Permanent Club Med actually is cheaper than current U.S. refugee settlement?

“The Fiscal Cost of Resettling Refugees in the United States” says that U.S. taxpayers spend roughly $80,000 per year per refugee resettled in the U.S.: “The cost per refugee to American taxpayers just under $79,600 every year in the first five years after a refugee is resettled in the U.S.” Demonstrating American commitment to innumeracy and illiteracy, the authors later say “This totals $15,900 per refugee, annually, or just under $79,600 per refugee over their first five years in America.” So they’ve calculated the cost… to within a factor of 5X.

Given a fixed budget and a desire to help as many people as possible, I never understood how it made sense to settle people in one of the world’s most expensive and inefficient (in terms of use of natural resources) countries.

If we assume the refugees arrive, on average, in a family of 4, that’s $320,000 per family per year at the high end of the article’s estimate. That’s $6,154 per week. The Club Med web site shows that typical prices in Caribbean or Mexico are about $125 per night per adult or about $4,300 per week for two adults and two older kids. For Muslim refugees who might prefer an Islamic environment (do they really want to read about Erica Garza and her lifestyle choices, hang out with opioid addicts, or put their children at risk in the society where kids are least likely to have two parents?), Club Meds in Morocco, Tunisia, and Senegal are available for about 20 percent less.

For refugees who don’t want to swim, windsurf, snorkel, and play tennis at the same resort year after year, Carnival offers cruises for $59 per day per person. Even if there is no discount for children, that’s $86,140 for a year for a family of four. In other words, for a given budgeted amount, it looks as though roughly 4X as many refugees could be rescued by putting them on cruise ships rather than bringing them into the U.S. to live?

Is it obvious that a permanent vacation is better than a standard American lifestyle? The same report says that “approximately 54 percent of all refugees will hold jobs that pay less than $11 an hour” (presumably this is limited to those refugees who actually do work). Low-wage jobs actually are worse for mental health than being unemployed. (Atlantic)

So… even if there were no discount for long-term vacations, taking the higher estimate of cost from the article, both refugees and the U.S. taxpayer would be better off financially and emotionally if refugees were given lifetime vacations at all-inclusive resorts and on all-inclusive cruise ships rather than being settled in the U.S.

What about at the low end of the article’s estimate? What if a refugee family of four costs only $63,600 per year in taxpayer cash? That’s not enough for Club Med and not quite enough for permanent Carnival cruising, absent a discount for buying five-year blocks. On the other hand, there are plenty wonderful countries for tourism where budget travel for a family of four costs less than $63,600. A refugee family could be on a permanent holiday in Thailand, for example, for about $24,000 per year ($18,000 per year is the estimate for a “couple” in budgetyourtrip.com).

(Note that I think that any estimate of the cost of immigration understates the true costs. The U.S. is incapable of building new infrastructure. Therefore the result of larger population is traffic jams, delayed or packed-beyond-useful public transport, etc. Americans lost 6.9 billion hours and $160 billion (ABC) from traffic jams in 2014, and trashed the planet by burning up an extra 3 billion gallons of fuel. See How much would an immigrant have to earn to defray the cost of added infrastructure?)

Potential issues: the cited report lumps together “refugees” and “asylees” such as the Tsarnaev brothers. (the Tsarnaevs collected welfare in Massachusetts, e.g., housing subsidies to live in Cambridge, otherwise one of America’s most expensive places to live, while hunting down the un-Islamic in Waltham and planning jihad); the report tracks the welfare consumption of refugees/asylees over a 5-year period and therefore we don’t know if they all decided to leave public housing, pay full price for health insurance, shop for food without an EBT, etc., starting in Year 6.

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22 Comments »

  1. M

    February 11, 2018 @ 1:55 pm

    1

    But of course the resettlement program is expensive, and that has absolutely nothing to do with the refugees themselves. We have to pay the humble civil servants whose responsibility is to think for all of us and then to help us decide what is in our interest. Thinking is too expensive nowadays, and they are going to help us with this and tell us what is good for our society.

