Intended Unintended Consequences

There’s been a national stir recently over Alabama’s tougher immigrations laws. Many have cited the unintended consequences of the law which sought to protect American workers but ended up hurting American business. It’s a textbook case of pushback. But what if the stir wasn’t an unintended consequence. Unless the law was created by total shut-ins, I find it hard to believe that the law’s pernicious side-effects weren’t obvious to its formulators.

So, just for fun, let’s ask who would benefit from the unintended consequences of HB56?

1. US businesses that aren’t reliant on low-wage, low-skill labor. Mercedes, for example,  is a big investor in the state, and clearly a foreigner, so US automakers might benefit from a law that makes it harder for Mercedes to do business in the state.

2. Politicians who wish to be seen as protective of America’s borders. A more reasonable immigration law would not have created a stir, and so would not have shined the protect-America spotlight on the the law’s backers. Even the backlash is helpful because it now makes the backers look like the underdog, who can protect America even against its own misguided citizenry.

Those are the big two. Just to be clear, I’m not saying that the law was inacted for the benefit of these groups, only that it can be instructive to ask who wins?

3. What about black market brokers? As legal avenues shutdown, illegal workers will be forced to turn to services that aren’t worried about complying with the law.

4. Paper makers. With lots of new paperwork, printers, copiers and stationary suppliers might see an upswing in business.

 

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