The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Social Security reform and green cards

When Social Security was enacted in 1935, life expectancy was shorter and the number of individuals over age 65 was a smaller percentage of the population.  There were approximately five working tax payers for every retired person. In the 21st Century people are living somewhat longer and retirees are a  larger percentage of the population, with as few as two working adults for everyone receiving retirement benefits. Those numbers will only get worse in the coming years based upon existing demographics.

An ageing demographic is the main structural problem with the rise in Social Security costs and the trend that threatens the fiscal solvency of the U. S. Government. But, demographics are hard to control. The main method of influencing the demographic composition of the United States is through immigration policy. If it were possible to encourage enough young, healthy, well educated and hard-working individuals to immigrate to the United States, assuming there were good jobs available for them upon arrival,  the demographics could be shifted.

Current law prioritizes uniting family members and geographic diversity through the green card lottery.  Unlike many other countries, the United States places little importance upon the age, financial status or marketable skills of its immigrants.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” may have been a workable 19th Century sentiment, but a more intentionally self-serving National policy might work better for our own homegrown tired and retired. Maybe withdrawing the invitation to the “wretched refuse” might be in order.

Related:  Study: Immigrants contributed $115 billion more to Medicare in last decade than they received

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Written by Tom Fox

07/26/2011 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Politics

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