A new CBO study estimates that passing the Senate immigration reform bill would lead to a net increase of 10.4 million people residing in the United States — this compared to the projected increase if things were to stay the same.
It should be noted that the number does not include around 1.6 million temporary workers and their dependents, nor does it include the 8 million illegal immigrants the CBO says would gain legal status if the bill passed. Those people ???would not affect the size of the U.S. population???.
The CBO also claims the bill would increase direct federal spending by $262 billion from 2014???2023, but that revenues would increase by $459 billion over the same period. Supposedly the bill would lower deficits by $700 billion in 2023-33.
The increase in the number of legal residents stemming from the bill would boost direct spending for federal benefit programs; direct spending for enforcement and other purposes also would rise. Under the bill, federal revenues would be higher as well, mostly because of the larger size of the labor force.
Also, the aggregate annual costs of the implementing mandates on private entities — they would kick in around 2016 — will cost businesses $700 million.
A Heritage Foundation’s study found that immigration reform would cost taxpayers nearly $900 billion per year.
Though I’m on the reformist side of this debate, I’m going to stick with my rock-ribbed belief that any economic study offering projections exceeding one or two years is merely guesswork. And because of its constraints — having to base its calculations on current law — you should be particularly skeptical of the CBO’s guesswork. How can we possible calculate with any certainty the number of future Americans who will become eligible for means-tested federal welfare programs, or the future cost of Obamacare — already rising by the day — or even the state of the economy in five years? You can’t.
Follow David Harsanyi on Twitter @davidharsanyi.