The Immigration on Which We Agree
Amity Shlaes’ Saturday op-ed on immigration gives the impression of suggesting something controversial regarding a way in which immigration could help to save Social Security, but when the reader gets to the following, it turns out to be something not very controversial at all:
Here’s where demography morphs from enemy to friend. Suppose we adopt the partial fix above. At the same time, the government hands out hundreds of thousands of green cards to skilled workers, the sort of talent that companies such as Microsoft, Wipro, Intel and Infosys sponsor.
Make the rules for receiving those visas liberal enough that immigrants can get them with minimum hassle and can, eventually, become citizens. Since these skilled immigrants will earn more than the average immigrant, or even the average worker, they will pay more payroll taxes.
At least to my experience, nobody argues that the United States should not seek to cull the cream of the world’s crop. The dispute is over the degree to which we should strive to be so selective — read, by some, as “discriminatory.” It’s peculiar, therefore, to argue that immigration could save Social Security without stressing, above all, as the primary point, that America needs to focus on a particular type of immigration policy.
We’ll realize any number of benefits if we manage that cultural, intellectual shift.