Factcheck Needs to Check Itself

A new TV spot claims Americans will be “stuck with the tax bill” for President Obama’s order giving legal status to millions of immigrants. What bill? Those immigrants will produce more in taxes than they will consume, according to the very authority cited by the ad’s sponsor. — Factcheck.org, 4/10/15

Fact Checker: Factcheck is a website that checks the accuracy of statements made by individuals and organizations. Recently an ad sponsored by Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) stated that presidential contenders aren’t talking about the “tax implications” of President Obama’s unilateral offer of amnesty to as many as five million illegal aliens. The ad noted that those who get legal status under his edict can collect, over a ten year period, a total of $1.7 billion in tax refunds for work they did prior to the edict if they filed a tax return.

The ad cited projections of the Congressional Budget Office as the source of its statement. And Factcheck agrees that this statement is accurate. Nevertheless, it says that the ad practiced “distortion,” by omitting the projection of the Budget Office that the amnesty, over a ten-year period, would provide a net gain for the Treasury. This criticism fails on two counts.

First, the purpose of the ad is to focus on how outrageous it is to reward illegal aliens retroactively as well as grant them future benefits. This point can stand alone, without reference to the larger fiscal picture. Even if amnesty does yield a net benefit, that does not absolve this particular provision from criticism.

Secondly, Factcheck is practicing distortion when it cites the Budget Office’s time frame of ten years to show a net gain in taxes. If the Obama amnesty is allowed to stand, its beneficiaries almost certainly will become official permanent residents, and thus eligible when they reach the ages of eligibility to receive benefits from Medicare and collect Social Security checks. But given the relatively young age of most potential amnesty recipients today, the great majority will be working and paying taxes a decade after amnesty, rather than drawing from those programs.

The full accounting will not be done until they all reach retirement age. And at that point the amnesty undoubtedly will prove to be a net loss. On average, most illegal aliens hold jobs that pay below average incomes which means they most likely will draw far more from those two entitlement programs than they contributed.

Factcheck needs to check all the facts before accusing others of “distortion.” The CAPS ad rendered a true public service by highlighting the high cost and questionable provisions of Obama’s amnesty edict.


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