Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Three Cheers for Refugee Reduction

Michelle Malkin
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump approved a new annual refugee cap of 18,000, the lowest since the U.S. program began in 1980. The reduction follows news that America took a pause last month and refused to admit any new refugees. On economic, public safety and national security grounds, this is a very good thing for the 325 million people already in our country. But you wouldn’t know it from the grim headlines and hysterical condemnations by globalist zealots and media sympathizers.

CNN International led the open borders funeral procession last week, with a report decrying, “No refugees will be resettled in the US in October, leaving hundreds in limbo around the world.” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., hyperventilated that “Donald Trump is trying to destroy the very heart of this nation. I won’t let him.” Social justice group CARE bemoaned this “dark moment in our nation’s history.” Human Rights First complained that Trump’s proposal is “crippling the United States’ status as a global leader in refugee resettlement.”

Heaven forbid citizens in a sovereign nation have an effective say in who comes here, from where and how many. Is one refugee-less month in America such a catastrophe? Calm down, Chicken Littles. Get some perspective.

It is most certainly true that America has a legacy of embracing people from around the world fleeing persecution and war. After World War II, the U.S. helped lead efforts to assist 650,000 displaced Europeans who had fled in fear, were expelled and were victims of Nazi crimes and terror. Congress passed the 1948 Displaced Persons Act to accommodate them. Five years later, the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 aided refugees from Italy and East Germany escaping Communist regimes, adding another 250,000 refugees over four years. In the 1950s and 1960s, we welcomed Hungarians, Cubans and Czechoslovakians also escaping Communist oppression. In the 1970s, we opened our doors to an estimated 300,000 political refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The Refugee Act of 1980 created the Office of Refugee Resettlement and office of U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and raised the annual ceiling of admissions to 50,000.

Under Obama, that number soared to nearly 100,000 annually. The idea that we’ve abandoned our humanitarian leadership role because of this refugee resettlement reduction is ludicrous. Overall, since 1975, the U.S. has resettled more than 3 million refugees. Under Trump, the U.S. still accepted more refugees than any other country in both 2017 and 2018. On top of that, America forked over nearly $1.6 billion to support the U.N.‘s refugee resettlement campaign. Moreover, America remains the largest single country provider of humanitarian assistance worldwide. Total U.S. humanitarian assistance was more than $8 billion in fiscal year 2017, covering food, shelter, health care and access to clean water for millions.

That’s enough.

Past refugee admissions don’t lock America into those same levels now or in the future. America’s constitutional duty is to Americans first (“ourselves and our posterity”). The truth is that we’ve been generous to a ruinous, open borders fault. Last year, the Federation for American Immigration Reform tallied refugee resettlement costs to taxpayers at nearly $9 billion over five years.

In my adopted home state of Colorado, a new University of Colorado Boulder study acknowledged that refugees are often “trapped in chronic poverty” after resettlement subsidies dry up and are unable to lift themselves out of dependency on government aid such as public housing, Medicaid and food stamps. Federal statistics show that nearly half of all refugee households receive cash welfare. Chain migration perpetuates the cycle of poverty.

A tiny cabal of government contractors, mostly religious groups cloaking their profit-seeking in compassion and Scripture, perpetuates the refugee resettlement racket. Openly hostile to American sovereignty, these people spread their tax-subsidized syndicate’s wealth to a vast network of subcontractors, often tied to billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, which promote global governance and unfettered migration espoused by the United Nations, European Union and Vatican. These special interests have systematically blurred the lines between legitimate refugees seeking asylum from oppression and economic migrants from Central America clamoring for higher wages or better welfare benefits. They’re indifferent to the national security risks of absorbing large numbers of Muslims whose adherence to repressive sharia and religious jihad is utterly incompatible with our constitutional principles.

Mass migration champions have stretched the definition of refugee so thin that “climate change refugees” seeking relief from uninhabitable environments are now a phenomenon. Nuts. Doesn’t America have enough residents in need of shelter and support? If we let in millions of “climate change refugees,” where do Americans seek refuge when they render our climate uninhabitable?

Only a complete moratorium on immigration would give America the break it needs to regain control of our system. Trump’s refugee reduction is not an apocalypse. It’s a long overdue respite from the world’s wretched refuse that deserves cheers, not jeers.



Trump economy is really experiencing a middle-class boom -- this data doesn't lie

Steve Moore:

Heritage Foundation senior economist Steve Moore addresses the current concerns over a U.S. economic recession.

I recently wrote op-eds that ran in the Wall Street Journal and on these pages that showed median household incomes under Donald Trump have soared from $61,000 to an all-time high of $66,000 in less than three years into the Trump presidency. This is tremendous news and documents substantial middle-class prosperity in Trump’s first three years in office.

The $5,003 rise in middle-class incomes is especially impressive given that incomes only rose by $1,200 in the seven years under Obama — after the recession ended.

If the media, liberal think tanks and Democrats in Congress were truly concerned about the economic well-being of “hard-working families,” as Elizabeth Warren likes to say, they would have cheered to the rafters this amazing news of rising incomes for nearly all groups.

Instead, the left has chosen to either ignore this story altogether or to denounce these findings, which come from the gold standard of economic data, the U.S. Census Bureau.

This hostility to the good news was no doubt triggered by President Trump’s ebullient reaction. He has repeatedly tweeted out the numbers on middle class income gains and is now reciting these statistics in nearly every speech.

This same data also undermines the other riff from the Elizabeth Warren crowd, which is that the Trump economic boom is merely a continuation of the Obama trend. The income gains are four times higher under Trump in less than half the number of years in office.

