"U.S. Social Security Ties with Mexico is Bad for America"

Insight Magazine has a roundup of the latest Bush giveaway:

Those in Congress who really want to protect Social Security should put some action behind their bluster. They should add language to the Labor-Health-Education Appropriations bill prohibiting funds from being spent to carry out an expensive Social Security giveaway to Mexico...

U.S. Social Security Commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart signed an agreement June 29 that will allow Mexicans who have worked in the United States, their dependents and survivors to tap into Social Security.

This could spell trouble for American seniors and for baby boomers as they approach retirement.

To hear proponents tell it, this agreement is all about saving some 3,000 U.S. workers and their employers an estimated $140 million on taxes over five years. But actually, American taxpayers could be out hundreds of billions of dollars over coming years...

That references a GAO report (warning: PDF file) and Joel Mowbray's 2003 article "Social Security Heading South of the Border." More links in this post.

UPDATE: See also the somewhat related story "Bush's agenda could top $3 trillion" concerning the cost of all that "compassion."


The clearest accounts of the downsides of this plan are presented here and here.

From the first: The U.S. has twenty such treaties with other counties, nearly all with European countries with economies similar to the U.S.

Why would one say that new acts of treason and aggression are not a big deal? Everybody does it, why can't we, is not a moral argument. There is net public subsidy in the social security system, and it goes from the higher-income to the lower-income. When this flows to the foreigner, it is both aggression and treason.

The United States has not typically required citizenship as condition of eligibility for government benefits. A British national working for Citibank in Atlanta can send his or her kids to the local schools at taxpayer's expense (said banker would be paying taxes, after all).

Likewise a Mexican who worked at an aircraft plant in California for 35 years and paid into FICA is certainly eligible for Social Security benefits even if he has not taken the citizenship oath. What difference does it make if he decides to spend his retirement in Tiajuana instead of San Diego? After all, an American who paid into the system for the same number of years would still draw his Social Security check if he decides (as lots of Americans do) to live in a retirement community in sunny Mexico.

Are you basing your argument on citizenship? I'd be reluctant to see us move to a system whereby we bribe newcomers to become citizens with benefits. I'd much rather see them take the oath because, say, they love this country and perhaps want to participate in elections.

I suppose we could require non citizen recipients of Social Security to stay in the U.S. to maintain their eligibility, but, my guess is we'd lose money that way, as they would likely make use of Medicare here in the states (which they cannot access if they go back to Mexico). And it would, by the way, be discriminatory to our southern neighbor because Canadians who work in the US and pay into FICA but return home to retire receive their benefits. I believe, in fact, the US has reciprocal arrangements with a number of countries. I'm frankly surprised we don't have an agreement already with Mexico, given Nafta and all. This really isn't a big deal. In fact, the primary the reason the U.S. is facing a less grim social insurance situation than Europe and Japan is our faster growing population, thanks to the Mexicans.

You would think that they would know that it is bad politics to alarm social security recipients with a giveaway proposal of such traitorous potentialities. None of the beneficiaries would be voters, or close to zero, therefore they only antagonize voters here, and act as if there were no political consideration other than how to please the contraband-smugglers in control of mexico.