Immigration to America is Not What It Used To Be

Maria Ortiz, at left, a Mexican immigrant has been living in the United States for 23 years. "I am single. I work so hard to stay. I never needed support from the government," Ortiz said. She is not a citizen and works as a janitor, she said during an immigration protest outside Rep. Ed Royce's office in Brea. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: ? MINDY SCHAUER, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER ? Shot 111713 ? immig.fast.11.19 Advocates for immigration reform will camp our near the office of Rep. Ed Royce for five days, where they will stage a fast. They are asking OC's Republican leaders in Congress to publicly support an overhaul to the nation's immigration laws, including the so-called pathway to citizenship that would create a process for some 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally the right to become citizens.

Speaking at a naturalization ceremony in Texas on March 18, former president George W Bush said that immigration to America ?is a blessing and a strength.? He also said that ?borders need to be respected,? and praised the work of border patrol agents, but that?s not what the media seized upon.

The?Washington Post?inserted ?blessing and strength? into the lede of their report, entitled ?George W. Bush: ?May we never forget that immigration is a blessing and a strength?,? also working into the first sentence the following dig at Trump, ?a message that sharply contrasts with President Trump?s rhetoric on the issue.?

CNN Politics?covered the speech, making sure to note that ?the rhetoric and policy positions from Bush came in contrast to much of the modern Republican Party and President Donald Trump.??The BBC said??Mr Bush?s comments were seen as an implicit rebuke to President Donald Trump?s administration.?

And on and on.?CBS News: ?Bush urges politicians to ?dial down rhetoric? on immigration.??Boston Globe: ?described immigration as ?a blessing and a strength,? a message that sharply contrasts with President Trump?s rhetoric on the issue.??People Magazine: ?it was a soft rebuke of the prevailing anti-immigrant position of some members of the Republican Party, including President Donald Trump.?

Get it? George W Bush has won his grim battle with history. Various photos showed him inviting dozens of new citizens up to the podium, including Muslims in headscarves, Hispanics, and Africans. Apparently including anyone of European descent would have been bad optics. And never mind that if Bush the Second hadn?t bombed, invaded and occupied Iraq, the Middle East might be relatively stable today. Iraq, for all its problems, would nonetheless provide a strategic counterweight to Iran. We would have saved trillions of dollars and spared millions of lives, and additional millions of refugees would have stayed home.

The problem with all this media-spun anti-Trump wisdom from Bush is simple: President Trump is right, and the spin is wrong. It is true that America was enriched in the past by waves of new immigrants. It is true that in the past, these waves of new immigrants benefit the economy. And it is true that even now, if immigration were brought under control, reduced somewhat, and reformed so that only highly skilled immigrants with a commitment to learning English were vetted and admitted, it would again be beneficial to our economy and enrich our culture. But that?s not what?s happening.

According to?CarryingCapacity.org, the United States ?now accepts over one million legal immigrants each year, which is more than all of the other industrialized nations in the world, combined.? Additionally, according to?ImmigrationCounters.com, there are nearly 28 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S.

Attempting to quantify the costs and benefits of immigration into the U.S. is not easy. A study conducted by the?Federation for American Immigration Reform, the cost to America taxpayers to provide illegal immigrants government funded education, health care, justice and law enforcement, public assistance, and general government services is estimated at $135 billion per year. According to the?Center for Immigration Studies, ?63% of non-citizen households access welfare programs compared to 35% of native households.?

Statistics abound ? and for every study suggesting that America?s immigration is creating a burden on the economy, there is another that concludes the opposite, that immigrants continue to provide a net economic benefit to the economy. So rather than provide yet another regurgitation of battling statistics, it is important to note some crucial qualitative differences between immigration trends in America today, compared with past centuries in America.

Why Immigration to America Today is Different

(1)? Immigrants today are not coming from nations of equal or greater economic achievement. In the past, immigrants from Europe, for the most part, were emigrating from nations that were as advanced as the United States was, if not more so. Today the overwhelming majority of immigrants are coming from developing nations.

