CBO on Migrant Workers

Bruce Krasting's picture

I came across this slide from the Census Bureau.

When you do the calculations on births/deaths/migrant workers you get the following results:

Annual births: 4.5mm
Annual deaths:2.9mm
Net change: 1.6mm
Net new migrant workers 790,000

From this one gets the total increase in population at ~2.6mm. Fully one-third of that growth comes from foreign immigrant workers.
I was surprised to see how big the migrant worker side of the equation
was. That comes to 66,000 a month. If you follow the monthly Non-Farms
Payroll report you know that there have been many months that we don’t
create that many net new jobs.

Our friends at the Congressional Budget Office just happened to have issued a report on this subject on Friday. Catchy title:

A slide that I thought was interesting shows just how much money is leaving the country from those foreign migrant workers:

The total came to $66 billion in 2009. That is a very big number. Of the
$31b that left the shores to go south of the border $20b ended up in
Mexico. Asia was the beneficiary of $17b of inward money flows. Of that,
$3.2b went to China. China manages to suck the blood out of the USA
every which way. We send them our money for interest on our debt. We
send them money for everything we buy from them. And those who come to
work here send back a few billion more.

Allow me to “play” with these numbers a bit. I believe that the vast
majority of the money going to Latin America (31b) is from undocumented
workers. The same is true for the $5b going to Africa. I will assume a
conservative estimate that only 50% of the $17b going to Asia is from
illegal workers (9b). I will be generous and exclude all of the money
(total 15b) going to Canada, Europe and the Middle East (there are many
undocumented workers in this set). My conservative estimate is that
~$45b a year is leaving the country from undocumented workers.

A question is, “How much of an illegal workers pay is being sent back home?” My answer to that is: “Somewhere between 0 and 50%".
Call it 25%. This means that a worker sends home one week of wages for
every month that they are here. I actually think the percent number is
lower. It is hard to get by in America with just three weeks of wages a
month. The savings rate for Americans is less than 5%.

If you accept my (conservative) one week in four argument then you can
conclude that the total wages being paid to these workers is ~$180b a
year (4 x 45b). That is a very substantial amount of money.

The average legal worker pays 7% in Social Security and other FICA
taxes. The average Federal tax rate is about 20% and the average state
income tax is another 5%. It comes to about 33 cents on the dollar.

Put that together and you get lost tax revenue of ~$60b (180*.33). I
think this is a pretty good estimate given that I excluded the $15b
going to Europe/Canada and 50% of Asia. But I will ‘haircut’ this
estimate down to $50b a year. That still is a hell of lot of money.

-A ½ Trillion over the next decade would be very welcome.

-$50b a year would solve all of the state’s problems if the money were committed to them over a long period of time.

-$50b a year would be a hell of a down payment on the energy infrastructure build out that we so desperately need.

-$50b a year would turn Social Security into a perpetual “pay as you go
system”. We could forget about any funding shorts falls forever.

-$50b a year would go a very long way to bring our educational system back up to par.

What would you do with an extra $50b a year? Let’s face it, we need this money and it would be very helpful if we had it.

The bottom line is that America needs immigrant workers. We also need
the tax dollars that come from the wages that are paid. We don’t need to
have all this money just leak out of they system while the social costs
of illegal workers stay in country.

This is America’s Black Economy. It stares us in the face every
day. For the life of me I can’t figure why we don’t confront the
problem. But notice that neither the Republican nor the Democrats have
even raised it as an issue for 2011. They are too busy fighting over
budget cuts, yet there is a big bucket of money right at their feet.

We don’t need to solve the broad immigration problem today. That is a
very complex/emotive task. We should start the process by making sure
that illegal workers pay their taxes. Just like the natural American
workers do.


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XRAYD's picture

How much money have US Corporations invested abroad, to use cheaper labor there? They do make profits there, which many choose not to remit back to the US because they prefer not to pay taxes on it .... ! But some of these profits are brought back, and reflected in the stock prices of such companies.

