On Immigration: Romney is Right, Gingrich is Wrong

November 28th, 2011 at 8:53 am David Frum | 123 Comments |

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In my column for CNN, I explain why K street lobbyists will like Newt Gingrich’s immigration plan:

Immigration is the only issue where a political candidate can totally do the bidding of the K Street lobbyists and still be hailed as compassionate and humane.

At CNN’s Republican National Security Debate this past Tuesday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich reconfirmed his longstanding immigration policy:

– A commitment to enhanced border security

– A guest worker program

– Individual hearings for each of 12 million or so illegal aliens, at which those with long ties to the country will gain residency rights

– No citizenship for illegal entries

On its face, this program is unworkable. Examine each piece in turn:

Why the border?

The border is the wrong place to stop illegal immigration, if only because tighter security wouldn’t stop the up to 45% of the illegal population who enter the country legally, then overstay their visas, as estimated by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.

The right place to stop illegality is the workplace. If employers faced an effective requirement to hire only legal workers, and meaningful penalties for breaking the law, we’d change the incentive structure that creates the problem in the first place. As is, employers are punished only if they can be shown to have employed illegal labor “knowingly,” meaning that so long as the employee produces a valid-seeming Social Security number, the employer goes scot-free. Even if somehow caught, the fines are small. Under those circumstances, you could deploy the whole U.S. Army on the Mexican border and hardly make an impact on the problem.

Immigration enforcement inescapably impinges on employers, especially employers in low-wage industries such as restaurants, hotels, groundskeeping and meatpacking, whose voices are heard through those K Street lobbyists.

Border security is the policy you endorse if you don’t want to impinge on employers. Which means that border security is the policy you endorse if you don’t want your immigration enforcement to succeed.

Click here to read the full column.

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123 Comments so far ↓

  • bdtex

    I’m guessing Newt’s “path to legality” will lead to taxation. Without the right to vote,that would be “taxation without representation”.

  • ottovbvs

    I’m always somewhat bemused by Frum’s antipathy to illegal immigrants given his own background as an immigrant. Of course most of these folks don’t come from families with fortunes of several hundred million dollars so they get here the best way they can. Once here most of them just want to get a job, any job, and send money home to the their families or live a reasonable life. There are an estimated 11 million illegals in the US. Large tracts of the US economy depend on them as they are finding out in Alabama as crops rot in the ground. In adddition there are probably millions of American citizens born to illegals who need to be educated and assimilated into the system. This problem isn’t going away. Indeed a substantial proportion of future population growth in the US which is essential to our economic wellbeing and status as a great power is dependant on immigration. Ironically this entire piece by Frum, which is intended as an attack on illegal immigrants, merely serves to highlight their importance to the US economy which is why the business community are always going to oppose any attempt to penalise them for employing illegals. Quite apart from this reality the idea that the GOP is in favor of arresting and imprisoning business people (many of them small business people with restaurants, cleaning businesses and the like) is hilarious. In fact neither Gingrich’s or Romney’s proposals are practical. We have 11 million illegals and an unknown number of their offspring in the country. We need to find a humane and realistic way of dealing with the problem not the blundering around that has taken place in Alabama and Arizona and that has achieved little apart from damaging the economies in those states and making them objects of general obloquoy.

  • Nanotek

    “Romney is Right, Gingrich is Wrong”

    which Mitt Romney?

    “We need to begin a process of registering those people, some being returned, and some beginning the process of applying for citizenship and establishing legal status,” Romney said during the March 29, 2006, session.

    • PracticalGirl

      Yes, it’s a question of “Which Mitt Is It?”

      Meet the Press, 2007

      “My own view is…That those people who come here illegally, and are in this country-the 12 million or so that are here illegally-should be abel to sign up for permanent residency or citizenship..”


      I guess he’s changed his mind for this Presidential run.

      • Ann Thomas

        Gingrich has flip flopped on the issue, too. These GOP candidates are a joke. The only thing we know is real is that they will say anything to become President. Attacking brown people seems to be the ticket to this nomination…how sad for my former party. True comprehensive immigration reform is the only way to solve the problem. Bush “went there” but look where that got him. Hate to state the obvious but comprehendive immigration reform would also reduce the deficit. Don’t Republicans at least pretend to care about that? Who is the brilliant architect of the GOP plan to alienate every minority voter despite the changing demographics? Better hope those old white guys live a long time and Republicans create enough voter suppression laws to fix the
        elections. Baffling! Some annoying facts the conservatives choose to ignore:

  • Sinan

    Can someone please explain to me how having 300 million people is better than 200 million people? Can you also explain then how having 400 or 500 or 600 million people is even more goodness? Will one of these daring politicians ever come out and say the obvious please? Our nation was stronger, richer, cleaner and better with fewer people. Growth for growth’s sake is madness.

    • ottovbvs

      “Our nation was stronger, richer, cleaner and better with fewer people.”

      Stronger, richer, cleaner in 1776, 1800, 1825, 1850, 1875, 1900, 1925, 1950, 1975, 2000, 2005, 2010….which year would you prefer?

      • balconesfault

        I’ll take 2000, thank you.

      • icarusr

        1900 for $200, Alex.

      • Sinan

        Great snark everyone. I do not buy into the idea that more people is good for anything at all. In fact, I would argue that less people is a much better idea and likely results in a much higher standard of living. I grew up in California. We were a lot better off with 18 million folks instead of the 36 million we have today. The idea that growth in population somehow equates to a higher standard of living is absurd. Yes, our nation was better off with fewer folks. How many less folks is up for debate but I can tell you with absolute certainty that you will not like living here when we reach 500 million or a billion. Anyone want to be honest and admit that there is indeed a limit to how many people the nation can carry without turning into an ant farm?

    • jamesj

      Haha. Good point. Yes, it was much cleaner before any immigrants came. I don’t think you can attribute any of the greatness or strength of our country to filthy immigrants. The lower our population, the stronger we’d become. Roll it right back to the original pilgrim settlements, at which point we’d be a force to reckon with. Or better yet, roll back the entire European discovery of the new world, at which point this land would be just about as clean as you can imagine.

    • armstp


      I will award you with the stupidest comment of the day on Frum Forum.

    • forgetn

      The issue is not so much how many immigrant but their age group. Americans are having fewer babies and the average age of Americans is rising, immigration helps to re-establish a better balance in the age groups.

      In reality, we need population control….

    • Bingham


  • jamesj

    Hi David. Where can I find the immigration policy that you attribute to Romney? I have not heard him explain it that way. I have heard him and his advisers explain his immigration stance in terms much more hawkish and vague than Gingrich on several occasions. The issue is conveniently absent from his official campaign literature and website so far, no doubt on purpose.

    It appears that you’ve taken it upon yourself to create, out of thin air, an immigration policy for Romney’s campaign. I don’t think it prudent to take his campaign’s many vague and contradictory statements on the subject and craft them into a policy you yourself feel is wise and thoughtful. You could just as easily assume his policy would be quite different from what you propose in your article.

    EDIT: I will be happy to eat my words if someone can point me to a coherent statement from Romney’s official campaign. I’d love to learn more about his stance on this issue.

    • Graychin

      He’s running for office, for Pete’s sake!

      • Probabilistic

        No Mexican on his lawn, for Pete’s sake! (Couldn’t help it. Will have to read this article and accompanying comments later)

    • beowulf

      “It appears that you’ve taken it upon yourself to create, out of thin air, an immigration policy for Romney’s campaign”

      You have to admit, that does show initiative. :o )

  • Reflection Ephemeral

    Y’know, I saw the headline, and was ready to disagree. But this is absolutely true: “Border security is the policy you endorse if you don’t want to impinge on employers.”