(2) Immigrants in the past came primarily from European nations which had cultural values ? educational, religious, and political ? that were, if not nearly identical to American cultural values, were on a shared trajectory towards achieving those values. Immigrants today come from nations that, relatively speaking, have far less cultural similarities to America than past waves of immigrants.

(3) Immigrants today, for the most part, are coming from nations that are rapidly increasing in population and, in aggregate, dwarf the United States in population. Related to this is the fact that in the past, the people already in America were themselves rapidly increasing in population, but this is no longer the case, except among populations of recently arrived immigrants.

(4) Immigrants today arrive via ten hour hops on an airliner. In the past, waves of immigrants spent ten months traversing land and sea in a journey of staggering expense and significant dangers. While this isn?t universally true, particularly for the overland migrants that cross America?s southern border, in general it is ? coming to America today does not require the commitment it required in the past.

(5) Similarly, in the past, immigrants pretty much renounced the nations of their origin, they made a one-way trip, and they adopted the language and values of America. Today, retaining cultural unity with one?s country of origin is a few clicks on the internet, a cheap telephone call, an affordable airfare. Technology has greatly eroded the forces that used to impel immigrants to become Americans.

(6) Immigrants in the past arrived in an America that had a voracious need for unskilled workers. Today the American economy is relentlessly automating jobs that used to require unskilled labor, and the American population already has a surplus of unskilled workers.

(7) Immigrants today are arriving in a welfare state, where they are assured of food, shelter and medical care that are, in general, orders of magnitude better than anything available to them in their native countries. This creates a completely different incentive to today?s immigrants. In past centuries, immigrants came to America to find freedom and to work. Today they are offered a smorgasbord of taxpayer-funded social services.

(8) Immigrant students today ? especially in the coastal urban centers where most of them settle ? enter a public education system that teaches them with a reverse-racist, anti-capitalist bias. They are taught in our public schools not to assimilate, but to celebrate diversity; not to earn opportunities through hard work, but through fighting discrimination. They are taught, often in their native language, that they have arrived in a nation dominated by racist and sexist white males, who exploit the world to amass evil profits.

These final three points are the most problematic. If immigration reform advocates made those a priority and addressed them decisively with new policies, the other concerns might be manageable.?But we must address the problems caused by immigrants with low job-skills, who encounter the welfare state, and are subjected to anti-Western cultural messaging.

To suggest Americans ought to resist competing with highly skilled immigrants, for example, is not only xenophobic, but it smacks of an entitlement mentality. Allowing immigrants into the United States who are qualified to join our ranks of scientists, engineers, researchers and doctors will only help our economy and overall standard of living. Allowing unskilled immigrants into this country, however, when we already have tens of millions of unskilled workers who are either in our prisons or unemployed and collecting welfare ? who themselves could perform this work ? is much more likely to constitute a drain on our economy.

Similarly, it is a recipe for disaster to allow immigrants into an America where the curricula in K-12 schools and universities ? beholden to powerful left-wing teachers and faculty unions ? indoctrinates immigrants to resent the alleged evils of capitalism and the incorrigible racist, sexist core of our American culture. This is particularly true when accompanying this siren song of corruption is easy access to social services of all kinds, including welfare. If new immigrants are taught the cards are stacked against them, and at the same time they are offered a free ride that provides a standard of living many times greater than what they knew in the countries they came from, why work?

Clearly an increasing population, all else held equal, does cause overall economic expansion. It isn?t clear at all, however, that this is the optimal way to create economic expansion. First of all, global human population is destined to level off by 2050 anyway, so rather than expanding the population through immigration, economic policy needs to search for the answer as to how to continue to experience economic growth despite a stable, aging population. In Japan, they have already made this policy decision ? with zero net immigration and the oldest population on earth, Japan leads the world in the development of androids that will, presumably, become caregivers to the elderly. Economic growth oriented towards improving the quality of life for the elderly is one example of a sustainable growth sector ? economic growth dependent on an immigrant-fueled population expansion is not sustainable.

