Eric Lavitz in New York lays bare
the illogic behind the various excuses Sen. Tom Cotton uses for supporting his extreme anti-immigration legislation.

In short: When Cotton says it’s about economics and not about the immigrants …. it’s about the immigrants.


Unlike his ideological bedfellows in the House and Oval Office, however, Cotton doesn’t like to frame his position in nativist terms. You won’t hear the senator trashing “shithole countries” or insisting that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” Instead, Cotton insists that his opposition to mass immigration has nothing to do with fear of foreigners, and everything to do with love of American citizens — and more specifically, those citizens who struggle to get by in today’s economy.

But the economic case for halving legal immigration doesn’t make any sense. And Tom Cotton’s broader economic philosophy is even more incoherent

Lavitz goes on to demonstrate with a number of specifics. For example, Coton says cutting immigration in half would tighten the labor market and help U.S. workers. But we’ve already produced tight labor markets with high immigration.

…there is nothing in Cotton’s record to suggest that a tight labor market is a priority for him. By contrast, there is some evidence that he has concern for the economic needs of retirees. And yet one of the primary economic effects of his immigration bill would be to starve Social Security of funding, by radically reducing the working-age population of the United States. What’s more, according to Penn Wharton’s budget model, Cotton’s bill would also dramatically reduce economic and job creation — two things he claims to care about very much.

I conclude it’s about the Muslims and dark people and poor people. Cotton might as well own up to his nativism and classism, at least insofar as his electoral strength in Arkansas is concerned. Experience says it won’t hurt him much here. Perhaps Cotton shrouds his nativism in contradictory economic mumbo-jumbo to keep himself viable as a serious presidential candidate. There, we have Donald Trump as another example of why it’s probably unnecessary. No more PC. It’s OK to be a bigot these days.