CBO Analysis Confirms: Gang of Eight Bill Is a Disaster

The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Gang of Eight’s immigration proposal today, and spinning is in full swing. The fact is, however, that the basic facts can’t be spun: the bill is a disaster.

As with Obamacare, the Gang structured its bill to make it “score” artificially well from a budget perspective. They did this by delaying the newly legalized immigrants’ eligibility for most federal welfare benefits for ten years, which takes those benefits outside of the ten-year window that is scored by the CBO. But that cosmetic shift did little to conceal the plan’s baleful effects. Here are the main points of the CBO analysis:

The CBO confirms that the bill provides for a vast influx of new, legal immigration. The Senate Budget Committee says:

CBO projects 16 million new immigrants will be added by 2033 on top of the current law projected flow of 22 million and that 8 million illegal immigrants will be granted permanent status – for a total of 46 million legal immigrants, including a doubling of guest workers to 1.6 million in a single year.

Contrary to the claims of the bill’s sponsors, this influx will be overwhelmingly low-skilled. The CBO says:

[T]he new workers would be less skilled and have lower wages, on average, than the labor force under current law.

The result is that unemployment will increase, and wages will be driven down, for America’s existing blue collar work force:

Taking into account all of those flows of new immigrants, CBO and JCT expect that a greater number of immigrants with lower skills than with higher skills would be added to the workforce, slightly pushing down the average wage for the labor force as a whole… However, CBO and JCT expect that currently unauthorized workers who would obtain legal status under S. 744 would see an increase in their average wages.

Terrific: the only ones who would gain would be those who came here illegally, while native born workers would suffer. The CBO report continues:

[T]he average wage would be lower than under current law over the first dozen years. … CBO estimates that S. 744 would cause the unemployment rate to increase slightly between 2014 and 2020.

Behind these rather antiseptic observations lies a human tragedy: falling wages and rising unemployment for the very segment of American society that has struggled the most in recent years. On top of that, the nation’s welfare system will be severely strained. While newly-legalized immigrants will not immediately be eligible for federal welfare benefits, that does not apply at the state and local levels. Those welfare systems will be overwhelmed with millions of new claimants–the cost to be borne, of course, by the taxpayers.

I don’t doubt that the CBO’s report understates the extent of the devastation that will be wrought by the Gang’s legislation, but the picture it paints is clear enough. Why, one wonders, would anyone support such a destructive proposal? Anyone, that is, other than a Democratic politician who is salivating at the thought of millions of new Democrat voters?

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