Democrat Says: It’s Time To Take A Haircut!—And That Includes Immigration
July 29, 2011, 05:00 AM
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From the time Senator Mitch McConnell kicked the can down the road on our looming debt ceiling crisis to the present John Boehner plan, it is evident that our Federal government is as incapable of dealing with this urgent issue as it is with immigration.

Yet this fiscal fumbling affecting everything we do, all issues, all citizens and (I agree with Speaker Pelosi) “life on this planet as we know it today”.

How completely self centered and absorbed in cheap maneuver can our elites get?

Well, perhaps their behavior reflects those who elected them. Charles De Gaulle thought that was the case.

We hear that constant cry for new job creation—but I have yet to hear a reporter ask the President why, if jobs are a priority, we continue to import two million new legal and illegal aliens a year.

Here we are, acting like little brats squabbling over the last of the Cheerios!

For decades we have all eaten too much and spent too much, wasted too much—and allowed too many newcomers (140 million since 1965 including alien children).  

In 1986 a wise economist named James C. Buchanan got the Nobel Prize for Economics by stating a simple concept that he and his close colleague, Gordon Tullock, dubbed “Public Choice”.

Buchanan argued that public officials have high incentives to add, not subtract, from their budgets—because with more money comes power and clout. Our Congress, acting with completely bipartisan support, has fulfilled the Buchanan thesis to a fare-thee-well over a number of decades.

Obviously, the same Public Choice thinking pervades the Roman Catholic Church and the ethnic advocacy groups. More bodies in their pews and parades equals more clout.

Ordinary Americans, lacking the coordinated power of these special interests, are defended by groups with relatively minor funding, like FAIR, CIS, NumbersUSA, and webzines like VDARE.com.  But together they have managed to ward off the intense pressure for more amnesties.

Still, patriots have not been strong enough to prevent the Obama Administration’s neglect of immigration enforcement.  Neither has the Congress yet listened to the voice of the majority and passed a permanent E-Verify law to mandate that all employers ensure the legality of new hires.

Doesn’t seem like we have the principled governance today like we got from farseeing leaders like George C. Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower—who, for example, made sure WWII and Korean veterans were given generous educational grants under a Federal program called the G.I. Bill. Both had gotten a glimpse of a grievous prior government failure when Ike was General MacArthur’s aide during the ill fated WW I bonus march.

Without that G.I. Bill, I personally could never have gotten an MBA, which credential has helped me all my life. So many other vets benefitted likewise. The big payoff for America’s productivity has been enormous.  But those men focused on helping American citizens—not larding on benefits to immigrants, illegal aliens and their

I tell this history to remind readers of the principled actions for the greater good that characterized our leaders then. Yes, hard ball politics—but not what we are seeing today.

My New York University MBA degree taught me, for example, about bankruptcy. It had not then pervaded governments. We can now look back laughingly on the words of the late Chairman of what is now Citigroup, Walter Wriston: "Countries don’t go bankrupt". He did however have a substantial role in helping then-New York Governor Hugh Carey and investment banker Felix Rohatyn save New York City from bankruptcy in the mid-1970s by setting up the Financial Control Board and the Municipal Assistance Corporation, and persuading the city's union pension funds and banks to buy the latter corporation's bonds. Oh, well, one can’t always be 100% prescient!

But we’ve now seen city and state bailouts, and now, by golly, countries. Yes, indeed the world has overspent itself—and not only financially: our planet has risen to environmentally dangerous levels of human habitation, punctuated by the presence of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in numerous places!

That same fiscal excess applies perfectly to immigration.  Why are these fiscal problems so acute?  At the very least, they have not been helped by the burdens of these new arrivals.

Just as we have over spent, we have over allowed immigration with similar results. Both of these issues tie perfectly together for the same reasons that Professor Buchanan so clearly enunciated all those years ago: special interests—in this case, the entire political class—benefits.

So now what? Of course, our Main Stream Media spends hand-wringing time on the budgetary impasse in DC—but more time on the Strauss-Kahn case.

Simple answer? Yes, not easy politically—but in my MBA days, we studied civil bankruptcies and learned about the phrase "taking a haircut", which means that the creditors had to take losses, including the stockholders, who sometimes got wiped out entirely.

An analogy occurs to me here. Aren’t we American citizens all like those debtors and stockholders of a faltering enterprise?

There are many forms of bankruptcy, the most common is Chapter Eleven, which allows the original owners to keep possession of the business, while seeking a solution to indebtedness, usually under the supervision of a court-appointed master or trustee.

What we American citizens need to do now, as debtors in possession of a failing economy, is “take a haircut”. This debt ceiling and budget crisis would be well on the way to solution if our Federal, state and city governments all simply made equal budget cuts across the board. The world would breathe a sigh of relief and we could look like adults not spoiled brats.

What percent? How about 20%? No excuses, no crying, no exceptions, no further increases in spending until further notice. Every department of every government agency and all those related activities that get Federal funding would be forced to participate in these cuts!

Would that expose grievous waste? Maybe yes, maybe not, but weak sisters like our postal system might get even shakier. That might lead to some needed solutions. It should.

To be consistent, should we apply the same or greater 20% reduction to legal immigrants? H 1-B and other work visas allow over 1 million to come here every year, so that may be too low a percent. But certainly all those here illegally should be found, processed and their fate determined. Federal legislation requiring E-Verify is a key step.

Oh, I can hear the screams now from those who say this will put us into a deep recession. It’s obvious the fall-back plan by our present leaders involves letting inflation deal with our debts. But we are too far down the bankrupt path to resort to such a time-worn tactic.

The same applies to immigration policy.  Too much, too many to fuzz it over with those jaundiced phases such as “we are all immigrants" or "these are jobs Americans won’t do."  But even CBS 60 Minutes reported on June 26th that 25% of our kids are living in poverty!  Believe me those parents on that program will take any work available.

We know America is now at a day of fiscal reckoning. And immigration reform is a key part of fixing our fiscal crisis.

Will our leaders do something as fair, obvious, and effective as reduce spending across the board by some meaningful percentage? I doubt it—but at least the idea ought to be on the table.

Folks, it’s time for all of us to take a haircut, stop whining, and get our country back on the track to fiscal responsibility, sustainability—and the Rule of Law with respect to immigration policy.

Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.