    Anyone who actually believes that illegal immigration is a bad and dangerous thing would instantly begin imposing stiff sentences on employers. After all, the reason folks come here is to work very hard.

    But Republican politics isn’t about finding solutions to policy problems. It’s about expressing animosity for out groups. In this manner, the Heritage Foundation’s health insurance reform plan was rejected as “death panels” and a “government takeover” by the Republican Party.

    Even the supposedly sane Mitt Romney has based his campaign on the Big Lie of a presidential “apology tour.” He also rattles on about “regulatory uncertainty” undermining the economy, which, as Noah Kristulah-Green has pointed out, is another lie.

    This is because Republican politics is the continuation of psychology by other means. It doesn’t matter exactly what the Democrats are doing; Republican identity is founded on disliking those not of the tribe, so Republicans are psychologically compelled to oppose whatever Democrats propose. The merit of policy proposals is not relevant.

    We have just about the lowest tax rate in the OECD, but the GOP’s animating principle is that taxes must always be cut. (This is an outgrowth of the Southern Strategy, in which GOP operatives like Pat Buchanan and Lee Atwater saw an advantage for the Party in linking whites’ resentment over the federal government’s ending of segregation to the K St. Lobby’s libertarianesque talking points. Buchanan proposed to use identity politics to “cut the Democratic Party and country in half; my view is that we would have far the larger half.”).

    So, sure, Newt’s immigration policy makes no sense, if you’re evaluating it as a real-life policy proposal. But if you’re evaluating it as an expression of tribal affinity– which is how all utterances of every Republican candidate must be evaluated during the primary– it makes perfect sense.

    (As ottovbvs points out, Frum has stolen a base here by writing that the problem here is illegality of immigration, rather than the fact that our immigration laws have nothing to do with real life).

    • Carney

      Oh please. Democrats practice tribal politics far more openly, fervently, and viciously.

      • ottovbvs

        “far more openly, fervently, and viciously.”

        Oh please….another of Carney’s factless assertions

      • Graychin

        I’m more left-wing than most, but I used to vote for Republicans occasionally. Now I never vote for Republicans.

        I’m not a Tribal Democrat at all. Never was. It’s that I cannot stand what Republicans have become.

        (Oope – I still DO vote for my Republican state representative. He’s actually a sane, reasonable guy who’s a bit more conservative than I am. Those kind of Republicans are hard to find any more.)

      • Reflection Ephemeral

        Republican affiliation is solely and entirely due to tribal politics.

        If you can come up with a principled, conservative defense of squandering our surpluses, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and the occupation and invasion of Iraq, I’d love to hear it. Pres. Bush received constant applause from Republicans– especially the “strong conservatives” who now make up the Tea Party– while compiling that record.
        Meanwhile, the GOP unanimously and ferociously rejected the longtime “conservative” policy option of the individual mandate simply because a Democratic president tried to agree with them.

        This is because Republicans don’t care about policy, they care about tribal affiliation.

        • Carney

          If you can come up with a principled, conservative defense of squandering our surpluses, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and the occupation and invasion of Iraq, I’d love to hear it.

          Nobody supported “squandering” the surpluses. But contrary to popular opinion surpluses are not good things; as Bush pointed out they are government deliberately overcharging taxpayers. And war and recession are your classic scenarios for deficit spending.

          As for Medicare Part D, public opinion consistently and crushingly demanded a Medicare prescription drug benefit. The only real-world question was what form it should take. Part D is the first major social program costing less than projected, in large part because it introduces private sector competition and cost-sensitivity.

          On No Child Left Behind, granting the premise of the existence of a federal role in, and funding for, K-12 education, it was high time to introduce standards and accountability rather than passively accept a self-serving bureaucracy of lifers content to milk the system for a fat pension while leaving children trapped and under-served.

          As for the long-overdue liberation of Iraq, it had defied the 1991 peace agreement for 12 years, in the face of intense diplomatic pressure, sanctions, no-fly zones, and even limited air strikes. Refusing to the last to fully cooperate with weapons inspectors and fully disclose its activities as it was required to do. Frequently firing on coalition aircraft on anti-genocide patrol. Attempting to assassinate former President Bush. Openly financially rewarding international terrorism and harboring terrorists (such as the American-killing Abu Nidal). Any of these alone were casus belli, together our passivity and patience had reached near-pathological levels.

          Meanwhile, the GOP unanimously and ferociously rejected the longtime “conservative” policy option of the individual mandate simply because a Democratic president tried to agree with them.

          Now there I can’t argue with you.

        • Reflection Ephemeral

          Thanks for engaging on the substance, Carney.

          I’m a little wary of threadjacking by rehashing the policy debates of 2001-2002 in too much detail… but I’d also like to return the favor here. Decisions, decisions! I’ll just stick to one point.

          I don’t think it makes sense to regard surpluses as “overcharging”, especially when there remained a long-term debt problem. (I’ve written a while back that “the long-term debt problem is health care costs”: http://www.poisonyourmind.com/2011/08/the-long-term-debt-issue-is-health-care-costs-2/ . It seems to me now that I might have overstated that point; it’s entirely true as to the projected deficit in 2060, but not as obviously true for 2030). Converting the surpluses into deficits was a significantly less constructive policy response than, say, trying to bring our health care costs down so that they’re only twice as high as the OECD average, rather than two and a half times. It was a policy decision for short-term benefit. It was “if it feels good, do it.”

        • ottovbvs

          “As for Medicare Part D, public opinion consistently and crushingly demanded a Medicare prescription drug benefit.”

          I guess that’s why DeLay had to hold voting open for two hours to ram it through. Public opinion had nothing to do with it.

          “Any of these alone were casus belli, together our passivity and patience had reached near-pathological levels.”

          Well the urge to invade Iraq within the Bush administration was certainly pathological…you’re right about that.

        • balconesfault

          Nobody supported “squandering” the surpluses. But contrary to popular opinion surpluses are not good things; as Bush pointed out they are government deliberately overcharging taxpayers.

          Any other ideas on how to reduce the size of our Federal Debt BESIDES running a surplus?

          Remember when Bush took office the national debt was 5.7 trillion. Per economists, the Clinton policies put us on a trajectory for eliminating that debt within a decade.

          If deficits are bad … why isn’t eliminating the debt a good goal?

        • Graychin

          In Republicanland, the debt is a problem. It’s too big. We need to pay it down.

          At the same time, surpluses are bad in Republicanland. It means taxpayers are being “overcharged.”

          Carney, were taxpayers being “undercharged” when we were fighting two wars and passing Medicare Part D, all on the national credit card? No – that was a time for another tax cut. There’s never a bad time for a tax cut in Republicanland.

          How do we pay down the debt without running surpluses? Carney? Anyone?

        • zaybu

          Carney: “Nobody supported “squandering” the surpluses. But contrary to popular opinion surpluses are not good things; as Bush pointed out they are government deliberately overcharging taxpayers. ”

          Surpluses should be used to pay off the debt incurred in a previous downturn. That’s the main reason we are in trouble right now. Instead of paying off the debt, Bush gave generous tax cuts, engaged in two costly wars and an expensive Medicaid program, the result being that the debt soared from $5T in 2000 to $10T in 2008.

        • icarusr

          After the budget cuts of the 1990s, Canada ran surpluses for a decade. Each year, the surplus was divided between paying down the debt, targetted tax cuts and paying for outstanding public investments. When the recession hit, our debt had been brought down significantly and allowed the government a large measure of flexibility.

