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U.S.	
  Immigrants:	
  Friends	
  or	
  Fiends?	
  
www.theevansgroupllc.com	
  
	
  
Chip	
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  Sola	
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U.S. Immigrants: Friends or Fiends?
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U.S. Immigrants: Friends or Fiends?
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US Immigrants - Friends or Fiends

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US Immigrants - Friends or Fiends

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Transcript of "US Immigrants - Friends or Fiends"

  1. 1. U.S.  Immigrants:  Friends  or  Fiends?   www.theevansgroupllc.com     Chip  Evans,  Ph.D.,  Sola  Lamikanra,  Ph.D.,  Robert  Klemyk  and  Dziko  Thunde,  MBA    
  2. 2. U.S. Immigrants: Friends or Fiends? The  average  American  is  familiar  with  the  phrase  “we  are  a  nation  of  immigrants.”    There  is  also   common  agreement  that  the  unique  opportunity  for  the  United  States’  rapid  industrialization   and  economic  development,  which  resulted  in  its  rise  to  becoming  the  preeminent  global   superpower,  lies  in  the  collective  advantage  that  immigrants  provided  the  country.      The  value   of  immigrants  to  prosperity  of  the  nation  was  acknowledged  for  the  first  time  during  Abraham   Lincoln’s  administration  in  an  1868  Congressional  report  which  stated  that  “the  rapid  growth   and  prosperity  of  the  country  greatly  depends  upon  foreign  emigration”  and  that  immigrants   would  aid  the  American  dream  of  “making  this  republic  the  freest  and  the  most  powerful   empire  of  the  world)”1.    The  debate  over  the  value  of  immigrants  and  their  impact  on  the  socio-­‐ economic  wellbeing  of  the  U.S.  and  the  number  of  immigrants  that  should  be  allowed  into  the   country  has,  however,  taken  different  turns  over  the  years  by  the  “new  natives”  who   sometimes  see  immigration  as  threatening  to  their  prosperity  and  to  the  American  dream.    For   several  years,  different  formulas  have  been  used  to  determine  the  number  of  immigrants  from   each  region  of  the  world  that  should  be  allowed  to  come  to  the  U.S.    While  most  people  would   agree  that  some  level  of  immigration  should  be  allowed,  there  continues  to  be  disagreement  on   the  number  and  types  of  people  to  allow  into  the  country.         Immigration  phobia  is  often  driven  by  political  concerns  and  posturing  that  play  on  concerns  of   some  Americans  that  immigrants  will  overwhelm  public  assistance  programs,  “steal”  jobs  from   Americans,  cause  major  demographic  shifts  and  increase  the  crime  rate.    It  is  also  common  to   ascribe  some  of  the  blame  of  the  most  recent  worst  recession  since  the  Great  Depression  to  the   influx  of  migrants  that  have  decreased  demand  to  hire  Americans.      Facts  are  often  ignored   and/or  manipulated  in  emotionally  charged  arguments  on  the  topic.    Influx  of  over  11  million   undocumented  immigrants  over  a  number  of  years  has  further  elevated  the  stakes  on  how   Americans  view  the  newer  migrants,  their  value  to  society,  and  what  to  do  with  them  and  with   children  of  illegal  immigrants.  States  with  the  highest  illegal  immigrant  populations  are  believed   to  be  California,  Texas,  Florida,  Illinois  and  New  York2.    The  difficulty  in  passing  a  bill  that  in   effect  acknowledges  the  inevitable  fact  that  these  immigrants  are  already  well  entrenched   within  the  socio-­‐economic  fabric  of  the  U.S.  underscores  the  assertion  that  politics  and  fear  of   losing  power  sometimes  prevails  over  what  is  best  for  the  country.    Estimate  of  taxes  paid  by   undocumented  immigrants  in  2010  was  $11.2  billion.    This  includes  $1.2  billion  in  income  taxes,   $1.6  billion  in  property  taxes,  and  $8.4 billion  in  sales  taxes3.    