'Trump’s most lasting legacy': Analyst reveals the president's worst mistake in economic policy

'Trump’s most lasting legacy': Analyst reveals the president's worst mistake in economic policy
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan briefs President Donald Trump about illegal immigration and illicit drug smuggling during an interagency meeting at CBP’s National Targeting Center in Sterling, Virginia, Feb. 2. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) photo by Jetta Disco

The U.S. Supreme Court, on January 27, ruled to allow President Donald Trump’s administration to move forward with its public charge rule — which imposes income-based restrictions on immigration. And according to an analysis by Steven Anderson (executive director of the National Foundation for Economic Policy) for Forbes’ website, Trump’s public charge rule could “have a more negative impact on future economic growth than anything positive” Trump’s administration has done.


The public charge rule, as envisioned by Trump’s administration, is designed to discourage immigrants from using welfare benefits and costing taxpayers money. But limiting immigration, Anderson stresses, is conducive to having less economic growth, not more.

“Admitting fewer immigrants generally means less economic growth, since labor force growth is an important element of economic growth,” Anderson explains. “It is economic growth that improves the standard of living in a nation. Using the public charge rule to reduce legal immigration means lower long-term economic growth may be Donald Trump’s most lasting legacy.”

Anderson backs up his assertions by citing data from Macroeconomic Advisers as well as economists at Oxford University. Macroeconomic Advisers’ Joel Prakken, Anderson notes, has estimated that cutting legal immigration in half in the U.S. would reduce the country’s rate of economic growth by about 12.5%. And Oxford economists, Anderson observes, have said that the majority of economic gains the U.S. enjoyed from 2011-2016 would have been wiped out without immigration

Anderson also points out that Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist for Morgan Stanley, has cited immigration as an importance source of economic growth.

“In the past decade, population growth, including immigration, has accounted for roughly half of the potential economic growth rate in the United States,” Anderson quotes Sharma as saying. “Virtually no nation has ever sustained rapid economic growth without strong population growth. And at a time when every major country, including the United States, faces continued decline in population growth, workers are an increasingly precious source of national economic strength.”

Pew Research Center, according to Anderson, has found that the size of the U.S. labor force would decrease without immigration. Pew has said that by 2035, the “total U.S. working-age population would drop by almost 8 million, or more than 4%, from the 2015 working-age population” without new immigration.

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