          In a cyclical economy, a surplus one year is not “overcharging”, because from year to year, depending on economic conditions, a surplus could turn into a deficit. This happened, incidentally, in 2008-2009 – we went from a projected $1 billion surplus to a $50 billion deficit (including $19 billion in stimulus). So, in 2008 to have said that the Canadian people were being “overcharged” because of a projected surplus would have been daft. The same for 2002 or 1997, the first year we posted a surplus.

        • Carney

          ottvbs said,

          I guess that’s why DeLay had to hold voting open for two hours to ram it through. Public opinion had nothing to do with it.

          Again, the public, and especially the elderly, strongly supported a prescription drug benefit. Part D was controversial among both the right and left, the right because it is another entitlement program, the left because it’s not a traditional, pure government system but rather has significant private-sector involvement. Faced with opposition from Democrats and defections from his own Conference, DeLay chose to employ hardball tactics to get the bill over the finish line.

        • think4yourself

          @ Carney: Lot’s to address on your thread.

          “Nobody supported “squandering” the surpluses. But contrary to popular opinion surpluses are not good things; as Bush pointed out they are government deliberately overcharging taxpayers. And war and recession are your classic scenarios for deficit spending.”

          I have to disagree. “Surpluses are not good things” – except of course we had trillions in debt, so running surpluses would have allowed us to pay down that debt. GWB, lowered the tax rate and deliberately put us back into deficit spending. This was not redressing overcharging the taxpayers, this was bad fiscal managment. As for war and recession being classic scenarios for deficit spending, my first question is why is that so? I would have much rather supported the war with a war tax – instead we have put additional trillions of dollars in debt on our children and grandchildren.

          Regarding Medicare Part D – the public demand for a prescription drug benefit. In my view the “demand” was just as much a political one to ensure Seniors voted for GWB – especially in the swing state of Florida (can’t have no hangin’ chads again). My real problem with this bill wasn’t the benefit it’s that it was also unfunded – a huge dereliction of fiscal responsibility.

          I agree with you on “No Child Left Behind”, even though there are certainly issues in execution that both Conservative and Liberals do not like. I don’t see too many of your fellow Conservatives championing this program.

          Lastly, as to liberating Iraq – that’s a nice spin and not the reasons the Bush administration went to war – remember “a mushroom cloud”. For the 12 years that Iraq was under sanction, the US was spending a billion a year with no American lives lost. Not perfect, but contrast that with the trillions will have eventually spent in Iraq and related military health costs, 5,000 American and allied dead, 30,000 American wounded – an estimated 100,000 – 150,000 Iraqi dead and a situation that many would argue is no better than before the war – was that worth the cost?

        • torourke

          Speaking of eschewing serious policy-making in favor of tribalism, I’m curious as to what Reflection Ephemeral’s take is on the following:

          –Democrats at the highest level of Congress enthusiastically supporting waterboarding while it was actually being practiced, denouncing it years after the practice ended, and then lying about their initial support for the program. No policy views, only tribalism indeed.

          –The ranking Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Community, Jay Rockefeller, making categorical statements about the existence of Saddam’s WMD in the run-up to the War in Iraq, and then years later overseeing a special Congressional report accusing the Bush administration of misleading the country into war, while gently airbrushing out his own statements and those of fellow Democrats who earnestly supported the war. No policy views, only tribalism indeed.

          –Democrats accusing the Bush administration of politicizing intelligence, and then using the obviously politicized 2007 NIE on Iran’s nuclear program to score political points without even the slightest twinge in their consciences. No policy views, only tribalism indeed.

          –Democrats ignoring the obvious progress made in Iraq following the surge, including Candidate Obama finally announcing that he had been wrong on the policy the day McCain was nominated at the RNC. You would think that Democrats, who claimed to care about soldiers and Iraqi civilians, would have been happy to admit that they were wrong on the surge, as it meant that there were fewer American and Iraqi casualties. But you would be wrong. And if there were ever a case where Democrats greatly exerted themselves to ignore reality, then this would be it. See the furious reaction on the left to Michael O’Hanlon’s op-ed in the NYT for a refresher. No policy views, only tribalism indeed.

          –Democrats supporting the premium support model (an idea originally conceived by Democrats) for Americans just above the poverty as part of Obamacare but then denouncing it as part of the Ryan budget as something that will lead to elderly folks “dying sooner.” No policy views, only tribalism indeed.

          –Democrats railing against Republicans who flip-flopped on the individual mandate, while ignoring that Obama himself opposed the mandate as a candidate in 2008, and then switched to supporting it after being elected. Then he denounced the idea that the mandate was a tax in an interview with ABC, before having his lawyers defend the policy on precisely this argument in the courts. No policy views, only tribalism indeed.

          There’s more, but the broader point is that politicians of both sides tend to be a shameless, spineless lot who will do and say anything to get elected. The difference is that for whatever reason, this site seems to attract people who approach politics as some sort of religion, where Republicans=bad and Democrats=good. This sort of glassy-eyed, fundamentalist approach is helpful if your goal is to engage in ego-stroking, but it does not remotely comport with reality.

      • jamesj

        “Oh please. Democrats practice tribal politics far more openly, fervently, and viciously.”

        “Practice” or “practiceD”? You’re talking about 30-40 years ago. The playing field has completely changed since then. I don’t see what you describe in modern US politics.

        For the last 10-15 years the Republican party has been immensely “tribal” in its mannerism while the Democratic party has become a scattered coalition of folks with vastly differing views on a variety of subjects. I don’t see much of a consistent ideological dogmatism on the left these days, especially among the party elite and elder politicians. Pick any policy baseline and map the movement of each party over the last 20 years. Democrats move right. Republicans move right, far past the rightmost boundary that is considered sane throughout the rest of Western Civilization.

        30 years ago the parties behaved differently. I’d say the Republican party used to be the more sober and pragmatic while the Democratic party used to be the more ideological and dogmatic. But things are completely reversed now.

  • Carney

    Actually both are wrong; it’s just that Romney is less wrong than Gingrich.

    Both not merely overlook but cheer on the ongoing catastrophe that is legal immigration.

    Via the so-called “diversity lottery” we are bringing in people for no other reason than that they are the most alien, least assimilable, most difficult to Americanize possible.

    Via so-called “family reunification” and chain migration, we are bringing in people who would NOT otherwise qualify for entry but have a relative in the US (everyone has a ne’er-do-well relative).

    Via Political Correctness we are now refusing to screen for communicable diseases such as AIDS, thereby deliberately choosing to allow the diseased into our country.

    Via Political Correctness we are refusing to test for IQ, thus deliberately choosing to lower the average IQ of our country.

    Via Political Correctness we are refusing to acknowledge the reality that a million Englishmen are a much better match and much easier to absorb than a million Zulus.

    We are bringing in hundreds of thousands of people every year who will strain our national cohesion and unity, many will represent serious national security threats (or provide the “sea” in which such “fish” can swim more easily;

    We are bringing in hundreds of thousands of competitors for our jobs at a time with massive unemployment; and / or many thousands of net burdens on our national resources.

    Galloping insanity, and NOBODY is challenging it save perhaps Bachmann. But she can’t win, no we are forced to go with Romney who at least is against illegal immigration.

    • ottovbvs

      “it’s just that Romney is less wrong than Gingrich.”

      Er….which Romney? the 2006/7 Romney or the 2011 Romney?

      “Both not merely overlook but cheer on the ongoing catastrophe that is legal immigration.”

