A minority-majority is predicted to occur in the United States by 2050. What will the future of our economy look like?
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Christian Weller, an economist and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, says that more young people "means more people in the workforce, more taxpayers, more income for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid -- that's sort of the basic thing."
Furthermore, Weller says, upward mobility into better jobs for minority workers means more tax revenues to pay for safety-net programs. "Creating and finding solutions that are specific to all of the various populations -- Latino, African-American, and subpopulations of Asian-Americans -- to really get them to end the cycle of constantly being stuck in the low-wage jobs."
By the same token, legalizing undocumented workers would allow those workers, for example, who are currently paid under the table in cash to contribute to Social Security.
"If we created pathways for undocumented immigrants into legal immigration, Social Security's finances would improve substantially," says Weller.
That said, even now many undocumented immigrants do contribute to Social Security. Stephen Goss, chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, has said that as of 2007, undocumented immigrants had paid $120 billion to $240 billion into the Social Security trust fund over the program's history.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.