Although  illegal  immigrants  were   initially  concentrated  in  agriculture,  by  2006  they  appeared  to  represent  24%  of  all  workers   employed  in farming  occupations,  17%  in  cleaning,  14%  in  construction  and  12%  in  food   preparation4.    Most  Americans,  across  all  demographic  and  political  groups  already  support   establishing  a  pathway  for  illegal  immigrants  already  in  the  country  to  stay  and  ultimately   1 2 3 4  http://voices.yahoo.com/the-contributions-immigrants-united-states-88831.html?cat=37    http://cis.org/node/3877#illegal http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/unauthorized-immigrants-pay-taxes-too http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/the-immigration-debate-its-impact-on-workers-wages-and-employers/   Chip  Evans,  Ph.D.       www.theevansgroupllc.com    
  3. 3. U.S. Immigrants: Friends or Fiends? acquire  citizenship5.    Redistricting  that  occurred  after  the  2010  elections  resulted  in  House   members  representing  narrower,  more  homogenous  districts  than  the  senators  who  run   statewide.    The  lack  of  consequence  for  not  working  across  party  lines  and  the  need  by  the   legislators  to  win  the  next  election,  particularly  in  very  conservative  districts,  further   complicates  the  immigration  debate.       A  very  interesting  aspect  of  this  debate  is  that  the  far  right  conservatives  often  tend  to  be  the   most  resistant  group  to  immigration  reform.    This,  in  fact,  is  a  shift  from  their  doctrine,  as  there   is  a  preponderance  of  evidence  that  immigration,  in  several  ways,  helps  to  maintain  American   global  superiority  and  its  status  as  a  global  superpower.    This  group  interestingly  sees  their   “brand”  as  being  defined  by  better  ownership  of  the  concept  of  American  exceptionalism.    Of   the  three  planks  that  guide  conservative  philosophy:  preservation  of  traditional   institutions/beliefs,  distrust  of  government  activism,  and  opposition  to  sudden  change,  the   latter  seems  to  be  the  only  one  that  could  be  used  to  explain  their  heightened  resistance  to   immigration  reform.    The  change  in  demography  of    U.S.  residents  has,  however,  not  been   sudden,  as  the  trend  over  several  years  indicates  that  the  country  progressively  gets  larger  with   an  aging  population,  and  more  racially  and  ethnically  diverse6.    Ethnic  minorities  are  the  main   victims  of  anti-­‐immigrant  bias,  which  often  includes  a  perception  by  the  far  right  that  these  are   uneducated  lower  class  individuals  “invading”  the  country.    The  shift  in  status  quo  and  fear  of   the  potential  weakening  of  power  previously  held  by  a  sector  of  the  population  that  would   result  from  the  inevitable  demographic  trend  seems  to  be  of  more  concern  than  benefits  from   immigration  that  far  outweigh  any  possible  downside.    Technology  is  making  the  world  smaller   and  factors  that  impact  strong  leadership  in  the  global  economy  are  rapidly  changing.    Failure   to  embrace  a  comprehensive  immigration  agenda  could  weaken  what  is  arguably  the  country’s   uniqueness  and  strongest  competitive  advantage.   The  critical  importance  of  small  businesses  to  the  American  economy  and  its  stability  is  quite   evident.    They  are  by  far  the  stimulus  for  entrepreneurship  and  creativity,  and  account  for  over   60%  of  all  private  non-­‐farm  jobs.    The  U.S.  has  over  twenty  seven  million  small  businesses   generating  about  50%  of  the  gross  domestic  product  (GDP).      The  millions  of  individuals  that   started  small  businesses  in  the  U.  S.  helped  shape  the  business  world  to  make  it  what  it  is   today7.    Small  businesses  considerably  impact  the  economy  through  job  creation  and   innovation.    The  share  of  U.S.  small  businesses  owned  by  immigrants  grew  by  50%  since  1990,   with  a  fifth  of  the  small  business  owners  born  outside  the  country.    