    They even call themselves the thought leaders. They are educated so that you don’t have to be; just pay up, ya know…

  2. Jack

    February 11, 2018 @ 3:37 pm

    2

    Sounds like a bargain. Here in NYC the “homeless” are housed in hotels for I think it is $250 a night. These are not fleabag hotels but, for example, two Holiday Inns in lower Manhattan (“just minutes away from the financial capital of the world”). The homeless, who appear to be mentally ill and substance abusers, spend their days staggering around the financial capital of the world in rags or cuddling up on a warm subway grate enjoying a smoke while they are photographed by European tourists eager to show their friends back in Sweden or Holland or Belgium the plight of people of color in Trump’s US of A.

  3. Tom

    February 12, 2018 @ 6:36 am

    3

    Maybe the civil servants can work at Club Med instead?

  4. Poika

    February 12, 2018 @ 7:15 am

    4

    I really despise, but not hate, the reference to “refugees” and “migrants”. Because the truespeech definition is: “muslim invasion”.

    Is the $80,000 really per each invader? Also for the under aged, children and babies?

    BTW: Do you happen to know when and by whom was the process of granting “political refugee status” changed to chaininvasion of muslims?

  5. philg

    February 12, 2018 @ 10:31 am

    5

    Poika: At least for the U.S., I don’t think this is an exclusively Islamic enterprise. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/10/05/u-s-admits-record-number-of-muslim-refugees-in-2016/ shows that roughly half of official “refugees” are Muslim.

    But I’m not sure of the relevance of religion to the original posting. Apparently Americans want to help folks identified as refugees, including Muslims (at least the politicians for whom Americans voted want to do this). The question is whether we are doing this so inefficiently that everyone would be better off if we simply purchased lifetime Club Med and/or luxury cruise tickets for the folks whom we purport to help.

    Here’s an article on some hapless Burmese folks whose lives have been trashed by American do-gooders parking them in one of the worst neighborhoods in the U.S.: https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/still-seeking-refuge/Content?oid=1612169

    To answer your question, I think the cited study uses aggregate numbers. So it would include children, the elderly, etc.

  6. George A.

    February 12, 2018 @ 11:11 am

    6

    Let us not also forgot that we send money to those countries that we are accepting immigrants, refugee and asylums from. The money is suppose to help those countries but it gets them no where due to corruption by the elite of those countries we are supposedly helping.

  7. Poika

    February 13, 2018 @ 7:34 am

    7

    philg, the cited study seems to refer to the imported aliens as being that perhaps could be able to hold a job after … recovering, up to 5 years on benefits. Maybe it is so that that majority of the aliens are grown up anchor-“refugees”. If an alien families of four (a male, a female and two infants) would get 320,000$ per year in hand that would generate _a lot_ of forbiddenspeech.

    What I know about the Burmese “refugees”, even in the 2010 the only being who where “feeling” from Burma were those who do not come along with anyone, anywhere, ever, not even with their own hordes (except maybe three human rights activist).

    Anyhow, your Clib Med idea is … striking. When the muslim invasion started here in EU I had same sort of idea, my proposal was to buy old container ships and fill them with container housing units. Such ships would be handy also in the deportation phase as they can sail to the deportation destinations, no need for the business class escorted deportation service from PD.

    Thank you for the links, I didn’t knew that so many Christian are taken in to the US, hopefully they are true Christian … e.g. able to enjoy a pork chop. In this context it really strikes me is how the people from below the south border are treated. I believe many/most of them try to get in to US to make a (better) living, doing legal work. But they are categorically discarded.

  8. Vince

    February 13, 2018 @ 11:41 am

    8

    That fairus.org pages makes two separate assertions:

    •The cost per refugee to American taxpayers just under $79,600 every year in the first five years after a refugee is resettled in the U.S.;

    and

    •This totals $15,900 per refugee, annually, or just under $79,600 per refugee over their first five years in America.

    It’s hard to tell which is the correct value, ~$16k or ~$80k.

  9. philg

    February 13, 2018 @ 5:24 pm

    9

    Vince: That’s a great find! I guess this proves that we need immigrants who are good at arithmetic!