      You think it was a mistake then letting Frum in? Poor old Carney is the Paranoid Tendency made real.

      • indy

        And, of course, my parents. I apologize for the burden on American society my family has become. 6 kids, 4 of whom collectively employed thousands of Americans in well paying, high tech jobs. We are properly admonished by Carney for making America such a horrendous place to be, and we hang our head in shame when compared to his awesome American born and bred go out and get-em attitude.

        • Carney

          Individual anecdotes, however yay-clap inducing, do not make the overall catastrophe go away.

        • indy

          More shame served up by a TRUE American. I humbly accept.

        • ottovbvs

          Carney…the “catastrophe” doesn’t exist outside of your fevered imagination. Legal immigration from Einstein, Billy Wilder and Marlene Dietrich to Indy’s parents, Ridley Scott and Paul Kennedy have enormously enriched our society. Consider Steve Job’s parentage!

        • Carney

          otto, again, the current wave of immigration is different from the past two. And, again, individual anecdotes don’t make up for the damage being done by the crushing numbers.

        • ottovbvs

          “again, the current wave of immigration is different from the past two.”

          Why? Legal immigrants to this country are required to have visible means of support, sponsors, et al. The previous waves of immigration by people who were largely penniless and uneducated were infinitely greater in size relative to the existing population. The only difference is today’s immigrants are better educated and wealthier.

        • indy

          Carney seems to think that being for immigration means you are also for ILLEGAL immigration.

        • Carney

          otto, in the real world, such requirements are not enforced, especially the one about not being a public charge, and about your sponsor being forced to care for you.

        • ottovbvs

          Actually he was attacking “legal” immigration. Not that he’s very interested in facts but if he wants to educate himself Carney can always read this. BTW the master article from which this is derived contains lots of cartoons from the 19th century decrying both the threat to domestic employment from the arrival of his ancestors and American business’s appetite for immigrant labor.


        • indy

          Well, if he was really interested in facts on legal immigration, he might consult this graph:

          link to larger, readable version: http://0.tqn.com/d/uspolitics/1/0/P/1/immigration_percent_550h.jpg

          Wow, that looks pretty catastrophic indeed.

        • Graychin

          His ancestors: GOOD immigration.

          THOSE people: BAD immigration.

          Is that clear now?

        • ottovbvs

          This Wiki piece contains a pdf from the dept of homeland security with year by year immigration figures going back to the early 19th century. It’s interesting to see the dip in the 1860′s when people avoided coming here because they probably feared conscription in the civil war. Carney makes assertions like this…

          “Individual anecdotes, however yay-clap inducing,”

          Now he’s completely disproved will he accept the facts one wonders. Actually I don’t wonder. He won’t but will either disappear over the horizon or respond with some complete non sequitur, red herring or further unsupported assertions.

        • Carney

          Why am I obligated to support destructive levels of mass immigration from the most exotic and alien places in the world, because of totally irrelevant situations Irish immigrants went through 150 years ago? Answer: I’m not.

        • Carney

          Does this map include illegals? In any case, I never asserted that immigrants are an unprecedented percentage of the US population. I asserted that current legal immigration policy is a catastrophe. And it is.

          We are no longer an empty continent in need of low-skill and even low-IQ manual labor to fill up the frontier and as-yet unfinished cities. Mass immigration simply makes no more sense, yet continues at the insistence of business and ethnic lobbies. The Republicans are too short-sighted to understand they are slitting their own throats in the long run, while the Dems are wisely willing to concede this or that point of this or that policy issue while relentlessly flooding the country with left-wing voters or the ancestors of such.

        • valkayec

          Carney, every one of your anti-immigrant statements are exactly like the one’s used against the Irish immigration of the early 19th C. PS did you know that the Irish were barely considered human beings to many in the US when they began arriving in droves as a result of the Irish Famine and other anti-Irish British policies? Two generations later and the Irish dominated the NY police department and most of NY politics.

        • ottovbvs

          “Why am I obligated to support destructive levels of mass immigration”

          Probably Carney because they’re only destructive in your paranoid mind. Let’s not bother our pretty little heads with empirical evidence and the fact that the mass legal immigrants of today are much wealthier and better educated than your largely illiterate and penniless forbears.

          “mass immigration from the most exotic and alien places in the world,”

          Btw Carney it’s entirely impressionistic of course but I’ve generally found Asians and Indians rather brighter than the Irish.

  • ottovbvs

    Amongst other things it’s this that going to turn Romney’s candidature into a laughingstock.


    • Graychin

      Why do you suppose that none of the other Republican candidates have been willing to mock Romney about his flip-flops? I recall one line or two about it from Huntsman – and that’s it!

      • ottovbvs

        The 11th commandment and the risk that trashing your opponent could backfire. I suspect this is what is holding Romney back from dumping on the Newtster.

  • balconesfault

    From the Department of Homeland Security, here are the number of deportations for the past ten years.

    2000 188,467
    2001 189,026
    2002 165,168
    2003 211,098
    2004 240,665
    2005 246,431
    2006 280,974
    2007 319,382
    2008 359,795
    2009 395,165
    2010 387,242

    So – the Obama Administration has been demonstrably tougher than the Bush Administration ever was. And these deportation numbers sit on top of an overall decline in the undocumented immigrant population since the Bush recession began.

    Once again, the policy most favored by Frum seems to be that which is already being advanced by that ‘weakling’, Obama.

    • Probabilistic

      Are there estimates of how many people came in illegally or overstayed their visa for those years? Percentages would give a better sense than raw numbers.

  • Leo

    It might be useful in this context to review what Canada (where I live) does to control illegal immigration.

    As David says, The right place to stop illegality is the workplace.

    In Canada, people with a legal right to work have a valid Social Insurance Number; if you are in Canada without a right to work, you can’t get a SIN. Citizens, legal immigrants and some refugees have a SIN. If you are in Canada with a temporary work permit, or in some cases you are a refugee waiting for a hearing, you get a SIN starting with “9″ which has an expiry date. No SIN, no right to work.
    Without a SIN, the employer can’t pay payroll taxes for that person, the person can’t get health care, you can’t get credit, you can’t get Employment Insurance. Of course, in some cases mom and pop operations can employ a non-Canadian relative illegally, but controlling the SIN appears fairly effective in controlling illegal work.
    The SIN, by the way, is a 9-digit number, and has a check digit as its final digit, meaning it’s almost impossible to invent a valid number because i) it has to be in a range already issued; and ii) it would already be issued, which means the tombstone data (name, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, etc.) won’t match when the employer sends it to the government.
    The US Social Security Number has no such check digit, meaning you can invent a valid number (and therefore work illegally) much more easily.
    Non-citizens can’t vote in Canada or the US, of course, but half the population doesn’t vote anyway. I don’t see why Mr. Frum mentions this as a significant issue.
    He also mentions that Gingrich proposes individualized hearings by citizen courts.
    This can only mean that individualized hearings are not now practiced in the US for illegal aliens, which I find astounding. As far as I know, all illegal aliens in the US are protected by the US constitution, so how is it that they can be denied individualized hearings?

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    Just plain amazing. Check out the longer ad at the link below.


    • ottovbvs

      Actually I beat you to it with that youtube link but it bears repeating as a guide to what Romney will be up against.

      • SpartacusIsNotDead

        In my eagerness to point out how ridiculous the leading GOP presidential candidate is, I failed to read any of the other comments. You beat me to it, but I’m sure Romney will give me another opportunity to be the first to highlight his flip-flops.

