The Debt Ceiling is all About Obamacare

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Debt, Obamacare

There is nothing more odious in a free society than politicians using the boot of government to make the most basic goods and services unaffordable for the majority of the country, thereby engendering a need for subsidization.  In one fell swoop, representatives who deviate from the Constitution have the ability to destroy the self-respect and quality of life for all but the top 1% – the very people who are reviled by these same politicians.

This is exactly what is transpiring with Obamacare implementation.  That is exactly why Republicans must use the debt ceiling to kill Obamacare while it is extremely unpopular and before its immutable dependency takes effect.

I am one of those people who buy private health insurance and am hurt by the government’s tendentious tax treatment of employer-based insurance.  I am also unlucky enough to live in Maryland, where health premiums are slated to increase as much as 150% after Obamacare is implemented.  Other people who get their insurance from employers are being laid off as a result of the ubiquitous company splits in preparation from the employer mandate.  Still others are being cut back to part time employment.

This is one of those moments where the American people expect Republicans in Washington to lay down in front of the metaphorical Obamacare tanks and stop this assault on freedom.

No, the bill will not collapse under its own weight; the country will collapse under the weight of the program.  We must make the program collapse.

Yesterday, Congressman Jim Bridenstine drew a line in the sand on this so-called Williamsburg Accord that we’ve mentioned here several weeks ago.  Pursuant to that ad hoc agreement in January, a number of good conservatives have fallen on their swords with bad votes to suspend the debt ceiling law and to fund Obamacare in the CR.  The rationale behind the agreement was that we’d push off the major fight until we can formulate a 10-year balanced budget and unite behind it.  Well, that’s what we did.  Now is the time to stand behind it.

Later this week, the House will pass the Full Faith and Credit Act, which forces the Treasury to prioritize payment of interest on the debt and Social Security treasuries in the event that the debt ceiling is breached.  It also allows the Treasury to issue more debt just for the purpose of paying that interest.  This bill must not serve as a show vote for conservatives.  It must serve as the foundation for fighting any further debt ceiling increase unless Congress agrees to pass a balanced budget.

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21 Republicans Vote for Unconstitutional Interstate Online Sales Tax

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, News, Taxes

Yesterday, 21 Republicans helped secure passage of the Orwellian-named Marketplace Fairness Act.  The bill would allow states to join together in a contract to force online retailers who earn more than $1 million in annual revenue to collect sales taxes on behalf of all 50 states based on the location of the shipping address.

In an effort to rectify what proponents see as an unfair tax advantage over brick and mortar stores, this bill will create a tendentious tax scheme for large online retailers with stores in multiple states, at the expense of small firms who will be encumbered with collecting taxes for almost 10,000 distinct tax jurisdictions.  The bill will also help grow government all over the country, hurt low-tax states, impose taxation without representation, and impede the freest venue of commerce in the world.

Here are the 21 Republicans:

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Robert Rector’s Study: Open Borders + Welfare State = Disaster

Monday, May 6th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

We’ve noted many times throughout the debate over amnesty that you simply cannot legalize so many low-skilled people without reforming the welfare state.  Some people don’t like to hear it, but the reality of today’s redistributive society is that the higher-skilled population transfers a tremendous amount of wealth to the lower-skilled population in the form of the tax code, entitlements, welfare, and social services.  Do we really need to import so many new low-skilled illegal and legal immigrants over the next decade to exacerbate the current unsustainable dynamic?

That is the question Heritage’s Robert Rector deals with in his cost study on amnesty today, at least in the case of illegal immigrants.  And the answer is a resounding no.  Under any amnesty plan, there would indeed be more people paying payroll taxes, but that revenue will never outweigh the cost of benefits they would inevitably receive.

According to Rector, “over a lifetime, the former unlawful immigrants together would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay $3.1 trillion in taxes.”  That’s a net cost of $6.3 trillion in combined federal, state, and local benefits.   The annual net cost will be roughly $112 billion.  The majority of expense will be the result of increased educational and welfare costs.

