US Is Underpricing “Investor Green Cards”

According to an article-The American Dream Of The Chinese Rich-in today’s China Daily:

the number of so-called “investor green cards” issued to non-Americans nearly tripled to 4,218 in the 2009 fiscal year. About 1,800 of those recipients are from the Chinese mainland. South Korea is second with 903 recipients.

The minimum required for an “investor green card” used to be $1 million. Now it is $500,000. Leave it to the genius economists of the US government to cut the price in the face of both inflation and increasing demand.

$500,000 is pocket change for a large number of newly rich Chinese. As the article states:

Most of the investors are quite wealthy and $500,000 represents only a small portion of their wealth. Liu Jie, for example, said she would sell a few apartments to pay for her part of the investment immigration program.

In a time of huge budget deficits and rising taxes, why doesn’t the US government consider a market pricing mechanism for these “investor green cards”? An auction system might work, and the government could set the reserve price at $5 Million and probably see no decrease in demand or job creation.

UPDATE: Today’s New York Times also has an article on the boom in selling immigration to Chinese, not just to the United States but also Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. The Canadians are ahead of the US when it comes to raising the price. Canada (excluding Quebec)

temporarily halted its program in June in order to double the amount that would-be immigrants must invest to qualify. Whereas before applicants required a net worth of 800,000 Canadian dollars, or about $790,000, and a 400,000-dollar investment, in the future they will need 1.6 million dollars and an investment of 800,000 dollars.

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