  • mlindroo

    Hard to argue with Frum’s statement below, though.

    “Gingrich proposes to confer on much of the 12 million illegal population the right to live and work in the United States, but not citizenship. That is, not the right to vote.

    At a stroke, the measure would create a huge class of subordinated workers in this country.

    But it would also do something else, something very politically ingenious. The newly legalized residents of the United States would no longer have reason to hide from the Census Bureau. They’d be enumerated just in time for 2020. Immigration magnet states such as Texas, Arizona and Florida would gain increased representation in Congress and greater clout in the Electoral College. But because those new residents would not be able to vote, the clout would be exercised only by the state’s older citizen population, and it would be that way for years to come. (Of the top 10 illegal immigration states, only four are blue states: California, New York, Illinois and New Jersey.)

    Were illegal aliens to gain the franchise, they’d likely vote overwhelmingly Democratic. ”

    • ottovbvs

      In theory yes but as Frum points out that’s why it wouldn’t work. You can’t create a huge class of workers paying taxes without representation.

      • Graychin

        What’s wrong with taxation without representation?

        Maybe the “guest” workers could be counted in the census for purposes of allocating congressional seats – we just wouldn’t allow them to vote, a privilege reserved for full citizens.

        Or as a compromise, maybe we could count “guest” workers as 3/5 of a citizen for representation purposes.

        • ottovbvs

          “What’s wrong with taxation without representation?”

          Well those guys in 1776 got all upset about it…why was that?

        • Graychin

          I was being sarcastic, of course. :D

        • ottovbvs

          So was I.

        • Probabilistic

          What’s wrong with taxation without representation?

          There’s already a class of people who are taxed but are not eligible to vote – the legal permanent residents (LPR). These are citizens of other countries. Nothing untoward about it. Once they fulfill eligibility conditions they may apply for naturalization.

          What Gingrich is proposing is legal permanent residence* without the option of naturalization. Put another way, a sub-type of LPR who will never meet the eligibility conditions for naturalization. In principle, this will be a temporary program of amnesty, offered for a limited duration. Say, enrollment open for 6 months, and the program expires when no one in that LPR status is alive. Arguably, this will address the issue of illegal immigrants/undocumented aliens currently living in the United States. It will not address the issue of illegal immigration. People will do cost/benefit analysis and will decide to come to the US, if it is still to their benefit.

          In my opinion taxation without representation permanently is wrong. One would like to see permanent residents assimilate fully in to society. But as a tradeoff, is giving up the opportunity for naturalization for obtaining legal status such a bad deal, both for the individuals and the society?

          As I think about it more, the argument falls apart because in practice, amnesty will not be a one time deal. Without control of the border and enforcement within, there will be waves of amnesty every 25 years or so, creating an ever growing group of people without representation.

          Seems the only way to get a handle on this issue (not the most prominent issue in my opinion) is a combination of border control, internal enforcement, increased legal immigration, and some form of amnesty for people already here. By no means, an original thought.

          *Actually, if I understand correctly, he is proposing something lesser than LPR. I have simplified.

        • beowulf

          “Or as a compromise, maybe we could count “guest” workers as 3/5 of a citizen for representation purposes.”

          That deserves a Citizen Kane slow clap. First rate.

      • PracticalGirl

        You can’t create a huge class of workers paying taxes without representation.

        The US has already done this, stretching back even before Reagan’s first amnesty program. Having an indentured underclass is a super way to pad business profits and build political allies. Complaining about OR defending said underclass is a fantastic tactic each side uses to pander to the base and build political contributions and then do nothing. Every election. Why fix it when it works so well for those who need it?

        This entire issue is nothing but a wedgie up American voter’s behinds. It will disappear as fast as the campaign posters, once the election is over.

        • ottovbvs

          You fail to understand the difference between “overtly” which Gingrich is proposing and “covertly”

        • PracticalGirl

          Nah, I get it, but I am a cynic. To those caught up this political football game, the end result is much the same. It’s designed like that. Frankly, the Democrats profit (election campaign contributions) just as much as the Republicans do from this issue staying muddy, and I think it will continue to sit status quo after the election, no matter who’s in office. As it has election cycle after Congressional session, over and over again no matter which party controls either the White House or the Congress. Too many people with too much to lose and little to gain.

          Sure, people think the Democrats will “win” with the vote. But I don’t see any Democrats out there really willing to stick their neck out for said vote, especially if it pits them against the US citizens (corporations) who fund their campaigns and keep them in office. As I said above, this is nothing but a wedge issue that does nothing but bridge one election to the other.

  • armstp

    There is no legal or illegal immigration problem in the U.S. If anything we need more of them.

    Nobody, actually ever even proves why they think there is a big immigration problem in this country.

    Both legal and illegal immigration are a net economic positive for the country. Not much has change with regard to both illegal and legal immigration since the country was founded. Only the color of the skin of immigrates has changed.

    Immigration is just a wedge issue. No one even really cared about immigration 15 years ago.

    • ottovbvs

      Basically I agree. As a practical matter immigration is a good. We need to rationalise our approach not bury our head in the sand.

    • Nanotek

      “Immigration is just a wedge issue.”

      + 1

      conservative-driven wedge issues keep the Republican base voting against their personal economic interest by keeping their attention off it:

      “The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates…”


      • ottovbvs

        Actually there’s nothing new about this story. It’s been well known for two years that the Fed made large advances to the banks. And perhaps the reason the Fed didn’t want it made public was for the entirely logical reason they wanted to maintain confidence in the banking system It would have been kinda dumb advancing all this money to prop up the system while on the other hand undermining confidence in the banks. Duh.

        • sweatyb

          There’s nothing scandalous about the story, I’d agree. The Federal Government was right to step in to back-stop the banks as it did. The story is still quite important because it perfectly demonstrates a couple things.

          First, that Federal Government bureaucrats who come in for so much abuse are competent and as in this case, often quite a bit more competent than the private sector “geniuses” and “innovators” that our society champions.

          Second, that the banking industry owes its very existence to the Federal Government and therefore should be treated much like an unruly child when it objects to federal oversight. That is, it’s objections should be noted and ignored since it clearly does not know what’s good for it.

          These two lessons would seem to be obvious take-aways from our current economic crisis. Neither seems likely to take hold, unfortunately.

        • ottovbvs

          I’d agree entirely.

        • think4yourself

          The other lesson of course is that it must have been Obama’s fault – what happened in 2008. :)

        • MSheridan

          And known by quite a few well before that time. I’m just an interested onlooker when it comes to all these fancy-shmancy financial dealings, but I was blogging about this back in July of 2008:


        • Nanotek

          “And perhaps the reason the Fed didn’t want it made public was for the entirely logical reason they wanted to maintain confidence in the banking system It would have been kinda dumb advancing all this money to prop up the system while on the other hand undermining confidence in the banks. Duh.”

          perhaps but I ascribe little of value to that notion … if the confidence in the banking system is built on sand, tell people so we can change it democratically … if it’s built on sand, the banks already know it and are making money off our ignorance about them and the Fed.

          “The Government Accountability Office revealed that the Fed gave out over $16 trillion to U.S. and international financial institutions between 2007 and 2010 without revealing to Congress. Another $10 trillion was given out to foreign institutions in currency swaps.”


    • beowulf

      Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang would suggest you look up something economists call “supply and demand”.