Victor Berry's picture

Forget the illegal immigrant bashing!  The problem is our growing black market economy which consists of cash only transactions.  We're all guilty, too!

From the neighborhood mechanics who are paid cash money for minor auto repairs to the donut shop owners who don't ring up all sales of a dozen donuts to the tree trimming crews who work for cash only to the local topless dancers who can't be tipped with a credit card or check ... there's at least one American citizen involved on one end of each of these untaxed cash transactions. 

FeralSerf's picture

Not to worry!  The gov't has come up with a solution.  The price of, e.g. bread will escalate to $100 per loaf.  No bills larger and $100 will be printed in the future.  If you want anything bigger, you'll need your ATM card which will be very carefully monitored to make sure you and all the rest of The Sheep pay their dues to TPTB, incl. gov't, the financial and insurance industries and the rest of the current "necessities of life" (sans bread).

Your required health insurance may not cover dying from lack of food or shelter.  That's too bad.

You will be happy to know that the poor Mexican illegal immigrants will be fucked too.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

When the government enforces the border, I'll worry about that. Until then, fuck them.

velobabe's picture

i lived for a long time in a town that was very service orientated. latinos and whites, doing all the service work for the elites. it is an amazing system. one mcmansion i heard, takes about 10 service people a day to sustain the life of the rich, and property. more probably. i like to get to know these people, a lot more than the elites they worked for. they care about the job that they are doing. i don't care what any body does unless they do their best. they take pride in bagging your damn groceries, they care about the fruits and vegetables more than the pigs that woof it down at the table. white people that hire all of their labor out, are the ones that loss. health and soul less. i do believe a majority of the people of color in this particular environment i was living for so long, sell and do drugs. usually a car accident involved a non legal. i don't know why i wrote that down, but they have to drive around shitty cars, that aren't safe. survival is tough then you die†

rxmitch's picture

what hapened to the search engine on this sight?

10kby2k's picture

Allow in only Hot female aliens.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

Amen. We should be able to get something positive out of this total failure of our federal government to do their fucking job.

10kby2k's picture

Allow in only Hot female aliens.

anony's picture

This bares (sic) repetering.

PulauHantu29's picture

Sadly, little hard labor work would get done in America if not for the Mexican workers.

anony's picture

Maybe more american men, women, and children would get off their fat asses, their electronics, distractions or amusements and spend some time mowing their own fucking lawn, watching their own kids, building something, or maintaining their own caves instead of parcelling out their dirty work.

Many benefits derive from a 'shortage' of labor rather than an excess of it. 

Think about tens of millions of indolent-ass teenagers actually forced by circumstances to earn their Ipod money.  Think about the end of obesity, the weigh lost, the diabetes prevented, the ability to tell health care companies to kiss our collective ASSes.



JR's picture

There’s another side to the story, anony (btw, I always enjoy your comments).

Want to work your way through college?  Those bankers earning 8% on college loans are making sure you can’t find a job by bringing in workers to take away your part-time or summer job opportunities.

Teenage unemployment, according to LiveScience, is at an all-time high, hitting 26.1 percent in July.of 2010.

Summer and after-school jobs have been in decline for the past decade, said Andrew Sum, an economist and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. In June 2000, according to Sum's research, 51 percent of teenagers had jobs... July's official unemployment number, which only includes teenagers who are still looking for work not those who have given up searching, was higher than for any other age group in the country.”

"Said Sum: "I've been working on youth issues now for 40 years and never has anything ever been this bad.’"

And speaking of obesity, according to facts from The Heritage Foundation about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau:

"’Poor’ American children eat more meat than higher-income American children and average protein intake 100 percent above the recommended levels. Obesity is the predominant health hazard to America's ‘poor’ children."

