The Fiscal Impact Of The Stalled Senate Bill
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The fiscal impact of the Senate Bill? Well, if you live inside the Beltway and read nothing but government reports, it looks like no big deal.

A few days ago CBO reported that S.A. 1150 would increase federal spending by $10 billion over the next five years (2008-2012), mainly due to higher income tax refunds and Medicaid payments to the newly legalized. Revenues over that same period would be $15 billion higher, largely from greater Social Security payroll taxes. [Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate June 4, 2007 Senate Amendment 1150 to S. 1348, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007]

That's an average deficit reduction of $1 billion per year. So go back to sleep.

On an inside page, however, CBO acknowledges that this happy calculation ignores the costs of implementing S.A. 1150. After factoring in the new government employees needed to administer the de facto amnesty, grants to help state and local governments cover the costs of apprehending and detaining illegals, a beefed up employer verification system, and other Senate bill items, the $1 billion/year deficit reduction becomes a $3/billion deficit increase.

A little further on CBO unburdens itself further, admitting that "The net cost of the legislation would grow after 2017, as more of the affected immigrants became eligible for benefits and the per capita benefits rose……" CBO estimates that federal outlays attributable to S.A. 1150 could reach $10 billion in 2027, more than double the 2017 amount.

Remember, this is just the incremental impact of Senate 1150 on Federal spending. In recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Robert Rector, the reigning domestic policy expert at Heritage Foundation, provides a more comprehensive accounting.

Rector finds that the average uneducated immigrant household:

  • Receives $30,164 in federal, state, and local benefits
  • Pays $10,573 in federal, state, and local taxes
  • Generates a fiscal deficit of $19,588 ($30,164 less $10,573)

There are about 4.5 million such households, implying that total deficit (benefits received less taxes paid) for all poorly educated immigrant households equals $89.1 billion (4.5 million times $19,588). More than half of this deficit-$49.1 billion-occurs at the state and local government level.

Bottom line: Eighty-nine billion dollars a year, or about 0.6 percent of GDP, is transferred from native taxpayers to immigrant beneficiaries.

CBO's deficit is a mere add-on to this much larger figure.

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