      “Wages in rich countries are determined more by immigration control than anything else, including any minimum wage legislation. How is the immigration maximum determined? Not by the ‘free’ labour market, which, if left alone, will end up replacing 80-90 per cent of native workers with cheaper, and often more productive, immigrants. Immigration is largely settled by politics. So, if you have any residual doubt about the massive role that the government plays in the economy’s free market, then pause to reflect that all our wages are, at root, politically determined…”

  • Frumplestiltskin

    interesting thread, apart from Carney’s fantasies such as this one: Via Political Correctness we are now refusing to screen for communicable diseases such as AIDS, thereby deliberately choosing to allow the diseased into our country.
    My wife had a blood test, chest x-ray, physical exam, etc. and an in depth interview in Guangdong before she got her visa. But I suppose I must have dreamt spending the few thousand dollars it took to go through the process because, according to Carney, it no longer exists.

    I have an FM2 in Mexico, I have all the rights of a Mexican citizen except I can’t vote. I have no problem with this and don’t feel like a second class citizen, however I do have the right, if I so desire (which I don’t) to become a Mexican citizen. It is bizarre to allow people to become legal permanent residents but not allow them to become citizens. Gingrich is working against his own party because their citizen children and grandchildren will remember how the GOP viewed their family.

    Personally I would like for there to be a true north hemispheric market with open and unrestricted migration akin to the European union, this would require Mexico and Central America to truly open up their economies. If capitalism works, and I think it does, why in the world would David or anyone else want the standard of living to be so low in Central America? Greater economic integration would be best for all and create economic opportunities for Americans in those countries. Right now the barriers to creating business in Mexico is very high for non Mexicans. A trade off, remove those barriers while allowing greater immigration would work for everyone. Right now Mexico exports its poor.

  • Russnet

    I believe Gingrich is more right and Romney (and Frum) are more wrong here. There will have to be compromise in this legislation. There are no absolutes in U.S. immigration.

    Gingrich doesn’t deny that enforcement is a two-pronged approach, part securing the border, part employer sanctions.

    The guest worker issue likewise requires a duality of approach that doesn’t cater to absolutist socioeconomic principles. We must address low-skilled workers, the poor tired huddled masses (as it were – now more like the guys hanging around Home Depot) as well as the engineers and scientist so valued by the business community and research institutions.

    Current low-skilled guest worker visa programs that are tied to seasonal or agricultural employment are not the problem. Existing J and H categories (exclusive of H-1B) will have to become part of the solution, however, tweaked, bifurcated and expanded somehow to provide a semi-orderly transition from the past to the future for illegals who may qualify for a legalization program. Frum and Romney apparently dismiss this technocratic approach entirely, until the border is secure, and they’re wrong. First build the roads, then build the towns. Colonials had the luxury of vice versa; we no longer do.

    Likewise, there’s not much light between Romney and Gingrich on the demand for highly skilled workers, including engineers, scientists, executives and investors. The cap on H-1Bs was boosted successfully before to 195,000 earlier this decade, then dropped back. Why are we still stuck on 65k? And why limit graduate students to 20,000 job offers? Double the numbers, use IT to build in flexibility and economically decentralize the system as much as possible. Improving the existing immigration system is the only absolute, and it is the only thing that will disincentivize states from going their own way.

    DOL and ETA are agencies who earn their tax dollars. You can’t simplify the employment-based immigration process the way Frum does here, especially regarding minimum wage levels, as though enabling such programs is nothing but a conspiracy to take advantage of cheap labor. To the extent it is, in individual cases, you cannot eradicate the base liberal notion of freedom of contract between willing employer and willing employee entirely. I mean, seriously. How big of a role should government really play in our lives? Which is the more conservative position here? Neither Romney nor Frum have it; they’re buying into partisan rhetoric.

    The EB-5 program can and should be modified to loosen ridiculous accounting restrictions and expanded to better target job-creating opportunities. E-2s should be able to adjust to EB-5 permanent residents if their business numbers meet established goals. For christ sakes, John Kerry is leading the charge on this.

    Regarding hearings, pull your head out of the sand, Mitt, David. Of course you have to maintain (and improve) a large system for hearings for those within the U.S., conditionally. There is a qualitative difference between the 28 year-old Irish guy joy-riding around Florida on an expired visa waiver, and the 18 year old freshman who was dragged through the desert by her careless mother 15 years ago. To whom do you deny a hearing?

    And for those that do deserve to not let the door hit their butts on the way out – by far the majority, I posit – expedited removal only works at the border. Habeus corpus rules from within. If you commit to zero amnesty, you commit to a gazillion hearings, or you commit to nothing at all. It doesn’t make sense.

    Would there be backlogs and strains in the system, long waits and further injustices? Of course, when dealing with a human problem on such a massive scale. Immigration is, in part, a dirty, ugly, very human business. But are we beyond possessing the confidence in our own ability as a country to institute a fair and workable legal and administrative federal system to handle to mission? We better not be, or things are worse off here than most currently imagine. If we to only resort to enforcement and arrests, keeping the same antiquated visa classification and quota system, we’re basically creating the equivalent of another drug war, a huge waste of human resources and a pathetic stagnation of human progress in the “land of liberty.” And, perhaps most dangerously, encouraging states to go their own way.

    And why not citizenship? Gingrich has it right. Because they didn’t earn it, that’s why. Not because they can’t vote and they would therefore be a ‘subordinate class’. You’re implying too much abstract political thought to that issue. They are a subordinate class, and my guess is millions would willingly accept that subordinate status if the choice were between continuing to live and work in the United States as a red-card holder versus returning to a violent Mexico, an impoverished Guatemala, or to Greece, or Iran.

    The more pronounced effect of enabling a legalization program but denying ultimate citizenship to those that might otherwise qualify (naturalization is selective anyway, it’s not like you just sign up) is that, in our chain-based family immigration system, non-citizens cannot sponsor family to follow to the same extent citizens can. In our rush to humanely fix the illegal problem, we shouldn’t compound the problem by rewarding the “exceptions” i.e., those that would qualify for “amnesty,” with a future ability to sponsor their own relatives, even more unintended and undeserving immigrants, to follow. That’s ludicrous.

    So, no, sorry buddy, we may let you stay if you stay out of trouble, pay taxes and work like normal Americans due, and we appreciate you standing during the playing of the national anthem, but you have not earned the rewards of American citizenship – especially the right to vote, but also the right to sponsor more family.

    The stagnating conditions of American workers are a symptom of a larger problem unrelated to our immigration laws – the problem of stagnation of human ingenuity and innovation in a new world order suffering through a constipated (but eventual) metamorphosis to a modern economy. We now truly live in a global information age. We need to adjust. I would argue that the final chapter to the tragedy of 9/11, a decade on, ought to contain the good news of the bin Laden’s demise coupled with a determined national return to restoring America’s grand tradition of immigration. If we don’t compromise on this hallmark issue, find a workable solution and move past the xenophobia, the fright of the terrorist boogeyman, and petty domestic politics of a bad economy that will not last forever, we are only defeating ourselves.

    Gingrich has the high ground in this argument. I currently support Romney and hope he’ll articulate himself better than “for peet’s sake, I’m running for office,” or else he may lose my support for the nomination.

    • ottovbvs

      “Gingrich has it right. Because they didn’t earn it, that’s why. Not because they can’t vote and they would therefore be a ’subordinate class’. You’re implying too much abstract political thought to that issue. They are a subordinate class, ”

      While you say a few sensible things Russnet, the notion that we can create an indefinite class of guest workers (the subordinate class) without civil rights and who will have American citizens as offspring is totally unrealistic.