To be defined as "poor," the government does not count as "income" any income received from the government. If you get food stamps or WIC payments or Section 8 housing subsidies or a disability check, this income does not count as income

anony's picture

If I put up a sign in my front yard advertising for a lawn mower (if the borough would allow it) I would get no meaningful response. And the prices I'm likely to hear will be somewhere near what a lawn service would charge.

If some teenager actually came up to my front door and said, I'll shovel your snow 15 times for $450.00 I'd probably faint.

Teens want to 'work' at that which requires the least effort on their part and pays extremely well and is 'steady' work and they spurn actually having to go out ask for work. 

But cutting my own and shoveling my own, is great for me personally in the health benefits, and saving the money.

The parents of the teens that I know would be very critical of me paying their kid minimum wage or even double, plus a tip.

When the Labor market studies publish numbers I wonder who they talk to to obtain them.

I don't doubt that corporate summer and part-time jobs in many cities are down substantially, but I think there are plenty of opportunities for teens to get entrepeneurial and create their own jobs, sell themselves (can't you just hear th screams at having to do that?) and market their business, energy, and willingness to work for a rate that is competitive to other services.




thegr8whorebabylon's picture

Bruce, tree, forest.  capisch? 

OT, but as regards to the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, my sources say that a man from Egypt will come up with an equitable solution and there will be peace.

But he will really be the Antichrist, and if you even look at his image or listen to him, you will be lost, for he is infinitely seductive, logical and convincing. 

Then everybody gets the chip in exchange for a one world government, and in the chip is a little  frequency trick that makes you hear  and do things.

Then nonconforming types are nuked.

But, when all seems lost God prevails, and those left on earth, estimated to be about 1/4 to 1/3 of the existing population live in the era of peace, 1,000 years.

Just a heads up from, 'that kinda crazy', yes I am.

Lapri's picture

$50 billion in the hands of Obama and Pelosi and their ilk, or Bush and Cheney before them, is simply a gigantic waste.

and "The bottom line is that America needs immigrant workers"?

Really. For work or for certain people to "advocate" for them?

dexter_morgan's picture

This crap about no labor getting dome if not for migrant workers kills me. You'd be amazed what labor people will do if no other viable choice.

I'll take "we need them for certain people to advocate for them" for $100, Alex.

anony's picture

I'm unjunking ya. Why ZH doesn't have an unjunk or a thumbs up makes me ever more suspicious that this board is run by chronic depressives, with unipolar (and it ain't the North one) catastrophic disorder fantasies.

You're absolutely right about not having any alternatives BUT to work at labor they find odious.

Zero Govt's picture

Brucie Baby

You write, "The total came to $66 billion in 2009 ....$31b left our shores.."

Your anti-migrant maths are dumber than an environmentalists or a Govt consultancy paper. Why? Because that $61bn is value paid by US companies to its staff. In return US companies gleaned considerably more value from their migrant workers work or they would not have employed them. 

As a rule of thumb staff costs are below 5% of most companies turnover. So assume of $61bn costs in migrant workers the companies gleaned 20x that ($1,200bn) from their work (peoples labour and brains are what makes a company tickover).

Not for the first time you are an idiot. And I would add of the $31bn you claim they shipped abroad what do you think is the value of US workers spend abroad on imported goods, foreign holidays etc. How much does the US Govt ship abroad to fund crony Govts, terrorism and prop up puppet Govts like Afghanistans (one Afghan official alone was carrying $42m in a suitcase into the Emirates) 

It's estimated something like 35% of the US Govts interest payments on its debt is now shipped abroad. I also understand a similar figure is being shipped abroad with QE1, QE Lite and QE2 which has now run into $Trillions.

What do you want the US Govt, the biggest wealth and job destroyer in America, to do about it Brucie Baby?

Bruce Krasting's picture

You think I just make this stuff up? I don't "claim" anything in this. The numbers I used are from the CBO report. If you don't like them I suggest you contact the CBO.

