Sunday, December 1, 2013

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

It is a logical position to oppose ANY compromise with progressives on fiscal matters that apply to additional government spending and tax increases. It is also logical to worry about the nation’s $1.x Trillion deficit which is of course the amount of money we spend as a nation each year in excess of what is collected in tax revenue. Each year it gets added to the national debt which now stands above $17 Trillion, which is in turn dwarfed by our unfunded liabilities (promises we have made to pay in the future) which now are approaching or exceed $120 Trillion ( It’s hard to keep up). Additional government spending and taxes simply takes money out of the private sector where it could find its most efficient use and puts it in the hands of government bureaucrats who first take out the government cut and then spend the rest on whatever THEY think would be best. The list of beneficiaries always seems to be topped by the “Friends Of The Party In Power Benevolent Association”. Funny how that seems to work. But back to fiscal compromise.

Fiscal compromise is one reason why the world economy is in the shape it’s in. For many decades the path to success in the U.S. congress was to “go along and get along”. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. The secret to a long career was to bring home the bacon for your constituents so that when election time rolled around there would be no room for an opponent to criticize. This was done by agreeing to help your colleagues take home their own bacon. We’ve all seen “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”. We all know how it works, but we also know that there isn’t really a crooked politician out there with the sense of decency to put a gun to his or her head.

But what’s the harm? A Billion dollars here a Billion dollars there. The government spends a Billion dollars every two hours and fifteen minutes. Who’s going to miss another Billion? Only they don’t get spent in single Billions generally. Generally they get spent by the hundreds of Billions and not for one time purchases….. but ongoing programs that now have managers who have a personal interest in continuing and growing the expenditure. Did you ever hear of a federal bureaucrat who advocated for the dissolution of his or her department?

So the spending and debt go up and up and everything seems cool. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and then something unexpected happens: Unexpected, but predictable, AND predicted. A policy of increasingly easy home mortgage financing promoted and then aggressively pushed by the federal government created the “housing bubble” which finally burst and crashed the whole world economy.

Compromise reaches its frenzied climax during the assembly of “Omnibus”, and “Comprehensive” legislation.

Omnibus legislation is just a hodgepodge of measures that legislators didn’t have time to deal with or didn’t want to talk about openly and so they wait until the very end of the session and throw them all into one big “anthology of pork”. Everybody gets something. Sort of like the Christmas party at school, only at this party there isn’t any limit to the amount of money that can be spent. The bills will contain legitimate amendments to existing law and other bureaucratic necessities, but way back in the back, neatly tucked in between substantive matters there will be more fiscal hijinks than you can possibly imagine. All of the things that legislators would be embarrassed to stand and openly argue for, or support are here, and the reason they’re here is because it’s where everyone is allowed a pass for voting in favor of all of their colleague’s corruption. The bills are long, and hard to read. Who’s going to know? And if someone does find out next year, who’s going to care? It’s a win/win.

Comprehensive legislation at least has a stated purpose which is to take a large general problem which is the sum of several, or many related problems and solve them all in one fell swoop. A problem with comprehensive legislation is that it requires a fair measure of arrogance to believe that one fully understands all of the moving parts of a situation and how they interact with one another. Yesterday’s comprehensive legislation was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We’ll be digging our way out from under that pile of rubble for a long time. Another problem with this sort of legislation is that it allows the executive authority the option of non-enforcement of parts of the law it deems unnecessary.

Today’s comprehensive legislation is “Immigration Reform”, which is only one of the three major problems that it purports to solve, the other two being border security, and what to do with the 12 to 14 million immigrants who are already here illegally. Tied together, these three separate but interacting problems will generate another 1500 page monstrosity of a bill, the exact contents of which no one will know until the provisions begin to be selectively administered. It will not be an attempt to solve a pressing national problem, but a means to an end, that end being an open border policy and liberal dispensation of social benefits and Constitutional rights to extralegals. The attempt to combine the solution in one piece of legislation will result in at least one, and perhaps all three of the problems going unsolved and perhaps made even worse. And there will be the requisite lies. If you liked “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” you’ll LOVE “this bill does not give blanket amnesty to 14 Million illegals”.

The solution to the immigration problem is simple and can be accomplished by separate action. First) Secure the border. Everyone else does it, including all of those industrialized nations progressives like to trot out when speaking about nationalized health care. Securing the borders is not a small thing, but we landed a man on the moon in 1969. We can secure the borders. And those attempting border violation need to be immediately deported to the country that they just came from, not given a bus ticket to the U.S. city of their choice, and released on their own recognizance pending a hearing in six months. Simple. Except smugglers of course. They can stay. In prison, and THEN deported.

Next) While the borders are being secured, we can be reforming the immigration system to efficiently handle the volumes of applicants expected, and establish a status for guest workers who have no intention or desire to becoming Americans. We, as a nation, have a right, and responsibility to know who is coming to and leaving our country.

And Finally) Deal with the 12 to 14 Million “extralegals” already in the country. Separately, the issue is just as simple as the other two. With the borders secure the problem practically solves itself. People live their lives and eventually die. People move away. If no more illegals arrive then the number present will decrease all by itself. In the mean time some legal status can be given. No logistically minded serious person suggests the involuntary deportation of 12 Million people. It won’t be necessary to establish a special PATHWAY to citizenship. Immigrants can apply for permanent resident status and then for citizenship, just as they always could have, and once they have satisfied the requirements they can stand in front of a judge, raise their right hand, and recite the pledge of allegiance.

In separate pieces of legislation these three steps are straight forward and simple to execute. Trying to connect them would create a sort of Rube Goldberg contraption with so many moving parts that it would from the outset become impossible to operate or maintain. Our continuing experience with should have red flags going up on every pole.

Comprehensive legislation of ANY kind is the enemy of average Americans.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

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