? Well, Canadians can expect persistent high unemployment for one thing while the Canadian economy crawls at a modest 1.6% growth rate until 2017. Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney reminds us "the crisis is not over" while Canadians are spending far beyond their means. This dangerous rise in debt levels coincided with the rise in precarious work (part-time, contract, seasonal, temporary) while well paying, stable full-time jobs with benefits are outsourced to the countries Canada is importing immigrants from in a two front attack on the incomes of working Canadians. Canadians, indeed the majority of North Americans, have witnessed a stagnation of real wages and incomes for the past thirty years.

Immigration has done nothing to increase the standard of living for Canadians and their incomes as they have to manage record levels of debt with precarious, insecure jobs just to maintain an illusion of prosperity. One has to wonder how much of this debt is being serviced by immigrants behaving like full fledged citizens of "shopping mall Canada", the only Canada they care to belong to. And the government's solution: maintain existing immigration trends for the foreseeable future including Canada's destructively high intake numbers. Thanks for nothing!

It is too often stated that Canada was built by immigration. If things don't get back under control it will ruin the country. Feel-good slogans and baseless assumptions will not be enough to save us. What is clear is that the vast majority of Canadians reap no benefits from the nation's immigration policy and are most likely victims of it in one way or another.