border.bmp(Friday’s Populist Capitalist Blog Post)

In spite of our recent problems with Wall Street run amok, most of us still believe in the power of free markets and capitalism. So why not use the power of free enterprise to solve our immigration issues?

I’m continually astounded by the prices that immigrants pay to smugglers to get into the US of A. Why shouldn’t we get that money? Just like the Treasury Department auctions T-bills every month (more often these days), INS could auction visas!

High bidders get in for sure, and we would take bids as far down the list as we wanted or as we needed to reduce the deficit, say. We would still do background and criminal checks, but quickly because the program would be self funding and because the visa applicants are now “customers.” Just as with Treasury auctions, bidders could also bid to pay whatever ended up being the average price. We could even offer payment plans, perhaps via additional payroll deductions.

Think of the savings on border patrols and all that fencing they keep building and repairing. There would still be some people doing it the old fashioned way, sure. But boy, oh boy, would it take the pressure off! And think of the money we would raise.

Just an idea. What we are doing isn’t working too well and most of the “solutions” I hear are of the “what we need here is a bigger hammer” variety. When what you are doing isn’t working, there is a tendency among those with fixed mindsets to think the solution is just more of the same, lots more. Think President Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam troop build up.

“Lots more of the same” works occasionally, just often enough to keep some people addicted to it as a one size fits all solution; intermittent reinforcement is powerful. Even when ”lots more of the same” works, that does not mean that another, more innovative solution might not have worked more elegantly, more effectively, more economically.

Okay, enough for today. I couldn’t resist touching on systems analysis and organizational behavior.

Note: The U.S. already runs the EB-5 program, where if you invest a cool $1 million in an American enterprise that creates at least 10 jobs, you get a visa. The program is highly bureaucratic, seldom used, and from my personal experience, designed and administered not to work.

Closing Quote:

“Effective change agents frequently focus on removing restraining forces rather than on increasing driving forces.”