For 20+ years, I had taught a course on Economic Development to undergrads and graduate students — why Third World countries are poor and how they can develop their economies and so catapult themselves to join the developed First World.
But developing an economy requires capital or money, and Third World countries, by definition, are underdeveloped and capital-poor. If a country’s people had the surplus capital to invest in factories and businesses, it wouldn’t be a Third World country to begin with.
So the standard economic development strategy is to devise ways to attract cash from countries that are developed — and rich — by offering them sweet deals so they will invest in the poor country. That capital is called Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Poor countries typically employ tax incentives (low or no taxes), low wages, and lax or no labor laws to attract FDI. The smarter Third World governments jealously guard their national sovereignty and autonomy to avoid being exploited by foreign capitalists and becoming dependent on FDI, to the detriment of their own national wellbeing. The smart ones insist that the foreign investors train domestic workers into skilled labor, anticipating that day in the future when the poor country becomes developed and no longer must bow to wealthy foreigners.
In all my years of studying, teaching, and writing on economic development, I have never come across a developed First World country so desperate for FDI as to prostitute itself.
But that is what the federal and state governments of the United States of America are doing.
Let me ask you:
- Is America a poor country and thus lacking in affluent citizens with money to invest in starting up businesses in America?
- Does our country have a dearth of entrepreneurs, investors, businessmen and women?
- As if we don’t already have an illegal immigrant problem, is the United States so sparsely populated that we must offer incentives for people around the world to immigrate here?
The answer to all three questions is clearly “No.”
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has a program called EB-5 which, in the name of “helping create jobs,” grants foreigners permanent U.S. residency in exchange for bringing in Foreign Direct Investment.
EB-5, the immigrant investor visa program, was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 in the Bush Sr. administration. Yes, the same George Herbert Walker “we need a New World Order” Bush:
EB-5 offers a green card for foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000, creating at least 10 jobs. The minimum amount of FDI for urban areas is higher — at least $1 million — whereas investment in rural or targeted employment areas is $500,000. The investment must also remain “at-risk” without repayment for a period of two full years.
EB-5 investment can only be received by an economic unit defined as a Regional Center — “an economic unit, public or private, engaged in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment.”
Translated, this means that to be a “Regional Center” requires the designation and approval of government, specifically the USCIS. This, in turn, means yet more government bureaucracy, more “public” employees, and their attendant unions!
There are USCIS-approved EB-5 Regional Center projects in Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas/Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin.
Tomorrow we will take a look at Idaho’s EB-5 projects, specifically what its state government has done to lure in Chinese FDI.
Ponder this: America, a rich First World country, is so desperate that we have offered China — a developing and, as China’s leaders insist to this day, still poor country — to bring in FDI in exchange for permanent residency and U.S. citizenship.
H/t beloved fellow Tina.