Additionally, there are a number of likely factors that could result in higher costs:

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The Obamacare Job Market

Monday, May 6th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Economy, News, Obamacare

On Friday, the BLS released a better-than-usual jobs report for the month of April.  The number of jobs created increased by 168,000, and there were some positive revisions for the past two months.  However, when you dig a little deeper into the details, you will find a permanently lethargic job market, endemic of the massive distortions created by Obamacare.

The total increase in jobs was almost completely countermanded by this staggering note:  “involuntary part-time workers”  increased by 278,000 to a whopping 7.9 million.  This means that a number of employers are cutting back their workers to part time (defined as less than 30 hours), so they can avoid the steep costs of paying for their healthcare under Obamacare.

The Obamacare job market reality is also born out in two other statistics.  The average weekly hours  fell to 34.4 from 34.6, and the average weekly earnings fell to $821.13 from $824.52.  Hence, when a jobs report like the one released for April is considered the best report in a while, we are is serious trouble.

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Protect America First

Friday, May 3rd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

When Jim DeMint delivered his farewell speech in the Senate, he touched on a salient point that is often lost in the raucous of political discourse.  The entrenchment of political interests and allegiances has often made commonsense ideas that transcend political ideology impossible to implement.   Nowhere is this more evident than with the push to hold national security hostage for mass amnesty.

We have a wide open border, through which crossings have tripled amidst the push for amnesty.  We have no way of tracking those who overstay their visas.  We now know that the third suspect in the Boston bombing was a young student from Kazakhstan who violated the terms of his student visa and was let back into the country without a new one.   In 2002, Congress created the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which required those visa recipients from countries that represent a security risk to register with an ICE office and report regularly about their plans.  That system would have exposed this terror risk, yet it was essentially abolished by Obama’s DHS in 2011.  Why is that system not restored immediately?  Moreover, why do we let these people into the country in the first place?

These are all questions that We the People – both Democrat and Republican – care about.  Yet these are the issues that are being glossed over in the current debate over immigration.  Isn’t it commonsense that before we embark on any massive immigration expansion, we protect America first?  National security might not be the ephemeral aspect of immigration – one which attracts a plethora of special interest money – but shouldn’t that be the priority of any elected official?

Even those who are sympathetic to amnesty must admit that it doesn’t have to be done this month.  It could wait another few years until we implement comprehensive security.  Yet, the policies that protect and benefit We the People are not represented in Washington.  The illegal immigrants have Big Business, Big Ag, Big Labor, Big Environment, Big Ethnic, Big Religion, and Big Media shilling and inveigling others on their behalf.  Border and immigration security-related policies have no lobby, and in fact, are vociferously opposed by the aforementioned coalition.

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Paul Ryan’s Busy Week

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Family Values, Immigration, News, Taxes

Here are the rhetorical accomplishments this week of one of the biggest “stars” in GOP politics.

Joining in mass amnesty with a radical Democrat

On Monday, Paul Ryan joined Luis Gutierrez at a rally in Chicago to promote immigration reform.

“A sweeping immigration bill that would provide a path to legalization for millions of illegal immigrants was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week,” WBEZ reporter Alex Keefe notes. “Gutierrez said he and Ryan are in the process of drafting a House bill.”

According to Keefe, Ryan “stressed that changing the “broken” immigration system goes along with quintessentially Republican ideals. He pointed to his own family’s immigration from Ireland during the Great Famine.”

Promoting Gay Adoptions

“I do believe that if there are children who are orphans who do not have a loving person or couple – I think if a person wants to love and raise a child, they ought to be able to do that. Period. I would vote that way. I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman; we just respectfully disagree on that issue,” Ryan said.

It’s funny because Ryan believes that children who were brought here illegally “of no fault of their own” should be given citizenship and welfare.  What about the children who are forced to grow up in a licentious, dysfunctional home of no fault of their own?

Online Sales Tax

Paul Ryan now supports the concept of a online sales tax.  Aside for some technicalities of the current bill, he has no problems with raising taxes and instituting taxation without representation across state lines.

Folks, we’re in a world of hurt.  When do you ever have a prominent Democrat come out one week and evolve on a major issue in favor of conservatives, support massive tax cuts, and join with conservatives on a major right-wing initiative?