      • Russnet

        The subordinate class wouldn’t be indefinite, it would be a sole generation of red-cards holders that eventually pass away. A comprehensive legislative approach, including securing the border, would presumably obviate the need for future exceptions.

        • ottovbvs

          “it would be a sole generation of red-cards holders that eventually pass away”

          So someone who comes here ages 18-30 is going to spend the rest of their lives as untermenschen…..get real. And how is not indefinite, you proposed a rolling program. And what about the 11 million and their dependants already here.

          ” including securing the border, would presumably”

          A rather large presumption since it’s self evidently impossible to secure the borders or we’d have done it already.

        • Russnet

          “So someone who comes here ages 18-30 is going to spend the rest of their lives as untermenschen…..get real.”

          What’s the problem? Or, they can leave. Younger illegals wouldn’t qualify anyway, if a reasonable grandfather period were imposed (say, 10 or more years in the United States). The DREAM Act or something similar is what would care for younger, deserving cases.

        • ottovbvs

          “What’s the problem? ”

          To start with you ignored the fact you proposed creating a rolling program thereby creating a permanent guest worker class that will not sunset. Thus we have indefinitely a guest worker class. Secondly, that once settled with families, property etc etc the notion that these folks are going to be content to remain second class citizens (uitlanders) indicates you’re fairly clueless about human behavior. Apparently now you’re proposing a ten year period of probation before you get promoted to guest worker without civil rights. Nor do you seem to understand that the endgame of the Dream act is citizenship.

        • Russnet

          No, the ten-year rule, a figure I chose arbitrarily for illustrative purposes, would apply retroactively, i.e., no legalization option would exist for anyone who cannot provide evidence of having been in the United States ten years already. You’re the clueless one. Human behavior at its most base level draws poor migrants to the United States. You think they’re coming here to vote?

        • ottovbvs

          Forget the ten years which is a minor issue and was merely a rather humorous indicator of your failure to think things through. Above YOU proposed creating a rolling guest worker program. Then you said it would have a sunset, which it clearly wouldn’t. And NO I don’t think they come here to to vote which is just a strawman you’ve created but if you think you’re going to create a huge guest worker class of millions of people who are going to be satisfied indefinitely with second class citizen status you are truly clueless about human nature. Sure they can just leave…yeah right!

  • Russnet

    Oops, wrong post location. Why can’t we delete posts?

  • Emma

    Thought experment: Is there any major issue on which Frum would openly declare that Romney is wrong and Gingrich is right? No? I didn’t think so.

    Frum’s epistemology has a simple(minded) elegance to it: Frum supports Romney. Romney says X. Romney’s opponent say Y. Therefore, is X is correct. QED

    • nhthinker

      Frum and Gingrich both bad-mouthed Paul Ryan’s budget plan.
      Although later on Gingrich said he would vote for it. So on the Ryan budget, Frum and Gingrich are likely closer together than Frum and Romney.

      • ottovbvs

        “Frum and Gingrich both bad-mouthed Paul Ryan’s budget plan.”

        Hardly surprising since the numbers didn’t even add up (a minor detail to the innumerate like yourself thinker I recognise). Then Gingrich falls in line because he realises it’s necessary to pander to know nothings like yourself thinker. This is a recommendation?

        • nhthinker

          Otto, I’m curious: Do you plan to run away from this site if Romney beats Obama, just like you ran away from HuffPost when the Obamabots rode your Hillary-loving butt too hard ?

        • nhthinker


          The CBO’s actual projections for the Ryan plan show a debt level in 2021 that is $4.7 trillion lower than its projections for Obama’s budgets.

          Current law automatically raises the tax rates to pre-Bush levels in 2013. So if you’re comparing the tax level with current law, including that automatic tax hike, Ryan’s plan represents a tax cut. If you’re comparing it with today’s tax rates, on the other hand, it’s not a tax cut. If you adopt the latter perspective, what Ryan is proposing is to restrain the growth of Medicare and other spending programs in order to reduce deficits and avert a tax increase.

          The Congressional Budget Office assumes that Medicare will go bankrupt in 2021 even if the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) remains the law. It certifies that the Ryan plan prevents bankruptcy. In a January hearing, Rick Foster, the chief actuary of Medicare, was asked about the relative potential of Obamacare and Ryan’s plan to control costs: “I would say that the Roadmap” — Ryan’s plan, that is — “has that potential. There is some potential for the Affordable Care Act price reductions, although I’m a little less confident about that.”


          Otto- it basically comes down to your belief that your generation deserves to continue to take more out of SS/MC than your generation ever paid in to the programs and put the difference on debt for future later generations to pay off.

        • ottovbvs

          “Otto- it basically comes down to your belief that your generation deserves to continue to take more out of SS/MC than your generation ever paid in to the programs”

          If Republicans like you thinker want to fight the 2012 election on a platform of scrapping Medicare and SS it’s fine by me. And as for that CBO analysis, as the Economist points out it has a mega asterisk…

          “However, a huge asterisk must be appended to these figures: much of the CBO’s estimates of revenue and spending are not the result of evaluating particular policies.

          Mr Ryan’s staff simply instructed the CBO to assume revenues remain at 19% of GDP. “There were no specifications of particular revenue provisions that would generate that path”, it says. This can be risky. When the CBO analysed Mr Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future, it accepted Mr Ryan’s instructions that revenues would rise to 19% of GDP. When the Tax Policy Center analysed the specifics of the Roadmap, it concluded that tax revenue would fall below 17% of GDP. It also concluded that its benefits would accrue overwhelmingly to the most affluent 20% of American families, mostly because Mr Ryan exempted capital gains and dividends from taxation. By contrast, the Bowles-Simpson plan does not, and thus its tax proposal is mildly progressive.

          The CBO also notes that Mr Ryan’s staff specified that all spending other than health care, Social Security, interest, defence and security decline from 12% of GDP in 2010 to 6% in 2021, then grow with inflation thereafter. That would cover, among other things, federal civilian and military retirement, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, parts of the earned-income and child-tax credits, and most veterans’ programmes. At a press conference today, Republicans did say that food stamps, housing and some other programmes would, like Medicaid, be moved to block grants.”

  • Stewardship

    Sort of on topic…both Romney and Gingrich are RINO’s.

  • think4yourself

    I actually don’t have a problem with Frum’s article from 2007. If you have business enforcement though, you need to understand the cost – virtually everything we have that’s “made in America” will go up in cost. If all produce (not just Alabama’s) require legal’s to bring to market, many small farms will close and the cost of fruits and vegetables will skyrocket – along with the cost of all construction related goods and services.

    Business enforcement won’t solve the issues of all undocumented. Many make money not working for traditional companies. For example my next door neighbor (not sure if he is legal or not), has his own landscaping/yard business, owns a home and has been here many years (the exact person Gingrich was talking about, children, grandchildren, etc). So employer id verification wouldn’t affect him.

    I would like to see a mechanism to deal with the 11 million undocumented in the US. Amnesty in 1986 did not solve the problem, but I’m not sure what the solution is (much less what is politically palatable).

    • Demosthenes

      Food prices are up across the world. And access to food and water supplies (as opposed to access to industrial resources like iron and coal) will dominate the new millenium’s geopolitical struggles in a way that we haven’t seen for hundreds of years. So we can expect food prices to stay up. It’s also worth remembering that many small farms are at a disadvantage against agrobusiness, and rely less heavily on cheap labor (and subsidies) in order to turn a profit. So this would be a great moment to reconfigure our agriculture policy together with our immigration policy, to ensure affordable food as the product of a healthily-functioning domestic food market.

