By Llewellyn King
Just what is being cooked up by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Rupert Murdoch, the world's most successful multimedia mogul; and Bill Daley, the Chicago businessman who once sat at the right hand of power as President Obama's chief of staff?
This unlikely trio has been on the road calling for more immigration. They see it as the only solution to America's problems, and their text is taken from a new study conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy.
Bloomberg, echoed by Murdoch and Daley, says that if we don't open up to immigration, we are committing national suicide.
The trio made their pitch at the Economic Club of Chicago; Bloomberg and Murdoch made it at the New England Council.
At best, the ideas of Bloomberg, Murdoch, and Daley have gotten polite recognition. That's odd, given that two of them are among the most successful publishers of their time.
Bloomberg revolutionized financial journalism and created an authentic new media empire. Sure, he can't direct that organization while he is mayor, but even so, the lack of extensive coverage by Bloomberg's media outlets is notable.
The same is true of Murdoch. His Fox News and its commentators have been passionately anti-immigrant. Murdoch, who turned a left-wing English newspaper into a right-wing one when he bought it, has let this heresy stand.
Daley, compared with his compatriots, is more obscure. But one wonders: Did he argue for more immigrants and simpler procedures when he was White House chief of staff and met daily with Obama?
The trio's argument, supported by complex calculations from the Partnership for a New American Economy, in its simpler form is that immigrants start 29 percent more businesses than their native-born equivalents. And they have more babies.
The need for replacement population has always seemed evident. Social Security and Medicare - programs that are based on the life-insurance principle that the young pay for the old - can be saved in the out-years only by replacement population. That means immigration.
Sadly, the immigration debate has been debased. When we say immigrant today, we do not immediately think of Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post; Tina Brown, editor in chief of Newsweek and the Daily Beast; former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; or Murdoch. We think of Hispanics, who speak a foreign language that is taking root. We think not of the enhancement of our well-being by new arrivals, but rather of conquest by stealth from the south, of a creeping usurpation of what we are by what we are not.
What we really are is the sum of our parts - which, when we get it right, is greater than those parts.
If the Bloomberg-Murdoch-Daley troika is right, we need to leave behind what we thought we had agreed on, and we need to agree on something else. Think of immigration as national nourishment, not as another mouth to be fed, and harness the talent of the 11 million in the shadows right now.