Scapegoating Foreigners for Fiscal Shortfalls
By Fergus Hodgson
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Scapegoating Foreigners for
This past month, media outlets
have given plenty of attention to the collection of child tax credits by
illegal immigrants -- about $4
billion worth. Research on this activity has been publicly available for a couple of years now, but it
appears to finally have struck a chord as fiscal pressure, particularly at the
federal level, continues to accumulate.
To be clear, I am no fan of manipulative tax
codes. Why parents, who use more government services relative to single people,
should pay lower taxes is perplexing to say the least. However, the
presentation of the issue has been grossly slanted against illegal immigrants
and has compelled me to weigh in.
Click here to listen to my radio discussion
of this issue with Jeff Crouere of WGSO in Louisiana (8 minutes).
First, let's assume that the $4
billion figure is correct. How does that compare to tax evasion across the
country? One detailed
estimate from the University of Wisconsin places the total on account of
unreported income at $500 billion in annual lost tax revenue. That's right, more than 100 times the tax credits
collected by illegal immigrants. Where are the news stories about that?
Keep in mind that the credits
are technically legal, even if someone's residency is not, so legislators
ought to take responsibility for the loophole. Taxes paid by illegal immigrants,
upon which credits are claimed, are comparable to taxes
on illegal substances. You're not supposed to have them, but if you do, you're
supposed to pay taxes on them. That may be confusing, but in North Carolina
such taxes brought in $9
million in 2010.
Contrary to the stereotypes, clear
evidence indicates that foreign-born people have lower rates of crime and
incarceration than native-born Americans. However, those stereotypes still appear to
have fueled the story on what is a drop in the ocean of lost tax revenue. Further,
illegal immigrants and non-citizen immigrants are as low on the political totem
pole as one can get, without any voting power. So rather than direct condemnation
towards them, we'd do better to just drop child tax credits for all
Those Struggling Older Workers... Oh Wait
As the United States Government
Accountability Office calls for an
expanded array of "jobs" programs for those over the age of 55, a new report from
the Manhattan Institute rips such proposals to shreds. Their concern is
misplaced, Diana Furchtgott-Roth rightly
points out -- not that such programs for other demographics would be a wise
[I]t is younger workers, not older workers, that have borne the
brunt of the employment losses during the recession.
The report includes plenty of concise data on the matter (PDF), but here are
just a few highlights.
Over the past ten years
employment has increased among Americans 55 and over by 8.9 million. At the
same time, it has declined by 3.1 million in the 25 to 54 age group, and by
313,000 among those aged 20 to 24...
Perhaps most telling, between
2005 and 2011 the proportion of 20 to 24 year olds with at least a bachelors
degree but living with parents or grandparents rose from 36 to 43 percent. That's
not surprising, since households with adults over 65 have reached 47 times the
net wealth of households headed by those below 35. The ratio was 10 times back
in the 1980s.
Still want to transfer more
money from the young to the elderly?
consider coming to my next speaking engagement, "The Unreported Growth of Government
in North Carolina." Americans for Prosperity is hosting the event, and it
is at the Warehouse Restaurant, 204 Main Street, Winterville on Saturday, 10am-12pm, May 26, 2012.
- The event will be an examination of my latest research
article, which I encourage people to read. My analysis lays to rest the notion
that the latest budget cut state spending. In fact, state spending this fiscal
year 2012 will be a record and on a per capita basis more than three times what
it was in 1970.
Click here for the Fiscal
Monday, May. 21st, 2012 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Marc Levin
"Right on Juvenile Crime in North Carolina"
Monday, May. 28th, 2012 at -
No Shaftesbury Meeting
There will not be a shaftesbury luncheon.
Monday, Jun. 4th, 2012 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Dr. Jeff Broadwater
"Living with a Legacy: James Madison and the Constitution"
Tuesday, Jul. 31st, 2012 at 12:00 pm
Friedman Legacy Freedom Lecture
with our special guest Joseph P. Calhoun
Keeping Milton Friedmanís Ideas Alive in Colleges and Universities