Thursday, August 15, 2019

Mass Immigration is not Necessary for Economic Growth or Funding Social Security Benefits

Mass immigration, a staple of modern left wing politics, is not necessary for future growth or funding of social security benefits. Case in point: Japan, despite shrinking in population by 3.5 million people over the past decade, is still experiencing economic growth albeit at a very low 1.2% rate. Of course, everyone understands that increasing the labor force isn't the only way to raise labor productivity; things like automation and artificial intelligence can do this just as the industrialization of farming at the turn of the 20th century raised crop yields while also shrinking the agricultural labor force. At the turn of the 20th century about 40% of Americans were still employed in agriculture, today it is less than 2% (and could be even less without the farm bill). The same is true of manufacturing, which at it's peak employed more than 1/3 of the American labor force, but now employs less than 9% of the current labor force. Even though employment in both sectors declined steadily labor productivity in both sectors also grew. Much of our aging work force will not need to be replaced by younger workers because their jobs will likely by automated. Perhaps as much as 47% of current jobs, mainly low skill and blue collar but some white collar jobs as well, will be automated in some capacity in the next 25 years. Why import more people to do jobs that won't exist? More importantly why import unskilled labor from countries like Guatemala and El Salvador, people with less than a high school education, when almost all future job growth is in fields that require either a four year college degree or vocational school education?

A separate but equally false claim peddled by the pro-mass immigration left is that we need more immigrants to pay into social security to support our ageing population. This claim rests on the false presumption that social security taxes fund social security benefits. This type of thinking is a remnant of the gold standard era. Taxes do not fund spending at the federal level; they drive aggregate demand (for federal reserve notes) and curb inflation. If the federal government needed taxes to fund spending it would have already become insolvent by now; our entire national debt exceeds both net federal revenue and GDP. The national debt is the private assets of federal reserve banks and foreign countries not something our grand children will pay back in the future to god knows who. Furthermore, the current array of programs for the elderly such as SSI, medicare, and medicaid could be replaced by a basic income guarantee for senior citizens without needing to tax the wages of the working age population or fulfilling a multitude of applications and eligibility requirements.

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