There is another factor, of course, that makes immigration today far more problematic than it was in past generations. Now more than ever, mass immigration of unskilled economic migrants and political refugees has become a strategy to move America sharply to the Left by dramatically transforming the electorate. What the establishment uniparty is doing in America today is a deliberate devaluation of American votes, and a deliberate thwarting of the general will of the Americans who have lived and worked in America for generations. Trump?s bellicosity may scare the soccer moms, but they along with everyone else who loves America ought to reflect on his actions instead of his tone. He is the only major politician in modern times who has tried to do anything to stop this. George W Bush, God bless him, should stop letting the media use his words as weapons in their war against Trump.

This article originally appeared on the website?American Greatness.

A Fairer Tax Code Is a More Efficient Tax Code

Tax formThe last time we saw comprehensive tax reform in this country was also the last time UCLA won a Rose Bowl (1986), so we are talking about a long, long time. We know there have been several tax cuts, and tax increases, since then, but as for some legislative attempt to drive a change in the overall system of tax policy in this country, it has not happened in over 30 years. It would be easy to argue that partisan polarization is the cause of this legislative difficulty, but that would be inaccurate. Partisanship did not keep welfare reform or comprehensive trade agreements from being done in the 1990s. Partisanship did not keep significant national-security endeavors from passing in the 2000s. And President Obama?s reelection in 2012 coincided with the sunsetting of the George W. Bush tax cuts, creating one of the more bipartisan agreements in recent history, when Vice President Biden and Senate majority leader McConnell negotiated a permanent extension of the tax cuts that resulted in more favorable treatment for investment tax and estate tax and left the individual rates at the lower levels of the Bush plan, besides at the top rate. Bottom line: Partisans have done plenty of bipartisan work over the last 30 years; they just haven?t done it when it comes to reforming something that is broken.

The term tax reform is pivotal here. Tax cuts scream for people who pay too much in taxes wanting to pay less (fair enough). Tax reform implies something is structurally unfair, and therefore needing reformation. We do not need to reform that which is already good and right. Sure, we may turn a knob here and there on levels, but reform is more comprehensive, and more reactive. The catalyst to reforming something is admitting something needs to be reformed.

The catalyst for 2017/18 tax reform is a broken tax code, and that brokenness is most evident in two places: A brutally non-competitive business tax code that hasn?t come close to dealing with the global realities of the last 30 years; and a glut of tax brackets and deductions that are too confusing, too easy to manipulate, and too divorced from simplicity and fairness. Yes, the rates are too high, both individually and corporately, but beyond that, the system is not right. The efforts of the Trump administration, led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and the GOP leadership of the House and Senate, seek to use a new tax-reform bill to attack the fundamentals of what is broken in the tax code (a non-competitive corporate code) and clean up around the edges as well (alternative minimum tax (AMT), pass-through entities, etc.).

The math of passing tax reform is difficult because of Senate rules on reconciliation. To attach it to a budget bill and thereby enable 51-vote passage, the impact the tax plan can have on overall revenue (and therefore deficits) is limited. ?Dynamic scoring? ? the reality of supply-side math that pro-growth tax cuts move us in the right direction on Laffer?s Curve ? allows for some more liberal use of this parliamentary reconciliation reality. But at the end of the day, the White House is limited in how much it can reform the tax code without ?pay-fors? ? offsets and such that will enable the plan to be scored within budget-reconciliation math.

