Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dreamers’ Taxes Don’t ‘Add’ to the Economy—Their Work Does

In a November 2016 editorial, Let's make deporting the Dreamers Trump's worst nightmare, the New Jersey Star-Ledger wrote:

Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign by disparaging a very small minority -- undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
The 750,000 young immigrants known as "Dreamers" are not among them. They came here as children and "are, for all practical purposes, American kids," as President Obama said recently.
They've grown up with everyone else's kids, played on the same sports teams, sat in the same classrooms, been their play-dates and prom dates. They have work permits, Social Security cards, bank accounts and jobs. A UCLA study calculates that Dreamers will add $1.4 to $3.6 trillion in taxable income to our economy over the course of their careers.

Yet Trump has said he would "immediately terminate" the executive action that Obama signed four years ago to give the Dreamers protection from deportation [a promise Trump kept 10 months later].

I left these comments, edited and expanded for clarity:

A UCLA study calculates that Dreamers will add $1.4 to $3.6 trillion in taxable income to our economy over the course of their careers.

So? This collectivist argument is no justification for the Dream Act. The justification is moral. It is found in the Declaration of Independence, and chiselled into the base of the Statue of Liberty.  

First of all, taxes, by definition, is money first subtracted from the economy—i.e., taken by force from productive citizens who earned it—and transferred to government officials to spend as they, rather than the producers, think best. This is not to say that taxes, per se, are not necessary; or that all government expenditures are unsound (although most are). To have an economy—that is, millions of productive individuals trading for mutual advantage—you obviously need a government to protect individual rights by enforcing the rule of law. A government needs funding. (The ideal way to fund a government in a free society is through voluntary taxation. But that is a subject for another day.) But taxes, per se, do not add anything to the economy.

More importantly, I doubt very seriously that the Dreamers value America for how much they can contribute to the state, in the form of taxes. While all productive people provide benefits to “the economy”—i.e., others—I doubt they see themselves as cogs in some economic machine. Presumably, they want to remain here for the same reason all prior immigrants came here—the principle that made America great in the first place; to live in freedom and enjoy the rights to make their own lives the best they can be.

The Dreamers are by any practical measure Americans. As human beings, and as long as they are non-rights violating and law-abiding (notwithstanding their “undocumented” or “illegal” status), they have as much right to remain and build their lives in America as anybody—not because of their utility to “our economy,” but because of their inalienable rights to their own lives, liberty, and pursuits of personal happiness.

Related Reading:


Mike Kevitt said...

My understanding is that DACA is the instrument that lets 'Dreamers' stay here. 'Dreamers' have a right to be here. But, adults who sneak across the border anywhere in the middle of nowhere instead of at designated entry points for immigrants to enter are justifiably subject to deportation, even if they were law abiding and free of contagious disease before they sneaked in. If we have immigration 'laws' that turn immigrants away for other reasons, those 'laws' must be repealed and trashed, but it doesn't justify avoiding points of entry and sneaking in.

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

Granted. Also, many if not most undocumented or illegal immigrants who came here as adults entered legally, but overstayed their visas or merely changed jobs (which technically made them illegal).

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

Mike Kevitt said...

Those who entered legally must've been documented, but by overstaying their visas or by changing jobs, their documentation must've been made null and void, so they were no longer documented, so they became illegal. This is because of the so-called immigration 'laws' I mentioned, which need to be scraped. They should've been documented only as law abiding and free of contagious diseases, with no further requirements placed upon them. Just what is a visa, and what is the function of a visa, I wonder. I also wonder if all this accounts for any or all of the 11M hordes who swarmed over the border in the middle of nowhere.

I'll now call up the very long blog site you gave in your 2nd comment, above, to see what it yields.

Mke Kevitt said...

I've called up the very long blog site you mentioned in your 2nd. comment, above, and it took me only to the wisecrack style, sarcastic statement, that I came to a blind alley, try elsewhere. Whatever message you thunk you were leading me to, maybe you should briefly state it here, in your own words. What's a visa, and what's a visa for, I still wonder. Is a visa anything legitimate? And whaddabout the 11M. swarms that piled in over the border in the middle of nowhere, sneaking in, rather than coming to designated points of entry, up front and honest? Without feedback from anywhere in the 7.5B. apes out there, I'll just draw my own conclusions anyway, and I'll go from there.

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

My point was merely that not all undocumented immigrants snuck across the border anywhere in the middle of nowhere. They arrived legally. They should be re-registered. If they developed criminal records, they should be deported. Otherwise, they should be treated like traffic law violators—fined, and allowed to stay and go on living their lives.

Mike Kevitt said...

First, I apologize for the caustic nature of my last comment, above, although I did get a wisecrack, sarcastic statement from that place I called up, such place being solely responsible for any offence.

Now, I might seem nitpicky, but I'm not. My point was that, as far as I can tell, ALL undocumented immigrants sneaked across the border and arrived illegally, and their motives are suspect, even if it's 11M. of them who endured fantastic hardships to get here. Contrary to leading Objectivists, their motive might very well be to feed off the welfare trough and to subvert the very founding idea of this country, not to work for an honest living. I'm not sure they're like the immigrants of 100 or more years ago.

Whoever came to designated border crossings and were admitted, must've been given documentation right there. If they were disease free and law abiding and remained law abiding, why would their documentation ever expire, requiring re-registration? The only reason would be all the other unjustified requirements placed upon them, the very nature of which says time limits are ok, and so, time limits were placed. What's the function of time limits? Nothing, unless we place illegitimate requirements. Then, we have sitting ducks. But then the sitting ducks end up being those among us who adhere to this country's founding idea, not the immigrants, whether legal or illegal. It's the latest in the 'progressive' policy dating back to the late 19th. century. It's not a conspiracy. It's a pseudo-philosophical ramrod originating from the 'government' 'educational' establishment, from kindergarten thru PhD. putting out an entire culture of adult apes.

Those who arrived legally and got documentation, but whose documentation later 'expired', should be given a free pass (unless they developed a criminal record), no 'traffic ticket', no fine, with the illegitimate requirements removed. Their original 'registration' or documentation should be restored and re-activated by the authorities at government expense, and the authorities must give them legal, certified paperwork to that effect. The financial expense and the moral black eye works its way back to the taxpayer.