In Tucker Carlson’s new book Ship of Fools, he writes of the effects of the erosion of the middle class and increased illegal immigration.
He says that the typical Republican response to U.S. poverty is one centered on rationality: that poverty in the U.S. is a much better deal than poverty in the Third World, the familiar "if they have iPhones, how poor can they be?" argument.
Which is true but he says poverty is relative. If someone has “more plastic crap from China” than someone else, that results in envy, which results in political instability, which leads to what happened in Venezuela.
I’d always considered envy to be self-incriminating and thus illegitimate, but that ignores that it’s precisely that we are fallen and marked by original sin that it turns out to be less something we can “get over” but more as a systemic fact of existence that we need to try to head off as a society. Given we are all sinners, often in different ways, it's rational to take human irrationality seriously.
Carlson argues, in line with Reihan Salam, that a big part of the problem is that illegal immigration creates even greater haves/have nots in society for obvious reasons like creating more labor competition and lower wages.
It's interesting that those on the right, like Carlson and Salam, are arguing with the liberals for the reduction of inequality but against liberals concerning a reduction in immigration since progressives are arguing for policies that increase inequality while saying they are against inequality.