About those "massive job losses" if DACA ends

Yesterday, John wrote about the rumored end of the DACA program which may or may not be announced by the President today, this weekend, at some indeterminate time in the future or never (depending upon which unnamed source with knowledge of the President’s thinking on the matter you happen to believe). As with most things related to the White House these days I’ll believe it when I see it show up on the @RealDonaldTrump Twitter feed.

But let’s say it happens. It would certainly be in keeping with the President’s actions and rhetoric to date when it comes to illegal aliens. So what happens after that? A subset of the current rumors suggest that the people currently protected from deportation and granted work permits might be given a form of amnesty and allowed to remain, with the only real difference being that no more new free hall passes would be issued. If so, no major changes take place. But if Trump goes with the full-on reversal option and ends the protections currently enjoyed by DACA covered individuals they will find themselves without the ability to legally work while they await an eventual bus ride out of the country. (We’re talking about more than three quarters of a million people, so that could be a while.)

The upshot of that action is highlighted in the most alarming terms possible in an article at Fortune Magazine this week. The staggering numbers on display are sure to send a shock wave through the nation’s economy because a new “report” projects that the end of DACA would result in job losses in excess of the population of some smaller island nations.

The United States could lose up to 700,000 jobs and suffer billions of dollars in lost economic output if President Donald Trump ends a program granting work permits to the children of undocumented immigrants, a new report finds.

The report examines the potential economic consequences of cancelling the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA. Under DACA, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors are eligible to apply for a renewable work permit protecting them from deportation. Approximately 800,000 people, sometimes called “dreamers,” have benefitted [sic]from DACA, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

An average of 30,000 workers could lose their jobs every month if DACA were repealed or permit renewals were held up, the report found. It also estimated that the loss of those workers could cost the country $460.3 billion in economic output over the next decade, with Medicare and Social Security contributions dropping by $24.6 billion.

Holy Guacamole, Batman! 700K jobs lost? An additional 30K per month after that? Almost half a trillion in lost economic output? Why, that’s pretty much the entry point to a new great recession. Except that you need to consider both the source of this “report” and what it is that they’re actually talking about.

First of all, Fortune is citing a paper from the Center for American Progress, which is essentially an unofficial arm of the Democratic National Committee. It was founded by John Podesta and the front page of their web site is nothing but one article after another about how horrible Trump is and why the Social Justice Warriors should just be allowed to reorganize society as they please.

But even if we choose to ignore the source, what is this “report” actually talking about? It’s the fact that the employers of all of the formerly legal DACA participants would need to terminate their employment. For those who have difficulty with the language, there’s a difference between “job losses” and “people being fired.” The former refers to a downturn in the economy where employers begin cutting back on staffing. This results in an actual contraction of the economy. The latter means that a job comes open when the former worker is no longer employed. This happens on a daily basis around the country when employers find that one of their workers simply isn’t getting the job done or winds up on the front page of the local paper after their home meth lab explodes. The employer then hires a new worker who hopefully meets their requirements and business resumes as per usual.

If all 700,000 of those suddenly illegal (again) non-citizens were to be let go awaiting deportation from companies who actually need those positions filled, 700,000 new jobs would open for 700,000 citizens. The unemployment rate is low right now, thankfully, but it’s not at zero. There are still people out there looking for work and more are graduating every year. And if we are in the happy condition of having more jobs than available workers that means competition for labor will result in wages and benefits increasing as those employers fight to land the best applicants.

Would anyone care to explain to me how this is a bad situation? The fact is that any major change to DACA will simply result in a bunch of people who had been granted an extremely generous exemption from our nation’s immigration laws no longer receiving that benefit. Once removed, employers should no longer want the now illegal aliens on their payroll any more than they would any other criminal. As for the actual citizens of the country, the usual rules of supply and demand, the labor force and all the rest will apply. This report is a manufactured crisis and shouldn’t be a consideration as the President ponders the future of DACA.

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