Immigrants  create   businesses  at  higher  rates  than  American  born  workers,  particularly  in  the  high-­‐tech  sector.         They  were  key  founders  in  one-­‐quarter  of  all  U.S.  high-­‐tech  startups  between  1995  and  2005,   including  over  half  of  high-­‐tech  start-­‐ups  in  the  Silicon  Valley  during  that  period.    Small   5 http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/28/most-say-illegal-immigrants-should-be-allowed-to-stay-but-citizenship-ismore-divisive/ 6 Shrestha, B.L and Heisler, E.J. The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States. CRS Report for Congress March 31, 2011   7  http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-economy-2010   Chip  Evans,  Ph.D.       www.theevansgroupllc.com    
  4. 4. U.S. Immigrants: Friends or Fiends? businesses  owned  by  immigrants  employed  an  estimated  4.7  million  people  in  2007,  and  have   generated  more  than  $776  billion  annually8.      Immigrants  started  25  percent  of  public  U.S.   companies  that  were  backed  by  venture  capital  investors.  This  list  includes  Google,  eBay,   Yahoo!  Sun  Microsystems,  and  Intel9.    A  very  recent  and  remarkable  American  story  is  the  $19   billion  purchase  of  WhatsAPP  from  Jan  Koum  and  Brian  Acton  by  Facebook.    Koum,  who   migrated  at  the  age  of  16  from  Kiev,  Ukraine  right  after  the  break  up  of  the  Soviet  Union,  and   later  a  college  dropout,  once  lived  on  food  stamps  for  a  number  of  years  with  his  single  mother.     He  ended  up  co-­‐founding  WhatsAPP  in  2009.    The  level  of  innovation  and  creativity  is  evidenced   by  the  fact  that  with  only  55  employees,  WhatsAPP  generates  an  estimated    $1  billion  in  annual   sales.         In  spite  of  the  widely  held  belief  that  immigrants  and  offshoring  are  reducing  job  opportunities   of  American-­‐born  workers,  studies  indicate  that  sectors  with  a  larger  increase  in  global   exposure  (through  offshoring  and  immigration)  fared  better  than  those  with  less  exposure  in   terms  of  native  employment  growth10.    A  comprehensive  study  by  the  Centre  for  Economic   Research  of  the  London  School  of  Economics  and  Political  Science  for  example,  recently   reported  results  of  tested  predictions  of  a  model  on  U.S.  data  from  58  manufacturing  industries   over  the  years  2000-­‐2007.  Their  results  indicate  a  positive  productivity  effect  and  increased   native  employment  as  a  result  of  immigration.    Their  results  are  consistent  with  the  fact  that   less  educated  immigrants  are  employed  in  the  more  manual-­‐routine  tasks  and  on  average  do   not  compete  within  the  occupations  in  which  the  bulk  of  native  workers  are  employed,  which   tend  to  be  more  non-­‐routine  and  cognitive  intensive.  Immigrants,  they  found,  compete  more   with  offshore  workers.  This  indicates  that  increased  immigration  would  induce  firms  to  move   production  from  offshore  workers  to  immigrants.  At  the  same  time,  immigration  seems  to  be   associated  with  cost-­‐savings  and  a  corresponding  increase  in  productivity  so  that  its  aggregate   effect  on  the  level  of  employment  of  low-­‐skilled  native  American-­‐born  workers  is  positive.    The   research  also  found  increased  offshoring  reduces  the  share  of  American-­‐born  workers’   employment  in  a  sector.  However,  it  also  stimulates  overall  sector  employment  so  that  it  has  no   overall  impact  on  the  level  of  native  American  employment.         The  effect  of  immigration  over  a  period  from  1990  to  2006  was  a  small  positive  effect  on  the   wages  of  American-­‐born  workers  with  no  high  school  degree  (between  0.6%  and  +1.7%),  and   the  average  American  wages  (+0.6%).    Immigration,  however,  had  a  substantial  negative  effect   on  wages  (-­‐6.7%)  of  previous  immigrants11.    Less  educated  foreign-­‐born  workers  specialize  in   occupations  intensive  in  manual-­‐physical  labor  skills,  while  American-­‐born  workers  pursue  jobs   more  intensive  in  communication-­‐language  tasks.  