The economic senselessness of Trump’s DACA repeal

The Atlantic reports: The president’s statement makes it sound like Dreamers are often violent members of society who, even when they’re not committing crimes, are busy stealing native-born Americans’ jobs and draining scarce government resources. The facts, however, paint a starkly different picture. There is little evidence to suggest that Dreamers are more violent than average Americans, and criminals were never eligible for protection under DACA anyway. Instead, there is considerable evidence that Dreamers are productive members of society.

The typical Dreamer is young and employed at a job that earns about $17 per hour, according to an analysis by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. Dreamers pay taxes and are not eligible for federal welfare. As a result, far from being a drain on government, they are a boon. Cato estimates that ending DACA could cost Washington nearly $280 billion in lost tax revenue over the next decade.

Dreamers’ youth is an asset on its own, since the U.S., like most advanced economies, is beset by an aging population and a low natural birth rate. As the economist Paul Krugman points out, a slow-growing population hurts economic growth, exacerbating what economists fear might be long-term, or “secular” stagnation. This is a lesson that Europe and Japan have learned all too well after many years of lackluster GDP growth. “What would make secular stagnation more of a problem?” Krugman asks. “Hey, let’s expel hundreds of thousands of young people from the current and future work force.”

As a group, Dreamers over the age of 25 are more than twice as likely to start a new business than the national average, according to a survey from the left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP). The same survey found that more than 90 percent of Dreamers over the age of 25 are currently employed, and, on average, they work 40 hours a week and earn an annual income of $37,000. More than 98 percent of them speak English, and more than 70 percent of them are pursuing (or have attained) a bachelor’s degree. Since the initiative was signed, these young people have increased their college enrollment, found better jobs, and earned more money.

This is the group that the president’s note has accused of being overrun by gang members and criminals. For an administration that has been accused of sympathizing with white supremacy, it may significant to point out that less than 2 percent of Dreamers self-identified as white in the CAP survey. More than 90 percent said their ethnicity was “Hispanic/Latino.” [Continue reading…]

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