Tag Archives: reform

Questions on Immigration Reform — Sowell

4 Feb

Thomas Sowell, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover institution, offers a perspective in immigration reform in a recent column titled “Republicans to the Rescue?”  I have included an excerpt below – the full piece can be read at http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/republicans-to-the-rescue.html

Excerpt:

Listening to discussions of immigration laws and proposals to reform them is like listening to something out of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them. One of the big problems that those who are pushing “comprehensive immigration reform” want solved is how to help people who came here illegally and are now “living in the shadows” as a result.

What about embezzlers or burglars who are “living in the shadows” in fear that someone will discover their crimes? Why not “reform” the laws against embezzlement or burglary, so that such people can also come out of the shadows?

Almost everyone seems to think that we need to solve the problem of the children of illegal immigrants, because these children are here “through no fault of their own.” Do people who say that have any idea how many millions of children are living in dire poverty in India, Africa or other places “through no fault of their own,” and would be better off living in the United States?

Do all children have some inherent right to live in America if they have done nothing wrong? If not, then why should the children of illegal immigrants have such a right?

More fundamentally, why do the American people not have a right to the protection that immigration laws provide people in other countries around the world — including Mexico, where illegal immigrants from other countries get no such special treatment as Mexico and its American supporters are demanding for illegal immigrants in the United States?

[End of excerpt]

Personally, although Dr. Sowell may seem a little over the top on this issue, he raises some interesting questions that Americans ought to consider before accepting comprehensive immigration reform that includes broad acceptance of those who broke laws to get into this country.

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Comprehensive Immigration Reform – Definition

7 Feb

Mark Levy, author of the “Dear Mark” syndicated column, included the following Q&A in a recent column.  Black highlighting is mine.

 

Dear Mark: Immigration reform is the topic de jour in Washington today, with a bipartisan group of senators proposing a comprehensive framework for legislation. What is going to happen? — [Signed] Illegal is Still Illegal

Dear Illegal: “Comprehensive” is a word used in Washington that is worshipped, as if coming up with “comprehensive” legislation is somehow nobler than achieving a goal with simple legislation. Other [worshipped] words in that category include “bipartisan” and “compromise.” In my book, “comprehensive” can be defined as legislation that creates a new bureaucracy full of red tape, loopholes and corruption. It also increases spending and government employment, while failing to achieve its mission. Beware of bipartisan committees bearing legislation.

 

Mark’s entire column for this day can be found at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/mark-levy/economic-shrinkage-comprehensive-reform-and-44-000-years.html

Myths About Bill Clinton — Courtesy of John Stossel

12 Sep

Generally, when I use other people’s stuff in my blog, I use passages from their work and refer my readers to their full article, if you wish to go there.  However, this time I am at a loss to extract small pieces without destroying the full message being put forth.  This link is to the latest John Stossel column titled “Clinton Myths”.  I think it is simply stated, but powerful.  I’d be interested in your thoughts.

 http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_john_stossel/clinton_myths

 

Words from the Bush Era — New Faces, Nothing Changes

4 Sep

Eight years ago, Thomas Sowell wrote the following – as current today as it was in the middle of the Bush terms – and vice versa.

 “Despite political use of the envy factor to cause resentment of people whose high productivity earns high incomes, someone who is adding to the total wealth of this country is not depriving you of anything.  But someone who is consuming the nation’s wealth without contributing anything to it, is costing you and everyone else who is carrying his share of the load.  Yet our tax system penalizes those who are producing wealth in order to subsidize those who are only consuming it.

 “Tax reform is overdue, national debt or no national debt.”

 This passage just emphasizes that not only is this growing us-versus-them – envy and dependency — problem not a NEW problem, but it is not specifically caused by either the Republican or Democratic Party.  And it must be solved by BOTH parties.

 Will the REAL men (and women) in Congress please stand up?

 [Dr. Sowell is currently a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and is an outspoken black conservative economist.  The essay in which this passage was found is titled “A Taxing Experience:  Cut the National Debt by Reducing Spending”, published in Capitalism Magazine, November 2004.]

Are We Even ABLE to Be Rational about Entitlements?

29 Aug

Thomas Sowell’s latest column, titled simply “Entitlement Reforms”, carries a more troubling sub-message regarding the rationality of human beings.  I interpret the message to be that either we are easily duped (not as smart as we think we are), or not nearly the rational thinkers we perceive ourselves to be.

 Dr. Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. 

 The full column can be found at http://www.creators.com/conservative/thomas-sowell.html

 Excerpts:   [Bolding is mine]

For those of us who like to believe that human beings are rational, trying to explain what happens in politics can be a real challenge.

