For those who wondered how Jim DeMint would fare at the Heritage Foundation, now you know: he’s taking a conservative think tank and putting it in the tank with dodgy studies against free markets in labor.
How? Start with a ludicrous, astronomically-high claim against immigration and ignore the benefits entirely:
The Heritage paper, chock-full of assumptions that most economists dispute, is a blatant attempt to twist the immigration debate. It concludes that newly legalized immigrants would cost $6.3 trillion more in benefits over their lifetime than they would pay in taxes. (That’s $5.3 trillion more than they would cost without legalization, the think tank said.) The study updates a similar one by Heritage in 2007, which pegged the fiscal cost of amnesty at that time at a mere $2.6 trillion.
There’s no question that granting the full range of government benefits to illegal immigrants — even if they become eligible for citizenship 13 or 15 years from now — will impose long-range fiscal costs. However, most economists say the costs of illegal immigration would be far outweighed by the benefits of legalization for overall economic activity, growth, business start-ups and labor market efficiency.
Jennifer Rubin has it right:
However the debate turns out, one hopes that real scholars at Heritage and its supporters reject the slovenly work in the Heritage report and reaffirm the conservative message that more workers create more wealth, higher incomes and upward mobility. For if they do not, then virtually all their criticism of the Obama administration has been wrong and free markets (for labor and goods) are a cruel farce.