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National Press Club
Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies
Ben Wattenberg, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies
Roy Beck, Executive Director, Numbers USA
MARK KRIKORIAN: Good morning and welcome. My name is Mark Krikorian, I'm executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies a think tank here in town most of you are probably familiar with but we examine and critique the impact of immigration on the United States. Our website, which is where today's report is available in full, is cis.org.
Many countries have explicit population policies. China, for instance, has its one-child policy, which is not really enforced very much anymore, but the point being that families some families are limited to only one child. The old Soviet Union had an opposite population policy. They gave Hero Mother medals to any woman who had 10 children or more you actually got a medal. They share the same perspective. They're social engineering. Essentially what it represents is population policies. Proactive, formative population policies in a sense represent the state fixing the mistaken decisions of the people.
And it comes to a surprise for a lot of Americans that we also have a population policy. We don't pay people to have more children or fewer children. Americans wouldn't and shouldn't stand for that sort of thing, but our population policy is mass immigration. And it's explicitly presented that way, although it's not really incorporated in the debate. Business and political leaders, in presenting the case for high levels of immigration, are essentially . . . are explicitly expressing their dissatisfaction with the private decisions about childbearing that Americans make. In effect, immigration is presented as a way to supplement the inadequate breeding efforts of the American people because business and other interests think that Americans are making the wrong decisions about how many children to have.
Many other impacts of immigration are increasingly actually finding their way into the debate. The coverage of this the debate not just in the media but generally is, in fact, probably getting better. There's more and more substantive discussion about the economic effects of immigration; the effects on taxes and public spending; the effects on security; even when somebody gets the gumption, the effects on assimilation. But the population effect, even though it's really explicitly part of the rationale the elite rationale for ongoing high immigration is almost never discussed as part of the debate over future immigration policy or immigration changes.
You know, at the local level there's often I mean, there's always discussion of future population growth for purposes of school planning, road planning, that sort of thing. But it's always taken and at the local level probably appropriately as sort of a given. People are going to move there and so how do you deal with building schools, roads, water treatment plants, all that sort of thing. But immigration at the national level is a purely discretionary policy. This isn't an issue of Fairfax County having to build more roads because more people just happen to be buying houses there. This is Congress specifically deciding whether it should or should not and how much it should grow the population of the United States in the future. And it occurred to us it would be good for us to have some kind of yardstick to actually be able to know . . . maybe not know for sure, but be able to project what the likely effect on the size of the population of the United States it would be to have different levels of immigration.
And the Census Bureau has done a couple of things that give some evidence, some idea of that, but not very detailed. What we're presenting today really is probably the most detailed yardstick for the long-term population effects of different levels of immigration higher or lower. And it, as the author will explain, is very . . . is modeled exactly on the Census Bureau projection. So this isn't something we're really cooking up and offering up new ideas. This is really more putting into a form that's understandable and clear some of the a lot of the assumptions and data that's already there and working it out in such a way that it's a useful yardstick.
So first we'll have on the panel the author, and then two respondents and then Q&A. Steven Camarota is the author. He's director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, One of the top people in the country in examining quantitatively the effects of immigration on the United States. Second, Roy Beck will offer some thoughts on the issue. He's president I think president, right? of Numbers USA, which is online at numbersusa.com, a citizen education group on the immigration issue. And then finally, Ben Wattenberg from the American Enterprise Institute and author of a book just I believe last year or the year before on this issue of population growth called Fewer. I'm sorry I didn't bring my copy, Ben, but I'm sure it's still on Amazon.
BEN WATTENBERG: I will autograph it for you whenever you get to it me.
MR. KRIKORIAN: It's actually a very good book. I disagreed with some of it, but I reviewed it and I actually learned something from it. And he's going to offer his own opinions I assume very much different from Roy's opinions, but that's kind of the point. We're putting on a show here for you hopefully a show that will be illuminating as well and then we'll take questions and answers for however long people have any questions and we have answers.
So without any further adieu, Steve will talk about, summarize and present his results.
STEVEN CAMAROTA: Well, thank you, Mark.
Let me start by saying that the projections we are releasing today use Census Bureau data to project how different levels of immigration impact population size, as well as the aging of American society how old will we be? Everything I will discuss is available for you online, as Mark said, at our website cis.org.
Now, the projections follow exactly the Census Bureau's assumptions about future births and death rates, including a decline in birthrates for Hispanics, who comprise the largest share of new immigrants. We also follow the Census Bureau's assumptions exactly about the ethnic composition of newly arriving immigrants. We simply vary the number of immigrants coming into the country to see how immigration impacts the population. The Census Bureau has done some of this kind of work before. Projections they released a few years ago assumed a net level of immigration of about 1 million a year, but data collected in the 2000 census and subsequent data showed that immigration was actually a good deal higher than that. Currently, about 1.6 million new legal and illegal immigrants settle in the country each year. About 350,000 immigrants legal and illegal go home, so net immigration is about 1.25 million.
Now, what does immigration of 1.25 million, the current level, mean for the country? Our analysis shows that if the current level of net immigration continues, the nation's population will increase from about 301 million at the start of this year to 468 million in 2060 a 167-million increase, or 56 percent. Immigrants who arrive in the future, plus their descendents, will account for 105 million or 63 percent of the increase. Now, this is a very substantial impact. The 167-million increase that the U.S. is on course for in the next 53 years is equal to the combined populations of Great Britain, France and Spain. The 105 million from immigration by itself is equal to 13 New York Cities. Even by 2030 not looking at 2060 only 23 years from now, immigration by itself will add 37 million people to the U.S. population.
Now, the figure to my left shows the impact of immigration under different immigration or immigration scenarios.
The line ending in 468 million is the effect of current immigration. Now, again, it's very important to understand that the additional 105 million that immigration will add is from immigrants who have yet to arrive but will . . . who will do so, plus the children and grandchildren that they'll have, but assuming no change in legal and illegal immigration . . . again, the current level just simply projected forward. You get to 468 million and 105 million of the growth from immigration. If, for example, the United States started actually enforcing its immigration laws and also reduced legal immigration, there would be a very significant impact on future population increase. Again, as the figure to my left shows, if net immigration was, say, 300,000 a year, the population in 2060 would be 362.7 million. This means that net immigration of 300,000 a year would add 25 million people to the population by 2060 or 80 by 2060 80 million fewer than the 105 million that will be added if the current level continues. We can see that in the second line of the graph, the second line from the bottom.
