Domestic Policy, Immigration

Time for Action, not Evasion

An old proverb advises there are two things decent people should never see being made –  laws and sausages. Both processes can be disgusting to watch.  Immigration legislation certainly falls into that category. For example, the crisis at the border should be focusing the attention of Congress on immigration enforcement and border control issues.  Instead, globalist Democrats and some Republicans in the House of Representatives sent two bills to the Senate with the transparent objective of avoiding the duty to enact any meaningful reform by creating two sets of amnesties.  This allows them to side-step the controversial, but necessary immigration limitation and enforcement issues.  The goal of legalizing some long – time immigrant residents is laudable and necessary, but should be part of comprehensive immigration reform.  

The first bill (HR 6) is the American Dream and Promise Act, which would legalize the so-called Dreamers, though it would extend this protection far beyond those currently covered by the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and associated programs. Currently, only those children who entered the United States without authorization prior to June 15, 2012 (and their parents) are covered by DACA and associated prosecution deferral programs. HR 6 would extend the program to cover 3 million children, including children of other visa holders that ordinarily would be required to leave.  Many of these are deserving of relief, but it again should be part of a comprehensive bill. 

The second bill is more problematic. The Farm Worker Modernization Act (HR 1603) would allow up to 1.5 million farmworkers who have worked without authorization for up to 10 years to obtain temporary status and the opportunity to attain a green card and then obtain other employment.  It would also grant amnesty to the employers who illegally employed them. The main saving grace of the bill is that it would require farm employers to use E-verify for their workers in the future.  It also updates the visa programs for farm workers and strengthens protections for their wages and working conditions. 

Again, both of these bills could be appropriate ways to bring these workers out of the darkness and give them the fundamental rights they need.  However, the Senate should not take up either bill now until it considers a comprehensive immigration bill with effective limitations and enforcement mechanisms. I  urge you to write or e-mail your state’s senators to ask them to table or vote against the two bills until it considers such a comprehensive bill.   

Domestic Policy, Immigration

Protecting American Workers

The Justice Department just struck a blow for Americans by suing Facebook for abusing the H-1B visa and labor certification process to favor temporary immigrant tech workers.  The action is part of a Trump Administration initiative called Protecting American Workers and addresses a problem with one of the biggest loopholes in the immigration law – the “adjustment of status” rules that allow employers to convert a  temporary H-1B visa worker into a permanent resident.  In order to do so, the employer must file a proceeding with the Department of Labor to obtain a permanent labor certification (called PERM for short) to prove that there are no minimally qualified and available American workers qualified for the job.  The rules require the job to be posted at the employer’s workplace and publicly advertised before the filing of a PERM application. 

The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that Facebook created a process designed to prevent American workers from discovering an open position it wished to fill with the temporary worker and applying for it. For example, it failed to post the position on its public website or accept applications on-line in violation of its own human resource procedures.  It then used the contrived absence of applications to justify hiring the temporary worker instead.  The scheme affected over 2,600 high-paid technical positions with an average salary of $156,000.  The government is seeking not only an end to this gaming of the system, but also civil penalties and back pay for those Americans victimized by it.

As I mentioned in my previous post Immigration – The New Slavery, Big Tech has long been exploiting the H-1B visa system and immigration laws to keep their wages down with the acquiescence of the federal government.  The system cruelly betrays the American Dream by allowing companies like Facebook to import foreign workers to undercut the wage level necessary for Americans to afford the education to win those jobs and support a family. 

Democrats have long relied on big contributions from Big Tech.  The fate of this suit and the Protecting American Workers program will be an important test of President-elect Biden’s pro-worker rhetoric.  Will Biden continue to aggressively pursue these abuses or cave in to big business by ending the program to the detriment of American workers?  The answer will indicate whether this will be the presidency of the American worker or just the globalist elites.        