      As regards immigration specifically, at some level, the borders need to be secured. Any long-term solution to the challenge of illegal immigration will necessitate stanching the flow at the point(s) of entry. We can deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants currently here if we can also guarantee that they won’t be joined by 11 million more. Border security is a prerequisite for any long-term solution.

  • cincinnati

    I’ve not read all of the comments listed on the site so far, so I’ll just say my opinion and go home. I see illegal immigrantions as a drain on our taxpayer resources and getting worse with the economy being what it is now with the legal Americans asking for more help. I wouldn’t want to deny the legal people the services needed, but if you are illegal, you are creating possibly id theft, social security fraud, illegal use of other social services that you claim to have a right to since you have a “valid” social security card.

    here’s why I woudl like to see them legalized in all senses of the word:
    1. they got to pay tax on all forms of income, investments and sales of goods sold;

    2. they get the right to vote to ensure that they’re not treated as “new slaves” of the economy;

    3. yes, many have become good ambassadors of thier local neighborhoods and role models.
    They have the perspective that most Americans do not have in coming from areas of the world that have no social safety net for thier countrymen;

    4. new ideas, new blood in business, govt, media realations, agriculture, social needs are what made us great to begin with–lets build on it and make the entire country benefit from this as well;

    5. this is the young blood that will support the old as they grow into Social Security, Medicare, and other assistance venures because thier retirement is beign stolen from them since it was not “secure” when they worked for thier employers! Some robbed thier employees 401k funds to pay off debts; some gave bad advice to thier constituents to do some things in investments that didn’t pay off (bernie madoff, enron, state and local govt pension funds). IF we are to support the “greatest generation” as some in the media have called them, we need all the assistance we can get from the “youngest” generation to help meet those needs in the coming 50-75 years until a better system is in place to deal with these issues.

  • Demosthenes

    There was a great (and long) article at the American Conservative not so long ago,


    A brief quote:

    So we are faced with several apparently insoluble and reinforcing dilemmas. Passing legislation to curtail immigration seems a political non-starter with both parties, and enforcing such legislation even if passed is equally unlikely. Yet as an almost inevitable consequence of the current system, the bulk of the American population—including the vast majority of immigrants and their children—falls deeper and deeper into economic misery, while government finances steadily deteriorate, leading our country to a looming calamity whose outcome appears both dire and quite difficult to predict.

    As more of a theoretical exercise than a policy prescription per se the author argues that a Federal minimum wage of $12 per hour would eliminate the advantage employers gain by paying illegal immigrants to do the minimum-wage jobs that Americans won’t (see: Alabama et al.) for the current minimum wage. This is clearly socialism of the most pernicious sort, despite whatever claims to cogency as an argument it may possess.

    • Houndentenor

      Illegal immigration allows and end-run around supply and demand in the labor market. If Americans are unwilling to do a job for $7, then the wage would have to rise to an amount that is enough for someone to take the job. That’s what happens in a free market.

  • Houndentenor

    We all know that INS is not going to bust down the door and return a 70 year old grandmother back to a country where she doesn’t know anyone after living in America for over 50 years. It’s not going to happen. Why pretend we are going to deport people like that? To placate the far right idiots in the party? Gingrich was right. And in practice there’s not a single person in that debate who is even remotely electable who would do such a thing in practice. I’m sick of politicians making promises we all know they’d never keep just to please some fringe group or another.

    We have so many illegals because too many industries like the cheap labor. It’s that simple. If we were serious about this problem we’d advocate for mandatory jail sentences for people hiring undocumented workers. It’s that simple. We aren’t going to do that and we all know we aren’t going to do it. So let’s not pretend that this is anything more than Romney et al. pandering to a bunch of racist idiots who want to blame their problems on illegal immigrants but who will in the next year go to the parking lot where the illegals line up for work and pay a few to do chores for them, or raise their children or take care of their lawns. I’m sick of the hypocrisy on this issue and I wish someone in politics had the guts to call people on this. Gingrich is wrong about a lot but he’s righter than most on immigration.

  • Brittanicus


    Republican Newt Gingrich will have key tribulations in his electoral race, on a fact that illegal migrants violated the law not once, but in a substantial number of cases–twice over. That is the use of citizens or legal residents ID. Even twenty five years ago, unquestionably you had to possess a driver’s license, Social Security number as you do today. I personally carried my ID, just in case I was stopped by the authorities. Use of fraudulent ID, no matter the situation, specifically if they belong to a deceased person, a new child or as (as I even heard,) stolen from our warrior-soldiers fighting abroad. Hundreds of thousands of American have found out somebody has used their personal identities. But Federal appeals courts have been split over, whether the defendant must know that the phony ID numbers belongs to a real person.

    Defense lawyers have argued that their clients should not be charged with stealing another individuals identity since the immigrants only were seeking papers, so they could get a job? The illegal aliens didn’t know if the numbers were fictitious or belonged to someone else, their lawyers say. That is a mindless excuse, as to think illegal aliens are stupid possessing any document to deceive an employer; but then the business owners are well aware of the sham, but hire the discount labor anyway. The Federal appeals courts based in Atlanta and Richmond also have ruled in the administrations favor in comparable cases, while the appeals court in Washington, D.C., sided with defendants. The ruling rejected a significant deterrent for prosecuting and deporting illegal aliens, who have been victimizing innocent Americans by stealing their identities to get jobs in America. Whether they are using someone’s stolen ID or not, they should be deported, whether they have been here one year or twenty five years, they should fingerprinted through ‘Secure Communities’ or through ICE detention. This is why American workers desperately need a Mandatory nationwide E-Verify program.



    Illegal Immigration is a conspiracy against the American people; otherwise it would be a straight FELONY, with prison time. All patriotic American should fight for a new law, that convicts these people or we will never be able to relinquish the hold of the $15 Trillion deficit. Why in god’s honest truth should we be forced by federal courts to pay part of our income to subsidize foreign nationals who have no legal right to be here? It doesn’t matter what state you live in, whether it’s Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana or perhaps Utah are being persecuted by the department of IN-Justice. Although all these states are just trying to stop the incessant blood-letting from the public funds, caused by illegal aliens mining into the welfare programs, instead of leaving for parts unknown? Americans and lawful residents have a right to the flexible spending, of every race, creed, and religion and political affiliation—but not foreign nationals, not so- called Liberal and democrat undocumented immigrants, but illegal aliens—ILLEGAL ALIENS—this is the correct terminology for somebody who breaks our enforcement policies.

    The time has come to build the real fence from Texas to California covering the whole 2500 miles with double-layer fencing. It is also the time to contact the Ways and Means Committee responsible for bringing ‘The Legal Workforce Act’, bill H.R.2885 to the House floor in Congress. Only the American voter or legal resident has a say in this urgent matter, which will produce large numbers of jobs STOLEN by the 8.2 illegal workers as estimated to self-deport. The number to call for the Washington political phones is 202-224-3121. The legislators need to listen to the People, instead of misleading us anymore. If you have further questions, go to the NumbersUSA via Google and study the facts of years of the fabrication and idiom we absorb through the Leftist associated newspapers or the politicians.

    [b]Learn what is happening around America, that President Obama’s administration doesn’t want you to know or the Leftist Progressive presses at AMERICAN PATROL The latest news is that (65%) or three Quarters of the population in a Rasmussen poll oppose birthright citizenship of 300.000 foothold babies smuggled into America; the costs of hospital, education and a mass of other expenditures falls to taxpayers.


    • ottovbvs

      “The latest news”

      Well go and change the constitution then. And spare us your spam.