Now, of course, if immigration was much higher then [it] would add a lot more people to the U.S. population. If we had net immigration of 2 million a year, it would add 169 million people to the U.S. population by 2060. Now, it's probably worth noting that immigration net immigration in particular has been increasing to the United States for about five decades. If that trend were to continue then immigration would add more than the 105 million that we're projecting from the current level. Now, it's also worth noting that most of the 105 million comes from legal immigration. Future illegal immigration, assuming it stays on the current track, would add or count for about 35 or 40 percent of the population increase from immigration. That is, illegal immigrants who will arrive in the future plus their descendants will add about 40 million to the population by 2060. If you're also interested, the existing illegal population will add about 11 million people. In other words, the population will be about . . . the existing immigrant population . . . the children and grandchildren that they'll have over the next 53 years will be about 11 million.
Now, while illegal immigration is certainly a very large number, again, the overwhelming majority of population increase will come from legal immigration. One must remember that legal immigration to the United States is very high. Last year, for example, the United States allowed 1.2 million people to settle in the country permanently on a legal basis. So our legal immigration policy has a very large effect on population size, and then a larger effect on our illegal immigration policy, or maybe our lack of an illegal immigration policy. Thus, if a different legal immigration policy was adopted, then there would be a large impact on population growth, and obviously if a different legal immigration policy was adopted and we actually enforced our immigration laws then the impact would be accordingly larger still.
Now, these projections don't just focus on population increases. They also examine in detail the impact of immigration on the aging of American society. Many observers worry that there'll not be enough workers to support the economy or social programs and the government more generally in the future. It is often suggested that immigration can offset the aging of American society by adding large numbers of young workers. When studying this issue, demographers the people who study human populations often examine the share of the population that is of working age relative to the share of population too young or too old to work. They also examine the working age population relative oftentimes just to retirees.
Now, consistent with the findings of all other studies we find that immigration has only a small impact on slowing the aging of American society. Although the current retirement age is 65, it is due to rise for full Social Security benefits up to 67. So let's assume that the working age population then is 15 to 66 in the future because that's where it's headed. We do provide different scenarios for different retirement ages in the study, but let's just assume 15 to 66 is the working age. At the current level of net immigration the 1.25 million a year we find that 61 percent of the nation's population will be of working age in 2060, compared to 60 percent if net immigration was reduced to 300,000 a year.
Now, if net immigration was doubled all the way up to 2.5 million a year, which would be over 3 million new immigrants coming in each year, it would raise the working age share by just one additional percentage point, to 62 percent, by 2060. But, of course, doubling immigration would put the U.S. population at 573 million by 2060, or twice what it was in the 2000 census. Let me restate just to make it clear. If we have 300,000 immigrants a year, the working age share the share of the population who can be working, say, 15 to 66 years of age would be 60 percent. If we continue on our current track of 1.25 million immigrants a year, it would be 61 percent, and if we doubled it to 2.5 million a year the net immigration it would be 62 percent; very small effects from very large levels of immigration.
Now, we can also examine this question by looking at the ratio of working age people to only retirees. Table 7 in the study does that if you want to look through it in detail. But, again, assuming 15 to 66 year olds what constitutes the working age population the table shows that without any immigration the number of workers per retiree will decline a lot, by 3.5 workers. We have about 6.2 people of working age for every retiree now, and that, by 2060, without any immigration would be 2.7. This is a big decline. It's something to be concerned about. But immigration cannot fundamentally change that decline not in the long run, not in the short run. If net immigration is 1.25 million a year the current level 88 percent of the decline in the working age population relative to retirees will occur. Or put a different way, the current level of immigration can only offset about 12 percent of the decline in the working age population that's going to occur.
Now, as I have discussed in the paper, it's probably not likely that we'll have absolute zero net immigration. If we compare net immigration of 1.25 million the current level with, say, 300,000 net immigration, the effect is even smaller still. But what if we doubled immigration all the way up to 2.5 million a year well over 3 million new immigrants coming in and a net level of 2.5 million? Roughly 80 percent of the decline in age, in the working age share of the population, would still occur. Again, even at levels of immigration that would be politically unlikely in the extreme that it seems there's very little support for among the populace . . . even at that very high level it still doesn't change the working age share of the population. Now, the fact that immigration has little impact on slowing the aging of American society may surprise some, especially when you consider that current immigration would add 105 million people to the population. But it's actually not surprising to demographers because it is mainly non-demographers who argue that immigration will have a kind of transformative impact on the nation's age structure. Immigration adds to both the working age share of . . . the working age population, I should say, and to the population too old and too young to work. Newly arrived immigrants are somewhat younger. In 2006, the average age of a new immigrant was about 28. The average age of a native-born American was 36. But immigrants grow old just like everyone else. Or put a different way, they have the same problem we all do they have to celebrate their birthdays once a year. Now, when you're seven that's fun but as we get older it may not be so fun. But the bottom line is they age just like all of us do.
Immigrants allowed into the country today become tomorrow's retirees, adding to the future retirement population. It may surprise some but the average age of an immigrant in 2006 was 40 years of age. As I said, the average age of a native was 36, and this reminds us of this important fact that immigrants age like everyone else. Now, it is also true that immigrants tend to have larger families than native-born Americans, but the differences aren't large enough to have a big effect on the aging of the society. They have a big effect on the overall population size but they don't shift the ratio of workers to retirees. As a Census Bureau study stated in January of 2000, immigration is highly ineffective for . . . as a means of reducing the ratio of working age people to retirees in the long run.
So how can we deal with this decline, which I have indicated is a serious decline of working age people relative to retirees? The answer, the most obvious answer, is the retirement age. Change it. In Table 8 on page 11 of the report, we show what would happen under different retirement ages assuming no immigration. Roughly speaking, each one-year increase in the retirement age will shift the number of workers by about 0.2 by 2060. Thus, raising the retirement age to 70 increases the ratio of working age people to retirees to about 3.3 workers in 2060 per retiree. This is equal to immigration of 5 million a year, or net immigration of 4 million or about 4 million and assuming a retirement age of 65. Raising the retirement age does have a big effect on shifting the ration of workers to retirees. Immigration simply does not.
