Under the headline “Mythical monsters”, the Lex column in today’s Financial Times deals with xenophobia the best way: not by appeal to warm-and-fuzzy multiculturalism, but by running the numbers.
I liked it so much that I am typing this out from a photocopy of the article I made in the Campus library. The original piece is not accessible online to non-subscribers. It opens robustly:
“More even than Iraq, or hospital superbugs, the issue in the UK election most obscured by political rhetoric is immigration. Some of the myths deserve to be exploded.
The world as a whole would be better off if there were no limits to migration – a free global market in labour would match the supply of workers to demand, and allow those with special skills to go where they were most needed.”
And it ends bluntly:
“Per person, immigrants contributed £7 203 to government coffers last year, £342 more than each UK-born person, while costing £7 277 compared to £7 753.
While there are more immigrants now than four years ago, their share in income tax revenue is higher than their share of population (both including and excluding their UK-born dependent children) and their share in income. They have higher average earnings than the UK-born population, and are disproportionately situated at the upper end of the income spectrum.
The popular view that immigrants are lowly paid and a drain on finances is not borne out by the facts.”
It’s clearly time to send the natives back to Scandinavia and France where they belong, before they bleed people like me dry.