Trump Squeeze on Legal Workers Is Hurting American Business

In 2016 Donald Trump presented himself to the American people as a savvy deal maker and successful business mogul whose business-friendly policies as president would help the American economy to grow, but the economic policy of his administration has been characterized by socialist interventions and central planning, instead of the Laissez-faire or “hands off” economic policies that allow markets to work and businesses to flourish:

The Trump administration is using the country’s vast and nearly opaque immigration bureaucracy to constrict the flow of foreign workers into the United States by throwing up new roadblocks to limit legal arrivals.

The government is denying more work visas, asking applicants to provide additional information and delaying approvals more frequently than just a year earlier. Hospitals, hotels, technology companies and other businesses say they are now struggling to fill jobs with the foreign workers they need.

With foreign hires missing, the employees who remain are being forced to pick up the slack. Seasonal industries like hotels and landscaping are having to turn down customers or provide fewer services. Corporate executives worry about the long-term impact of losing talented engineers and programmers to countries like Canada that are laying out the welcome mat for skilled foreigners. (The New York Times)

It’s the same story with this administration’s tariffs on imported goods, which artificially restrict the free flow– according to market supply and demand– of money, capital, and consumer goods in the global marketplace. It’s economics by edict, rather than by a million different decisions made by a million different market actors– big and small businesses, as well as consumers– and which sum up to the aggregate productive output of the economy.

The administration’s tariff’s on imported steel have driven up the costs of raw steel by 25 percent, raising the overhead costs of every business that uses steel in its products, and resulting in less steel in America than the market demands. Economic productivity decreases when central planners intervene in the economy in this way. That’s before taking into account the retaliatory tariffs that foreign governments have placed on American exports, which have cost American farmers so much business, that taxpayers are now being forced to pay for a $12 billion federal bailout.

The political fallout prompted Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) to say, “This is becoming more and more like a Soviet type of economy here: Commissars deciding who’s going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits. I’m very exasperated. This is serious.”

When the federal government sets up so many roadblocks to the free flow of migrant workers, it is essentially a tax on the American consumer. That’s who businesses pass on the increased costs of production to. It’s also an act of regulatory interference in the free workings of the economy, coming from an administration that prides itself on deregulation. Without regulatory hurdles to artificially restrict the supply of migrant labor, and increase its price, as well as the price of goods produced with migrant labor, private businesses will be able to determine, in aggregate, the “right amount” of immigration– the amount set by the free market.