Issues

Opinion: Trump’s Deportation War Will Cost the Economy Trillions of Dollars

*The following is a column by R Muse*

In another case of Donald Trump’s inability to think beyond his ego and xenophobia for the good of the nation, as was predicted months ago, his “military campaign” against Mexican immigrants will do more harm than just wreaking havoc on families; it will seriously impact the nation’s economy in a very, very bad way. It is absurd enough that he wants to spend taxpayer dollars on a Soviet-era, East Berlin-type wall to keep immigrants out and beleaguered citizens in, but that wasted expense literally pales compared to Trump’s war on Mexicans.

If Trump was able to only deport about half of the estimated 12 million total undocumented workers in this America, or close 7 million people, it will reduce GDP by 2.6 percent according to research from Ryan Edwards and Francesc Ortega. Just that loss will take a whopping a $4.7 trillion out of the economy. To get an idea of the scope of the economic damage, the entire United States government budget for 2016 was a little over $1.1 trillion. That $4.7 trillion economic loss is roughly the equivalent of the economic devastation from millions of job losses another Republican administration caused as a result of the Bush Republican deregulation and tax cuts sending the economy into a deep recession.

Those numbers agree with other recent research from Edwards and Ortega “which calculated that undocumented workers contribute 3 percent of GDP or nearly $5 trillion in economic growth.” That $5 trillion in growth will completely vanish if Trump’s “military action” against all those Mexican workers is successful.

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The American Action Forum (AAF) revealed that Trump’s xenophobic war against Mexicans, if completely successful, will actually decimate the economy much faster than those other “conservative” projections. AAF reports Trump’s Mexican assault will “shrink the economy by 2 percent in just one year, and within 20 years it will slash GDP by 6 percent and virtually double that “whopping” $4.7 trillion in lost economic growth. His dirty domestic war will have the effect of giving the economy what in vampire culture is known as “true death;” meaning no possibility of ever recovering.

As the managing director of immigration at the Center for American Progress (CAP) noted, the damages to the economy will extend to every state, every business sector, and every industry; not just agriculturally rich states like Texas and California. Philip Wolgin said that “every state will lose” and they will lose big: “Just about every single industry would be affected in a large way. Without a doubt, it would impact the entire country.”

Mr. Wolgin also noted that besides agriculture, the retail, medical, hospitality, financial services, and even the sector Trump claims he will save, manufacturing, would be drastically affected; or in more blunt terms, “they would be seriously harmed.”

All of those economic projections are not fear-mongering, or not without a historical basis in fact; both recent and past history. Recently, after Arizona passed a series of “papers please” laws, the state’s immigrant population dropped by 40 percent that “reduced its economy by 2 percent a year and depressed employment by 2.5 percent.” When Alabama passed a law similar to Arizona’s in 2011, it created a “dramatic worker shortage” and “reduced its economy” by an estimated $11 billion in its first year.

In the past, like over five decades ago past, the nation attempted another “widespread crackdown” on Mexican immigrants in an explicit attempt to increase employment opportunities and higher wages for American-born workers. However, recent research revealed that the effects of “ending the bracero program” had no impact on “native” workers’ employment opportunities or higher wages then, and it is no different today.

As an example, of all the jobs lost in Arizona to Republican machinations targeting Mexican immigrants, far fewer than 10 percent of those jobs were “filled by ‘legal’ immigrants or low-skilled native-born workers.” As a matter of fact, job opportunities for low-skilled, white, native-born Arizonans declined drastically. The American Action Forum estimated that if Trump’s military action (war) against immigrants succeeds there will be millions of jobs “left empty” because “there aren’t enough authorized employees to fill them.

No matter how one assesses Trump’s military action targeting Mexicans, or what they think about Hispanic immigrants working in America, there is no good outcome in a mass deportation white-power scheme. However, a good outcome was never part of anything both Trump and his Republican facilitators intended for America or its economy.

In fact, one almost believes that since the GOP typically kills jobs and retards the economy to help the wealthy elite, maybe the Trump’s military action against undocumented immigrants is just a novel way to hurt the economy by killing growth, and jobs; it is the only thing Republicans have done consistently over the past eight years and there is no reason to believe they can stop themselves now.

That Republicans now have a xenophobe in the White House who likes the idea of waging a war on non-white people is just an added bonus to crushing growth, killing millions of jobs, and literally costing the economy multiple trillions of dollars; what Trump and Republicans call making America great.

**The above article includes a report with commentary by R Muse**

H/t BryceCovert/ThinkProgress

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