The Democrats' conundrum: If you want less income inequality, does that means fewer illegal immigrants? 

Mickey Kaus makes a very interesting observation. It will be interesting to see if the Democratic party even tries to square the circle on this issue or just ignores it:

If you're worried about incomes at the bottom, though, one solution leaps out at you. It's a solution that worked, at least in the late 1990s under Bill Clinton, when wages at the low end of the income ladder rose fairly dramatically. The solution is tight labor markets. Get employers bidding for scarce workers and you'll see incomes rise across the board without the need for government aid programs or tax redistribution. A major enemy of tight labor markets at the bottom is also fairly clear: unchecked immigration by undocumented low-skilled workers. It's hard for a day laborer to command $18 an hour in the market if there are illegals hanging out on the corner willing to work for $7. Even experts who claim illlegal immigration is good for Americans overall admit that it's not good for Americans at the bottom. In other words, it's not good for income equality.

Odd, then that Obama, in his "war on inequality," hasn't made a big effort to prevent illegal immigration--or at least to prevent illegal immigrration from returning with renewed force should the economy recover. He hasn't, for example, pushed to make it mandatory for employers to use the "E-Verify" system, or some other system, to check the legality of new hires, preferring to hold that reform hostage (sorry!) in order to try and achieve a larger "comprehensive" bill that included a conditional amnesty for the 11 or so million illegals already here. (In Washington, if something's obviously desirable that means it's a bargaining chip.) True, Obama has tried to make a big deal of his administration's deportation numbers, but only as a nose-holding effort to placate the right sufficiently to get a mass legalization bill through. And the deportation numbers themselves are suspect.

Income inequality has become a big issue on the left. And as the job market continues to stagnate, I wonder to what extent the blue collar parts of the Democratic base will put pressure on the party to do something about immigration reform.

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Mark Hemingway

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