August 16, 2012
News Corp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg came to Boston Tuesday to hail immigrants’ contributions to our economic vitality. Touting the findings of a report by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the two cited the shortage of skilled workers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, the fact that only four percent of U.S. graduate students are skilled in those areas (compared to 31 percent of China’s), and that our failure to allow foreign students to stay after graduating leads to damaging brain drain. Both advocated some pathway to citizenship for undocument children of illegals, but neither spoke to the desirability of allowing young illegals brought here as children to pay in-state rather than out-of-state tuition at public universities. Moderator Jerry Seib of the Wall Street Journal, a Murdoch employee, failed to push them on the issue at the event sponsored by the New England Council.
Both Murdoch and Bloomberg see immigrants as self-selecting, ambitious and entrepreneurial, a plus for the economy. Shockingly, Murdoch says that native-born individuals aren’t as successful entrepreneurs because they’ve gone soft with subsidies (“we’ve made it too easy for them to go to college.”) Both scoff at the idea of subsidizing immigrants in any way. One Bloomberg idea for the federal government: assign eager would-be immigrants to one of our older depressed industrial cities (e.g. Detroit), get them to agree not to seek any government benefits, to obey the law, and lead productive lives. Assuming they’d start businesses and rehab abandoned houses, under those terms, he’d grant them full citizenship if they’re still there after seven years.