Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
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:
Monday, May 6th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, 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:
Monday, May 6th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
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.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, 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.
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
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.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, 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:
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Issues, News
- 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.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
When it comes to the issue of immigration, there are diverse opinions among Republicans and some conservatives. However, unlike liberals, who desire open borders, continuous waves of illegal immigration, and more welfare recipients/voters, we all 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.
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 enforcement measures are implemented and working effectively several years prior to 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 of the ideas for enforcement preconditions:
- Border: The border fence is constructed, the border patrol is unleashed to do their job, and apprehensions come to a near stand-still.
- Visa Tracking: At least half of all illegal immigrants are the result of people overstaying their temporary visas. A full biometric visa entry-exit tracking system must be implemented and working at land, sea, and airports. 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 that the current or future administrations fail to uphold the law, states will have the power to take up the prerogative.
- Benefits: Close the loophole that allows illegals to receive the Additional Child Tax Credit with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- Criminal Aliens: As much as 30% of our federal prison population is comprised of illegal aliens. In light of the bipartisan agreement that we must deport all criminal aliens, 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.
Ag 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.
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 illegal waves of immigration, many more conservatives would be open, in theory, 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.
- Voting: There is no evidence to suggest that the 12 million people granted amnesty will vote more Republican than the general Hispanic population. In fact, they will almost certainly vote Democrat, irrespective of how much Republicans support amnesty. How do we legalize them without ensuring a permanent Democrat majority?
- 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 those concerns are addressed, no conservative should support any legalization.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
When the federal government stopped enforcing our immigration laws, a number of states – led by Arizona – began passing laws to do the job the feds wouldn’t do.
In 2011, Alabama passed a law (HB 56) authorizing state and local police to check the immigration status of those already apprehended for breaking a law or those caught driving without a license. It also required every public school in Alabama to determine if an enrolling student was born outside the United States or is a child of an illegal alien (just for data collection, not to deny enrollment). Last August, at the behest of Obama’s Justice Department, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court’s injunction against most of the law, including the provisions regarding data collection in schools and those related to criminalizing employing and harboring illegal immigrants.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari to Alabama in its attempt to appeal the injunction. Justice Scalia publicized his dissent, revealing his desire to overturn the lower court’s decision. Taken as a whole, it has become almost impossible for states to deal with the crime and costs associated with illegal immigration, even as the feds refuse to uphold the laws.
To begin with, there is a clear need for states to help enforce laws against illegal immigration in such a large country. When you couple that with the perennial recalcitrance on the part of any administration to fully enforce federal laws, there is no way we will ever enforce the laws in the future without granting states latitude to protect their residents from the ill effects of illegal immigration. Before Republicans jump into wholesale capitulation mode on the issue, state enforcement must be one of the concessions they receive from Democrats, if they are to ever agree to some form of amnesty.
However, the gang of 8 bill, which has received so much praise from Republicans, actually preempts states from enforcing immigration laws (page 496):
Monday, April 29th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
Do you want to know the definition of pathetic? It’s someone who aggressively brandishes his pro-gun credentials in a campaign commercial, and then proceeds to invest his time into expanding gun control laws. In other words, Joe Manchin is pathetic.
Just how unpopular is Obama with the voters of West Virginia? He lost all 55 counties last year in the general election, and 41% of Democrat primary voters to a man sitting in jail. That’s why Joe Manchin lacks the moxie to air a commercial saying, “I’m Joe Manchin, and I approve this message because West Virginia needs a senator who will stand with Barack.”
Instead of manning up and letting his constituents know he is a gun-grabbing, Obamacare-supporting leftist, Joe Manchin ran a TV ad depicting himself shooting a rifle – taking “dead aim” – at a cap and trade bill. Now he is working indefatigably to pass gun control, even after his bill was defeated. During the gun debate, he also voted against an amendment that would have required a judicial ruling to determine if a veteran is dangerous before he is banned from buying guns. I’m sure the many veterans in West Virginia would appreciate that.
What about Obamacare?
When running for Senate in 2010, Manchin said he would have voted against Obamacare. He also claims to be pro-life. Yet, not only did he vote against repealing Obamacare, he voted against denying Obamacare to illegal aliens! He also voted against repealing the tax increases on catastrophic medical expenses.
It’s only a matter of time before Manchin comes out of the closet and evolves on cap and trade and gay marriage.
Perhaps the next time he is up for reelection, he ought to show a picture of himself standing with Obama and grabbing a gun away from a veteran.