Now maybe another way to think about this is at that level, the effect of raising the retirement age to 70 . . . to get that same effect from immigration and in leaving the retirement age at 65, you would have to grow the U.S. population to 700 million by 2060. Again, it's only 301 (million) right now. It seems clear that the most effective way of dealing with the declining ratio of workers to retirees is to change the retirement age. Now there are other things we might want to do, but immigration, as I say, just is't going to have much impact. Let me conclude by pointing out that our results are consistent with Census Bureau projections. We find that future immigration levels have a very large impact on population growth and the ultimate size of the U.S. population. It'll add 105 million to the population by 2060. Also consistent with Census projections, we find that immigration has only a small effect on the aging of American society.
The debate over immigration should not be whether it makes for a much larger population. Without question, it does. The debate over immigration should also not be whether it has a large impact on the aging of American society. Without question, it does not do that. The central question these projections raise and that the American people must answer is what costs and benefits come with having a much larger population and more densely settled country? These projections don't answer that question. Do we wish to live in that society? Immigration levels are, of course, a choice. We can raise them, we can lower them, we can keep them the same. For illegal immigration, we can choose to enforce our immigration laws or choose not to. Immigration is not the weather. It's not something outside of our control, though it may take significant efforts, say, to control illegal immigration. What the American people have to decide is do they want to live in the kind of society that these projections indicate immigration's taking us to.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Steve.
ROY BECK: Well, I want to thank the Center for Immigration Studies and Dr. Camarota for its thoroughly depressing study.
I went to journalism school in the 1960s specialized in environmental reporting covered the beginning of the environmental movement. So I covered the vision for America that the environmental movement had, and that vision was that the 200 million population of America of . . . around 1970 would basically stabilize at around 250 million in the 1990s, maybe a little bit into the 21st century. Two hundred and fifty million. Now we hit 300 million last year. Actually, coming to these various conferences through the years and seeing the new population projections, the change in trajectory reminds me of every time I go to the doctor. It's like I'm always getting older, the trajectory is always worse. So now . . . you know, now that what Steve is telling us in this study is the best we can hope for, it looks like, if we went to zero net immigration is it will add another 60 million people over the next 50 years. That's a . . . it's a devastating prognosis for the country when we're already at 300 million.
So nonetheless just like going to the doctor and knowing you're very sick it's good to know you're very sick and what can you . . . is there something you do about it. I'm very appreciative of the Center for putting . . . giving us a lot of different immigration scenarios, especially the scenario of what will happen if we continue the present level of immigration, which the Census Bureau has not given us for some time. Using the Census Bureau fertility to mortality, we know that this is I have great confidence that this is going to be pretty much the scenario we're looking at. What does that mean to have these two . . . these visions? I mean, I see at least two visions. One vision is of America that could presumably grow for another 60 million or America that could grow for another 168 million. That extra 100 million people what does that mean for the way that now it's the case, not that I'll never see . . . but my grandchildren, what kind of a country will they live in? Tremendous difference in the quality of life on whether we go with that 100 million above the 300 and what are we looking at? 362 million at zero net immigration or the 468 (million) at present immigration levels.
Every time that an American complains about traffic congestion, any kind of congestion, infrastructure overload, crowded schools, loss of natural habitat, loss of the favorite fishing streams, hunting areas, loss of the ability to get out of town and actually have some spiritual recreation in nature in an easy way every time an American complains about that, they're complaining about something that is a federal program. Now admittedly, decisions that are made by local and state governments and sometimes the federal government can minimize the effect of this population growth. But the basic engine that drives these deteriorations in the American quality of life is population growth, and it is a federal program. And I appreciate Steve's remarks, especially making that point at the beginning.
It's quite helpful to remember that the vision for a stabilized America back in the 1960s was one that polling in the early 70s showed that Americans support it. In fact, there's been no poll ever that I'm aware of that has shown that Americans wanted more population growth. There was a poll by the polling company last fall whenever we were hitting the 300 million mark and one of the questions was, Without a change in immigration policy, the nation's population will grow by more than a third in the next 50 years. If the population where you live were to increase by this amount, would it make the quality of life worse, no difference, better? Sixty-five percent of Americans said this growth is going to make their quality of life worse. Seven percent of America said it would make it better. So that would suggest 7 percent of Americans feel great about this federal program and the population growth.
I think one of the questions that I myself as a newspaper reporter for 20 years covering this and writing books and running a non-profit since then have is, we live in a democracy, how do you have this gigantic of a program that changes virtually every aspect of American life that is running this way with that high trajectory whenever the majority of Americans would like a stability? How does that happen in democracy? And I think there's a lot it's worth exploring. I would just make the comments that I think one of the problems is that the issue just does not have salience. Polls will show what Americans prefer, but is this something that Americans put in their top three issues? And the answer has been no. Now immigration in the last year has occasionally been getting into those top three issues, but primarily from the illegal immigration side of it. I don't think most Americans are still connecting they're not connecting the dots that the federal immigration program is a federal coercive population growth program, which means it's a federally coercive congestion program.
Again, this is a democratic choice. Americans can choose to live like Europeans. If we're really lucky, we will end up living like Europeans with their kind of congestion. The problem is, is that we've got . . . we're getting to European-style population ratios but we're not we don't have European-style zoning. So the effect on the environment of population growth in this country tends to be far worse.
The second thing we often forget, for those who haven't lived in Europe, is that Europeans settle for a much more regulated and regimented quality of life than Americans have, do, and I think ever will put up with. But these are choices. They need to be out there in the public. And I appreciate this study for once again reminding the public of the kind of scenarios that we could choose from and that it is a choice.
Our elected representatives every year make these choices. Now it's quite interesting that not only does this Congress, and every Congress before it since 1965, refuse to bring immigration back in line with the vision that most Americans had for America, but we've seen two very close attempts last year it won in the Senate, this year it lost to accelerate this, to go the 2 million scenario, go to over a half-billion in 50 years was the scenario that was passed by the Senate last year.
The Senate decided that adding another 168 million people was not enough, they wanted to add another . . . what was that, another 231 million people. Now on the floor of the Senate there was almost no discussion about what that really had the effect that that would have on quality of life, on environment, but that was the . . . that was the debate.
Finally, you know, I would just also say that nearly every presidential candidate from both parties, at this moment, is saying that the 468 million population in 50 years is not high enough. Nearly every presidential candidate in both parties is saying we need more immigration, which is to say, we need more population growth; we need more density; we need more congestion.
At some point there will be a national leader who will actually serve to be the national educator, and I think we may see things start to change quickly once there's somebody to connect the dots for Americans. I think once Americans see the dots connected in that way, this will be a salient issue. At this point, America's focused on illegal immigration.
