Exclusive: GOP Establishment Uses Obama's, Left's Data to Argue Amnesty 'Creates Jobs'
The American Action Network (AAN), a GOP establishment organization headed by former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), is trying to argue that passing an amnesty would “create jobs.” Coleman went to lead AAN, an establishment group openly advocating for amnesty, shortly after he lost his reelection to Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) back in 2008.
According to ABC News/Univision writer Jordan Fabian, AAN released a web app and economic data that reportedly shows the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill “would add nearly 14,000 new jobs on average in each congressional district over the next decade.”
A web tool AAN published lets users select any member of the House of Representatives and see how many “jobs” would be “created” in that member’s district if the Senate bill were to pass.
AAN appears to be violating American Economic Association (AEA) standards in presenting this information. The group has not released the required disclosures, which gives the appearance the data may not be as accurate as claimed. Numerous requests from members of Congress and requests from news media outlets including Breitbart News were ignored. The group has not disclosed the assumptions it made, nor has it disclosed the economic model it used, or much of the data involved.
AEA sets standards for best practices in economics a lot like how the American Medical Association (AMA) sets similar guidelines for doctors practicing medicine. They are widely respected, and these rules are generally strictly adhered to by economists.
“It is the policy of the American Economic Review to publish papers only if the data used in the analysis are clearly and precisely documented and are readily available to any researcher for purposes of replication,” AEA says on its website. “Authors of accepted papers that contain empirical work, simulations, or experimental work must provide to the Review, prior to publication, the data, programs, and other details of the computations sufficient to permit replication.”
AAN’s Eric Wilson, whose byline the “jobs created” web tool appears under, told Breitbart News when reached by phone early on Tuesday that he is not personally responsible for the economic data; he said he just built the web application. He said the AAN staffer in charge of the economic data, Dan Conston, would provide Breitbart News on Tuesday with the three economic pieces of information any credible economist is required to release about any analysis: the assumptions made, the economic model used and specific descriptions about the data input used to achieve the results. Neither Conston nor Wilson nor any other AAN figure has provided any of that information in the time promised.
AAN is a sister group of American Action Forum (AAF) which is led by former Congressional Budget Office (CBO) director and former President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers chief economist Doug Holtz-Eakin. Holtz-Eakin, a renowned economist, was presumably involved in the rollout of this information.
“This is outrageous,” a former Heritage Foundation staffer told Breitbart News, regarding the fact that an economic analysis produced by a shop that Holtz-Eakin is involved with would not publish the required economic data to be considered credible and has not released it upon request. “Doug is a prominent economist who belongs to the American Economic Association, and the AEA’s rule is that all published authors in their journals must submit all of the researcher’s data and models to the AEA for public inspection. It is a complete disclosure rule. It is standard at Heritage, and if Heritage discloses all data and modeling upon request, then AAN should, of course, do the same.”
According to the information about the data that the group has disclosed, what is known about AAN’s work is that it used economic data that President Barack Obama’s White House has touted after the Institutional Left funded the production of the research. The Ford Foundation and the Unbound Philanthropy, two different liberal foundations that are connected with and support the George Soros-funded National Immigration Forum (NIF), and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, another bastion of the Institutional Left, funded research and a report by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), according to a disclosure at the bottom of the first page of the report. That REMI report, published on July 17, 2013, argued would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the first few years after an amnesty.
President Obama’s White House then took that report and on August 1, used it to argue that “[c]ommonsense immigration reform will strengthen the U.S. economy and create jobs.”
“Independent studies affirm that commonsense immigration reform will increase economic growth by adding more high-demand workers to the labor force, increasing capital investment and overall productivity, and leading to greater numbers of entrepreneurs starting companies in the U.S.,” the White House wrote on its official website, before again endorsing the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill as one that it argued would economically boost the country and individual states.
