Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer of the CATO Institute have a study promoting the supposed economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform aka amnesty ("Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform", freetrade.org/pubs/pas/tpa-040es.html). As with other "economic" studies, theirs isn't really based in economics in that they're ignoring all the costs of what they promote:
A policy that reduces the number of low-skilled immigrant workers by 28.6 percent compared to projected levels would reduce U.S. household welfare by about 0.5 percent, or $80 billion... In contrast... [t]he positive impact for U.S. households of legalization under an optimal visa tax would be 1.27 percent of GDP or $180 billion.
If we (incorrectly) assume that the costs and gains would be spread equally among the population and assuming there are 117 million U.S. households, the figures are about a $57/month loss versus about a $128/month gain. Can you see amnesty making you an extra $128 a month? Not to mention the fact that any gains wouldn't be spread equally. Those at the low end of the wage scale would see increased competition, and most of the gains would go to, for instance, those who own industries that employ large numbers of low-wage workers (and that might also donate to CATO).
And, of course, there are huge costs associated with amnesty that CATO isn't figuring in. Giving the Mexican government even more power inside the U.S. has a huge cost. Giving the far-left and racial power groups (like the National Council of La Raza) even more power has a huge cost. Increasing disrespect for our laws has a huge cost. Increasing the incentive to move here illegally has a huge cost.
And, Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer aren't including all those costs and more in their "economic" analysis.
Fri, 08/14/2009 - 13:19 · Importance: 4