After the inevitable death of the ghastly ?border adjustment tax? idea, the best ?pay-for? available is eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes against federal tax liability. Should that tax deduction be eliminated, the comprehensive business tax reform needed (a 20 percent rate vs. a 35 percent rate, a territorial system, repatriation of foreign profits, and the elimination of nearly all special-interest deductions) can become reality. And yet the path to tax reform is being blocked by those who would hold on to the abysmal deductibility of state tax ? a blockage being promoted by Republicans and Democrats alike (who says they never do anything on a bipartisan basis?).

Who would want to hold onto the deductibility of state taxation? Well, legislators in high-tax states, for one, who fear little consequence from the residents of low-tax states who end up footing the bill for their fiscal recklessness. In fact, the sole source of opposition to eliminating this deduction has come from blue state California, blue state New Jersey, blue state New York, and blue state Connecticut. Unfortunately, the fact that these states are all blue does not mean this is leftist partisanship, because the opposition is coming from Republican legislators and thought leaders in these states as well. That opposition underscores the fundamental need for reform ? reform in our policy, but reform in our thinking as well.

There is never going to be reform that does not upset some people, somewhere in the tax food chain. If there could be such a thing, by definition, there would be no need for tax reform! The objective of a national tax-revenue system should be to fund the legitimate functions of government, and do so in a manner fair to the national self-interest, devoid of governmental favoritism or bias. The purpose of a tax system is not to implement social agendas, punish certain behaviors, reward certain behaviors, etc. The federal tax code is a funding matter, and it ought to be done in the least threatening way to growth and competitiveness possible. A 0 percent tax code is not a possibility, as competitive as it may be, as government has responsibilities, liabilities, and legitimate functions that require funding. But where funding can be achieved without compromising American economic growth, that must be the aim.

The business-investment tax code in our country is a disaster, and this is hardly denied by the other side of the aisle. The rate is too high, and the incentives for businesses to keep moneys offshore are gigantic. Additionally, the loopholes, deductions, and various ways in which certain privileged or selected companies benefit (while others do not) is a direct violation of the intent of the tax system. Simplification is the goal, and an even playing field that does not pick winners and losers is the aim. While I would prefer to get rid of the R&D credit (crony capitalism for pharma) and the low-income-housing credit (crony capitalism for real-estate developers), the proposed tax reform goes a long way towards equalizing the business code and creating a competitive scenario for our U.S. companies with large multinational presence.

So what is the hang-up? The aforementioned state-tax deductibility issue is being presented as a hang-up by Left and Right alike. Ironically, the concern the Left has always had with Republican tax maneuvering is that it unfairly assists those on the higher end of the wage spectrum. Here, the Democrats are supposedly upset about the loss of a tax deduction that, by definition, is used only by those on the higher end of the wage spectrum (those who itemize). But let?s look at the issue from the vantage point of Republican voters in high-tax blue states. Could it mean a higher overall net tax liability? That is very unlikely, since those most affected by this would be of such an income context that they have almost certainly been subject to the AMT?anyways, a tax atrocity that was already disallowing the state-tax deduction. But for those who were not previously in AMT but are fearful of losing the state-tax deduction, two things must be said. First, no one knows whatsoever how their net picture would turn out in the new tax law, because the income levels receiving the new tax rates (12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent) have not been announced. Any attempt to model tax liability in the new system will be rank speculation.

Second, if a very small number of people end up paying more, not less, in the new system, it should have no bearing on what we believe about tax reform. I do not believe that will happen, and if it does, I think the net impact will be so small and affect so few, it will not even register. But even if it did, the fundamental question is whether or not residents of South Dakota and Texas should be footing the bill for a federal loss of revenue just because their states choose to run their affairs with a high degree of fiscal sensibility and wisdom. Tax reform is meant to reform what is broken, and the use of a state-tax deduction is discriminatory, unfair, and, worst of all, enabling. It enables high-tax states to make foolish decisions, to overly rely on highly cyclical income streams, to spend without regard to consequences, and to not factor in competitive realities across our cherished 50-state union.

