It's The Immigrants, Stupid?

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, May 28, 2024 - 09:20 PM

While the Biden administration insists Americans shouldn't believe their lying bank accounts amid 'strong growth and low unemployment,' guess who's actually been benefiting? (Regular ZeroHedge readers already know)

You guessed it - 'the controlled influx of immigrants into the US across the southern border,' as Trend Macrolytics CIO Donald Luskin pens in a WSJ op-ed - though his conclusion was not well received by readers.

Consider the 3.2 million increase in the foreign-born adult population in the U.S. in the 21 months since July 2022. We start at that date because it gives us a clean slate, free from the effects of the pandemic lockdown and reopening. And this period captures the full effect of the Biden administration’s loose border policies.

Over that period, foreign-born employment has increased 1.8 million—meaning that roughly 56% of the 3.2 million new foreign-born adult population became employed. Setting aside the political matter of how much of this employment is legal, the stereotype that immigrants don’t or can’t work appears to be false.

The figures, contained within the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly household survey, are collected through door-to-door census of 60,000 households in which respondents are asked whether they're native or foreign born (but not whether they're here illegally!). Luskin notes that illegal aliens are probably less likely to answer a knock at the door, so BLS probably undercounts them.

Even so, foreign-born individuals represent 80% of the 4.1 million increase in America's adult population since July 2022, and 71% of the 2.5 million new jobs. In short, without new foreign-born workers, total US job growth under Biden during this period would have been roughly 86,000 less each month - or 724,000 jobs added vs. 2.52 million. So without illegal immigrants, the economy would have grown less than a third as much since July 2022.

According to Luskin;

It’s a catastrophe of lawlessness and maladministration. But it appears to have contributed to a strong labor market and to economic growth.


[A] border crackdown such as Donald Trump has proposed could end up leading to slower growth. Whoever is president in 2025 will need to take great care in balancing these urgent interests.

As we noted in March, there has been virtually zero job creation for native-born workers since the summer of 2018...

... and that since Joe Biden was sworn into office, most of the post-pandemic job gains the administration continuously brags about have gone foreign-born workers.

Luskin suggests, therefore, that the new, foreign-born adults are diluting the productivity of the US economy by arriving with few skills and poor English, however "the economy needs many low-skill workers, and they rapidly acquire skills on the job, so they will surely contribute to productivity growth in the future."

So, "It would seem that in purely economic terms, and at least for the moment, the Biden administration’s loose border policy is a feature, not a bug."

That said, the Biden administration isn't exactly bragging about this influx of future Democrat voters.

In a February Pew poll, 77% of Americans said that the southern border is either a “crisis” or a “major problem.” Even 62% of Democrats agreed. People see the bug, not the features, because the boom in job growth from immigration is, by definition, experienced by people most Americans here already don’t know—and, presumably, who won’t be able to vote this November. And even with his own political base, it would be awkward for Mr. Biden to argue that he has produced economic growth via laissez-faire deregulation at the border.

Such a policy is unsustainable in any case. Under capitalism, economic growth depends on trust—on the ability of economic participants to rely on others’ adherence to a set of defined and stable rules. The ad hoc lawlessness of the Biden border policy undermines that, and unless it can be stabilized it will be corrosive to long-term growth prospects. On the other hand, a border crackdown such as Donald Trump has proposed could end up leading to slower growth. Whoever is president in 2025 will need to take great care in balancing these urgent interests. -WSJ

The comments section ain't buyin' it...

In response to Luskin, WSJ readers had some choice words:

...I'm not buying it, Mr. Luskin.  The economy boomed under Trump, when the number immigrants entering the country illegally was much lower.

The growth in the Biden economy (and the Trump economy, without inflation) is due to the positive impact and incentives provided by the significant reduction in corporate taxes put in place by Trump in 2018...

*  *  *

...There’s nothing wrong with immigration. Even lots of it. There is everything wrong with illegal immigration and millions of people coming across the border who cannot legally work and can only become burdens to the states and cities until some unknown future date when they may or may not become legal residents. Just listen to the howling cries of New York and other self declared sanctuary cities demanding millions of Federal taxpayer dollars to help them care for the illegals if you think losing control of our country’s border is beneficial. And it’s not just about immigrants. It’s about known terrorist, human traffickers and drugs pouring across the open border. Yes, legal immigrants are good. Biden is a disaster...

*  *  *

...This article makes no sense. Sounds like a backhanded defense of Biden's open border touting an economic boom. No mention of the cost of food, housing, medical, etc. of the illegals. The Rule of Law is critical to the success of America, which with this open border is being destroyed. What about the cost of additional police with the additional 10 million that have entered the country. The economy is strong because of the still alive entrepreneural and corporations that drive the country and create wealth. The opposite has been true under Biden with his inflation that hurts everyone and his arming the bureaucracy to increase the rules that make it tougher to run a business, not even including the wasted billions on the green nonsense. This article is wrong about everything it says and it's claiming the Biden economy is creating an economic miracle is a joke..."

*  *  *

...What a silly "conclusion:" - widespread law breaking, overstretch of welfare resources, destruction of public facilities, swamping schools that are already underperforming?  Those are the facts of Biden's open borders, not some sort of indirect economic benefit. What are all these jobs? Housekeeping? Janitorial? Maybe farm workers? And how much is each one of these new "workers" costing us? Food, housing, healthcare, education, crime? So what is the "net benefit"?  None...

Perhaps Lusk needs to go back to the drawing board.