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Sponsored Immigration: giving citizens a financial incentive to support immigration reform


Increasing immigration rates would benefit both US citizens and immigrants alike. However, many native citizens believe immigrants impose more costs than benefits, by increasing crime, consuming welfare services, and changing the culture. So they naturally oppose increasing immigration rates. Sponsored immigration incents citizens to support increased immigration by a) giving them a personal choice in who they allow to immigrate b)a direct financial stake in the immigrant's long-term success.

Why increase immigration?

Humanitarian Reasons

In June 1939, the German ocean liner St. Louis and its 937 passengers, almost all Jewish, were turned away from the port of Miami, forcing the ship to return to Europe. More than a quarter subsequently died in the Holocaust. (1)

Such deaths due to immigration restrictions continue into the present. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) "With 3,771 deaths, 2015 was the deadliest year on record for migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, reports IOM in a year-end summary. By comparison 3,279 deaths were recorded in the Mediterranean in 2014. " (2)

Economic Reasons

Although lost lives are the most poignant, immigration restrictions also cost money to immigrants and natives alike. University of Wisconsin's John Keenan estimated that completely opening global borders would increase the average developing country worker's salary from $8,903 to $19,272 — more than double.(3) Harvard economist Lant Pritchett estimates that open borders would increase world GDP by $65 trillion. (4)

Why Do People Oppose Immigration?

Given all the humanitarian and economic reasons for supporting increased immigration, why are so many people hostile to increasing immigration?

Many people believe that immigrants:

  • Outcompete natives for jobs.
  • Consume more in social services (welfare, public schools) than they contribute in taxes.
  • Commit more crime than natives.
  • Vote themselves more welfare.
  • Bring conservative religious values to the US (hostility to women, gays, atheists).
  • Harm the environment (by creating increased demand for water, land, and other resources).
  • Launch terrorist attacks.

In brief, the citizens of host countries think that immigrants impose more costs on natives than are offset by compensating benefits. Therefore, they're naturally reluctant to increase the number of immigrants.

Although most economists strongly disagree this that assessment, and believe that increased immigration results in many more benefits than costs, they haven't made much headway in persuading the public to believe them. This is because many of the benefits are indirect, and not readily visible to average voter. They take the form of increased innovation (many immigrants go on to develop new scientific, engineering, and medical advances), increased entrepreneurship (many of the top fastest growing companies were founded by immigrants), and better, less expensive access to skilled workers (many of the best and brightest from other countries come to the US and become doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other highly skilled professionals).

To counter this bias against immigrants, this proposal attempts to incentivize US voters to support much higher rates of immigration, by creating an immigration program that provides clear, direct benefits to every adult citizen in the U.S.

How sponsored immigration works

  • Give every existing citizen over the age of 18 the right to sponsor one immigrant of their choosing.
  • The immigrant must purchase a $1 million lifetime insurance policy, which pays out to the extant that the immigrant commits any crime or makes use of any welfare services.
  • The immigrant must pay an entry fee of 10% of the median household income in the U.S. For example, if the median household income is $50 K, then the immigrant must pay an entry fee of $5 K. Half this amount ($2.5 K) goes to the sponsoring citizen, and half ($2.5 K) goes into a pool to provide integration services to arriving immigrants.
  • The immigrant and their children must pay 10% of their income each year as an immigration tax. Half of the tax revenue goes to the sponsoring citizen (or their estate), and half goes into the integration pool.
    • The sponsoring citizen can sell and/or delegate their sponsorship rights to someone else.
  • Immigrants can become citizens themselves when they meet all of the following criteria: a) their income exceeds at the median household income for at least three consecutive years b) they pass a test of English proficiency c) they pass a test of US cultural literacy
  • Someone can sponsor another immigrant once their previously sponsored immigrant has become a citizen.

