Saturday, July 11, 2009
Illegal immigrants a net loss or gain?
That's something the Los Angeles Times explores in this article.
It's a hotly debated issue, especially nowadays with the budget crises facing so many states, with cries that illegals are ruining hospital, police, and educational services. Others point out that illegals pay billions of dollars in sales tax and gasoline taxes that should be going to cover those things. And from the article, I did not realize that illegals are paying a net $12 billion per year to Social Security, largely through numbers co-opted for identity theft, apparently.
A fuzzier number to work into the picture, though, is how the existence of a cheap supply of labor helps to lubricate the economy (assuming it is a net benefit). Were all services to be paid by at least minimum wage, would they get done? How would this affect the economy? Of course, I'm not an economist, so I won't presume that my line of thinking is necessarily accurate, but it is something the numbers don't always work in.
Then there is the issue of crime. While there certainly are illegals engaged in crime — much of it serious and violent — there are studies that show that illegals in California, like "other immigrants," have a significantly lower crime rate than California-born residents.