The White House claims that the president’s unconstitutional and illegal executive actions on immigration are worth it because it will grow the economy, yet it failed to point out that this growth comes at the expense of American workers and taxpayers. On February 4, the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration (SSA), Stephen C. Goss, testified before the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee on the effect the president’s executive actions will have on Social Security Trust Fund. Goss, in theory a non-political, non-partisan official, told the committee that the Trust Fund would be “improved slightly by 2014…reducing the current-law actuarial deficit by 0.01 percent of payroll.” Goss also said that the result of “growing the economy” through immigration would result in a “small positive for the next 75 years as a whole” for the Trust Fund.
Sounds good, right? We shouldn’t worry about the collapse of the republic if Social Security is going to be saved in the process. But the written testimony submitted to the committee paints a rather gloomier picture.
What Goss is basing his projections upon is his assumption that Obama’s executive actions would result in an additional 248,000 workers making payroll contributions by 2024. There would also be fewer illegal aliens due to “enhanced border security” (50,000 per year) and efforts focused “more heavily on identifying and deporting undocumented residents who represent threats to national security, border security, and public safety” (30,000 per year) for a total reduction of 2.3 million by 2050. Because of an increase of legal workers in the U.S. workforce the GDP would increase by 0.15% ($43 billion) more than it would have without the executive actions. This is three times the recent baseline prediction put out by the White House economic advisors. The increase in GDP and, therefore, in contributions is really optimistic, to say the least. For example, the net increase of 248,000 workers by 2024 who will provide an extra $43 billion in GDP means that each additional worker will on average account for $173,387 in economic output. Using the SSA’s calculation, the average U.S. worker currently contributes $120,047 to total GDP.
In the final analysis, what is the “small positive” that the executive actions will provide the Trust Fund? Goss projects that the Trust Fund will still go broke in 2033; the executive actions will only result in it becoming insolvent “later in the year 2033 (by about 3 months).” The Pew Research Center projected just how many immigrants the U.S. would need to admit to stop our population from aging: We would need to increase immigration to 15 times the current rate! President Obama’s plan will result in millions more relatively younger immigrants settling in the United States, and will extend the life of Social Security by three months. Is that a “small positive?”
Additional Resources: Issue Brief: White House Report Confirms President Obama’s Executive Actions Will Harm American Workers, Taxpayers