And the final thing I would say is that this study is very helpful to show the error of focusing entirely, or even primarily, on illegal immigration. Illegal immigration's a big problem in this country, but it's not nearly as much of a problem as legal immigration. Let me be real clear about this that's very different than saying legal immigrants are a problem. Legal immigrants themselves have made rational choices to take advantage of opportunities that have been legally offered to them by our government. And once here, they are us, legal immigrants are.
Illegal immigrants are a different situation. The question here, though, is how many legal immigrants do we take in the future? And what this study shows is even if we 100 percent resolve the illegal immigration question in the future if we have no net illegal immigration in the future we're still going to grow to 430 million people, that's in Table 1 we're still going to add another 130 million people from legal immigration.
There is no hope for rescuing, protecting, preserving anything like the quality of life . . . of individual freedoms and environmental quality in this country over the next 50 years unless we, not only resolve the illegal immigration problem, but we move legal immigration back to a traditional level.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thanks, Roy.
MR. WATTENBERG: Thank you, Mark and Steve and Roy. It's a pleasure to be here. Let me just begin by mentioning to Roy one item. Of course we did have a presidential candidate who has pledged to lowering and stopping immigration in 1992, and that candidate won one primary in New Hampshire and then he lost 49 consecutive ones, and his name was Pat Buchanan. So I don't mean to exercise guilt by association, but just let that let that stand. (Laughter.)
Now, a few weeks ago Mark was a panelist on my PBS program Think Tank, and he was treated with complete fairness (laughter) and I suspect I will be treated similarly today. He was outnumbered and, of course, I was outnumbered now I'm outnumbered. Now Steve, thank you for your very elegantly presented data sets, neatly arranged ranks of columns and cells. They are, I am sure, fully accurate.
The question, of course, is what did they mean? And I would consider this notion for a moment. In the social science community it is said that data is the plural of anecdote. Now that's not anecdote as in a mild joke, that's anecdote as in a discrete event. So let me present my anecdote du jour.
Iris, could you just stand up for a moment? Thank you. This elegant woman is Iris Hernandez I think the correct pronunciation is Iris Hernandez and she is (inaudible) she's a ham like me. She is ostensibly my housekeeper, which is a thankless task but surely an essential one. But as it turns out, she also knows more tech stuff than I do.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Could you speak in the microphone, I can't hear you.
MR. WATTENBERG: Okay. How about that? Okay?
MR. KRIKORIAN: Better.
MR. WATTENBERG: But Iris also knows more tech stuff than I do. She does things like text messaging on a cell phone . . . standard text message rates apply. She recently got her first computer. She takes classes and she is teaching me. Iris recently received a raise as my housekeeper and she may be getting another one as a tech consultant. I do some things quite well but that it not one of them. Now . . . and Iris, that's a suggestion, not a promise. (Laughter.)
Now Iris has three children Adrianna, Gabriella, and a son, Rudy. Her husband left her a few years ago, so she is a single mom. Now let me just continue this anecdote for a moment. Rudy is remarkable Iris, if you talk to her later, has a slight accent, Rudy does not; he does very well as a sophomore in high school; he speaks without an accent.
Rudy is 15, he is built like a brick . . . well, he's built very well. And as a freshman in high school, he played linebacker on the football team. Now, he has been asked to play fullback and I'm not predicting that he will be in my era Bronco Nagurksi or Franco Harris or Larry Csonka, but he's going to be you can take this one to the bank he's going to be a patriotic, well-educated, well-to-do American.
Now I'm going to get to this idea of the . . . something called the population explosion, which we have been told is something to dread. Now that is putting in two words something that could be put into one which is growth. This population explosion is growth. Now the question before the house is that, is population growth harmful? All of our three panelists here, in one way or another, indicate that it is very harmful.
Well, what is the nation with the biggest population explosion in history? You're in it. In 1790, there were 4 million Americans that was our first census and today there are 300 million. That's a 75-fold increase. I guess that's 7,500 percent is that right? You're the statistician.
MR. BECK: You could say 7,500 percent, sure.
MR. WATTENBERG: Right. And we are told to be concerned about a 56-percent increase. Now what happened to that nation? It became this thing that suffered from this terrible population explosion, it became the most prosperous and influential nation in human history.
So what's the problem? It's said and we heard it from Roy that America's too dense. I'm sure all of you have flown over this country and . . . they call it fly over country. If you don't live on the left coast or the right coast or the Gulf Coast, it's barren. So 75 percent of our people live within 50 miles of one of our three great coasts the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf. But there are, throughout this country, wonderful places to live, and we know they are wonderful places to live because wonderful people live there. That's where the small towns of America, the mid-continent cities, that's where the dear hearts and gentle people live. Now, why did they leave? They left because they needed a job. It was . . . the mechanization of agriculture was the
biggest one, so they went to the cities and the coasts.
But now you have the Internet, you have regional jets, you have WiFi, you have cell phones. You don't have to be in a big city; you can live anywhere you want and conduct your business. One of the great Web sites is Arts and Culture Chronicles. Very, very interesting; I don't know if any of you are familiar with it. It is not published in New York, it is not published in Washington, it is not published in London or Paris. It is published in Christchurch, New Zealand. So he didn't have to worry about where he was.
Now, there is always in America some kind of nativist, anti-immigrant feeling. A century ago, it was said that Jews were unclean, ignorant, and spoke with a terrible accent. Their children and grandchildren won Nobel prizes and shaped the global culture. And you can track every immigrant group; they started out being hated and then you ask one and two generations
later, their offspring . . . or you ask the offspring of people who hated them, is it a good thing that Jews and Italians and Poles Germans, the biggest sub-group in America is Germans Benjamin Franklin railed against Germans. They were ignorant, they were breeding too much, they were just absolutely terrible. And yet the offspring of the people who said how terrible it was
say, Isn't it wonderful that we come from everywhere?
Now, talking about aging and Social Security, I somehow don't get it. On the one hand it's said that this is a terrible problem, and on the other hand it is said that it doesn't really make much difference. Now, the average age of immigrants, the last time I looked, was 29 years old. They
pay into I think the age of Social Security is now not 67. I think it's 69, but that's irrelevant. So they are paying into the Social Security system for 40 years before they get a nickel, and the illegals, they may never get any Social Security. They're just putting money into your
Now, what do we know the hate du jour these days are Mexicans. What do we know about Mexicans? By the way, Iris was here as an illegal immigrant and was smuggled in by a coyote in the trunk of a car with 15 other people. And it's hard to believe, but if you remember those telephone booth contests, it's conceivable. Mexicans today . . . the Department of
Defense has elaborate data structures. They can tell you everything but who's going to win the war. The greatest percentage of Congressional Medal of Honor winners in American history are Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants because you don't have to be a citizen. Every survey that I am familiar with shows that immigrants are more popular . . . (chuckles) they're
not more popular; they're more patriotic than Americans generally.
