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Friday, May 28, 2010
Libertarians, Open Borders, and the Welfare State
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Nobel Prize winning libertarian economist Milton Friedman once suggested that libertarians could rightfully oppose the concept of open borders as long as the United States had a welfare state. Friedmans point was that with open borders and a welfare state, the United States would attract foreign citizens who would come here in order to get on welfare. The result would be an increase in taxes that Americans would have to pay to fund the increased number of dole recipients. The prospect of higher taxes, Friedman implied, justified libertarians opposing open borders as long as America maintained a welfare state.
Friedman was wrong.
As a libertarian, Friedman would surely have acknowledged that freedom to move, freedom to travel, freedom of contract, freedom of association, and freedom to labor are fundamental, inherent, natural, God-given rights, ones with which no government can legitimately interfere. Such rights dont turn on the nationality or ...