Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, bright and cheery,
In the penthouse of my tower on the fifty-seventh floor —
While I sat there, Donald Trumping, suddenly there came a thumping,
As of someone gently bumping, bumping up against my door.
“’Tis some immigrant,” I muttered, “coming in to clean the floor —
Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the long December,
Each long strand of frozen hair upon my orange head ignored,
Waiting for inauguration — brought to bear by this great nation —
I sought refuge in libation and in taco bowls galore
From my restaurant that Zagat rated five stars, maybe more —
Anthony Bourdain’s a four!
And the sound of them abusing me on CNN’s fake news,
It filled me with fantastic Tweet ideas never felt before;
So that now, the TV whirring, “That’s enough!” I started slurring.
“My annoyance you’re incurring. Stop a-thumping at my door —
This great country will be great again just like it was before.
One our citizens adore.”
Presently my hands grew bigly, my terrific spine was tingly.
“Amigo,” said I, “fine, I’ll get up and answer my door.
But the fact is I was eating tasty tacos, and you’re beating
Like a moron and a cheating loser on my chamber door,
So I’ll let you in, I guess” — and here I opened up the door —
Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep in rage, I started seething, long I stood there heavy breathing,
Thinking immigrants are tricky, how their games I do abhor;
All the crime and drugs and rape they bring when they manage escape
From countries militant and Islamist and torn apart by war.
Then I sniffled uncontrollably until my nose was sore.
It’s a nervous tic, you bore!
Back into my chamber turning, all my rage within me burning,
Soon again I heard a bumping somewhat louder than before.
“Go away,” I madly snorted, “or I’ll have your ass deported
Back to China or to Russia or to lightweight Singapore —
Let me eat my bowl in peace, and all these noises you will cease —
Or I’ll ship you from the shore.
And I’ll build a wall so yuge and Mexico will be my stooge
In paying for their own captivity with pesos, si senor!
You see, America’s not winning anymore, our wheels are spinning,
While the Chinese are kingpinning, making our country poor!
Giving deals to our companies so they will move offshore.
I can’t take it anymore!”
Then the door it started creaking, into my apartment sneaking
Was a raggety old gentleman, a tattered hat he wore.
“My name’s Marco,” said he, smiling. “And I find you quite beguiling,
With your charismatic bile and your childlike vigor,
But I must confess the immigration policy you swore
Is a terrible eyesore.
I know you find disturbing all the Muslims with their turbans
Coming to our liberal country with sharia law in store.
But what you aren’t seeing is that Muslim human beings
Are just scared and they are fleeing from the places you abhor.
And besides your chance of dying in an act of mass terror.
Is just under 1 in 4 (million).” 1
So I spat a little spittle and responded, “But the Skittles!
Would you eat a bowl of them if poisonous were 1 in 4?”
“No,” he said, without invective. “But you must have some perspective.
Muslim bans are ineffective2; these are facts you can’t ignore.
And the blanket ban on Muslim immigration you called for
Is immoral to its core.3
Do you punish the collective for the evils of defectives?
Do you trap women and children within borders plagued by war?
Do you banish refugees like parasitic ticks and fleas
To live in dire poverty — or worse — in terror, blood, and gore?
Heed the words of Emma Lazarus, ‘Give me your tired, your poor’
Light your lamp beside that door!”
Startled then, I starting choking. I could only manage croaking,
“Fine, but Mexicans are threats to our democracy!” I roared.
“They bring drugs and they bring rape and crime and murder to our cape
And all the while changing the landscape of mining gold and ore.
By the thousands into our classy nation, they do pour.
That’s why we are great no more!”
I was flustered, but meanwhile in my room Marco started smiling.
“Silly Donald, you’ve got fishy facts — you’re serving albacore.
Native-borns are far more prone to be in jail than Juan, Simón,
Miguel, and Pablo4 — these are stone-cold facts you simply can’t ignore.
We should welcome peaceful immigrants from Chile, Ecuador,
Even Cuba, East Timor!
And I get why you’re berserk that citizens are out of work,
But immigrants are vital sources of high-quality labor.
With more capital on hand, our economy expands
And makes us rich across the land and, yes, especially the poor. 5
Did working women make us poor when they came in the door?
Clearly better = more.”6
“Marco!” said I, “I’m afraid that you’re forgetting about trade —
How America is losing at the import tariff war.”
“But you want to cancel NAFTA!” shouted Marco. “Well we haveta!”
Answered I. “Free trade with Mexico just isn’t fair no more.
Our trade is so imbalanced that we must even the score.
We just don’t win anymore.”
With one final exclamation, Marco heightened my vexation,
“Even Krugman thinks you’re nutty for your views on trade and more!
Economics isn’t easy, but you’re making people queasy
With your backwards views on wealth creation from the days of yore.
Heed the words of Adam Smith from Wealth of Nations chapter 4. 7
On division of labour.
The benefits of trading goods with China gives a livelihood
To citizens with surplus inventory in their store
For which there is no demand from citizens in our land,
And in return you get name brands like that nice Trump tie that you wore.
By opening a more extensive market, we get more!
From division of labour.”
With a poof, my guest departed, leaving me so brokenhearted.
What had I spent four long years in Wharton School of business for
When my grasp on economic concepts was so very comic8
And my stance on all Islamic immigration was so sore?
Maybe I’ll stop making policies and golf a little more.
1 The number is actually 1 in 3.6 million, as reported in this Cato Institute policy analysis.
2 Not to mention illegal. See this Cato Institute piece on the legality of banning Muslims from the U.S.
3 Michael Huemer, professor of philosophy at UC Boulder, argues as much in his 2010 paper “Is There a Right to Immigrate?”
4 See this special report by the American Immigration Council on the criminalization of immigration in the U.S.
5 In fact, according to economist Ben Powell, if only 5% of the population in poorer countries moved to richer countries, global incomes would rise by 4 to 9 trillion dollars!
6 This 2012 IMF study finds that more women in the labor force will increase productivity and output globally.
7 It’s actually Book IV, Chapter I. Damn you, poetic meter!
8 America’s leading economists, it seems, are not optimistic about the next 4 years, given Trump’s economic plan. See this survey from the Chicago Booth School of Business.