Immigration, Civic Engagement and the Budget Process

Blog Post
Monday, March 19, 2018

During the sixth broadcast of “Facing the Future,” Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby and the newest addition to Concord’s team, Tyler Sweeney, discussed a wide range of topics, from immigration reform to civic engagement.

Bixby explained how immigration reform could help encourage U.S. economic growth. “One of the biggest problems we have in the future is the declining growth of our labor force,” he said. “That’s one major reason why the long-term economic projections are so anemic.”

Bixby said that demographics are to blame. Although the generations following Baby Boomers are large, they are not increasing the labor force at a sufficient rate to sustain long-term economic growth.

“We have had a debate about immigration . . . but we have not really been talking about immigration as an economic issue, and it really is,” he said.

Bixby expressed confidence in the country’s ability to engage in immigration reform that increases the supply of skilled workers while also protecting national security.

“To say we need more immigrants is not to say that we just throw open the borders,” he said.  The Hill recently published a guest column by Bixby on immigration and economic growth.

Sweeney, who now serves as the New Hampshire state director, expressed hope in the ability of younger Americans to have an effective voice in the push for long-term fiscal policy reform.

“We are the largest eligible voting block out there right now, and we have a very real chance at making our voices heard in a way that we have never seen before,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney was impressed with the number of young Americans he saw involved with campaigns and issue groups during the 2016 election cycle.  

During the program, we also discussed the new joint committee in Congress tasked with recommending reforms to the budget process by late this year. We agreed that no matter what recommendations come out of the committee, there will still be a need for political leadership to have an effective budget process.

“I’m all for people looking at the process and trying to improve it, but you can’t amend human nature and put it in a bill,” Bixby said. “One of the problems with the budget process is that if members of Congress don’t feel like adhering to it, they won’t. Whatever Congress passes, Congress can ignore.”

I host “Facing the Future” each week on WKXL Concord News Radio (N.H.), which is also available via podcast.  Join us as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here.