In an editorial published yesterday in Forbes magazine, immigration policy analyst David Bier details the vital contribution that low-skilled immigrant workers offer the American economy. According to Biers, this group of workers is critical to America’s future competitiveness, yet has received little GOP attention compared to high-skilled workers from Asia to whom Mitt Romney is promising green cards. “This disparate treatment,” writes Biers, “stems from a fundamentally flawed view of the economy.”
Low-skilled immigrants are often thought of as an economic burden because they produce few income taxes. However, according to Biers, low wage earners contribute to the economy and government budgets by allowing Americans to specialize in more productive endeavors.
Furthermore, Biers writes that, “Allowing people to reside where their work is most valuable creates even more economic growth, which means U.S. companies make more sales—including sales to low-skilled workers. More sales equal larger economies of scale, which lowers per-unit costs of production for businesses and cuts prices for consumers. Economies of scale allow consumers to spend, save, and invest more of their money, which leads to more (taxable) economic activity that benefits everyone.”
Lastly, Biers counters the economic burden myth by outlining the ways in which low wage workers actually do pay taxes. They pay not just regressive sales taxes, payroll taxes, and others that target them directly, but they also indirectly bear the cost of those aimed at the rich.