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May 07, 2013

Team Amnesty: Ignore The Meanies At Heritage And Trust The CBO On The Cost Of Amnesty

Yesterday's report from the Heritage Foundation on the costs of amnesty has proponents worried. Today they are out in full force trying to discredit the report.

Greg Sargent calls this Washington Post editorial attacking Heritage "brutal" to the anti-amnesty case. Personally, I'd sum it up as "Heritage is right but we don't care".

The Heritage paper, chock-full of assumptions that most economists dispute, is a blatant attempt to twist the immigration debate. It concludes that newly legalized immigrants would cost $6.3 trillion more in benefits over their lifetime than they would pay in taxes. (That’s $5.3 trillion more than they would cost without legalization, the think tank said.) The study updates a similar one by Heritage in 2007, which pegged the fiscal cost of amnesty at that time at a mere $2.6 trillion.

There’s no question that granting the full range of government benefits to illegal immigrants — even if they become eligible for citizenship 13 or 15 years from now — will impose long-range fiscal costs. However, most economists say the costs of illegal immigration would be far outweighed by the benefits of legalization for overall economic activity,growth,business start-ups and labor market efficiency.

Ah, so the costs Heritage outlines are real but they'll be offset by some mythical benefits from flooding the legal labor market with low skilled workers.

(Yes, this is a case of role-reversal. Conservatives generally support "dynamic scoring" and liberals oppose it. Unlike scoring tax cuts thought there's no history to rely on when it comes to gauging mass amnesty of low skied workers in a depressed economy.)

If low skill workers are the key to prosperity, why do we spend hundreds of billions dollars a year on educations and training programs? Shouldn't we just let people make their way with crappy public education and let the good times roll?

The Washington Post has one more ace up their sleeve in attacking Heritage's "political document"..."the CBO is likely to make clear when it publishes what is certain to be its more dispassionate, and less political, assessment of the proposed legislation."

The CBO? The same organization that swore up and down that ObamaCare was going to cut the deficit? Yeah, let's trust them on the cost and benefits of amnesty. What could go wrong?

Pro amnesty group American Action Forum, led by by a Republican former head of the CBO Douglas Holtz-Eakin says amnesty will be good for the economy because it will lead to "labor force
growth
"

That would be a good argument if you thought our labor force problem was one of insufficient population and not a lack of jobs. Even the AP doesn't buy that.

After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market.

Instead, the number of Americans in the labor force — those who have a job or are looking for one — fell by nearly half a million people from February to March, the government said Friday. And the percentage of working-age adults in the labor force — what's called the participation rate — fell to 63.3 percent last month. It's the lowest such figure since May 1979.

It was one thing to do amnesty during the white hot Reagan economy of the mid to late 80s. It's quite another to do it in the midst of the Obama depression.

But maybe things aren't as bad as they seem for those opposed to amnesty. According to the terms of the bill, nearly one-third of illegals here will be ineligible for amnesty and will be deported.

Last month, Rubio’s office put out a press release stating: “FACT: If the proposed immigration bill does pass, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who do not qualify for temporary legal status will be subject to deportation. The legislation also provides for enhanced punishment as well as increased funding for deportation of future illegal immigrants. … Even for illegal immigrants who attain temporary status, that temporary status can be revoked if they commit a serious crime or if they fail to comply with the employment requirement, the public charge requirement (which goes hand-in-hand with the employment requirement), their tax obligations and their physical presence obligations. They will then be subject to deportation.” (Emphasis added.)

The “public charge” requirement stipulates no immigrant can obtain a green card unless they can verify that they are earning at least 25 percent above the poverty level. But as today’s Heritage Foundation study points out, more than one-third of unlawful immigrant households have incomes below the federal poverty level. That is about 4 million people.

Now personally I'm opposed to mass round ups and deportations but if that's what Rubio, Schumer and the rest of Team Amnesty say they are going to do, well they wouldn't lie. Would they?


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posted by DrewM. at 10:06 AM

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