On Thursday, the Senate passed the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," a 1,200-page behemoth aka "Schumer-Rubio," for the senior New York Democrat and junior Florida Republican who were the main sponsors. Besides citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, the bill promises effective border security ... sometime. Schumer-Rubio recalls Obamacare in these respects:
• Sweetheart deals:
Vote-buying was key to Schumer-Rubio winning, as it was for Obamacare. Remember the Cornhusker Kickback that secured then-Sen. Ben Nelson's vote and higher Medicare reimbursements for his Nebraska? This time around, Nevada's two senators - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Sen. Dean Heller - got funding for a tourist promotion program for Nevada's casinos.
Nevada was also designated a "border state" despite sharing no boundary with Mexico. Being a border state, however, puts Nevada in the border security pork barrel line. Then there is the special treatment accorded Alaskan seafood plants, Maine's designation for immigration-enforcement funding and - most absurd of all - the $1.5 billion youth employment program demanded by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT.
• Drafted behind closed doors by special interests:
Rubio told Rush Limbaugh earlier this year that he didn't "want to be part of a process that comes up with some bill in secret and brings it to the floor and gives people a take or leave it." Regrettably for Rubio, that's what happened: Schumer-Rubio was drafted behind closed doors in conjunction with Big Labor and Big Business, whose lobbyists made sure their industries were heard first in the new law's creation. With Obamacare, the lobbyists assisting the bill drafting represented pharmaceuticals, hospitals and health insurance companies.
• Pass it to find out what's in it:
Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's famous line about Obamacare rings true for the immigration bill, too. The Hoeven-Corker amendment, which made changes throughout the entire bill, was delivered to the Senate late last Friday evening and the vote on its adoption came Wednesday. That may have been enough time for some senators and their staffs to read it, but it certainly was not enough time to comb through and understand the proposal. Obamacare was also delivered and voted on within a matter of days, without anywhere nearly sufficient time to understand all that was in it.
• Increased unemployment:
The Congressional Budget Office projects that Schumer-Rubio will increase the unemployment rate over the next five years. But beyond that, it's simple macroeconomics: Increase the supply of labor and there will be more unemployment because there will be a shortage of jobs. Similarly, Obamacare will increase unemployment by placing larger tax and regulatory burdens on jobs creators, especially small businesses - making hiring less cost-effective for them.
Obamacare is doing what opponents predicted it would do: raise premiums, decrease work hours, cause a loss of employer-sponsored insurance and increase unemployment. With the similarities between it and the immigration bill, it is only a matter of time before opponents are proven right once again. But everybody, not just opponents, will bear the costs.