David Brooks' column this morning is about immigration. I haven't read it all yet. But, his third paragraph was worth commenting on
Increased immigration would boost the U.S. economy. Immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start new businesses than native-born Americans, according to a research summary by Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney of The Hamilton Project. They are more likely to earn patents. A quarter of new high-tech companies with more than $1 million in sales were also founded by the foreign-born.I'm sure someone will argue that those statistics are so carefully crafted as to be made up. But...
Those immigrants aren't coming here because of extensive nets of family and connections here to support them. The are not coming here because of our great social safety net. They aren't coming here because we have great welfare benefits that support them in taking risks.
I'm not suggesting we burn the ships of childhood behind people when they turn 21. At the same time, the idea that guaranteeing everyone three squares and entertainment will lead to great inovation by freeing people to take risks seems equally crazy. And the growth in the "long American century" we recently passed out of seems much more like it was founded on immigrants coming here with very little and making something than on a system of organized cash entitlements.