The  complementary  nature  of  skills  can   explain  why  economic  analyses  find  only  modest  wage  consequences  of  immigration  for  less   8 http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/immigrant-small-business-owners-FPI-20120614.pdf http://www.nvca.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=254:american-made-the-impact-ofimmigrant-entrepreneurs-and-professionals-on-us-competitiveness&catid=40:research 10 http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1147.pdf   9 11 Gianmarco, I. Ottaviano, P. and Giovanni, P. Rethinking the effect of Immigration on Wages. Journal of the European Economic Association, Volume 10, Issue 1, pages 152–197, February 2012   Chip  Evans,  Ph.D.       www.theevansgroupllc.com    
  5. 5. U.S. Immigrants: Friends or Fiends? educated  American-­‐born  workers12.    In  urban  areas,  for  example,  economic  growth  has  a  direct   correlation  with  increases  in  an  immigrant’s  share  of  the  work  force13.    Most  people  are  more   tolerant  of  allowing  highly  skilled  immigrants  into  the  country  because  of  the  belief  that  they   contribute  to  economic  growth,  unlike  low-­‐skilled  workers  that  are  perceived  to  be  a  burden  on   public  services  and  a  drag  to  the  economy.    The  fastest  economic  growth  between  1990  and   2008,  however,  were  not  in  cities  that  primarily  attracted  high-­‐wage  foreigners.      They  occurred   in  places  like  Atlanta,  Denver  and  Phoenix  that  attracted  large  influxes  of  immigrants  with  a  mix   of  occupations,  including  low-­‐wage  and  blue-­‐collar  workers.    In  Denver,  where  the  economy   doubled  between  1990  and  2008,  63%  of  immigrants  worked  in  jobs  on  the  lower  end  of  the   pay  scale.  In  light  of  this,  it  seems  logical  for  Congress  to  examine  the  level  of  priority  given  to   high-­‐skilled,  high-­‐earning  immigrants  and  narrower  channels  for  low-­‐wage  workers.     Research  conducted  at  UCLA  also  shows  that  legalizing  our  nation’s  undocumented  immigrant   population  and  reforming  our  legal  immigration  system  would  add  a  cumulative  $1.5  trillion  to   U.S.  GDP  over  a  decade14.    The  Center  for  American  Progress  report  indicates  that   comprehensive  immigration  reform  would  help  to  create  up  to  900,000  new  jobs  within  three   years  of  reform  from  increased  consumer  spending.    An  interesting  trend  that  is  worth   mentioning  is  the  potential  impact  of  the  rising  wages  in  China.    According  to  Bloomberg   BusinessWeek,  adjusted  wages  for  Mexico’s  superior  worker  productivity  are  likely  to  be  30%   lower  than  in  China  by  201515.    Currently,  the  main  concern  is  that  Mexico  poses  a  high  illegal   migration  problem  to  the  U.S.  because  of  its  close  proximity  and  poverty  in  the  country.    The   lower  wages  in  Mexico  relative  to  China  and  a  number  of  other  considerations,  including  its   proximity  to  the  U.S.,  will  soon  make  the  country  more  attractive  for  outsourcing  than  China.     The  U.S.,  instead  of  fighting  illegal  immigration  from  Mexico,  will  now  be  buying  from  the   country  as  an  outsourcing  nation.       The  shift  in  U.S.  employment  patterns  appears  to  be  more  related  to  deregulation  of  major   sectors  of  the  economy  and  reductions  in  social  spending  started  by  President  Reagan  than   immigration16.      It  is  no  coincidence  that  the  rise  in  the  Chinese  economy  began  during  the   Reagan  presidency.    Implementation  of  these  policies  by  Reagan  and  his  successors  were   accompanied  by  deindustrialization,  plant  closures  and  outsourcing,  as  U.S.  companies  took   advantage  of  opportunities  for  cheaper  products  manufactured  outside  the  USA.    High  paying   manufacturing  jobs  were  lost  and  low-­‐paying  service  sector  jobs  increased.  The  North  American   Free  Trade  Agreement  (NAFTA),  for  example,  was  packaged  as  a  treaty  that  would  help  create   good-­‐paying  American  jobs.    