Now, I guess I'll save . . . I've got a lot . . . oh, by the way, every study we have by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that pollution air, water, land is going down. If you have . . . if you're running out of space, we have a very interesting solution in this country.
We build suburbs and we build these nice roads, and if you have crowded traffic, you build some more roads. And we have got 2,900 miles across, from ocean from sea to shining sea of places to build things and grow things. And I would suggest that continued population growth on a fairly moderate basis . . . it is, you know, from 1900 to 1910 we took in about as many immigrants as we're taking in now, with one-fourth the population. And everybody said, My God, they're swamping the country. That was the big word. All these unclean immigrants; they're swamping the country.
Well, I told you about the Jews. They said the Italians were just absolutely terrible. And then, you know, a generation later, I don't happen to agree with them, but you end up with a brilliant man named Mario Cuomo. Now, where did that . . . where did that come from? It came through the beneficial effects of . . . of assimilation. And our secret weapon is, in this
global society, is that we know how to assimilate people and the Europeans don't have a clue.
I think I'll rest my case for the moment.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thanks, Ben. I'll let Steve and Roy take some pot shots, but I just wanted to make the first point we'll have short responses, and then we'll get to Q&A is that positive anecdotes can't work unless you're going to include the negative anecdotes. That's why we skip anecdotes.
MR. WATTENBERG: No, no. Excuse me, Mark
MR. KRIKORIAN: I sort of avoid talking about the Newark . . . the Newark murderer, because he doesn't . . . he's not . . . he's not an argument against immigration, just as positive anecdotes aren't arguments for immigration.
MR. WATTENBERG: Mark, Mark, you weren't listening. Anecdotes are the plural of data.
MR. KRIKORIAN: No, actually
MR. WATTENBERG: The assembled anecdotes equal the data. Assembled anecdotes equal data.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Okay, good.
MR. WATTENBERG: Okay.
MR. KRIKORIAN: And but my point is we don't have . . . you need to assemble positive and negative anecdotes. If you're going to do that, and that's why . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: That's right, and you consolidate . . . you consolidate all of those and you end up with data.
MR. KRIKORIAN: And my point is the Newark murderer isn't here to be the anecdote, the other end of the anecdote stream, if you will.
MR. WATTENBERG: That's . . . that's correct, and no native Americans, like the kids who killed the the Clutter boys, the Clutter family in Iowa, and McVeigh, who blew up the building in Oklahoma City, they were immigrants also. McVeigh is a very . . .
MR. KRIKORIAN: Oh, but my point is that immigration can't be either supported or justified by happy stories. You have to consolidate the happy stories all together, as you were saying, and that's what data is without the . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: That's right. We are . . .
MR. KRIKORIAN: Without the stories underlying
MR. WATTENBERG: We are . . . we are in agreement on that. You have to consolidate the data, the anecdotes.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Steve, give a short response and then Roy and then we'll go to Q&A.
MR. WATTENBERG: I'm more than happy to . . . (inaudible) questions.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Oh, okay.
MR. CAMAROTA: Yeah, I mean, I hope, Ben, you're not saying that anyone who has concerns, like let's say right now immigration is maybe 15 million or 16 million people come in a decade. If somebody says, Gee, I think that would be better, for a variety of reasons, if it was 3 (million) or 4 million, like, say, Barbara Jordan, who was the first African American
congresswoman elected from Texas. She submitted a proposal that would suggest that maybe a moderate pace of immigration. She headed a commission in the 1990s. I hope you're not suggesting that anybody who is critical of the current level is, you know, wearing a white sheet because you could turn it around and say, look, you know pick someone, again, as Mark
points out. Look, Osama bin Laden would like a very generous immigration system for the United States. Therefore, because you and he agree on immigration, boom, you're together. I . . . I think that's just . . . I don't find that a valid way of thinking.
Let me also say this about history. If history is to be our guide on immigration, then we should know the history, what happened. World War I came along in 1914 and then restrictive legislation in the 20s, and immigration was low for about 50 or 60 years. If the past is to be our
guide, then we need to have low immigration for many years so that we can assimilate the immigrants here. You can't just say, well, gee, everything worked out well in the past. And it might work out fine now; this study doesn't say whether it would work out or not. It doesn't really deal at all with the question of assimilation. But the question is can you talk about the past without talking about the most important event in American immigration history, the reduction and 50 or 60 years of low immigration?
On the question of are there vast tracts of the United States unfilled with people, clearly that's true, though it's always important to note that about 10 states account for almost three-fourths of population increase, and only a small fraction of the counties in the United States are absorbing most of the people. And that has been true for many, many years.
So the other question is maybe it would be a good idea to fill up the Dakotas with lots of people. So far, very few people are going to Wyoming and the Dakotas, numerically, anyway, but maybe we'd want to see that number go way up. But I do think it would be important to ask the people there if they would like to live in a state of 5 (million) or 10 million people, and
we should incorporate their perspective on this, as our fellow Americans in this debate. So . . .
MR. KRIKORIAN: Roy, do you have anything you want to say?
MR. WATTENBERG: May I ask a question? Why would Osama bin Laden like high immigration into the United States? So that Arab kids can learn American views and values and sing rock and roll and (laughter) and all that kind of stuff? I mean, just explain that to me.
MR. CAMAROTA: Well, okay.
MR. WATTENBERG: I'm just . . . maybe there's something I don't get.
MR. CAMAROTA: Because if he . . . sure. He would . . . we both agree he'd like to attack the United States on our own soil, right?
MR. WATTENBERG: That's correct.
MR. CAMAROTA: It's hard to do from a cave in Afghanistan, right?
MR. WATTENBERG: Yes.
MR. CAMAROTA: So he's got to get somebody here.
MR. WATTENBERG: That's right.
MR. CAMAROTA: If the Mexican border is easy to cross, that's helpful. If it's easy to get a student visa in Riyadh, that's helpful. It doesn't mean that everybody who crosses the Mexican border is somehow working for Osama bin Laden, but you asked why would he want open immigration.