AAN states on its website that it conducted the analysis it used to make the web tool with numbers from CBO and with that REMI report that Obama’s White House has used. “Statewide jobs created reflects the number of jobs created by 2023 by temporary workers visas and legalization of undocumented workers under the Senate’s immigration bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013,” AAN writes on its website. “This number was calculated using data from the Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) study “Key Components of Immigration Reform”.”
“The number of jobs created per district reflects jobs created from both temporary worker visas and permanent immigration through green cards as these programs would change due to the Senate bill,” AAN adds. “These numbers were calculated with data from the REMI study and the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the benefits of Senate bill’s economic impact.”
Ironically, that same CBO report points out that wages of American workers would be driven down for at least a decade if this bill were to pass.
This is hardly the first time Obama’s White House has been seen working alongside Holtz-Eakin’s AAF and its sister group AAN on economic information regarding immigration. A July 10, 2013, report from the White House’s Executive Office of the President touting purported economic benefits of the Senate bill cited the CBO as its first source and Holtz-Eakin as its second. “Analysis by former CBO Director and Chief Economist for President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers Douglas Holtz-Eakin also finds that immigration reform will raise the pace of economic growth,” Obama’s White House wrote in that report.
In response to these revelations, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Breitbart News on Tuesday that the group needs to either release the relevant information or pull it down from its website. “The American Action Network should either release their methodology or remove the claims from their website,” Sessions said in a statement provided to Breitbart News.
Sessions also told Breitbart News that the Senate Gang of Eight bill’s failure to stem the tide of future illegal immigration—according to the same CBO report that AAN says it cited here, the Senate bill will only at best reduce illegal immigration 30 to 50 percent from current levels—and President Obama’s demonstrated willingness to not enforce laws like E-Verify, many illegal immigrants would continue taking jobs away from American citizens and legal immigrants.
Sessions’ communications director Stephen Miller told Breitbart News, too, that even if one were to believe these jobs numbers from AAN, that purported increase in the amount of jobs would still not be enough to match the number of new people the Senate bill or a plan like it would bring into the country via legalization or via new unprecedentedly massive increases in legal immigration to ensure American citizens and legal immigrants get jobs first.
"Based on conservative CBO projections, the senate bill would add approximately 46 million immigrants by 2033,” Miller said in an email. “Even using AAN's inflated claim of 6 million jobs - for which they provide no supporting data - that's not nearly enough to keep up with the expansion of guest workers and low-skill immigration contained in the proposal. That's why CBO reports that joblessness will grow, wages will fall, and per-capita GNP will shrink for the next 25 years.”
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told Breitbart News that “whatever the logical basis for” AAN’s claim that passing an amnesty would “create” 13,298 “jobs” in his district, Iowa’s fourth, “I’d like to see it.”
“If it’s jobs created providing services for people who cannot fund their own services, that is a net economic negative,” King said in a phone interview. “If these are jobs, what kind of jobs? Where do they go? I know my district and I don’t see anyone jumping up and down at the prospect of any jobs being created by granting amnesty to 11 million people.”
When presented with many of the details contained in this article, King said “I would just say it’s got to be ‘voodoo economics.’ They believe, Doug Holtz-Eakin and the establishment wing of the Republican Party thinks anything that can be projected as growing the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] is good for America. There are a lot of things that are necessary before that formula is sound. For example, we need to increase the average annual productivity of our people. If it’s 316 million people, you divide that into our Gross Domestic Product—that number has got to increase, not decrease. If you bring people in who do not have a chance to sustain themselves in this economy, then that is an economic negative not a plus.”
“So far, this has the look of Obamanomics,” King added, specifically in reference to those leftwing foundations that funded the REMI study.
A different GOP congressional aide added in an email to Breitbart News that this type of potentially dishonest economic argument seems like it could be akin to how the People’s Republic of China can claim their nation is booming economically while the country’s citizenry suffers.
“Just look at China to understand how disingenuous they and others are being,” the aide said. “Red China has a huge economy and has had tremendous growth, but it doesn't mean its citizens are wealthy. In fact most of them are dirt poor. What you need to look at is the impact on individuals, particularly those who are already here legally."