President  Clinton,  who  signed  the  bill  negotiated  by  George  H.W.   Bush,  predicted  that  it  would  increase  the  trade  surplus  with  Mexico.    NAFTA,  in  effect,   12 Peri, Giovanni, and Chad Sparber. 2009. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(3): 135-69. 13 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/16/us/16skilled.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0 14 http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/immigrationeconreport3.pdf   15  http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-27/four-reasons-mexico-is-becoming-a-global-manufacturingpower 16 http://www.beacon.org/client/PDFs/4156_excerpt.pdf   Chip  Evans,  Ph.D.       www.theevansgroupllc.com    
  6. 6. U.S. Immigrants: Friends or Fiends? provided  new  privileges  and  protections  for  foreign  investors  that  encouraged  offshoring   through  elimination  of  risks  previously  encountered  when  locating  manufacturing  in  low-­‐wage   countries.    The  result  of  this  has  been  the  conversion  of  an  otherwise  trade  surplus  of  $181   billion  into  a  U.S.  trade  deficit  with  NAFTA  partners  Mexico  and  Canada,  one  million  net  U.S.   jobs  lost  because  of  NAFTA  and  a  doubling  of  immigration  from  Mexico17.  American  companies   and  consumers,  with  help  from  government  policies,  thus  created  an  unsustainable  high  profit-­‐ cheap  product  model.  It  has,  however,  also  been  suggested  that  automation  might  have  a   greater  impact  on  loss  of  manufacturing  jobs  in  the  U.S.  than  offshoring,  and  that  increasingly   sophisticated  machines  will  ultimately  displace  low-­‐skilled  foreign  labor  as  well18.     The  main  advantage  that  the  United  States  has  over  all  other  countries  in  the  midst  of  the   rapidly  changing  global  economy  is  its  unmatched  ability  to  innovate.    For  this  reason,  the  most   innovative  companies  have  become  activists  in  the  effort  to  encourage  increased  legal   immigration.    Our  most  respected  innovators  and  entrepreneurs,  including  the  late  Steve  Jobs   argue  in  favor  of  attracting  and  retaining  the  brightest  foreign-­‐born  scientists  and  engineers   and  that  the  low  levels  of  H-­‐1B  visas  issued,  particularly  for  highly  talented  individuals  trained  in   the  U.S.,  constitutes  an  immigrant  exodus  that  is  a  reverse  brain  drain.    These  U.S.  trained   talents  when  sent  back  will  end  up  competing  against  the  United  States  from  their  respective   countries  earning  lower  and  more  competitive  wages.    A  recent  study  shows  that  a  percentage   of  U.S.  companies  funded  by  immigrants  declined  from  25.3%  to  24.3%  since  2005,  and  the   proportion  of  immigrant-­‐founded  start-­‐ups  in  the  Silicon  Valley  fell  from  52.4%  to  43.9%  over   the  same  period  of  time19.    This  is  a  trend  that  must  not  be  allowed  to  continue.    Mark   Zuckerberg  correctly  noted  that  the  U.S.  has  a  strange  immigration  policy  for  a  nation  of   immigrants,  and  that  it  is  “unfit  for  today’s  world”20.    The  joint  effort  by  Zuckerberg,  top   executives  and  founders  from  Google,  Yahoo,  LinkedIn,  and  several  top  venture  capitalists  to   influence  the  U.S.  immigration  policy,  is  an  indication  of  the  urgent  need  to  leverage  top  talents   globally  that  would  help  retain  the  American  entrepreneurial  leadership  in  this  rapidly  changing   global  economy.   The  most  important  value  of  many  immigrants  to  the  U.S.  economy  appears  to  be  in   innovation.  Despite  making  up  only  16  percent  of  the  resident  population  holding  a  bachelor’s   degree  or  higher,  immigrants  represent  33  percent  of  engineers,  27  percent  of  mathematicians,   statisticians,  and  computer  scientists,  and  24  percent  of  physical  scientists21.  Additionally,  in   2011,  foreign-­‐born  inventors  were  credited  with  contributing  to  more  than  75  percent  of   patents  issued  to  the  top  10  patent-­‐producing  universities22.    