Monday, June 25, 2007

Must See TV: Heritage's Robert Rector on C-SPAN Washington Journal takes on White House report: Immigration's Economic Impact

Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector authored a study entitled, 'Amnesty Will Cost U.S. Taxpayers at Least $2.6 Trillion'. Mr. Rector is interviewd on C-SPAN (06/23/2007 Real Video starts @56:34).

Rector responds to the White House report (Immigration's Economic Impact) and criticism by Edward P. Lazear, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Here's what Mr. Lazear asserted on an earlier show (transcribed from the same 06/23/2007 video starts @59:08 (full interview from the Washington Journal is also on C-SPAN: Real Video 06/21/2007 starts @ 58:21) ):
The Heritage study, we believe, is relevant, but it's relevant only for a very small part of the population. What the Heritage study did is look at not the average immigrant but a particular subset of immigrants; namely those immigrants who have less than high school education.

The second thing they did they didn't take into account subsequent generations. They only looked at a snapshot when those immigrants come in. They forgot taxes paid by subsequent generations. And that's the effect that was ingnored in that study...
Robert Rector responds (same video 06/23/2007 starts @ 1:00:11; transcribed with supporting links):
It's a mischaracterization of the bill. There are actually two different reports that he's responding to. We examined high school dropout immigrants. He says that's only a tiny portion.

Well, among the Amesty recipients that are illegal, 60% are high school dropouts. Another 15% are merely high school graduates. So my analysis is exactly relevant to them. Their analysis, which is focused on college graduates, is completely irrelevant.

He also states that Z-Visa holders don't get welfare. Well, it's true they don't get welfare for the first ten years. But you're going to grant them citizenship. They're going to be here for 50 years. so there's 40 years of welfare there.

My calculation that the amnesty costs $2.5 trillion is retirement costs. It's 30 years down the road. So the fact that they don't get welfare fo the first 10 years is utterly irrelevant and that's fully explained in my report.

Finally, he says we didn't take into account the earnings of second generations. We discussed that in the report and I'm now prepared to say, yes we have looked at the earnings of second generations, the taxes that they pay, and we find that that second generation also, although they have upward mobility, are still a net drag on the tax payers. [ed.: See Factor #3. The net taxes paid by second-generation immigrants may offset some costs]

They will receive more in benefits than they take-in in taxes. You have to move all the way to the third generation, mabye 70 years from now, before you start to get any positive return. And that's in exact accord with the National Academy of Sciences' study of low-skilled immigrants that was done 10 years ago...


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