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Samuelson Raises Possibility That High Immigration Being Used To Promote Income Redistribution


Perhaps no opinion leader in America more defines true middle-ground, objective thinking about economic matters than nationally syndicated columnist Robert J. Samuelson. He simply does not fit in either left-wing or right-wing ideological camps, and his analysis is always based primarily on a clear-eyed view of hard data. On immigration, he also stands between the major camps. So, his latest comments on immigration are most interesting.

Samuelson is concerned about the Obama Administration's proposals to redefine poverty so that millions more people would be categorized as poor.

Most of his interesting comments do not involve the focus of this website. But he does note that most discussions and even statistics about poverty in America over the last few decades are "misleading."

He gives two big trends that create such a misleading situation. One of them is immigration.

First, it ignores immigration, which has increased reported poverty. Many immigrants are poor and low-skilled.

Samuelson tells his national audience -- including in Newsweek -- that poverty is much worse in this country because we have imported so much of it from other countries through our immigration system:

From 1989 to 2007, about three-quarters of the increase in the poverty population occurred among Hispanics -- mostly immigrants, their children and grandchildren.

One would think that think tanks, universities, government experts and politicians would question whether a program that produces so much additional poverty should be continued -- at least whether it should be continued at a level that is four times higher than the country's annual average 1776-1976 and four times higher than occurred in the last part of that in the 1950s and 1960s.

Samuelson bluntly gives the reason why all those experts don't question:

Poverty 'experts' don't dwell on immigration, because it implies that more restrictive policies might reduce U.S. poverty.

For some reason, nearly all of our policy elites in think tanks, universities, government agencies and political office are so wedded to high immigration that they would rather keep adding to poverty than to acknowledge the problem and have to be confronted with the possible option of reducing immigration.

Samuelson offers the reader a reason why this might true.

He quotes Robert Rector (one of the few Washington opinion elites who actually looked at the data and decided immigration policy had to be changed). Rector suggests that all the various things that are defining and creating larger populations in poverty in the United States are also serving the interests of those who desire to see more income redistribution, to which Samuelson says:

He has a point.

For liberal backers of mass immigration, Samuelson's comments have to raise questions about why they would promote a policy that makes the United States a place of so much greater economic disparity.

For the conservative backers of mass immigration (who have control of the national Republican Party machinery), one has to ask why they would continue to promote a policy that every year creates more and more pressure for bigger and bigger government and greater and greater income redistribution.

ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA

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