The link is there. Read it and stop making silly assertions.

anony's picture

WADR, bruce, using the low hanging fruit of government and other purported data miners, is forever compromised to the point where cynicism drops away like the first stage of an inner space bound rocket. All that's left is complete disbelief.

Using those numbers in a blog makes those unfettered cynics--- like Anony--- and others automatically reject all deductions and extraps derived from them.    


Miss anthrope's picture

Bruce :

Around here I work with so many Asian Muslims  on H1B's , Finally figured out one thing.... if they have the title "manager" then they are eligible to get a work visa!  So the community started a foundation , a non-profit at that., and  all the board members bring over their tribe and give them a "manager" title even though they have no IDEA what management IS.  They in turn bring all their family, mother's fathers, etc. etc.

Of course it goes without saying they are paid well below the going wage.... but then again I can't say that the actual position would even be there if they weren't actively conducting this whole operation to infiltrate the U.S.  The only thing I see is that the muslims do "take care of their own".  They have their own internal operations at their mosque for lending, etc., welfare, on and on.  I recently discovered that they don't contribute to S.S.       I BELIEVE, and I may be wrong, but I believe they have a religious exemption since they provide their own old-age type of insurance.  I think the Quakers also have this. 

I would like to know for sure.  Maybe I should investigate and write an article on it. ... Definitely will be difficult to get the real information in writing.

Stuck on Zero's picture

A few good things:  The illegals become citizens when they have their babies here at taxpayers expense.  That's 50% of all births in L.A.  Also, they get to collect Social Security.  If they need a warm cozy place to stay they can knock over a few banks and get to stay in jail.  Somewhere near 40% of California inmates are illegals.  The good part for U.S. citizens is that about 1% of migrant workers work in agriculture for very little money.  When they're injured, of course, they get free hospitalization.  All this thanks to Congress and your money. 

FeralSerf's picture

Nonsense! Illegal immigrants do not get citizenship by having a child in the US.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

California is already a write-off. Consider it the newest Mexican state.

gwar5's picture

"It's absurd for America to think they can rebuild their economy with millions of fruit pickers."  

--- Lee Kuan Yew, former president of Singapore and architect of their economic miracle

We throw out thousands of foreign graduate students in engineering, math, law, medicine, and business every single year. We simply make the best and the brightest of the world go away by enforcing strict limits on the graduates of our colleges. Yet, we lure unlimited numbers of uneducated economic refugees to come here for the welfare benefits.   

StychoKiller's picture

Open Borders or Welfare benefits:  Choose one, you cannot have both!

FeralSerf's picture

Sure you can. Western Europe is an example that has both.  And universal health care too.  America could have this if it would delete the Wall St. welfare and at least half of the military expense.   Foreign bases and military entanglements are no longer affordable.

Freddie's picture

Illegals are costing California at least $20 billion a year in costs. This does not include money going out of the country.

albertchampion@yahoo.com's picture

living in texas, i have been observing the volcanic eruption of hispanics in the major texas urban metropoli and their satellite municipalities.

and there is no way that this eruption can be the result of "legals". talking about that situation with a very knowledgeable attorney in montgomery county, he confirmed my observations - that there is really no immigration enforcement. and that there is no systematic pursuit of the corps that employ the "illegals".

to me, it is pretty clear that the usg paid attention to ben wattenberg's analysis of the declining anglo/black birth rate some decades ago and determined that "illegal immigration" had to be allowed so as to counteract that anglo/black reluctance to procreate prolifically.

this is an odd solution to the real problem, in my view, because the declining birth rate is a direct consequence of a cascading decline in the us standard of living. a situation which very few care to discuss. as i have viewed it in my lifetime, in the 1950's, almost all families had more than one child. today, i think that going beyond one child for a anglo/black family is not normative behavior.

to me, the solution is clear. end the imperial illusions. shut down the military industrial/bankster looting. try to put the genie back in the bottle.


cpgone's picture

Kick out all the illegals and their spawn ASAP.

Eliminate all work visas for 5 years.

