Economic Disenfranchisement Has Costs

The following is an open letter to Mr. Donald Trump:

Mr. Donald Trump
Trump Tower
New York, NY

Dear Mr. Trump,

I urge you to reconsider your proclamations both during and since the Presidential campaign to economically disenfranchise certain residents in this country, such as Muslims, immigrants, and poor people.  Economic disenfranchisement has its costs, and they are substantial.  Disenfranchisement has economic costs (lower economic growth resulting in a generally poorer country), but it also has social costs.

The social costs of economic disenfranchisement are real and dangerous.  Radicalization and violence in Europe from Muslims and immigrants is partially due to their economic disenfranchisement through tight labor laws favoring domestic residents over foreign ones.  The Ferguson, MO and other riots of the past year are partially due to African-Americans’ (and other minority groups) economic disenfranchisement stemming from minimum wage, the drug war, and other illiberal policies.  Historically, this holds true as well.  Economic disenfranchisement through apartheid and other colonial systems lead to unrest in Africa (of which we are still feeling the effects).  Jim Crow economic disenfranchisement lead to the Civil Rights movement and other unrest in the 1960’s.  And we cannot leave out probably the largest, and most violent, example in US history: the slave riots and subsequent Civil War.

Mr Trump, you ran on a platform of restoring law and order.  However, many of your economic policies (building a wall, increasing tariffs, registering/deporting Muslims and immigrants, etc) are contradictory to that goal.  In order to make America great again, we do not need economic disenfranchisement, but economic opportunities for all (not just the politically favored).  If we want to bring back American exceptionalism, we need to show the world why we are exceptional; show we are a nation of laws not legislation, of principles not panic, of innovation not intimidation, and above all of freedom not fear.

Mr Trump, I urge you to tear down these walls and to honor the words of our Founders, that “all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”


Jon Murphy

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

*Versions of this letter have also been sent to House and Senate leadership

4 thoughts on “Economic Disenfranchisement Has Costs

  1. Could you link to the statements by Trump or staff which economically disenfranchise people? This may be obvious to you, but I would like to know what you mean.

    “Economically disenfranchise” is a clumsy phrase to me. Do you mean “prevent from working”? If so, who in particular are the politically favored and unfavored?

    Possibly you are talking about illegal immigrants as being politically unfavored. But, should the law be flouted. If we do not follow the law, then what do we follow?

    There are many bad licensing laws which prevent people from working. I’m against them. But, do I get to flout the law because I don’t like the law?

    What do you think the immigration law should be?


    • Andrew, I think Jon means Trump’s economics policies of “building a wall, increasing tariffs, registering/deporting Muslims and immigrants, etc.” By building a wall, immigrants who desire a better life economically by escaping the socialist and bigger government policies of their home countries cannot escape to a land with more economic freedom (and thus prosperity). Thus, by building a wall, Trump is economically disenfranchising those who would immigrate here for a better life economically.

      By increasing tariffs, Trump is economically disenfranchising American consumers who want lower prices and better quality that results from greater competition, including foreign competitors. Also, tariffs economically disenfranchise those foreign competitors willing to work harder and for less cost to serve the needs and desires of consumers with lower prices and better quality goods.

      By registering/deporting Muslims and other immigrants, Trump is depriving them of a better life economically by making it more risky for employers to hire Muslims and other immigrants. Thus, employers are less likely to hire them, and if they do, they are likely to offer less wages because of the greater risk. And, by deporting them, Trump is taking them from a more economically free (and thus more prosperous) country to send them back to much less prosperous socialist and authoritarian Arab and South American countries.

      I believe that Jon believes that people are the ultimate resource, and that the US will hurt itself economically by applying many of Trump’s proposed economic policies. That, of course, would economically disenfranchise everyone in the US.


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