In all the “serious” talk about the deficit, the Social Security Trust Fund and long term budget projections a key point that is always overlooked is that the number of American citizens is a variable that can be changed dramatically by our government’s policies choices.

Writers, politicians and pundits often point the demographic projection to say we will in a few decades have a much older population that tend to require large amounts of government services. They treat these populations projections though as if they were some unchangeable law of nature. They use these aging demographics projections to say we must cut programs for senior citizens like Medicare and Social Security or we must raise taxes to pay for them. There is third option to deal with debt problems from an aging population: We can just create a lot of new young Americans citizens.

It is possible for the government to pass some new laws, like mandatory parental leave,  that would modestly increase the number of child current Americans are having. The big numbers though are in immigration.

American is blessed with lot of land, the world’s top colleges, millions of young hard working people all over the world that would love to become Americans citizens and a culture that does an almost uniquely amazing job of rapidly turning immigrants into overwhelmingly loyal Americans citizens. (Go to one tear-filled citizenship ceremony if you need to see what I mean by overwhelmingly loyal.)

In theory if I was made an all powerful immigration czar with total free rein to set all immigration policy I bet over the next decade I could easily create say 30 million new highly productive American citizens all under the age of 40. Mainly the policies would create a special fast track for immigrants under the age of 40 who have jobs, speak English, have college educations and/or a significant savings. Passing the DREAM Act would also be a first step.

These tens of millions of new young educated taxpayers would easily add decades to Social Security’s solvency and make a huge dent in our current deficit projections. I might even consider creating a temporary fast tracked immigration income surtax to assure this wave of new young citizens are a net positive on the federal budget.

Regardless how you feel about this option the point is that this is available. There is a set of immigration of policy choices our politicians can make that would have a huge impact on the deficit. We are not stuck with the only two variable in the equation to deal with an aging population being level of spending verses level of taxes. Fortunately because of the nature of our country, we also could just choose to make our overall population much younger by creating a lot of new young Americans.

 

 

 

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com