The income numbers are prima facie evidence that not only the rich, but the majority of middle-income households have benefited financially from the Trump economic boom. This same data also undermines the other riff from the Elizabeth Warren crowd, which is that the Trump economic boom is merely a continuation of the Obama trend. The income gains are four times higher under Trump in less than half the number of years in office.

Sure enough, the left and the media are now engaged in a wholesale campaign to discredit the good news on family incomes. Pundits have accused Trump of using phony numbers. The Washington Post recently ran a piece entitled: "Here's How Donald Trump Inflated His Economic Record."

In one Washington Post piece, the reporter sneers of Trump's "rambling distortions" and complains: "Trump's numbers appear to have originated in a pair of columns from the Heritage Foundation's Steve Moore, who used research from a private firm called Sentier Research."

Stop right there. Yes, it is true the data comes from Sentier Research -- a private firm. But what is not ever mentioned in the article is that the data come from the Census Bureau’s "Current Population Survey," which is the gold standard of economic data.

The two Sentier statisticians who analyzed the Census data are probably the most knowledgeable people in the country on this income data. Gordon Green was the chief of the income bureau at Census for more than a decade, and his colleagues at Sentier helped build the economic model Census uses to this day.

They have worked at the income division of the Census Bureau for a combined 40 years. They are scrupulously nonpartisan, and no one has ever challenged their integrity.

"We just report the data," says Gordon Green of Sentier.

Sentier Research has been well-respected by journalists for years. But, apparently, the Sentier numbers become unreliable when they point to good news under Trump.

In my analysis on these numbers, I have openly admitted these monthly data are a first rough estimate of what is happening with incomes over time -- just as the jobs numbers are. They catch the trends over time.

Three years into the Trump presidency there is no calamity and there is no recession. Trump is right to recite real and legitimate data that substantiates the on-going middle-class boom in America today. It isn't Trump, but his accusers who are engaged in "rambling distortions" and who deserve Pinnochio noses.



Coolidge and FDR were right about government workers and unions

by Jeff Jacoby

WHEN BOSTON police officers declared an illegal strike in September 1919, Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge condemned the men for "desertion of duty," and upheld the decision of the commissioner of police to fire the strikers and hire replacements. "There is no right to strike against the public safety," he declared, "by anybody, anywhere, any time."

Coolidge's resolute stand made him a national hero overnight. In November he was reelected in a landslide. A year later he was Warren Harding's running mate on the GOP national ticket, and won election to the White House in his own right in 1924.

The principle that public employees cannot go on strike, and that there is no right to collective bargaining in the public sector, was once endorsed across the political spectrum. "A policeman has no more right to belong to a union than a soldier or a sailor," editorialized The New York Times during the Boston strike. For decades, that was the mainstream Democratic view, too. "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," President Franklin D. Roosevelt affirmed in 1937. He recognized that government is not just another employer, and that empowering labor unions to negotiate with public officials is an invitation to abuse. Ronald Reagan, an FDR admirer and the only labor union leader to become president, upheld that principle in 1981, when he fired 11,000 air-traffic controllers who refused to end an illegal strike — and earned strong public approval for his decision.

How things have changed. Labor unions and collective bargaining in the public sector are now routine, and when public employees walk off the job politicians rush to praise them.

In Chicago, teachers have been on strike since Oct.17, leaving 350,000 students and their parents in the lurch. In Dedham, Mass., teachers went on strike last week, forcing the town to close schools on Friday. Public school teachers have also walked off the job recently in Park County, Col. and Murphysboro, Ill. Yet far from condemning the teachers unions and their members for abandoning their public jobs, elected officials shower them with acclaim.

Notwithstanding the immense disruption the teachers' walkout has inflicted on Chicago, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and other leading Democrats have gone out of their way to encourage the strikers and endorse their demands. In Massachusetts as in most states, government employees are legally barred from striking. Dedham's scofflaw teachers faced no criticism from the Bay State's political bigfeet, however. Both US senators came out in support of the strikers, and Representative Joe Kennedy III showed up at the Dedham picket line with coffee and doughnuts. "In me, you have an ally, you have a champion," he gushed.

Lost in all this adulation is the reason strikes by government workers are against the law: Unlike job actions in the private sector, strikes in the public sector are not economic weapons deployed against private management. They are political weapons deployed to bring distress upon innocent third parties.

When 46,000 United Auto Workers recently went on strike against General Motors, their goal wasn't to heap misery on the nation's car buyers. It was to win a larger share of GM's healthy profits through improved pay and benefits. As with any private sector strike, both labor and management faced the discipline of the market. The longer the strike lasted, the more business GM lost and the more paychecks union members went without. In the private sector, there are limits to the concessions labor can demand. Companies need profits to survive, and outrageous labor costs can cause a company to lose sales, eliminate jobs, or, if worse comes to worst, go out of business.

But such checks and balances don't exist when government workers go on strike.

It isn't management that gets squeezed when teachers, air-traffic controllers, or trash collectors walk off the job. It's ordinary citizens. Striking government employees don't seek economic equity from cash-laden corporate management; they seek to make the public miserable, and thereby increase political pressure on public officials to accede to the union's demands.

Strikes in the public sector have nothing to do with getting management to share its wealth, and everything to do with extracting more money from taxpayers who are deprived of bargaining power in the process. Everybody wants more money and more lavish benefits, but the compensation of government employees is a matter of public policy. That policy should be crafted openly, as other government policies are. It shouldn't be held hostage to pressure from lawbreaking employees, and no government official should be required to negotiate with special interest lobbies — which is what public-sector unions amount to — in setting the terms and conditions of government employment.

FDR, Reagan, and Coolidge were right, even if it is unfashionable to say so: Public workers have no right to strike, and collective bargaining should have no place in government employment. The system we live with now is rigged — rigged against taxpayers and against democratic fairness. If only we had political leaders unafraid to say so.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


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