Monthly Archives: September 2016

These maps show how immigrants affect your state’s budget

By Max Ehrenfreund

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29:  A family walks by a store specializing in phone calls and travel to Latin America in the ethnically diverse neighborhood of Queens on August 29, 2016 in New York City. Queens County is one of the five most diverse counties in the United States with a large Latino and Asian population among other groups. Immigration has once again become a topic dividing the candidates in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has been an advocate of building a wall with Mexico and deporting all illegal immigrants, is expected to give a speech on Wednesday to clarify his positions on immigration policy.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A family walks by a store specializing in phone calls and travel to Latin America on August 29 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Local politicians who are skeptical of immigration often worry that newcomers will place a financial burden on city and state governments. These governments are responsible for major expenses related to immigrant families, especially education, and since immigrants tend to own less property and make less money, they also often pay less in taxes.

Figuring out just what immigrants mean for local governments’ finances is a challenge, though. The fiscal consequences vary widely from place to place, depending on the region’s economy, how taxes are collected, immigrants’ earnings and the number of children they have in school.

On average, state governments spend about $3,300 more on each household headed by immigrants than those households pay in taxes a year, according to a comprehensive new report published last week by the nonpartisan National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

However, the report, which published last week, found that these families can yield benefits over the long term, as their children grow up, find well-paying jobs,and begin paying more taxes to their local governments.

“The main thing that is affecting the spending level, especially at the state and local level, is the number of school-age kids,” said Kim Rueben, one of the authors of the report and an economist at the Urban Institute. “These things are being looked at as costs, but in some ways, they’re our investment into the future.”

The cost of households headed by first-generation immigrants varies widely by state, however. In Minnesota, they cost the government about $10,000 on average, but in neighboring North Dakota, the state actually receives an average of nearly $5,000 more in taxes from first-generation households than it spends on them.

<img src="" alt="2300" …read more


Trump, Clinton target trade deals at a time when globalization is stalling

By Ana Swanson and Ylan Q. Mui

Container boxes are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port, part of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, in Shanghai, China September 24, 2016. Picture taken September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Container boxes are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port, part of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, in Shanghai, China September 24, 2016. Picture taken September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

The steady march of globalization that powered the world economy for the past 30 years is stalling out at a time when leading political figures in the United States and elsewhere have become increasingly hostile to international trade.

The World Trade Organization said Tuesday that growth in global trade would fall to 1.7 percent this year, the slowest pace since the 2008 financial crisis and part of a vicious cycle that has dragged down broader economic growth. Formerly highflying countries such as China and Brazil are spending less on manufacturing equipment and railroads, while stalwarts such as Europe and ­Japan are fighting the perilous phenomenon of falling prices known as deflation — leaving nations with little appetite for trading with one another.

Economists say the slowdown in trade could carry significant risks for workers in the United States. Although advocates of trade barriers say they could protect more American jobs from going overseas, most economists say tariffs would raise costs for American manufacturers and consumers, imperiling an already fragile economy. Meanwhile, cutting off emerging markets could threaten the livelihoods of workers around the world. Globalization was instrumental in reducing the number of people who live in extreme poverty by half over roughly the past two decades, according to the World Bank.

The WTO report comes on the heels of the first presidential debate, in which Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton showed unusual agreement in sharply criticizing past trade deals and questioning the benefits of approving a new agreement with 11 countries along the Pacific Rim. Instead, Clinton called for “smart, fair trade deals.” Trump, who has made opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership a centerpiece …read more


Lawmakers slam Obama administration’s ‘hasty decision’ to ban another plant

By Christopher Ingraham

(Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

A bipartisan group of 51 U.S. representatives is asking the Obama administration to reconsider a unilateral move by the Drug Enforcement Administration to ban the drug kratom, a plant whose opiate-like effects are making it an increasingly popular alternative for treating pain and drug addiction.

The DEA recently decided to place the drug kratom into schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, the most restrictive regulatory category, “to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.” The ban is likely to go into effect on Friday.

The DEA’s decision to place kratom as a Schedule I substance will put a halt on federally funded research and innovation surrounding the treatment of individuals suffering from opioid and other addictions a significant public health threat,” the letter states. Mitigating the effects of the national opioid epidemic — which along with heroin killed close to 30,000 people in 2014 — has been a major goal of the Obama administration’s drug policy.

In the letter to the Obama administration, spearheaded by Mark Pocan (D.-Wi.) and Matt Salmon (R.-Az.), the representatives representatives urge the director of the Office of Management and Budget to use his authority to delay the DEA’s action.

[What it’s like to be high on kratom, according to the people who use it]

Noting that the DEA did not take public comment from “consumers, researchers, and other stakeholders” before the decision, the representatives say that the DEA’s move “threatens the transparency of the scheduling process and its responsiveness to the input of both citizens and the scientific community.”

The letter notes that federal research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, led to …read more