How natives and immigrants alike will benefit from sponsored immigration

  • Every citizen would receive a lump sum payment of $2.5 K plus the rights to a lifetime stream of 5% of the immigrant's annual income (and their children). A very direct and visible benefit of supporting immigration reform.
  • Since existing citizens receive a portion of the immigrant's lifetime revenue stream, they have a strong incentive to select immigrants who will be the most productive and peaceful. Imagine how much money could be earned by a sponsor if one of their sponsored immigrants proves to be the next Steve Jobs.
  • The immigration tax and insurance policy would help alleviate the burden that new immigrants might place on existing social services.
  • Since each citizen can only sponsor another immigrant once the first immigrant has become a citizen, sponsors have strong incentive to help their sponsored immigrant to integrate and become a citizen.
  • The rate of immigration can only grow to the extant that previous immigrants achieve at least the median income in the US, have integrated into US culture (as measured by their English skills, and cultural literacy knowledge, and become citizens themselves.
  • Citizens have control over who gets invited to the US, not some distant and uncaring bureaucracy. However, if some citizens don't want to be bothered to do the selection themselves, they can also sell their sponsorship rights to someone else. Or, if they so choose, not invite anyone at all.
  • Citizens have strong incentives to increase the immigrant's productivity (since the more the immigrant makes, the greater the existing citizen's revenue stream).
  • Immigrants have a strong incentive to become citizens themselves, since they would then be able sponsor immigrants of their own.
  • Immigrants would benefit by being able to escape from terrible policies in their home country.
  • Immigrants would be able to make more money, which they could send back to their home country.
  • Immigrants would not be able to vote themselves additional welfare benefits, or change the policies of the US until they were proven to be as productive as the existing median citizen.
  • High risk immigrants would pay a higher insurance premium.
  • Immigrants would not be discriminated against based on their education level, country of origin, religion, age, occupation, or language. Only their ability to pay the entry fee, insurance costs, and their ability to persuade someone to sponsor them.

As the proposal above has never been tried before that I'm aware of, there will not doubt be bugs and unintended consequences. Please feel free to offer questions, comments, suggestions. However, I think this incentive program, or something like it, provides a pathway to a much richer, more free, and safer world.

  1. The U.S. Government Turned Away Thousands of Jewish Refugees, Fearing That They Were Nazi Spies By Daniel A. Gross
  2. IOM Counts 3,771 Migrant Fatalities in Mediterranean in 2015 by Daniel Esdras, et al.
  3. Want a global economic boom? Open the borders by Dylan Matthews
  4. The Cliff at the Border by Lant Pritchett

Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole

"Colleagues I spoke to were appalled. None of them had ever heard of a paper in any field being disappeared after formal publication. Rejected prior to publication? Of course. Retracted? Yes, but only after an investigation, the results of which would then be made public by way of explanation. But simply disappeared? Never. If a formally refereed and published paper can later be erased from the scientific record and replaced by a completely different article, without any discussion with the author or any announcement in the journal, what will this mean for the future of electronic journals?"

This guy turned his dead uncle's skeleton into a fully functional guitar

"As MetalSucks reports, a man who goes by the moniker Prince Midnight (already we’re off to a cool start) has just finished constructing a guitar out of his uncle Filip’s bones. Definitely a bit freaky, but it has been quite some time since Filip passed.

Tragically, he died more than 20 years ago as the result of a car accident.Filip’s skeleton had been donated to a local college in Greece, where it was used for educational purposes for two decades. When the school no longer needed the skeleton, it was returned to his family. With Orthodox Greeks frowning upon cremation and the cost of burial too expensive, Prince Midnight and family were at a crossroads as to what to do with Filip’s remains.

First, Prince Midnight had to deal with a lot of red tape just to gain possession of the skeleton, as he had to file and refile tons of paperwork to repatriate Filip’s remains. After finally receiving the remains, he ultimately decided to pay homage to his metal-loving uncle by turning Filip’s skeleton into a guitar."

End of an era: Bezos steps down

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will step down as chief executive of the company he founded 27 years ago, the online retailer announced Tuesday. Andy Jassy, head of Amazon Web Services, will take the reins as CEO beginning in the third quarter, while Bezos will become executive chairman, Amazon said.

In a memo to employees posted on Amazon's blog, Bezos, 57, said he is giving up the CEO role to focus on other ventures, including the Bezos Climate Fund, the Washington Post and Blue Origin, Bezos' space flight company.

How to handle media attacks

Google opt-out village

From 2009, when the Onion was still funny.

Chrome plugins for bypassing paywalls

Some Chrome plugins that are useful for bypassing paywalls. Note, I've not carefully vetted these for potential malware/spyware.

Unpaywall (Links to legal pre-prints of scientific papers)

Bypass paywalls (bypasses paywalls for dozens of sites)

Cookie Autodelete (Can be used to delete cookies used to track how many free articles you've used)

How to "friend" people on the open web with Miniflux

One of the ways that Facebook seduces users to stay within their walled garden is by making easy to follow a new friend, view/like/share their posts, or comment.  As a result, both reader and writer can quickly and easily give each other hits of dopamine. 