    [If the lower number is correct then it looks as though Carnival cruising at rack rates (no discount for being on board the entire year) is roughly comparable to what we spend and account for (i.e., not stealth spending on congestion or pollution), whereas Club Med would be more expensive.]

  10. Ben

    February 13, 2018 @ 7:14 pm

    10

    The article you link to estimates costs while pretending revenues are zero. See:

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/351289-trump-administration-officials-rejects-report-on-refugees

    “The Trump administration has rejected its own study after it showed that refugees contributed $63 billion more through taxes over 10 years than they cost the government, hurting President Trump’s argument that refugees cost more than they contribute.”

  11. Bill Swersey

    February 14, 2018 @ 12:01 pm

    11

    Philg – There’s a huge error in the FAIR article you cite which pretty much voids this discussion.

    In the executive summary they state: “The cost per refugee to American taxpayers just under $79,600 every year in the first five years after a refugee is resettled in the U.S.;”

    But under CONCLUSIONS at the bottom of the same page, they say: “This totals $15,900 per refugee, annually, or just under $79,600 per refugee over their first five years in America.”

    The Hill published an op-ed by a FAIR research associate yesterday that used the $15,900 per refugee per year figure.

    http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/373600-the-cost-of-refugee-resettlement-in-the-us-is-simply-too-high

    I don’t believe the FAIR report is accurate, but if you accept that it is, do you still believe a year of Club Med is a viable option for $79,600 for a family of 4?

  12. Poika

    February 14, 2018 @ 4:50 pm

    12

    This is currently circulating: https://www.sott.net/article/377209-Germany-spends-50000-a-year-to-look-after-single-child-refugee “Germany spends €50,000 a year to look after single ‘child’ refugee”. (They put the word ‘child’ in parenthesis because initially in the late 2015 when the muslim invasion started, it was believed that, honest to God, actual refugee children were coming, but the reality was that they were all well fed military aged men who lied about their ages. An other widely known definition was coined out due to eh above: beardchildren.

    So “the roughly $80,000 per year per refugee” indeed seems to be squarely on the right ballpark. It just is that they do not get such a huge amount of cash in their hand, instead it covers (nearly) everything: all the bureau-crazy, medical care, mental care, dental care, childcare, housing, food stamps, education, clothing, taxi drives, car, drivers license, surveillance by the PD/FBI, interpretation services, legal services, and the pocket money they get in hand, etc. (However, I believe it does not cover for the damages, pain and grief they cause by raping, robbing, killing, etc.)

    So, not any all inclusive cruise services includes all of that kind of care. That is where the Club Med comparison breaks apart.

  13. philg

    February 14, 2018 @ 8:55 pm

    13

    Bill: I’ve modified the original posting now that you and Vince have pointed out the 5:1 range of estimates in the cited article. At the lower end of the range, though, the refugee family could still enjoy a permanent full-time tropical holiday for less than what the U.S. taxpayer is currently spending. Club Med seems to be out of reach, but Carnival would work with a slight volume/long-term discount. And a permanent beach vacation in a country such as Thailand could also easily be funded.

    Ben: I’m sure that revenues will be huge. If there is one thing that can make the U.S. rich it is an expansion in the population of Americans who collect welfare!

  14. Bill Swersey

    February 15, 2018 @ 9:38 am

    14

    @polka – I challenge you to find one reputable source to back up your horseshit claim that “the reality was that they were all well fed military aged men who lied about their ages”

  15. Bill Swersey

    February 15, 2018 @ 5:16 pm

    15

    Why would you advocate for Club Med or Carnival Cruises for refugees, when research has shown that they are not, in the long run, a net drain on the economy?

    No doubt resettlement comes at a cost, but sending refugees on permanent vacation would seem to offer an ongoing cost, year after year, for the rest of their lives with little prospect for tax revenues or other contributions to society. Would kids go to school on these cruises? Would there be healthcare?