But its peanuts compared to the bankster heist.

JR's picture

We don’t need to solve the broad immigration problem today. That is a very complex/emotive task.  – Bruce Krastings

Yes, we do; just how much longer do you think this country will survive a turnover of its culture, employment, wealth and government?

The wave after wave of legal and illegal immigrants from Mexico alone is having major negative impacts on communities in every state.  And to ignore a development that is so serious that it literally transforms the American system is to pretend that a peoples’ aspiration for their lives and their future is of absolutely no importance; whether it be the hopes or dreams of Mexicans or Americans, respectively.

How many Chicago elections, how many Rahm Emanuels, are we willing to have if we continue to delay this national suicide?  Since 2000, Latinos have accounted for almost all of the popultion growth in the Chicago metropolitian region. One out of every four people in the region is of Latino origin, according to the Census. Nearly 40 percent of the population is black.

According to the study, An Alarming Percentage of Hispanic Youth in the Chicago Metro Area Are Dropouts and Jobless, Design for Change 2003: In 2000, more than 90% of all Hispanics in Illinois lived in the Chicago Metro Area… By 2025, the Hispanic population of Illinois is projected by the U.S. Census Bureau to grow from 1,530,000 to 2,275,000 – an additional 50% increase.

Chicago has the fifth highest foreign-born population in the country…at times, 1000 Latinos were being flown from Mexico into the Chicago area every week. As of the 2000 United States Census, more than half the population of the state of Illinois lives in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Rahm Emanuel stands for high taxes, banker control, and widespread empowerment of minorities and wealth transfer – as did all the high-vote-getting Chicago mayoral candidates.

And there are those who say the solution to illegal immigration is too complex to be handled now.

Bruce Krasting's picture

Well, I took some heat with this one. Fair enough. I don't do this to make new friends. A number suggest that my attitude was racist. Tough to answer that. My record:

There are five people that came from Central America that have become US citizens as result of my intervention. I sponsored them. It is a long process. It requires a lawyer. I paid the fees in each case. There are significant records required. I filled out the papers and filed/paid all the taxes. They are all now legal. They have real SSN #s and pay taxes. Their kids go to school. Their parents pay property taxes. They have insurance as they (still) work very hard.

Why would I do that? Because I saw these were good people and I would not let them work for me unless they got "on the books". I helped people out. I played by the rules.

I am Godfather to one boy. Not a small matter. His mother is from Ecuador. She is on the 'list'. Whatever else I am. I'm not a racist.

Bruce Krasting


infinity8's picture

Bruce, I love ya, baby. If you post, I read. And I don't think you're a racist.

My thing on this issue is, if somebody is "under the radar" (and mean it, are good at it) then, they're just that. So, how is it possible to have any reliable numbers on this? How many white-bread American Citizens (like myself, Irish/Italian whose family came here legally about 100 yrs ago) are working under the table? As in not paying taxes on how much income? Granted, most of that $ is being spent on our soil vs. sent to the Motherland. But, from a tax standpoint, how is it any different? And I'm willing to bet that us natural whiteys banking under the table still outnumber the illegals.

infinity8's picture

okay, I do seasonal tax prep. Even in a small midwestern town, we do A LOT of business with illegals filing returns. Here's this about ITIN's from IRS's website:

What is an ITIN?
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. It is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a range of 70-88 in the fourth and fifth digit, example 9XX-70-XXXX.
IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.
Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an ITIN, unless they meet an exception.

What is an ITIN used for?
ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose. IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs). 
An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Most of these folks have W2's w/withholdings allocated to a SSN that's no good (they buy it from some asshole when they get here thinking they need to). The IRS doesn't give a shit about their status so long as they can justify the books and I have no idea what kind of reporting then takes place to INS. The people who want to file want to be citizens, ultimately, and think they're doing "the right thing". Per IRS rules, they can claim dependents that live in Mexico (or Canada). Often, they are due a refund because they are low income.