There are also tools to make connection with others outside of the walled gardens, such as RSS feeds/readers, Web clippers, 

Unfortunately, these open alternatives are more difficult to learn and use.  (There's a reason the FATMAG companies have become so popular.) 

One important tool for staying in touch with others on the open web is an "RSS feed reader". 

An RSS feed is a simply a series of posts, like entries in a journal.  Most often, RSS feeds are text, but they can be any kind of content, such as Youtube videos, songs, or pictures.  

An RSS reader allows you to subscribe to and read RSS feeds.  There are many RSS readers out there, but I use and recommend the Miniflux RSS reader:

Miniflux doesn't try to lock you in (it's open source), and it's easy to use.  It's primarily a web app, but there are also clients for mobile devices as well: 

Microflux (Android):

Reeder (Mac / iOS):

Sometimes it's hard to find the URL for an RSS feed on a web site.  To alleviate this problem recommend installing the "Get RSS Feed URL" Chrome Extension (

...and the "Add to Miniflux" bookmarklet:

The "Get RSS Feed URL" extension lists any RSS feeds it can find on the page.  You can then copy and paste the feed into "Add to Miniflux" booklet.

I love Standard Notes!

I'm very happy with Standard Notes app ( plus their blog publishing service.  So happy, in fact, that I've subscribed to their 5 year, extended plan. 

Standard Notes makes me happy because the developers:  

* release the code under an open source license (both server and clients). 
* devote a great deal of attention to usability and documentation.
* prioritize user privacy.
* fight against bloat in the main flagship program--most features are handled via plugins. 
* plan for the long term.
* respond quickly to customer service needs.
* don't attempt to lock in users or create a walled garden.

But I especially like that the staff seems to have figured out how to comfortably support themselves financially, yet still remain aligned with the interests of their customers. This helps give me confidence that the app/service will be around for a long time, and not someday compromise my security for financial gain.

When I asked on the Standard Notes Reddit if the staff was happy with the financial health of the company, Standard Notes employee /u/a_standard_user responded: 

"Well, I'll speak for the business (and not the rest of the team, a few of whom are not active on reddit) and say that we're doing great, not going anywhere, and in fact, growing—we're hiring 🙌 The subscription revenue model really solves a lot of the common problems with sustaining software products. At where we are today, even if for some calamitous reason we completely stopped gaining new subscribers, we could still sustain off existing subscriptions for a very long time to come.

We're working on a lot of exciting projects right now (that will take some time), so we're hoping it only continues to get better from here :)"

As the staff of Standard Notes seem to be successful with their business model, I'd love to see other open source projects adopt a similar strategy.

Get your bitcoin/crypto out of Robin Hood while you still can

"KEEP IN MIND - Cryptocurrency investments through Robinhood Crypto are not protected by SIPC and that Robinhood Crypto is not a member of FINRA or SIPC."

Facebook will try to reduce political content on Facebook

"Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the social media company will be reducing the amount of political content on its platform.

In the company’s fourth-quarter earning’s call, Mr Zuckerberg said that there were numerous groups that he did not want on the social media platform “even if they don’t violate [Facebook’s] policies”.

Mr Zuckerberg also said that Facebook would be reducing the amount of political content in the News Feed, although the company is “still working through exactly the best ways to do this”.

Although political groups and discussions will still continue on the platform, “one of the top pieces of feedback that we are hearing from our community right now is that people don't want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services”, Zuckerberg added."

Decentralized Finance 101

"On the normal web, you can’t buy a blender without giving the site owner enough data to learn your whole life history. In DeFi, you can borrow money without anyone even asking for your name."

This is a great explainer article about decentralized finance by Brady Dale

Also check out this video about MakerDao:

Google deletes thousands of Robin Hood app reviews

"The ongoing conflict between the Stock Market and the Wallstreetbets subreddit continues to ignite as stock traders attempt to fire back at the popular trading app Robinhood. This recent attack on the app is in response to Robinhood halting stock trading for GameStop, the gaming retailer that set off this whole situation due to the way a number of hedge funds had been manipulating the market.

