Part of the right wing and some centrist objection to illegal immigrants is their claim that those immigrants claim benefits and cost too much money. The entire argument is patently false on many levels.
I am not going to bother contradicting the claim that illegal immigrants claim benefits. That’s no use. They will always swear up and down that they personally know illegal immigrants who have told them to their face personally that the immigrants they are speaking of are collecting benefits. Which of course, negates one of their other popular arguments, that illegal immigrants don’t speak English yet the arguer never speaks Spanish.
So, let’s take the opposite argument. Let’s say that ALL illegal immigrants are collecting benefits and run some numbers based on that.
Right now I live in Alabama. The top income tax rate here is 5%. Welfare accounts for 5% of the state budget.
Then we have the federal budget. Welfare accounts for 4% of the federal budget, while housing (all housing programs) accounts for 1% of the federal budget. For ease of computation in this example, we’ll say 5% for welfare. No need to make anything too complicated.
Let’s assume a median income tax rate of 15%. Combined with state tax, that gives us a simple 20% tax rate. We can use that as a calculation which is fairly accurate for an example.
In each case, when we say welfare, that refers to ALL welfare programs regardless of immigration status. gender, etc. At this point, some people are going to claim that this means 10% of their taxes go to welfare. Sorry, that’s not the way math works. While the combined tax to the person is 20%, the total amount of their tax going to all forms of welfare remains 5% of what they pay in. So, with those numbers in mind we can start calculating.
Again, simplicity. If you make $100,000 a year and pay 20% to taxes, that’s $20,000. If 5% of your taxes goes to all forms of welfare, that comes down to $1000 a year. That is 1/100th of your income. So for each dollar you earn, you pay one penny to feed and house poor people. Probably less than you spend on movies, restaurants and lattes or beer.
Now, the estimate is that illegal immigrants number 11 million people out of a country of over 330 million people. That equals 3% of the population. So, assuming that every single illegal immigrant collects government benefits, we have more numbers to work with.
Back to the above, assume you pay $1000 a year to all forms of welfare. With illegal immigrants comprising 3% of the population, also consider 3% of welfare is paid to them. That comes to $30. Per year.
Of course, some will argue against using the entire population as an equation. Let’s increase it. Some estimates say that 40% of the population gets public assistance in some form. So we will multiply by 4. Now you have $120 paid to illegal immigrants per year. That’s $10 a month. If you make $100,000 a year, that is. If you make less, you pay less. If you make $50,000 a year, that’s $5 a month. Less than you may spend at McDonald’s in one trip.
I know the math I am using is somewhat flawed but I am actually using the highest numbers for calculation, not the lowest estimates. Not all immigrants claim government benefits and damn few people reading this make $100,000 a year. The point here is illustrating exactly how ridiculous this argument truly is.
We can take this argument even further. Let’s look at where that money goes.
Welfare is spent just like money. So when it is spent on, for example food, here is what happens:
When money or food stamp benefits are spent at a grocery store, it does not simply buy food. It pays the cashier, the manager, the stock people, maintenance people, truck drivers, food processing jobs, farmers, ranchers, equipment/sales/service people who support farmers and ranchers, health department inspectors and more.
Without welfare programs, millions of jobs would cease to exist and grocery prices would increase. Those millions of jobs would cause loss of more jobs as those incomes were eliminated from the economy.
If your argument is that Americans need more support, I will absolutely agree with you. How about we take that money from the military budget? How about we increase taxes on the rich, corporations and stock speculators? Have you heard how many jobs are being eliminated just from auto factories? How about we stop subsidizing corporations who take the money and buy back their own stock with it?
How about we subsidize our own people instead? Last I heard, no corporations went to bed hungry, died from lack of medical care, skipped buying insulin because they could not afford it, became homeless because they were laid off.. Immigrants did not cause any of those problems.
So you can stop making excuses for your racism. We see you for what you are.