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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Immigration, Social Security, and Housing Markets

Dean Baker reports:

Census Bureau Trashes Social Security Trustees Immigration Assumptions, Beat the Press: [Census Bureau Trashes Social Security Trustees Immigration Assumptions] could have been the headline of an article reporting on a new set of projections for immigration from the Census Bureau. According to the article, immigration will rise from its current rate of 1.3 million a year to more than 2 million a year by the middle of the century.

By contrast, the Social Security trustees intermediate scenario assumes that immigration will fall from its current rate to just over 1 million a year by the middle of the century. Even the low cost scenario assumes immigration of only 1.3 million a year by the middle of the century.

A more rapid pace of immigration improves the financial situation of Social Security. If the Census projections prove correct, then close to 30 percent of the projected Social Security shortfall would be eliminated. ...

Speaking of immigration:

Greenspan's Greater Foreign Fool Theory, by Paul Kedrosky: While I agree that it makes sense for the U.S. to increase immigration of skilled workers, I laughed out loud at ex-Fed chair Alan Greenspan's other rationale letting more people into the U.S.:

"The most effective initiative, though politically difficult, would be a major expansion in quotas for skilled immigrants." The only sustainable way to increase demand for vacant houses is to spur the formation of new households. Admitting more skilled immigrants, who tend to earn enough to buy homes, would accomplish that while paying other dividends to the U.S. economy.

He estimates the number of new households in the U.S. is increasing at an annual rate of about 800,000, of whom about one-third are immigrants. "Perhaps 150,000 of those are loosely classified as skilled," he says. "A double or tripling of this number would markedly accelerate the absorption of unsold housing inventory for sale -- and hence help stabilize prices."

Awesome. Why wait around for sovereign wealth funds to bail the U.S. out when you can simply invite foreigners in and suggest they buy real estate? Alan's soo-oooo clever. [via WSJ]

    Posted by on Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 12:24 AM in Economics, Financial System, Housing, Immigration, Social Security | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (43)

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