There is a reason why we are losing this game.  We have no men on the field.

The Madison Project: Gang of 8 Immigration Bill Has “Serious Flaws”

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration

For Immediate Release:

May 1, 2013

Contact: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel@madisonproject.com

Madison Project Releases Analysis of Flawed Senate Immigration Bill

Washington, DC – Today, the Madison Project PAC released a comprehensive analysis detailing many of the flaws in the Senate “gang of 8” immigration bill (S. 744).

“After viewing all of the provisions of the bill in totality, it is clear that this legislation was designed to ostensibly grant amnesty and legal status to all those here illegally before any of the tepid enforcement measures are ever implemented,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project.

“This proposed legislation has serious flaws in it. It is yet another ‘amnesty now, enforcement later’ bill that will help engender a new wave of illegal immigration and grant perennial defacto amnesty to anyone who comes here illegally,” said Horowitz. “Moreover, when coupled with chain migration and unqualified birthright citizenship, this bill will chart a pathway to welfare benefits for millions of low-skilled illegal and legal immigrants within just a few years.  The bill also liberalizes our refugee and asylum policies at a time when we should be scrutinizing our system, which has let in numerous immigrants that represent a national security risk in recent years.”

“Moving forward into this next election cycle, we view this issue as one that cuts across all three legs of the conservative stool – fiscal, social, and national security,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “We will not support any candidate who favors any sort of legalization or amnesty before the proper security and enforcement measures are implemented and the rule of law is restored.”

The Madison Project’s full analysis of the bill can be viewed here.

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/

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It’s Time to Codify the Hastert Rule

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

Over the past few months, we have witnessed a dynamic in Washington in which House leadership is passing liberal legislation with support from the Democrat caucus.  Instead of using their unfettered control over the House to advance conservative legislation and jam the Senate with popular bills, they are playing defense on Senate-passed legislation.  On other occasions, they have wasted valuable legislative days on suspension bills that grow government.

Just who controls the House? Democrats?

Well, that is what will happen if we continue to violate the Hastert Rule.  Former House Speaker Denny Hastert employed a simple rule when scheduling legislation for floor consideration.  He would never bring any legislation to the floor that did not enjoy the support of the majority of Republicans.  So far this year, House leadership has violated that rule 5 times, bringing bills to the floor with minority support from the Republican conference:

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Gang Immigration Bill (S.744) is Comprehensively Flawed

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, Issues, News

Enforcement/Security

  • No Fence: This plan only calls for Janet Napolitano to “establish a strategy”… “to identify where fencing”… “should be deployed” before temporary legal status is granted.  Any plan that doesn’t complete the 700-miles of double fencing is worthless.
  • Internal Enforcement: Any plan that does not limit Obama’s prosecutorial discretion, restore the 287(g) program, ban sanctuary cities and explicitly allow states to enforce federal law and preclude the Justice Department from suing them, is worth less than the paper it is printed on.  This plan does nothing to force the hand of this administration or future administrations on enforcement.  In fact, on page 496, it explicitly preempts states from enforcing immigration laws.
  • No real triggers: Senator Rubio keeps saying that we shouldn’t worry about Obama because he won’t be president forever.  However, he and Janet Napolitano will be in charge for the most critical years of implementation.  All they have to do is submit a plan to secure the border (coming from someone who already believes the border is secured) within 6 months of passage, and everyone immediately becomes eligible for legal status.  Even the trigger to green cards and citizenship 10 years later is only that DHS certify they are achieving the goals of their own plan.  If not, it triggers the creation of another commission to find a plan to spend more money!  The recommendations of the commission will not prevent any LPR status from being granted.

E-verify and the visa tracking system don’t have to be implemented for 5 and10 years respectively.  Even then, they never call for a biometric exit-entry system as currently required by law, just an electronic one and it will not be required at land ports of entry.  As such, there is no way that this massive expansion in temporary work visas will ever be temporary. By the time they are processing the amnestied aliens for green cards in 10 years from now, we will have even more than 12 million illegals from those who were left on the table (ineligible from the first round of RPI status) and all those new people who overstayed their visas.  Border patrol agents have already testified before Congress that illegal entries are on the rise ahead of the amnesty.  That will only grow as long as we make it clear that deportations will never occur and have no tracking system to crack down on overstayed visas.

