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Heritage and its critics agree: Amnesty is a drain on taxpayers

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Immigration,Heritage Foundation,Amnesty

Shortly after the Heritage Foundation released its controversial cost-of-amnesty report, former National Economic Council Director Keith Hennessey wrote a highly critical response disputing Heritage’s final $6.3 trillion price tag.

Thursday, Heritage’s Vice President, Domestic & Economic Policy Derrick Morgan issued a lengthy response to Hennessey, and Hennessey has since graciously acknowledged he made some mistakes in his original response, and has admitted that he and Heritage agree on many core facts. Here is the list, from Hennessey, on what he and the Heritage Foundation agree on:

  • Making legal those now here illegally would increase government spending and deficits. This is because much of this population is low-income, and the benefits they would receive from government exceed the taxes they would pay.
  • Therefore, as Heritage frames it, “amnesty will cost taxpayers.”
  • It is highly unlikely that the additional economic growth resulting from making these folks legal would offset these costs, especially because governments would capture only a small fraction of that additional growth.

None of these admissions mean that Hennessey agrees with Heritage’s $6.3 trillion price tag at all. He still strongly objects to the lack of discounting the future costs and benefits, and he believes Heritage should have given amnestied immigrants a bigger bump in post-amnesty income than they already did.

Hennessey does not offer a counter amnesty price tag, but everyone does seem to agree on one thing: Amnesty will cost current taxpayers.

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