MR. WATTENBERG: Steve Steve, how many terrorists attacks have we had since 9/11 in America?
MR. CAMAROTA: We've had about 13 or 14 failed plots.
MR. WATTENBERG: How many successful terrorist attacks did we have in the United States?
MR. CAMAROTA: Well, look. We haven't had any.
MR. WATTENBERG: Thank you.
MR. CAMAROTA: So all is well. Is that the idea? We're perfectly safe? Is . . . okay. Well, I mean it does sound a little like the guy who jumps off the 10-story building and on the way down, people say, How's it going? And he says, Hey, so far, so good. (Laughter.) But in any event, maybe we should take questions.
MR. WATTENBERG: Just one moment.
What country did McHugh come from before he attacked --
MR. KRIKORIAN: McVeigh, you mean.
MR. WATTENBERG: What was the . . . his immigration status? Did he come in illegally? He lived in Buffalo and he was a former Marine.
MR. CAMAROTA: I think you mean Timothy McVeigh. He certainly was born in the United States, so because we have native-born kooks and terrorists and murderers, we shouldn't try to keep people who might do that out? I don't understand. I certainly wouldn't make the case for immigration one way or the other based on anecdote. Mohammed Atta, who lived in the United States for a number of years and led the attack of 9/11 seems to me no more illustrative or can tell us about . . . as much about immigration as Andy Grove, who founded or built Intel into a multinational corporation. I would prefer to talk about what the actual data that we have about immigration and immigrants more generally.
MR. WATTENBERG: May we agree that the collection of anecdotes equal data? Is that fair to say?
MR. : No.
MR. WATTENBERG: Why not?
MR. CAMAROTA: I'm . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: Please explain it.
MR. : Unless there's some system when you collect data . . .
MR. CAMAROTA: Maybe this is a good segue for a question. You ask the first question.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Let's take regular questions from the audience.
MR. WATTENBERG: Let me listen. I want to hear it.
MR. CAMAROTA: Yeah, go ahead. Is there a microphone he's supposed to have?
MR. KRIKORIAN: Okay. Well, here. Let's just go ahead.
Q: Since the business community is generally pro-immigration, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they want to . . . their support . . . the business community funding a program for increased immigration, what should this data, using this data, what would you say to the business community . . . Chamber of Commerce the U.S. Chamber of Commerce specifically?
MR. CAMAROTA: One thing I can say is that immigration doesn't really change the ratio of workers to retirees under any immigration scenario. It increases the number of retirees just like it increases the number of workers. But on the question of . . . it depends on what members the Chamber of Commerce would like. Would they like to live in a country with a much, a much more densely settled country with a much larger population? If they would like that, then they have a right as political actors to vote for that, I suppose. And they have a . . . you know, I can't think of any reason why that wouldn't be something that . . . the question for the country is . . . or maybe put it this way. These projections tell us where we're headed as a country. The question we have to answer is, Do we want to go there?
MR. BECK: I . . . one thing about the study that is so depressing to me is actually pretty good news for the business community, and that is you can cut all immigration off and there's going to be some continued growth throughout the century. So this . . . we're no longer in a situation where we once were, where there was a possibility of actually having stability or of even having a little . . . a small decline in size of the population. The business community has to know that they don't need immigration for growth. It's all home. It can all be homegrown basically from the immigrants that have come over the last 30 years and their descendants.
MR. KRIKORIAN: And just one thing I'd quickly add to that is that the . . . in other words, what should the Chamber of Commerce take from this? It's that their policy, their . . . essentially, their support for a social engineering program to supplement the mistakes that Americans are supposedly making in not having enough kids actually works. So in other words, immigration does what they want. It does, in fact, artificially increase the population in a way that Americans, making their own private decisions, wouldn't do. The question is, as Steve said, is that a good idea or not?
MR. WATTENBERG: Excuse me for a minute.
You know, you're using as a pejorative social engineering.
MR. CAMEROTA: Yeah.
MR. KRIKORIAN: a pejorative.
MR. WATTENBERG: Yeah.
Do you think the Land-Grant College Act by . . . initiated by Abraham Lincoln was social engineering? Do you think that the establishment of the railroads was social engineering? Do you think that the establishment of the interstate highway system was social engineering? Do you think that Medicare was social engineering? I . . . are you
MR. KRIKORIAN: Medicare, yes.
MR. WATTENBERG: And you think that's bad?
MR. KRIKORIAN: Social engineering is, generally speaking, in a free society a problem. Yes, it's a bad thing.
MR. WATTENBERG: Was the establishment of Medicare a bad thing?
MR. KRIKORIAN: Yeah. I'd have to say yes. Social Security likewise. The question is not, though, do we get rid of it. We have it now.
MR. WATTENBERG: Let us establish that you are in a minority of about 5 percent or 3 percent of the American people, just like Pat Buchanan.
MR. KRIKORIAN: No, I mean, probably not actually . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: Now.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Because I don't want to get rid of it. I'm saying that if you had to start from scratch . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: Okay, if you want.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Relevant to this issue . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: Okay. Aside from . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: Aside from Ron Paul, tell me the name of an elected official in this town who's against Social Security and plans to run for office.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Against what?
MR. WATTENBERG: Against . . .
MR. KRIKORIAN: In 1937 against, or against it today?
MR. WATTENBERG: No, excuse me. Today. Who would like to repeal Social Security?
MR. KRIKORIAN: Nobody including me.
MR. WATTENBERG: I thought you said it was a bad thing.
MR. KRIKORIAN: It was a bad thing. And now we have it. Now we're stuck with it.
MR. WATTENBERG: But it doesn't really matter . . . it doesn't matter . . .
MR. BECK: You could ask the same question.
MR. WATTENBERG: It's the most popular program in America.
MR. BECK: But how many candidates would run for office today and there are some. There are some. But how many candidates running for Congress for Senate even for president. Even though it's . . . and they would actually run on a platform that We are going to basically increase the addition. We like the addition of 160 million people in the next 50 years, and we're going to increase that. There are some, but it's very few. And yet they push those policies. They run on high immigration policies, but they do not dwell with the people saying, This is what we're offering you. This is the scenario, and I think that's . . . you know, Ben, it's interesting because you and I met . . . you didn't meet me, but I met you (laughter.)
MR. WATTENBERG: I suspect it was mutual.