  • The bill replaces E-verify, the most effective system, with some other unspecified verification system which won’t be in place for another few years (p. 503).  This could potentially undercut the 350,000 employers who currently use E-verify on a voluntary basis.  It also exempts day laborers from using it (p. 402), which will present a big magnet to future illegal migration.  It only requires the use of verification for new employees so as to protect those here already who don’t qualify for legalization from being caught.
  • Encumbering future deportations: Section 3717 places the burden upon ICE to prove that a given alien should be detained.  Section 2313 of the bill offers discretion DHS and immigration judges to grant amnesty to illegals who would suffer personal hardship from being deported.
  • The bill grants the Secretary of DHS waiver authority (page 12) to proceed with the LPR status after 10 years if the enforcement provisions are not implemented as a result of being enjoined by a lawsuit.
  • The bill puts drastic limitations on “profiling” and discriminating against illegals both on the employer side (even though we require them to use E-verify) and the law enforcement side. This is yet another provision that invites boundless and perennial lawsuits.

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Conservative Principles, Red Lines, and Ideas on Immigration

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

When it comes to the issue of immigration, there are diverse opinions among Republicans and some conservatives.  However, as conservatives, there are certain fundamental goals and red lines that we should all unite behind as we debate this issue.  All conservatives must share the common goal of ending illegal immigration once and for all.  Even those conservatives who believe in some sort of amnesty must share the ultimate goal of ensuring that this never happens again.  To that end, any true immigration reform must not be “comprehensively” tied to amnesty; it must be built upon enforcement first, with policies that would eliminate the magnet of future waves of illegal immigration.

ENFORCEMENT:

There is only one way to ensure that enforcement measures are implemented before any amnesty takes effect.  That is to decouple any enforcement provisions from amnesty, while ensuring that the measures are implemented and working effectively several years prior to the passage of any legislation awarding any legal status to illegal immigrants.  This waiting period is important not only to ensure that a recalcitrant administration actually implements the legislative proposals, but to confirm whether the enforcement measures are upheld in the court system after the inevitable lawsuits ensue.

Here are some guidelines for enforcement preconditions:

  • Border: The border fence is constructed, the border patrol is unshackled and allowed to do their job, and apprehensions come to a near stand-still.
  • Visa Tracking:  At least half of all illegal immigration is the result of people overstaying their temporary visas.  A full biometric visa entry-exit tracking system must be implemented and working at all land, sea, and airport entry points.  Unless it is working fully prior to any amnesty proposal, we will see a flood of new people coming in on temporary visas to utilize the impending legalization.
  • Workplace Enforcement: Aside for actual enforcement, we must dry up the magnet.  Despite the complaints about E-Verify, it is cheap, reliable, and easy to use.  Mandatory E-Verify would dry up the biggest magnet of future illegal migration.
  • Anchor Babies:  At present, our legal system operates under the false notion that the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship for any child born here from someone who entered illegally.  This has created the allure of anchor babies, and serves as a huge magnet for illegal immigration.  Obviously, any anchor baby already born here is a legal citizen, but we need to fix this going forward.  It will be challenged in the courts, but we have a strong case to make that the 14th Amendment never included children of illegals.
  • Interior Enforcement:  At present, we have a perverse reality in which states and localities that uphold federal immigration laws are sued by the federal government, while states and localities that thwart the immigration laws through “sanctuary city” policies are not punished.  Any enforcement legislation must unambiguously extend states the power to uphold federal immigration laws.  We need the confidence that in the event the current or future administrations fail to uphold the law, states will have the power to take up the prerogative.  Those jurisdictions that undermine immigration laws should be penalized.
  • Benefits: Close the loophole that allows illegals to receive the Additional Child Tax Credit with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • Criminal Immigrants:  As much as 30% of our federal prison population is composed of illegal immigrants.  In light of the bipartisan agreement that we must deport all criminal immigrants, why are we not embarking on the process of removing some of them from prison and deporting them?

