Should workers be free to roam?

A key principal behind the European Union is the idea that all citizens of member states are free to relocate to other countries inside the union just like in the United States. That sounds great for economic efficiency right? It did when the union consisted of a set of countries with similar labor market conditions, i.e. wages. You have to pay a Frenchman a lot of money to move from his beloved Paris to evil rainy London so not many were expected. Along came the internet which boosted the value of English so many more people learned it. Suddenly a lot more workers became qualified to work in the UK (and the US for that matter). How many Middle Eastern refugees speak Dutch or German?

Then the union expanded to include such places as Latvia and Poland – countries whose GDP/capita is a fraction of the core countries’ of Europe. Poland’s average is less than 1/3rd of Britain’s. This expansion set it up for disaster. If you work in the UK and you’re not a rocket scientist, a Pole can replace you because he will work for half what you were paid. The Economist’s answer: Get more education! It’s like a new mantra for theoretical economists everywhere. If you’re a house painter or a car repairman you are supposed to go back to college and study big data analysis using Python.

So what’s the policy supposed to be when these conditions guarantee the destruction of your middle class? Aside from blocking labor migration, all you can do is send these poor people a check taken from the wages of a banker or technology worker, every month until they die. If you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them. Then you must stop the poor from having children.

The US case is no different. Our immigrants have a slightly darker skin tone but the effect is identical. When the Democratic party speaks up for illegal aliens, it is supporting the same destructive force that tore up the UK. Does Hillary have a plan to save our middle class? Trump may be a racist but his policy may be the only rational one unless you’re OK with huge tax transfers.

The UK abhorred and mocked the EU for a set of very good reasons but it needed to figure out a way to gently breakup. It’s not you, it’s me … I still want to be friends and visit your children to sell them banking services. England wants low tariffs and they must protect their labor force. They can just ask (beg) politely for the same status as Norway or Switzerland.

UK diplomats will finally get a chance to earn their pay.

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