MR. BECK: No, I met you at a USO club in New York City in Look Magazine back in 1971. (Laughter.) I was there waiting for some free tickets to see a concert or a play before being shipped out and I read Look Magazine and I read your comments on the 1970 Census. So I've been . . . you and I have been on opposite sides on this scenario for America and . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: We can stipulate that.
MR. BECK: and I congratulate you. For my entire adult life, I've been watching you win. So you . . . your side has done a very good job in terms of the politics of it.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Let's take another question.
MR. WATTENBERG: Now wait a minute . . .
MR. KRIKORIAN: No.
MR. WATTENBERG: No, just one second. You said, I think, that every American candidate for president is . . .
MR. BECK: I said most.
MR. WATTENBERG: most are not for restricting immigration. Is that what you're saying?
MR. BECK: They're for increasing immigration.
MR. WATTENBERG: Right. And now you just said that nobody would run that way. Would you . . .
MR. BECK: But they don't run on a policy saying, We're going to add more than 160 million people. They don't they do not claim that adding that number of people they don't think that's a good thing to run on. They try to run on increasing immigration.
MR. WATTENBERG: You mean they have this big secret from the American people (inaudible) that you can bring in immigrants and it won't add to the population.
MR. BECK: It is an amazing secret.
MR. WATTENBERG: Don't tell me that. (Laughter.)
MR. CAMAROTA: Well, I would say, having studied the population issue for a long time . . . yeah, whenever this story comes to sprawl or school-age population and we all know as demographers the critical impact of immigration, but it never comes up in the news article. It's astonishing, but it's generally something not discussed, rightly or wrongly.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Yes, sir.
Q: Yes. I have two questions. One is a quick one and the other one is related to it. One is you said you were estimating 1.6 million coming in
MR. CAMAROTA: Right.
Q: per year, and the short question is do you consider it possible undercount or underenumeration of that? And the second part of that is just yesterday, I was speaking with the chief of the Immigration Statistics Staff at the Census Bureau. He told me quite directly the Census Bureau is unable to directly estimate coverage of the foreign born, and at the most we could maybe do it indirectly, but then we're not really sure.
And the follow-up question on that is: suppose we have another scenario like the 2000 census where the Census Bureau just flat out misses a bunch of people because it has no means of evaluating how good the coverage is of the foreign born. And what does that do to the scenario, which is not to detract from your . . .
MR. CAMAROTA: Right. Well, the current population survey and most census surveys show about 1.5 million new arrivals some research indicates about a 5 percent undercount of the total foreign born and that's how you get to 1.6 [million] new arrivals. If you take deaths out and then look at the growth, you can estimate net immigration how many people are going home. But you're right, it could be higher and then all these population numbers would be correspondingly higher.
MR. WATTENBERG: May I point something out? One-point-six million sounds like a lot of people. That's the numerator. The denominator is 305 million, okay? Now, that is like going into a big cocktail party in the Waldorf-Astoria, there are 600 people there, the ice cubes are clinking, they're eating those little frankfurters and everybody's talking and having a good time and in walks one couple from Pakistan. And you turn to Pat Buchanan and say, Uh oh, there goes the neighborhood. It's two people. That's what it that's what we're talking about. We're talking about two people. We're talking about two people in a room of 600. That's what these numbers mean.
MR. CAMAROTA: Let me say one thing: That's not what the numbers mean. What the numbers mean is actually the cumulative effect of immigration. It's like saying that, well, if I just have one donut today, what's the harm? Probably not much, but if you have two or three every day in a few months you'll be like believe me I speak from experience! So the point here is . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: Now, hold on!
MR. CAMAROTA: No, no . . . we've been . . . I haven't made my point now.
MR. WATTENBERG: All right.
MR. CAMAROTA: One out of every eight people in the United States right now is foreign born. And for most U.S. censuses that's much higher. It was a little bit higher at one point, so there's a cumulative effect. But in addition to that staying with the party example if folks come in, maybe invite more people . . . that is the children that folks have. So it's not the case that it's just one person and well, that's it. No. There's a cumulative effect of immigration.
MR. WATTENBERG: I will give you an even scarier number: 100 percent of the people in the United States are foreign born or descendents of foreign-born people. Everybody in this room is either foreign born or a descendent of immigrants. And the result is the most powerful, most influential, most prosperous nation in the history of the world, under populated by any human standard.
MR. : (Off mike.)
MR. WATTENBERG: May I finish? Excuse me. And by the way, birth rates and fertility rates around the world are going way, way, way down. The demographers have a little phrase. They say, Uh-oh, Estonia's going out of business. Well, you look at the fertility rates and the birth rates in Japan, in South Korea, in Eastern Europe, in Russia and you want to play these projection games you just go out 100 years and the only major growing free power in the world is the one we're in.
MR. KRIKORIAN: And immigration has nothing to do with that, because without it native-born Americans have the highest fertility of any developing country in the world.
MR. WATTENBERG: That's correct. And it's
MR. KRIKORIAN: it has nothing to do with immigration.
MR. WATTENBERG: Excuse me . . . and it's below replacement level.
MR. KRIKORIAN: It is right at replacement level.
MR. WATTENBERG: It is somewhat below replacement level. It is somewhat . . . it is 2.08 and 2.11 is replacement level. If you want to play those silly games, turn the crank and you end up with no Americans.
Q: In 7,000 years.
MR. CAMAROTA: Wait though, Ben. U.S. fertility is about to with or without immigrants without any immigrants we grow by about 62 million.
MR. WATTENBERG: Temporarily and then it levels off and then in theory it goes down.
MR. CAMAROTA: No, no.
MR. BECK: There were a couple of journalists that were here . . .
MR. KRIKORIAN: a couple of journalists, yeah. If you're a journalist, raise your hand. If not, don't.
Q: I have a question on your percentage of workers. The 60 . . . it seems to me the center of your study that this working age population between 15 and 64 years of age or adjusted if you want to (inaudible) ages is going to remain the same. My question is, let's say we take that 60 percent and let's say you make that that's 60 percent. You have 100 people in 2007. You have 100 people and eight of them are 60 years of age or 64 years of age and two of them are 15 years old. And then you go to 2060 and you have 100 people. Pretend 80 of them are 15 years old and 20 percent are 64 years old. You still have the same percentage of people you do in 2007, but the demographic is totally different. You have eight out of 10 are 15 years old in 2060 and in 2007 you have eight out of . . .
MR. KRIKORIAN: In other words, what you're saying is that different dependency ratios statistically could be the same, but if it's more young people . . .