The need of the hour is beneficiaries of the broken tax system to maintain advocacy for reform. The generation-long resistance to reform is a by-product of special interests and a mentality that replaces common-sense tax policy with gaming of the system. We can do better, and for those who know how badly this economy and our national fiscal situation need growth, we must.

David L. Bahnsen is a trustee at the National Review Institute, the managing partner of a bicoastal wealth management firm, and the author of forthcoming book, “Crisis of Responsibility.”

This article was originally published by the National Review

The End of the Electoral College?

VotedThough it means nothing for 2016, the 2020 presidential election may be decided?by popular vote ? or at least that?s the timeline given by one of the main proponents.

As it stands now, there really is no national election for president, rather 51 elections (including Washington, D.C.), where electors are doled out by the states/D.C., with the winner needing at least 270 electoral votes.

But most states are a foregone conclusion. Would blue California really go for a Republican? Or would red Mississippi chose a Democrat?

In most instance, no chance, so that gives a?disproportionate?share of attention by presidential candidates to a relatively small group of states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

National Popular Vote is?pushing to replace the current race to 270 with a simple majority of the popular vote. Bay Area campaign and election lawyer Barry Fadem, who is working with NPV, says this goal can be achieved?by 2020.

How Close Are They, Really?

It may seem like a farfetched idea, but the movement is halfway there. Ten states, including California, have ratified the measure (D.C. has signed on as well). Once enough states have ratified the interstate compact to represent 270 electoral votes ? a majority ? the county will move to the popular vote.

Last week, the Arizona House of Representatives approved the measure. And although it hasn?t voted yet, two-thirds of the Arizona Senate are sponsors. And there are several other states where at least one chamber has approved.

The way the law is structured, the (Constiutionally-mandated) electors of the states that have ratified the compact would choose the candidate who won the popular vote. Therefore, states that didn?t sign on are free to not participate, but they wouldn?t have enough electoral votes to matter.

The theory is that these states would ultimately fall in line, as they?d then have no incentive to stay under the current system once a majority starts with the popular vote.

Why Go Through This Trouble?

Many voters are still upset that in 2000, Republican George W. Bush beat Democrat Al Gore for president by winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote. While this is largely Democrats who are upset, supporters of the losing candidate would be sour?in any similar situation.

?The disadvantages of the current system, of course, are first that you can have an election where the winner of the popular vote loses the election,? said Norm Ornstein, a resident scholar?the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. ?It happened in 2000, without many repercussions, but the next time? Watch out.?

Swing states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia have a disproportionate influence on the general election. There are 12 or so states where?candidates spend most of their time because the rest are?viewed as forgone conclusions.?According to NPV,?no campaign events were held by the 2012 presidential candidates outside of these 12 states?during the general election.

?Two-thirds?of the states now are irrelevant, since they are firmly blue or red, giving all the focus to a small number of competitive ones and distorting the election,? Ornstein.

Downsides

Critics have said that a close election could result in a national recount (?take Florida in 2000 and multiply by 50, with a hundred times the number of lawyers,? said Ornstein), but that the federal government really isn?t equipped to handle a recount of that magnitude.

?The federal government does not conduct elections,? said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato?s Crystal Ball, a non-partisan political publication from the University of Virginia?s Center for Politics. ?So if there was an election that was so close a recount was required, it would have to be a 50-state recount. That sounds challenging.?

There?s also a concern that attention would shift from swing states to heavily-populated areas, like Los Angeles or New York City, on the theory that time-strapped candidates would plan visits to the densest areas to reach the most people at once.

But NPV contends that the densest?cities still only make up a small part of the population. According to Census data, the 30 most heavily-populated cites account for only about 12 percent of the population ? nowhere near a majority.

Is It Even Constitutional?

While something that fundamentally changes how the president is elected?will?likely be challenged in court, Fadem says ?a Constitutional amendment is not required,??pointing to language in the Constitution giving each state the right to decide how to direct its electors.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com