This  in  turn  has  been  shown  to   17 18 19 20 21 22 http://www.citizen.org/documents/NAFTA-at-20.pdf http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/23/opinion/salam-economy-woe/    http://business.time.com/2012/10/11/vivek-wadhwa-stop-the-u-s-highly-skilled-immigrant-exodus-now/ http://business.time.com/2013/04/12/why-mark-zuckerberg-is-pushing-in-immigration-reform/#ixzz2tnqKLGc2 http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-24.pdf http://fiscalpolicy.org/immigrant-small-business-owners-a-significant-and-growing-part-of-the-economy   Chip  Evans,  Ph.D.       www.theevansgroupllc.com    
  7. 7. U.S. Immigrants: Friends or Fiends? help  increase  the  innovation  rate  among  American  born  workers,  boosting  overall  patent   activity,  attracting  additional  resources  and  increased  areas  of  specialization23.       Rather  than  blame  job  losses  on  immigration  for  which  there  is  no  evidence,  and  real  data   indicates  otherwise,  we  should  focus  on  the  real  causes  of  the  downturn  in  the  economy  and   consequent  loss  of  jobs.    Two  unfunded  wars  in  Iraq  and  Afghanistan  were  significant   contributors  to  the  economic  down  turn.    In  addition  to  the  actual  expenditures  that  would  end   up,  according  to  Harvard  University’s  Kennedy  School  of  Government,  to  be  as  much  as  $6   trillion24,  war  drains  resources  from  productive  use,  which  in  turn  reduces  productive  capacity   of  the  economy.      Increased  military  spending  that  occurred  also  caused  contributed  to  a  large   trade  deficit,  with  potential  trade  deficits  of  almost  $90  billion  after  ten  years,  over  $130  billion   after  twenty  years,  and  more  than  $2  trillion  to  the  U.S.  foreign  indebtedness  over  a  twenty   year  period25.    According  to  the  Institute  for  Economics  and  Peace26,  the  recent  U.S.  wars,   which  were  entirely  financed  by  debt,  unlike  other  wars  they  studied,  are  “having  severe   unsustainable  structural  imbalances  in  its  government  finances."    The  biggest  contributor  to  the   recession  and  massive  shedding  of  jobs,  however,  is  the  collapse  of  the  housing  bubble  that   rapidly  destroyed  almost  $2.6  trillion  in  housing  bubble  wealth  in  the  country.    Prior  to  these   events,  government  policies  such  as  those  focused  on  deregulation  and  NAFTA,  and  consumer   demand  for  cheap  products,  started  the  trend  that  finally  succumbed  to  the  effects  of  the  wars   fought  on  “credit  card”  and  the  collapse  of  the  housing  bubble.         Conclusions  from  the  foregoing  lead  to  the  fact  that  a  common  sense  immigration  strategy   would  be  beneficial  for  the  U.S.  and  Americans.    While  all  countries  should  have  adequate   control  of  their  borders  and  who  they  allow  into  the  country,  a  system  and  process  that  works   best  for  the  country  through  leveraging  local  and  global  talents  and  resources  need  to  be   adopted.  The  world  is  getting  much  smaller,  moving  much  faster  and  talents  are  presenting   themselves  through  various,  sometimes-­‐unexpected,  avenues.    No  one  seeing  Jan  Koum,  a  16   year  old  immigrant  with  a  single  mother  from  Ukraine  on  public  assistance  would  have   imagined  that  he  would  be  founding  a  company  that  would  sell  for  $19  billion  20  years  later.   We  submit  that  the  U.S.,  with  its  current  immigration  policy,  is  not  adequately  positioning  itself   for  sustained  superiority  in  the  global  economy  beyond  the  21st  century.                 23 http://www.aei.org/speech/society-and-culture/immigration/immigration-and-its-contribution-to-our-economicstrength/   24  http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-­‐events/news/articles/bilmes-­‐iraq-­‐afghan-­‐war-­‐cost-­‐wp   25 26 The Recession and the War in Iraq CEPR Fact Sheet, The Cost of War http://economicsandpeace.org/   Chip  Evans,  Ph.D.       www.theevansgroupllc.com    

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