Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted this yesterday:
Undocumented immigrants pay more in US taxes than Amazon or Facebook do.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 8, 2020
I agree with her that nativists mischaracterize the drain that undocumented immigrants put on government resources. They actually contribute quite a bit, and it’s unclear to me what the net fiscal impact is, but it could very well be positive. But, the most important reason that I support a much more open immigration policy is not the fiscal impact on the government, but the social impact on the people involved. That’s a huge net benefit. It greatly promotes human flourishing.
It’s also not true that “Amazon” and “Facebook” do not contribute much to the treasury, or society. These corporations are collections of thousands of individuals who pay a tremendous amount of taxes. The corporate entities themselves also try to minimize the additional corporate income taxes they face by complying with laws designed to incentivize them to invest their profits in socially useful ways. And, they do that very well. But, not to the extent of the “no taxes” claim that many people have been making. See this recent blog post from Amazon.
What struck me about this tweet was that she didn’t just make a point to correct those who think that these immigrants pay no taxes. She felt obliged to add on an attack on some big corporations, making similarly misleading allegations.
I’m impressed by how economically she demonstrated that she’s just as much of a tribal bad actor as those she opposes.
It looks to me like she’s saying:
I’ll see your ignorant, misleading, vilification of a group of people that your tribe hates and mine likes, and raise you more ignorant, misleading, vilification of a group of people that my tribe hates and yours likes.