However, as the Redditors and other onlookers retaliated against Robinhood by review bombing the app on the Google Play Store, Google rushed in to halt the quick ratings decline. The tech conglomerate used a tactic that many critic aggregating websites have used before to keep knee-jerk reactions from affecting the state of a product before, effectively saving Robinhood from consequences of the GameStop trading freeze."

"You can't call yourself Robinhood if you're going to just do whatever Nottingham tells you."

"GameStop's stock has continued to make big moves, briefly crossing $450 a share on Thursday, fueled by Reddit users collectively taking on the Wall Street establishment. But individual investors looking to make trades have faced multiple issues on trading sites and apps over recent days, with many experiencing service disruptions, according to Bloomberg. The frenzy over GameStop stock has led to TD Ameritrade and Robinhood restricting new purchases of particular stocks (GameStop and AMC, among others). It also led to the Wall Street Bets subreddit temporarily getting locked and a Discord server getting shut down for violating terms of service.

Robinhood explained the move in a blog post Thursday morning, just before the stock exchanges opened: "In light of recent volatility, we are restricting transactions for certain securities to position closing only, including $AMC, $BB, $BBBY, $EXPR, $GME, $KOSS, $NAKD and $NOK."

Open source alternatives to spyware/censorware

If your life or business depends on a proprietary service, then you're vulnerable to censorship if the staff of that business decide they don't like you or if you arouse enough ire from activists or government officials that they must either censor you or be shut down themselves.

Therefore, it's a good idea to gradually shift your business to software and services that respect your privacy and don't try to lock you in.

Here's a few open source alternatives to common proprietary services. \[Note that I've not tried all of them myself.\]

A few notes about how I selected items for this list. I tried to select for software and services that met the following characterists:

1. Open source according to the OSI's definiton

2. P2P > federated > centralized > proprietary.

3. Supported by a long-standing team of developers

4. Financially self-sustaining.

5. Follows "Unix" philosophy: sharp imple tools that do one thing well, but can be easily connected together.

6. Futureproof, open data standards.

7. Easy to use.

8. Reasonable governance structure

9. Self-hostable with paid hosting available.

10. High quality, maintainable code.

11. Private

12. Anonymous

13. Secure


Proprietary ServiceOption1Option2Option3Option4
DiscordElement Deltachat
Facebook MessengerSignalDeltachat
Facebook WhatsappSignalDeltachat
Google AnalyticsMatomo
Google Androide
Google Android App storeF-Droid Unhosted appsAPKMirror
Google CalendarThunderbird + Lighting plugin
Google ChromeBraveFirefox
Google Drive or DropboxNextcloud
Google Gmail (Mail Client)ThunderbirdMutt
Google Gmail (Mail Server)ProtonmailMailbox
Google GroupsSympa
Google OfficeCryptpad
Google MapsOpenStreetMaps
Google SearchDuckDuckGo
Google YoutubeOdysee
Facebook EventsMobilizon
Stripe or SquareBTCPayServerCoinpaymentsViglaGlobee
WikipediaTiddlywiki Miraheze
GrammerlyLanguage Tool
Google PlayFossdroidOpen GAPPS

Examples of censorship from around the world

Since I sometimes see people claim "Censorship? What censorship?", I've started collecting examples of censorship from around the world.

Know of some good examples? Send them my way!

Reported press freedom violations in Black Lives Matter protests near 500

Black Lives Matter Activists Say They're Being Silenced By Facebook

TikTok apologizes after being accused of censoring #BlackLivesMatter posts

Will Biden Resuscitate Obama’s Reprehensible “Operation Choke Point”?

Permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump (from Twitter)

WikiLeaks is almost broke after Visa, MasterCard donations blocked

Backpage Website Shut Down, Founder Charged With 93 Counts By FBI In Sealed Indictment

Amazon Web Services gives Parler 24-hour notice that it will suspend services to the company

Twitter shuts down account of Sci-Hub, the pirated-papers website

Facebook bans all 'stop the steal' content

Craigslist shuts down its personals section

Man guilty of hate crime for filming pug's 'Nazi salutes'

New Zealand Man Gets 21 Months for Sharing Video of Christchurch Attacks

Don’t call ‘Xi the Bun’: Chinese netizens are being jailed for chatroom jokes

Protests, Violence Prompt UC Berkeley to Cancel Milo Yiannopoulos Event

Modern-day book burners': Portland bookstore forced to evacuate after protesters demand it pulls book critical of Antifa