Q: (Off mike.)
MR. KRIKORIAN: That's like . . .
Q: -- has a lot of influence on security and
MR. CAMAROTA: Agreed. That's why I calculate the dependency ratio, as you correctly point out. And then beginning in page seven, eight and so forth, I calculate something completely different. I leave off all of the children and just look at the ratio of workers to retirees.
Q: But the thing about the worker to retiree it's that same ratio.
MR. CAMAROTA: Yeah, that's . . .
Q: You could have eight out of those people in that age bracket, okay, include that 07 eight of 10 are 60 years of age. Two are 15 years of age. In 2060 you have the reverse, but you still have the same ratio!
MR. CAMAROTA: I'm not sure I exactly understand your question. Are you saying that, look, yes it's true that the ratio may not change much from immigration, but the average worker might get a little younger because of immigration?
Q: It's simple. Of that 60 percent that you talk about now . . .
MR. BECK: Nothing is simple in demographics, but go ahead.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Let me I understand what you're saying. The thing is that Steve explained something differently. What you're saying is that the table on page 10 . . . the mix of people who are depending on workers to support themselves will change. In other words, you'll have fewer old people, more young people. But what Steve is saying is that in earlier tables he completely removed the younger people and looked only at workers compared to the elderly. That's what he's saying. He looked at it both ways. That's the point.
Q: I'm talking about the universe of workers between 15 and 64.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Right. Well, to . . .
Q: Okay. In reverse it could be totally different.
MR. CAMAROTA: Oh, yeah. You know, I have done some stuff. It doesn't change the average age of the United States and it doesn't really change the average age of the worker.
MR. KRIKORIAN: He has another backgrounder on that.
MR. CAMAROTA: Yeah. I have another background on that and we could talk about that.
Q: If you're talking about Social Security and key programs, you know, you could have eight workers supporting two workers in 2060.
MR. KRIKORIAN: It's not that big a difference is what he's saying.
MR. CAMAROTA: What I'm trying to explain is that . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: May I say something? May I say something?
MR. CAMAROTA: The answer's on page seven in table seven, okay? It just doesn't change that ratio.
MR. WATTENBERG: May I say something? Look, let me try to explain this as best I can. The United States, as we all know, had a baby boom for 18 years. There were 80 million babies born after World War II. We then went into a baby bust a birth dearth where the fertility went down from almost four children per woman to about 1.8 children per woman. Now, if you turn the crank on that it means that you are going to have few people the new cohorts supporting a lot of people. That's what the Social Security crunch is all about, all right?
Now, so when you bring in these 60 million people over a long period of time, whose average age is 29, they don't totally eliminate that shortfall, but they eliminate about 30 percent of it. Now, in the other countries of the world they are facing catastrophes. They are down . . . South Korea and Japan and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union have fertility rates and birth rates unimaginable in the history of mankind at about one child per woman. Demographers used to talk about a doubling rate, now they talk about a halving rate. And it's geometric progression, just like Paul Ehrlich's kept running up, up, up, up, this goes down geometrically. To reverse that, it's going to require in a modern country 4.5 children per woman. Now, I don't think that's going to happen. It is a potential I wouldn't say a disaster, but it is a truly major problem. A de-populated world.
MR. CAMAROTA: But let me just say Ben is completely wrong about the United States. That's not happening here. Our fertility is two with or without immigrants. He just seems to be confusing Japan and Eastern Europe with America.
MR. KRIKORIAN: But it's not immigration that's making the difference for us. That's the point. It's native-born Americans.
MR. WATTENBERG: Native-born Americans are just below the replacement rate. You will have a stable population now a stable aging population. Is that what we want?
MR. KRIKORIAN: But that's different. You're talking about South Korea and Estonia that are going to have decreases in population.
MR. WATTENBERG: Well, last I heard they're all part of this planet in a globalized world.
Q: Can I ask a question, Steve, about your aging studies? I was . . . your point was that no matter what we've got an aging problem.
MR. CAMAROTA: That's right. We do.
MR. BECK: Not nearly as drastic as . . .
MR. CAMAROTA: That's right. Not (inaudible) . . .
MR. BECK: But in other words we have aging problem that even if we were to double or triple immigration it would the aging change would be alleviated very little.
MR. CAMAROTA: Right, very little.
MR. BECK: But, and you said, well, your study shows that by raising the retirement age you can pretty much right . . . you could
MR. CAMAROTA: Have a much bigger impact right.
MR. BECK: we'd get a much bigger impact than having immigration. The thing that it would seem like is missing another item that's missing there (inaudible) that my understanding is is there are right now 54 million working age Americans who are not working 54 million working age Americans who are either officially unemployed or just not in the labor force.
MR. WATTENBERG: A lot of them are in school.
MR. BECK: They're . . . that's right, because they started . . . working age, the Census Bureau does a 16 to 24 age group, but nonetheless they go from 16 to 64 54 million. It seems to me that it would take a very small amount of extra effort by business to just attract a little bit higher percentage.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Yeah, that's a good point.
MR. BECK: of the working age people to compensate for the aging.
MR. WATTENBERG: Roy, look. Take a ride up or down Wisconsin Avenue or Connecticut Avenue or in any major city in America. It is as if the official slogan of the United States went from E Pluribus Unum to Now Hiring. We have 4.5 percent unemployment. Most of that is frictional. Until very recently 6 percent was regarded as full employment. There are people begging employers, begging for jobs and that's why the employers are in favor of immigration. They want to get more Andy Groves (sp) in.
MR. BECK: But why the question is why can't the employers try to attract the 54 million. There are 54 million work age Americans. Even if you take the 16 to 24 out, which really would . . . doesn't make sense because most of the people between 16 and 24 are available for at least part time and most of them available for well, all of them are available part time most of them available full time . . . there's still about around 40 million working age Americans do not have jobs. Those are people that . . .
MR. WATTENBERG: No, they do not have jobs. They are choosing not to work. They're in school excuse me, they're in school, they're at home raising children. Anybody who seriously wants a job in America can just come up and down Wisconsin Avenue or Connecticut Avenue or Pennsylvania Avenue or any major city in America and find lots of jobs.
MR. BECK: If they're willing to work at those wages, those conditions.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Let's wrap it up here. Everybody is probably more than happy to be accosted by any further questions and if you're a journalist come to the front of the line. But otherwise thanks for coming. Again, the report's online at www.cis.org, and I hope we put on an entertaining show for everybody. Thank you very much.