Oh, the Irony

Paul Ryan |Credit: NBC ChicagoPaul Ryan told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in San Antonio, Texas that Republicans “have a hard time trusting this president in enforcing the laws.”  The question to ask Ryan is: Why then is the Republican leadership falling all over itself to pass amnesty and reward the President for the abrogation of his constitutional duty.  (Hint: the answer has something to do with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.)

A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll question designed to elicit a favorable response in support of amnesty found that a majority of registered voters oppose any legislation that would allow “undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States…the right to live and work here legally.” Another question found that registered voters were much more likely to vote against a candidate that supported amnesty than to vote for that candidate.  (See non-push polls here and here.)  The argument that amnesty would attract more Hispanic voters to the Republican party has been thoroughly dismantled, and all polls find that opposition to amnesty is much stronger among Republicans, so why would the Republican leadership want to alienate voters heading into a crucial midterm election at the same time they hand Democrats a monumental political victory (Hint: see above.)

Ryan gave full-throated support to the Gang of Eight bill which would give the Executive Branch enormous discretion on how to (or how not to) enforce its provisions.  Now Ryan is saying that “we have to find a way to write these laws so that they are actually enforced.”  However, he “[wouldn't] get into all the details on how to do that, but we have strong opinions on how to do that.”  That the immigration laws passed by Congress are being openly flouted by the Obama Administration demands immediate action, not a strong opinion that it should stop.

Instead of standing up to the President on immigration, Ryan has been working with Rep. Luis Gutierrez to formulate immigration legislation.  Gutierrez has unabashedly said that “I have only one loyalty and that’s to the immigrant community,” and he called ICE agents who uphold immigration law the “Gestapo.” Are Ryan and Gutierrez in agreement on what U.S. immigration policy should be?  It would seem so.  Gutierrez says that Ryan is his “guiding light” and Ryan promotes those comments on his website.

When the National Review, The Weekly Standard, and Joe Scarborough are all urging the Republican leadership to back away from their attempt to sabotage the Republican Party through “piecemeal immigration reform,” it’s clear that Ryan and his fellow traveler are out of touch not just with the Tea Party but with party. Why would the Republican leadership alienate their base, traduce public opinion, and act against the best interest of their country? (Hint: you get the picture by now.)

Yes, Paul Ryan, it is true that the President can’t be trusted to do the right thing on immigration, and it has become obvious that neither can you.

Chertoff, Cisneros, and Rice Give a Ringing Endorsement to Immigration Ponzi Scheme

Touting a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center (aka, the unofficial mouthpiece for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), three former members of the George W. Bush administration, Michael Chertoff (former Secretary, Department of Homeland Security), Henry Cisneros (former Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development), and Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State) endorsed migration policies that would make Bernie Madoff blush.

Disregarding the economic and foreign policy disasters they left in their wake, which was probably made easy by their plush accommodations at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley where the event took place, the three panelists argued that current immigration levels were just not high enough and only blanket amnesty and open borders would allow America to retain its “demographic edge.”

The main contention of the BPC Immigration Task Force, or the “SWAT team” as Chertoff termed them, is that sufficient economic growth is not happening because there are too few workers in the United States to fill all of jobs vacated by aging Baby Boomers.  Only if we import tens of millions of more immigrants can we ever hope to maintain a functioning economy and keep the Medicaid and Social Security programs solvent.

Of course, this is nonsense.  There are already three workers for every available job, and for some occupations that ratio is much higher.  And it is further nonsense to assert, as the BPC does, that an aging population is resulting in a decrease in the labor participation rate.  The truth is that the labor participation for workers 65 years and over increased by 61 percent between 1992-2012 –some older workers choose to continue to work, some can’t afford to retire.  By 2022, the labor rate for workers over 65 is predicted to increase another 24 percent.  Meanwhile, the labor participation rate for all workers under 55 declined over that same time.  The labor participation rate for teenagers is at an all-time low, and in December 2012 there were over 8 million 18-34 years olds not in the labor force, on top of 5.7 unemployed workers in that age range.  

Another argument the BPC “all-stars” make is that immigration is vital to the future of Social Security and Medicaid.  Using creative accounting, the BPC counts the money immigrants are paying in now, while ignoring the money they will take out later.  Curiously, the BPC does not seem to understand that immigrants age at the same rate as the native-born and will put more of a stain on the these programs as they start to collect.  And while high levels of immigration have reduced the average age in the United States, that change is negligible.  Sooner or later the pyramid collapses, and sooner rather than later if Chertoff, Cisneros, and Rice get their way on immigration. 

More immigration won’t put Americans back to work, or save Social Security and Medicaid, but it does, however, enrich the corporations that support the BPC.  The collapse of the U.S. economy and fiscal insolvency apparently is a small price to pay in return.  Bernie Madoff is a piker in comparison.  

