Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Real Meaning of "Anchor Baby"

Just Wait Until They Get The Invoice For Their Share Of The Debt

"Each year, thousands of women enter the United States illegally to give birth, knowing that their child will thus have U.S. citizenship. Their children immediately qualify for a slew of federal, state, and local benefit programs. In addition, when the children turn 21, they can sponsor the immigration of other relatives, becoming 'anchor babies' for an entire clan."

--The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

Many xenophobes and immigration demagogues in our country have latched onto the concept of the "anchor baby": the theory that a pregnant woman, always Mexican, would make the taxing trip North by land to give birth in America and thereby obtain US citizenship for her baby. The mother in this way obtains a foothold in our country and begins to enjoy all the wonderful financial handouts on offer. FAIR - quoted above - is possibly the most serious of the groups concerned about immigration into the US, but there is still another angle from which to view the issue: every American child, born to natives or not, is an "anchor baby" in the sense that he or she comes into the world with an economic anchor already around his or her neck.

The national debt currently stands at $9.2 trillion, and will surpass $10 trillion within just two years. Divide the current number by the US population of 300 million, and you get a static liability of $32,600 per person. In other words, every "anchor baby" born on US soil automatically is on the hook for that amount of money. The picture gets worse if you look at future obligations. In 2006, the Government Accountability Office estimated that each full-time worker in the US had an unfunded liability exposure of $400,000, meaning he or she would have to pay that much over a working life toward financing federal "entitlement" programs. How many mothers-to-be would continue into the US if they were handed those figures at the border?!! Given those shocking numbers, it seems we could use all the workers we can possibly attract just to dilute the burden.

Since our political "leaders" in Washington, DC, steadfastly refuse to run the nation's fiscal accounts on an adult basis (see how they are rushing to send us checks funded by the Chinese this election year under the guise of "economic stimulus"), I predict we will see a reversal of the "anchor baby" phenomenon: expectant American parents may want to abandon the US in order to have their children in a country that offers jus soli or birthright citizenship and also has its books in order. An obvious choice in this regard is Canada, which has run a budget surplus for over a decade and enjoys a declining national debt both absolutely and as a percentage of GDP. In short, it is a country where a baby can start life with a basically clean slate, free of financial anchors.


Anonymous said...

Your prediction is already starting to come true. White professionals from the US have been going to Canada for years.

Leila said...

Hah, between this post and your previous Edwards slam, you have given me something to think about. And I was an Edwards supporter, too.

Charming blog you've got here. You have an original voice. Thought I would drop by from Philip Weiss - I notice the brevity and topicality of your comments. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. More hyperbole from the Dingle Berry of Rudely Stamped.

Anonymous said...

Any country can achieve a budget surplus by simply drawing more taxes from its citizens. Why is Canada overtaxing is people? That isn't necessarily a good thing.

The U.S. national debt as a percentage of GDP is actually about what it was in the 50s. Being in debt to one's own people isn't necessarily a bad thing either. It isn't like a bank loan or your checkbook. The government never has to pay it off.

Michael Blaine said...

Two points, Anonymous:

1. "The U.S. national debt as a percentage of GDP is actually about what it was in the 50s."

In the '50's, debt levels were high - but dropping rapidly! -after the "all out" effort to win WWII.

What's our excuse this time?

2. "Being in debt to one's own people isn't necessarily a bad thing either."

That argument has some merit, except that the US' debt is now owed increasingly to China, Japan, and the Persian Gulf nations.