Secret to Jeb's 4 Percent Growth Plan? Immigrants

Economics Professor Giovanni Peri is quoted in Bloomberg View.

Jeb Bush is banking on 4 percent. That's the annual rate of growth in gross domestic product that he's forecasting for a Bush presidency. “There is not a reason in the world why we cannot grow at a rate of 4 percent a year,” Bush said in June when he officially announced his campaign. Actually, there are quite a few reasons, including a half-century of economic history and the improbability that productivity would grow sufficiently to create such a high rate of growth. But productivity isn't the only way to raise GDP. A rising population also works. And the surest, easiest way to increase population? Immigration.

"If one is only looking for growth in total GDP," Professor Peri says, "then one needs a growth of labor force of 1.5 percent due to immigrants only. That will do the trick. The U.S. civilian labor force is about 157 million, this would imply admitting 2.3 million immigrants per year beyond what we admit now. This is a large number, it will roughly imply tripling the current inflow of immigrants, but it is not impossible."

Read more at Bloomberg View.