2020 Election, Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Domestic Policy, Immigration, International Trade, Politics

An American Nationalist Voting Index – The Square Deal

This is part of a series examining the issues in the presidential election. To see other articles in the series, click on the “2020 Elections” link on the Home page

Score

Biden -.5   Trump +2

Roosevelt’s commitment to the working man was born of two incidents of violence in his life that challenged his fundamentally conservative impulses. The first was the assassination of President William McKinley by an anarchist, which led to Roosevelt’s succession to the presidency. The anarchists were the Antifa/Islamic terrorists of their time and arose out of the economic inequality and discontent that were byproducts of the Industrial Revolution. The second was his service with the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American war.  TR saw bravery in both poor cowboys and privileged Northeastern elite in the charge up San Juan Hill and believed their government owed them a “square deal” for that bravery, which he defined as follows:

But when I say am for the square deal, I mean not merely that I stand for fair play under the present rules of the game, but that I stand for having those rules changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity and of reward for equally good service.

At the same time, he expected the average worker to respond by contributing to his family, community and country, not simply demanding a handout from the government.

In today’s economy, we need to change the rules on economic concentration, trade and immigration to give American workers a real chance to achieve the American Dream of stable and independent financial security. Biden and Trump have verifiable records with successes and failures on these issues.  

Antitrust Law

The abuses of Big Tech have revived interest in antitrust policy and exposed its deficiencies in today’s world economy.  The problem lies in the fact we are still trying to regulate these 21st century monopolies using 19th century laws.  We learned in the 2008 financial crisis that allowing companies to become “too big to fail” created a new form of monopoly rents by allowing elites to privatize profits while socializing their risk of loss.  Meanwhile, Big Tech was finding new ways to leverage customer data to monopolize the Internet advertising and product sales market.  

The Trump Administration’s challenge to the ATT-Time Warner merger attempted to build a case against bigness itself by attacking vertical mergers.  Unfortunately, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the merger on the grounds it created useful efficiencies, which completely misses the point. They also recently filed a lawsuit against Google over their use of their monopoly power over Internet searches to raise advertising prices. However, Trump failed to pursue modernization of the antitrust laws themselves. Despite this failure, these two innovative suits earn Trump a + .5.

The Obama Administration also had an active antitrust docket and challenged several mergers with limited success.  The losses in both the Obama and Trump Administrations emphasize the need for a modernization of the rules. The Democratic House just released a comprehensive report on Big Tech’s abuses of their market power that could serve as a start for a re-tooling of the statutes. All of this suggests Biden should be given a +.5 on the issue  as well.

Trade

Protecting America and its workers from unfair international trade practices has been an area where the Trump Administration has shined.  They understand the importance of a strong manufacturing sector and have not subjugated American policy to the slow and sometimes hostile mechanisms of the World Trade Organization.  Alan Tonelson of RealityChek has pointed out that the tariffs against China and others have not prevented the manufacturing sector form succeeding during the pandemic without a loss of jobs (see his post from October 19). At the same time, the administration preserved the strategically important partnership between the US, Canada, & Mexico by concluding the U.S.- Mexico-Canada Agreement. Trump deserves a +1 for these achievements.

Biden’s record and positions are almost the polar opposite. He wants to return to the multilateral approach, ignoring America’s unique great power interest in preserving its internal economic strength.  However, he has also said he would relax the Chinese tariffs gradually and only upon concessions from the Chinese. Biden says he would prioritize developing an international coalition to challenge Chinese state capitalism as well.  The latter positions reduce his negative score to a -.5. 

Immigration

Trump’s’ actions to restrict illegal immigration have been divisive, haphazard and often poorly justified on ethnic nationalist grounds. However, they have changed the dynamic and started to limit the use of immigrant workers to compete with Americans (see my post “Immigration – The New Slavery).  However, Trump failed to seize the opportunity to pass comprehensive immigration legislation when he had a Republican Congress.  Because of this failure, he deserves only a +.5 on the issue.

Biden and the Democrats have understandably concentrated on the necessity of legalizing immigrants that have been here for years. They then oppose any real future controls on immigration and would expand the number of HIVB-style visas, thus allowing big companies to use foreign workers to continue to pay substandard wages.    As a result, they deserve a -.5 on this issue.  

Conclusion  

Many other changes in the rules of the game are necessary to give American workers the economic opportunities they deserve.  Mere income redistribution is not enough.   Americans simply want their government to give them a fair chance to compete and contribute; in short, the square deal that TR believed in and for which he fought.