Having said that, how many have withholdings going to limbo because they never file? It's not the illegals bringing this country down, sorry.

p.s. - after a few meat-processing facilities in the midwest got in some big trouble w/Mexican illegals back in '07- '08, a lot of those jobs have gone to African immigrants on visas.

sethstorm's picture

This is America’s Black Economy. It stares us in the face every day. For the life of me I can’t figure why we don’t confront the problem. But notice that neither the Republican nor the Democrats have even raised it as an issue for 2011. They are too busy fighting over budget cuts, yet there is a big bucket of money right at their feet.

Rewarding illegal behavior such as this makes it worse.  Enforcement needs to catch up such that it is an actual problem for someone to be associated with it.  You would be better served by helping the legitimate set of citizens already in our country - for they are a much larger bucket of money.

lindaamick's picture

I can not speak knowledgeably about Asian immigrants but I can say this about south of the border migrants and African migrants:

1) it is virtually impossible for an African to sneak into the US undocumented.  They can visit but do not have an "established" market for getting work as illegals.  The Africans here, are in the majority refugees from war-torn countries.  They have green cards and eventually become citizens.  They DO send about 1/3 of their earning back to their families and clans in Africa.  They have social security numbers and pay taxes.

2) illegal migrants from south of the border are enabled by big corporations such as meat packers (Tyson etc), Ag firms (Monsanto) and other multinationals who want cheap labor.  The jobs they do are awful and the pay is not commensurate with the work.  Americans are not YET interested in working in the fields nor working in meat packing plants for poor wages.  It is dangerous and the environments are abusive, however this group does send a large portion of their wage home to provide for family members. 

Instead of picking on this group of third world citizens who work hard and are driven by NEED, why not attack the speculators and wall street types that make millions and provide NOTHING of value to society?



Freddie's picture

Nice attempt to change the subject.  We got the same left wing nonsense when idiots here defended greedy govt unions and said "we should attack the speculators and banksters."   America is broke and illegals and recent immigrants get ENDLESS benefits.  


AnAnonymous's picture

America is broke and illegals and recent immigrants get ENDLESS benefits.  


Losing entitlements is tough stage.

dexter_morgan's picture

Freddie, weird isn't it? This is a forum of "investors" and fund managers and people interested in that kind of stuff,  and yet many times (have been visiting for much longer than I have had an account) I leave it wondering if I had just been visiting the DNC website or the AFL-CIO website. All kind of weird.........

michigan independant's picture

"We should start the process by making sure that illegal workers pay their taxes. Just like the natural American workers do."

I have heard this all my life.


pitz's picture

The H1-B visa has ruined the engineering careers of over a million Americans in the past decade, and suppressed the wages of those who are able to hang on.  Green cards are handed out like candy based on fraudulent labour certifications.  Time to take this country back from the traitors and the immigrants they illegally import.

Clycntct's picture

pitz it looks like a pretty clear statement to me. So for that I must counter the  neg vote With a +.

"Time to take this country back from the traitors and the immigrants they illegally import."

SmittyinLA's picture

Don't forget a large % of those workers eventually get legal residency and or citizenship along with their children and eventually get citizenship through their children adding to the pool of unfunded SS & medicate liabilities growing at 20 trillion dollars a year.

The growth of unfunded liabilities dwarfs all other deficits and is America's single biggest economic threat. 


On another note Blacks & Hispanics have 200-400% higher diabetes rates than whites adding a further burden on Medicare and medicaid and disability cost. 



G-R-U-N-T's picture

"The growth of unfunded liabilities dwarfs all other deficits and is America's single biggest economic threat."

Hyperinflation will change the face of America very soon rendering unfunded liabilities as irrelevant!

Crumbles's picture

Yeah, shurrrrr; if your skin is dark you're forced to eat too much. NEVER happen to a whitie. /sarc off

Idiot troll.



UninterestedObserver's picture

LOL moron he quoted a fact go look it up