Monday, March 14, 2005

WSJ on Social Security & Immigration

Usually two concepts that are unrelated but both are extremely hot and sensitive topics. From the WSJ: "With so much attention focused on illegal immigration, it's easy to forget that most foreigners come here legally. In addition to replenishing our workforce and spurring economic growth, these hard-working individuals help fund benefits for current and future retirees. And according to a new research paper by the National Foundation for American Policy, immigration will continue to affect Social Security regardless of whether Mr. Bush succeeds in modernizing the system with private accounts."

Immigration alone won't close the Social Security funding gap, so the sooner we begin moving away from the current system, the better. In recent House testimony, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan repeated his support for "the general issue of increased immigration" because "it's good for the country," not because it will fix our Social Security problems, which run deeper. That said, immigration both buys us time and ultimately will help make entitlement reform easier. Even under the Bush Administration's proposal to divert a small portion of a worker's payroll tax into a private account, the bulk of the system would remain pay-as-you-go for many years to come.

Thus, a Bush-style guest-worker program, both to regulate the flow of new immigrants and legalize the undocumented workers already in the country, would do more than just improve homeland security. It would also bolster America's economic well-being."
For what it's worth if you didn't already know I am for social Security reform with private accounts but I am against tough new immigration laws and prefer Bush's soft approach much to consternation of many Republicans and even many Democrats. Immigration will become a very devisive issue not easily separated by "red and blue."

My time in the great state of Texas convinced me of the value of workers originally from Mexico now working legally in the US. Also my experience with the assimilation of immigrants into the Catholic Church confirms my stance. More on this later.

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