    A report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, released last fall, found that “on average, the U.S. spends $15,148 in relocation costs and $92,217 in social benefits over an adult refugee’s first 20 years in the country. Over that same time period, the average adult refugee pays $128,689 in taxes — $21,324 more than the benefits received.

    http://www.nber.org/digest/aug17/w23498.shtml

  16. philg

    February 15, 2018 @ 10:52 pm

    16

    NBER cooked the books by looking only at “refugees who arrived as adults ages 18-45” and then following for only 20 years. So the education expenses were $0 and expenses for retirement were also $0. If refugees are being randomly selected from all human ages (I would argue that disabled elderly folks should actually get priority), they’re looking at only about 1/4 of the refugees.

    The cherry-picked refugees kicked in $1,000 per year more in taxes than cash welfare outlays? And then stopped work at age 65 and needed 30 years of public housing, Medicare, etc.? That is seriously supposed to make the U.S. richer per capita?

    If paying a net $1,000 per year per adult in tax is sufficient to keep U.S. local, state, and federal governments flush, why not establish a flat tax of $1,000 per year for adults who aren’t on any kind of welfare? (if we can find any of those!) Then hunt down some “rich” folks (people who earn more than I do) and tax them to pay for the welfare programs that we want. I am looking forward to paying $1,000 per year to cover my share of the American K-12 industry, the local police and firefighters, pensions for public employees who retired 50 years ago, airports, highways, the world’s most inefficient health care system, the world’s most expensive prison gulag, our military that inspires awe in everyone except for our enemies, etc.

  17. The Practical Conservative

    February 15, 2018 @ 10:53 pm

    17

    Why do they have to stay here 20 plus years at all, that’s hardly taking temporary refuge. Also if after 20 years they only break even, and it’s a best case scenario it’s a bad deal for the usa compared to other legal immigrants.

  18. The Practical Conservative

    February 15, 2018 @ 10:55 pm

    18

    So best case they have to be here 20 years to barely break even. Not very temporary or emergency need clearly and also a poor deal compared to other legal immigrants.

  19. Bill Swersey

    February 16, 2018 @ 11:47 am

    19

    @Practical – refugee resettlement is not intended to be “temporary.” Also, breaking even is not just a best-case scenario – many get on their own two feet, work hard, graduate from all forms of public assistance and thrive. But I guess those are not the cases you want to spotlight.

    You’re all forgetting one key thing: it may be tough for the first generation, but the children of resettled refugees quickly assimilate and become as American as anyone else.

  20. philg

    February 16, 2018 @ 12:19 pm

    20

    Bill: Being “as American as anyone else” means a fiscal negative. Americans as a whole have had to borrow $20 trillion in order to sustain what they consider to be a reasonable level of federal government (plus another 400% of GDP in stealth borrowing via pension and health care commitments). The median American digs a deeper financial hole for the country.

  21. TD

    February 16, 2018 @ 2:40 pm

    21

    Bill:

    With all due respect, why are you trying to teach us what to do? what gave you the right? I am very sorry if the rest of my posting is unkind, nonetheless…

    Have you ever said hello to a customer? Have you ever earned as much as an honest lunch in your whole life? Why are you sure you are entitled to tell me what to do in my life?

    How about you buy some land with your own money, resettle however many refugees on it, and–in a generation or two–tell us how great it was and what we were all missing. And why won’t you tell your humanistic ideals to those who escaped a Communist concentration camp, like some in my extended family?

  22. Bill Swersey

    February 16, 2018 @ 4:39 pm

    22

    @TD:

    Have you ever said hello to a customer?
    -Yes.

    Have you ever earned as much as an honest lunch in your whole life?
    -Yes, many. What makes you think otherwise?

    Why are you sure you are entitled to tell me what to do in my life?
    -I don’t care what you do with your life. I don’t feel “entitled,” but it is certainly my right to share my opinion and advocate for a position I believe it in an open forum such as this.

    How about you buy some land with your own money, resettle however many refugees on it, and–in a generation or two–tell us how great it was and what we were all missing.
    – As a citizen and longtime taxpayer, I feel I’ve done just what you’ve described above.

    And why won’t you tell your humanistic ideals to those who escaped a Communist concentration camp, like some in my extended family?
    -You lost me there. Care to try to clarify?

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