April 25, 2007

Do not tax the migrants, make them save instead.

Sir, I could not agree more with Philippe Legrain on that Europe (and the US) need urgently to develop some large scale temporary immigration programs if they want to have a fighting chance of keeping what is happening under reasonable control. If the political price to pay for such programs is along the lines that he suggests in “A migrant tax would slash illegal entry into Europe”, April 25, namely an “extra payroll tax on foreign workers” so be it, and only because something is better than nothing. Nevertheless, let us be clear that what he is suggesting is a form of bribery offering all the “true” citizens to share into the earnings produced by the migrants, the secondary citizens. It is also equivalent to a handicap system where you place a special tax on the shoulders of foreigners, so that your homeboys can easier compete, which could have of course some long term debilitating effects for your own.

Much better is a system that looks to really guarantee the temporary aspects of it all. Not only do you have to make certain that the migrants keep up their contacts with their homelands, so as to avoid the risk of any heart-drain but also, that those same homelands manage to get better homes to return to. That you take a percentage of the migrants earnings and place it into a savings account that he will get back when he returns home, sounds much more reasonable than taxing him so that he might remain poor and impeded from returning home.