Policy: Entitlements

Morning Examiner: Pro-amnesty Republicans and the welfare state

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Morning Examiner,Immigration,Republican Party,Entitlements

Yesterday, the Heritage Foundation released a report showing that the amnesty portion of the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill would cost current American taxpayers $6.3 trillion over the next 50 years.* Knowing a price tag that big could choke off any significant Republican support for the legislation, a slew of pro-amnesty Republicans (the Center for American Progress has a full list here) quickly denounced the study.

You can read some of the pro-amnesty critiques of the Heritage study here, and Heritage’s response here. But first consider a statement that pretty much all conservatives and libertarians can agree with: “It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both.” – Milton Friedman. This is a common sentiment running not just through the Heritage report, but also the responses from pro-amnesty Republicans. Consider:

Americans for Tax Reform‘s Josh Culling: “America has entitlement, welfare, and education crises, not an immigration crisis. While the overall cost specific to immigration is inflated, the authors are correct to point out our spiraling entitlement and welfare costs must be addressed. Thankfully, Republicans in the House and Senate are committed to tackling this problem.”

American Action Forum‘s Douglas Holtz-Eakin: “Without change, the broken Social Security system will make future beneficiaries the victims of a 25 percent slash in benefits during their retirement. Medicare runs a $300 billion cash-flow deficit today and will collapse under its red ink without real reform. Medicaid provides poor Americans with poorer care and impoverishes states in the process. Conservatives understand that the progressive Left will deploy the politics of fear and envy to argue that red ink dictates the need for no reform other than higher taxes.

American Enterprise Institute‘s Madeline Zavodny: “What the report reveals is not the broken nature of our current immigrant system — something we already know — but rather the broken nature of our welfare state. … The problem here is not offering legal status to a population that largely has been working hard, paying taxes, and contributing to the economy. The problem is the growth of government programs, the perverse incentive effects that those programs create, and the failures of our education system.”

Pro-amnesty Republicans apparently believe that we can create a de facto open-borders immigration policy through an infinite series of amnesties, flooding America with low-skilled workers, and simultaneously successfully reform America’s already unsustainable welfare state. Holtz-Eakin even says, “The task of taming the exploding welfare state and turning our system of taxation from class warfare to common good is a battle for another day and place.”

Really?

Just three years ago President Obama successfully passed the largest expansion of the American welfare state in over 50 years. Republicans may be “committed to tackling this problem,” as ATR suggests, but in reality they are no closer to repeal today then when the took back the House in 2010. Obama desperately wants amnesty to be his signature domestic policy accomplishment of his second term. If now is not the time to demand changes to the welfare state, then when, pray tell, would be a good time?

* It is important to note that the Heritage report looks only at the amnesty portion of the Schumer-Rubio bill. Other portions of the bill, like increased immigration for high-skilled workers, was not analyzed.

From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: Taxpayers will pay big price for immigration reform
Susan Ferrechio: House Hits Brakes on Internet Tax Passed by Senate
Byron York: Senate skips details in rush to pass immigration bill
Phil Klein: Immigration estimates should include long-term costs
Michal Conger: Local governments spending more to do less
Gene Healy: Obama’s "War on Cynicism"

In Other News
CBS News, U.S. Special Forces told “you can’t go” to Benghazi during attacks: The deputy of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens has told congressional investigators that a team of Special Forces prepared to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks, but was forbidden from doing so by U.S. Special Operations Command Africa.
The New York Times, New Worries for Democrats on Health Law: As the administration struggles to put in place the final, complex piece of President Obama’s signature health care law, an endeavor on a scale not seen since Medicare’s creation nearly a half-century ago, Democrats are worried that major snags will be exploited by Republicans in next year’s midterm elections.
The Washington Post, Political Intelligence Straight from Capitol Hill: “Political intelligence” firms — companies that sell their analysis of federal actions to investors — have drawn much of the scrutiny from lawmakers and investigators worried about potential insider trading. Last month, federal regulators issued subpoenas to the law firm Greenberg Traurig and an analyst at the brokerage firm Height Securities in connection with another spike in trading that occurred after information was shared about the government’s health-care decision.
The Wall Street Journal, City Hit by SEC Fraud Charges: The Securities and Exchange Commission has put local government officials on notice that it is closely monitoring the way they describe their cities’ fiscal health, charging Harrisburg, Pa., with securities fraud for allegedly failing to disclose information on its financial troubles.

Lefty Playbook
Jonathan Chait says Obama is planning a strict crack down on coal power plants after the midterm elections.
Jill Lawrence says it doesn’t matter whether or not more background checks would have stopped the Newton killings.
Think Progress worries that “slut shaming” has been written into school dress codes.

Righty Playbook
Michael Barone explains why Democrats will have a hard time taking the House.
Glenn Reynolds asks, “Where are the start-ups?”
Victor Davis Hanson asks, “Is Benghazi Becoming a Watergate, or Iran-Contra, or Both?”
Yuval Levin offers five ways to improve the Schumer-Rubio amnesty plan.
William Kristol suggests the House move first on immigration reform.

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