Legal Immigrants Will Help Social Security, Study Says
Byline: Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Legal immigration will be a boost to Social Security during the next 75 years, providing a net benefit of more than $600 billion to the trust fund in that period, a study says.
In addition, increasing legal immigration by 33 percent would help reduce the long-term fiscal problems with Social Security by 10 percent, said Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, which released the report yesterday.
"Because we have a pay-as-you-go system, additional workers are very beneficial to the Social Security system," Mr. Anderson said. "Increases in legal immigration will make any reforms in the system easier to achieve."
The trust fund faces a $3.7 trillion shortfall during the 75-year actuarial lifetime of the program. President Bush and Congress are debating how to shore up the system without cutting benefits or raising taxes. Mr. Anderson and Rep. Christopher B. Cannon, Utah Republican, said at a press conference yesterday that immigration could be part of the solution.
Mr. Anderson assumed an annual net rate of 600,000 legal immigrants per year, based on numbers from the Social Security system's actuaries.
The effects of illegal immigration, Mr. Cannon said, also are important factors because those immigrants often create false Social Security numbers to obtain jobs and end up paying into the system without ever receiving benefits.
"If we got rid of illegal immigrants tomorrow ... what would happen is we'd lose $30 billion in the trust fund," he said. …