Tag Archives: immigration

Want To Reduce the National Debt? Find More Workers

By James Kwak

Why do some people oppose immigration reform? One conservative objection is that we should follow rules and punish lawbreakers (not to mention all the other arguments that have to do with protecting a white, Protestant, English-speaking nation). That fits nicely with the Strict Father worldview identified by George Lakoff. Another common conservative objection is that we can’t afford more immigration because it would increase deficits and the national debt; that also fits with the tough-minded, austerity-loving ethos of modern conservatism. The little problem is that more immigrants, and more legal immigrants, are unambiguously good for the economy and for the federal budget deficit.

This is the conclusion of two reports put out by the Congressional Budget Office this week: one a cost estimate of the bill currently in the Senate, the other an expanded estimate incorporating additional economic impacts of the bill. The bottom line is that the bill would make the economy 5.4 percent bigger in 2033 than it would be otherwise; per capita GNP would be 0.2 percent higher and wages would be 0.5 percent higher in 2033. Finally, immigration reform would reduce aggregate deficits by about $200 billion* over the first decade and about $1 trillion in the second decade.

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This American DREAM

By James Kwak

Brad DeLong reminded me that the DREAM Act is being considered by Congress right now and has an outside chance of passage. If you are a Senator on the fence about this issue, or you work for one, you should listen to the last segment of this This American Life episode, starting about forty-six minutes in. It will break your heart.

Oh, and given that opposition has been basically along party lines: aren’t the people who would qualify for citizenship under the act natural Republican voters, anyway? Basically the act would reward people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps, without the benefit of federal aid. Or is that no longer what the Republican Party is about?