Zuckerberg Achieves Goal in 2013 – Lower Wages for Tech Workers

zuckerbergUniversity of California, Davis, Computer Science Professor Norman Matloff points to a new report put out by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).  The NACE found that the starting salaries of 2013 bachelor degree graduates increased 2.6 percent from 2012.  However, in three categories starting salaries decreased from the previous year, including computer science (-0.2%) and engineering (-0.1%).  Education graduates (-0.2%) were the third category.

The tech industry for years has repeatedly and falsely argued that computer science and engineering are two occupations in which there is an acute labor shortage and demanded massive increases in foreign guest workers.  While the drop in starting salaries in these occupations was not drastic it does indicate that there is no shortage of skilled workers in the U.S.  If there were a lack of workers, wages would be rising precipitously, not falling. This is a basic rule of economics that even a genius like Mark Zuckerberg should be able to grasp.

Zuckerberg, who has pledged $50 million dollars to pass a bill increasing the number of skilled guest workers, along with amnesty and increases in legal immigration, did not see his earnings decrease in 2012.

The Dismal (and Dim) Science of Douglas Holtz-Eakin and the Bipartisan Policy Center

The Bi-Partisan Policy Center (BPC), which functions as the D.C. mouthpiece of multinational corporations, released a report on the “benefits” of comprehensive immigration reform at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event.  Does anyone doubt what the BPC’s “findings” were?  After failing to receive any substantial coverage of its report, the better question is, “Does anyone care?”

The reverberations in the ever-shrinking echo chamber may be deafening to those who are calling for blanket amnesty and massive increases in legal immigrants and guest workers, but it is not enough to drown out the clear majority of American voters who oppose the Senate bill.  The Chamber and its allies can spend millions to promote a faux grassroots effort to pressure House Republicans to go to conference with the Senate, and they may get a sympathetic write up in Politico, but they can’t change the current dynamic on the Hill.  No doubt the U.S. Chamber can peddle a great deal of influence with politicians, but few members of either party are anxious to make “comprehensive immigration reform” the centerpiece of their reelection campaigns.

One of the unintended consequences of the Chamber’s publicized lobbying blitz is that it brings to light the utter inanity of their arguments, and no one illustrates this better than Douglas Holtz-Eakin.  Holtz-Eakin, who came out of the hotbed of intellectualism that was the George W. Bush administration, was on the BPC panel and made several nonsensical statements, beginning with the claim that labor unions oppose comprehensive immigration reform.  Even someone who has been semi-comatose over the last decade would know this isn’t even remotely close to the truth.

Holtz-Eakin also claimed that what the BPC was presenting was “science” that had to be accepted as the gospel truth because it was “scientific.”  Any claims that mass immigration is not the panacea that cures all economic ills are, according to Hotlz-Eakin, xenophobic.  Holtz-Eakin may be forgiven for failing to note that “dismal” generally precedes “science” when referring to the study of economics, but it is pure ignorance compounded by sheer arrogance to suggest that anyone who opposes using mass immigration to reinflate the housing bubble (something favored by the BPC) is a xenophobe.  No one takes this sort of thing seriously, which is why no one outside their ever-shrinking echo chamber takes the arguments of the BPC seriously, either.

There is nothing remotely scientific about the claims Holtz-Eakin, and the organizations he shills for, are making.  Their entire argument hinges on the mistaken belief that making the U.S. economy bigger by adding tens of millions of more people through immigration invariably leads to greater overall prosperity, which is in direct contradiction to what the economic data of the last forty years indicate.  The BPC gets around this problem by constructing a macroeconomic model that conveniently produces their desired conclusions.  Science is not about inventing improbable arguments to fit implausible preconceptions, and economists can never say that a prediction of what will happen twenty years in the future is an incontestable fact – at least a competent and/or honest economist would never make that claim.

The test of any economic projection is whether it is likely given past, present, and the most probable future conditions.  The BPC report falls far short on all three fronts.  But the Holtz-Eakins of the world have an escape hatch.  If increased immigration leads to higher unemployment and decreased per capita income down the road, the excuse will be that we just need more immigration.

Paul Ryan’s Prescription for America: Increase Unemployment and the National Debt

Paul Ryan, the self-described budget expert among the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, was conspicuously absent during the government shutdown.  What was he doing instead?  Ryan was working behind the scenes to craft immigration legislation granting blanket amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens and massive increases in new immigration and guest worker programs. Conspicuously absent from his “principles for reform” is anything that might loosely be defined as protecting the interests of the American people. Surely, when more people are dropping out of the labor force than can find a job, when the national debt is topping $17 trillion, and Obamacare is imploding before it even gets off the ground, Ryan’s top priority shouldn’t be to revive catastrophic immigration legislation that richly deserves to die in the House.

Perhaps the unpopularity of the Republican Party has less to do with Ted Cruz than it does with Paul Ryan.