Only if and when most or all of the aforementioned enforcement provisions are in place, will it make sense to discuss any ideas of a guest worker program, legalization, and possible pathways to citizenship.

AGRICULTURAL GUEST WORKER PROGRAM:

Many conservatives from heavily agriculture districts have expressed concerns that there are not enough visas granted for temporary migrant workers.  Other conservatives have been concerned that the open borders lobby would use these temporary visa increases as a means of importing more low-skilled permanent immigrants.  However, after the full enforcement of visa entry and exit in place, we would be able to establish a guest worker program with the confidence that they wouldn’t stay in the country indefinitely.  Moreover, only after we implement welfare reform and qualify our citizenship laws to confer citizenship only on children born from at least one parent who holds a green card, can we be assured that temporary workers don’t become permanent recipients of the welfare state.

AMNESTY:

Once the enforcement mechanisms are put in place and are successfully drying up the flow of illegal migration, we can begin to discuss what to do with the current group of illegals.  In a climate of complete and effective enforcement to prevent future waves of illegal immigration, many more conservatives would be open to some sort of legalization process, which honestly, is amnesty – something we should be honest about if we plan to pursue it.  However, before we sign onto any legalization process, the following concerns must be addressed:

  • Welfare: We spend close to $1 trillion in combined federal and state means-tested programs.  Any amnesty plan that provides current or future access to welfare for 12 million predominantly low-skilled illegals is unacceptable.
  • Chain Migration: Any amnesty plan that allows the new residents to petition for their relatives to come to the country would blow up our immigration system in a way that is unsustainable.
  • LPR Status:  Theoretically, a plan to make them permanent legal residents with no path to citizenship would solve the welfare and voting problems.  But conservatives would need to gather together legal scholars to ascertain if it is feasible to wall off those rights once they become legal.  Moreover, we must figure out how to prevent future congresses from granting them full citizenship once they are already here legally.

Unless the aforementioned concerns are addressed, no conservative should support ANY legalization.

LEGAL IMMIGRATION:

Only in Washington, D.C. can politicians get away with saying they cannot deal with our broken legal immigration system before they grant amnesty to those here illegally.  Our current system is the result of Senator Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) 1965 immigration bill, which tilted the system towards low-skilled immigrants from the third world and is biased against high-skilled workers.  This might have worked during last century when there was no welfare state.  But with the current smorgasbord of welfare programs available, the steady flow of low-skilled legal immigrants has helped balloon the size of our welfare programs.  Any serious commitment to an immigration system that benefits the country at large, and is not a burden on American citizens, would include the following:

  • Immediately abolish the inane diversity visa lottery which grants 50,000 visas to third world countries.  Concurrently, identify those high-skilled immigrants who benefit the broad populace, not just the special interest, and make it easier and cheaper for them to become citizens.
  • Reduce the number of low-skilled immigrants, at least temporarily, so we can work on assimilating the 40 million immigrants who are already in the country.  As a whole, we do not need more low-skilled immigrants en masse.  If we plan to create a temporary guest worker program it should be established in lieu of low-skilled immigration, not on top of it.
  • A stronger system in place that will screen people who come from countries that represent a security risk.  There have been dozens of attempted terror attacks on American soil over the past decade.  Almost all of them have been planned by those who came here legally from such countries.  Conservatives should seriously consider the recommendations from the 9/11 commission with regards to immigration reform.  We should also reinstate the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which required those visa recipients from countries that represent a security risk to register with an ICE office and report regularly about their plans in the United States.
  • Conservatives must also have an internal debate over what level of legal immigration is desirable for our country at this juncture.  We all agree that legal immigration is a net positive, but the question is how much?  Over the past 15 years, we have, on average, doubled the annual legal immigration rate from 500-600,000 to over 1 million.  With states like California estimated at toughly 26% foreign born and patriotic assimilation on the decline, we must consider how future flow will affect the cohesiveness of our nation and preserve our successful model as a melting pot.

The first priority of immigration is to benefit the country and current residents as a whole.  Our immigration system must be measured, gradual, and deliberate so as to foster upward mobility and patriotic assimilation instead of balkanization and welfare dependency – all for the benefit of parochial interests.

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