For example, that segment of the population that has the least to fear from a reform of Medicare or Social Security is the most fearful — namely, those already receiving Medicare or Social Security benefits.

It is understandable that people heavily dependent on these programs would fear losing their benefits, especially after a lifetime of paying into these programs. But nobody in his right mind has even proposed taking away the benefits of those who are already receiving them.

Yet opponents of reforming these programs have managed repeatedly to scare the daylights out of seniors with wild claims and television ads such as one showing someone — who looks somewhat like Paul Ryan — pushing an elderly lady in a wheelchair toward a cliff and then dumping her over.

There are people who take seriously such statements as those by President Barack Obama that Republicans want to “end Medicare as we know it.”

Let’s stop and think, if only for the novelty of it. If you make any change in anything, you are ending it “as we know it.” Does that mean that everything in the status quo should be considered to be set in concrete forever?

If there were not a single Republican, or none who got elected to any office, arithmetic would still end “Medicare as we know it,” for the simple reason that the money in the till is not enough to keep paying for it. The same is true of Social Security. 

.  .  .   .

It is today’s young people who are going to be left holding the bag when they reach retirement age and discover that all the money they paid in is long gone. It is today’s young people who are going to be dumped over a cliff when they reach retirement age, if nothing is done to reform entitlements.

Yet the young seem not to be nearly as alarmed as the elderly, who have no real reason to fear. Try reconciling that with the belief that human beings are rational.

 

SNAP Is a Snap — Unfortunately

7 Aug

Another excellent essay by Star Parker, the outspoken black conservative activist.  This one is called “New American Food-Stamp Plantation Is a SNAP”.  Her essays come via e-mail, and I don’t know where to go on-line to see them.  I have excerpted the bulk of this essay below.

 Excerpt:   [Bolding is mine]

 The House Agriculture Committee has reported out its version of a new farm bill that will cut $16.5 billion over 10 years from funding of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), once known as food stamps.

The cuts in the House bill exceed those in the Senate bill by $12 billion.

Sixteen-and-a-half billion dollars over a decade amount to a whopping 2 percent cut in SNAP program expenditures, which last year alone came to $78 billion. At a time when we are running trillion-dollar annual federal budget deficits, it’s hard to see a 2 percent cut in any large spending program as provocative. Particularly in a program like SNAP, where spending in 2011 was over 400 percent higher than in 2000.

Yet, liberals are predictably ringing the alarm. Assistant House Democratic leader James Clyburn of South Carolina called the cuts “abominable,” suggesting they will jeopardize nutrition of children and that it’s all about protecting “the wealthy and the well to do.”

I recall these kinds of charges from the left when I worked on reforming welfare in 1995 and 1996. Those reforms, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, were far more sweeping than 2 percent cuts. Not only did doomsday predictions not occur, but welfare rolls were dramatically reduced — not by casting anyone into the street, but by young women on welfare going to work.  .  .  .

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 18 million Americans received SNAP benefits in 2000. By 2011, this had grown to 45 million, one in seven Americans.

Liberals tells us that this program’s mind-boggling growth is explained by our foundering economy.

But, as Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions .  .  .  points out, spending on this program increased 100 percent from 2001 to 2006, a period over which there was no increase in the rate of unemployment.

From 2007 to 2011, spending increased 135 percent. But CBO attributes only about 65 percent of the dramatic growth in program spending and the number of recipients to the recession.

Here’s what else has happened: It has become increasingly easy to qualify for SNAP benefits, the government has been spending more taxpayer funds promoting the program, and the stigma of SNAP, food stamps, being perceived as a welfare program has disappeared.

A New York Times article in 2010 carried the headline, “Once Stigmatized, Food Stamps Find Acceptance.”  The article .  .  .  quotes Eric Bost, head of the program under President George W. Bush, saying, “I assure you, food stamps is not welfare.”

According to CBO, three-fourths of recipients are “categorically eligible,” which means they automatically qualify by virtue of participating in some other federal or state welfare program. They need not be receiving cash benefits from these programs. Simply having received an information pamphlet can be enough.

At one time, recipients received their food-stamp benefits in dollar-denominated paper vouchers presented at the cash register. Now benefits come on a sharp-looking electronic debit card like any credit or debit card.

And the fact that SNAP funds are provided by the federal government, but administered and spent by the states, is a proven formula, as in Medicaid, for undisciplined spending growth.

Sadly, our nation has become a food-stamp plantation.  .  .  .
[End of Excerpt]

There is just so much that is wrong about this program, and welfare in general, that I cannot even begin to add comments to this essay.