Dramatic Increase in Immigration Enforcement

June 1, 2008

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/nation/5811908.html

I’m certainly no fan of the Bush administration, but it’s time to give some credit where it’s due.  Amazingly, the administration actually seems to be serious about cracking down on illegal immigration.   Erecting many more miles of fence, adding to the ranks of the border patrol and conducting raids across the country – it’s all evidence of an intensified effort to control the border.  Much more could be done of course, but this is all a great start. 

The Bush administration is vowing to carry out its unprecedented crackdown on undocumented immigrants for the remainder of the year — without regard to any political fallout during the presidential campaign.

In a sign of its resolve, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, have detained 1,755 people in raids conducted in May alone.

Nearly 3,700 illegal immigrants have been arrested in dozens of business sweeps since October, immigration officials told the Houston Chronicle, far ahead of the previous year’s pace.

It puzzles me that this administration, who pandered to Latino voters and seemed to wink and nod at illegal immigration, now seems quite serious about putting a stop to it.  Is it possible that, now that the corporate lobbyists pulling Bush’s strings have given up any hope of immigration “reform” during his administration, he feels unencumbered and free to do what he really wants?  Is Bush, the citizen, now calling the shots on immigration instead of Bush, the corporate puppet?  Is it possible that illegal immigration actually ticks him off just as much as any of us?

Or, giving free rein to my cynical side, is there something else going on here?  Is this a show to tamp down the fire of anti-illegal sentiment, setting the stage for another push for “reform” (that is, amnesty and “guest workers” ) in the next administration? 

Whatever the reason, let’s celebrate the fact that some progress is being made in deporting illegals and, perhaps more importantly, deterring more of them from coming.  But let’s not let down our guard.  Now it’s time to begin pressuring your representatives to ratchet back legal immigration as well.  With all of the challenges this nation faces in attaining energy independence, reducing carbon emissions and removing all of the population growth-driven pressures from our economy, the time has come to stop exacerbating our problems by importing more and more people.  Our U.S. population is projected to expand by 100-150 million additional people by 2050, almost all due to our extreme rate of immigration.  Let’s not let that happen.  Write your congressmen and senators and encourage them to enact reductions in every category of legal immigration. 


Bush “Clear and candid” on Economy

May 4, 2008

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-05-03-bush-economy_N.htm#close-share-help

The President probably has been “clear and candid” about his beliefs about the economy.  The problem is that, largely thanks to advisors, economists and business executives, he’s been badly misguided about what’s really wrong with the economy and what needs to be done to fix it for the common good

“Bush sounded an upbeat tone following a modest uptick of economic news this week.

The economy grew in the first quarter of the year, but only by a meager 0.6%. Yet it was not the contraction that some analysts feared. Employers slashed fewer jobs in April than they had in earlier months. The unemployment rate in April also fell slightly.”

While the economy may have grown by 0.6% as measured by GDP (gross domestic product – a lousy measure of the health of the economy), per capita chained GDP – GDP adjusted for inflation and population growth, actually contracted by 3.0%.  If you use the total rate of inflation (not the “core” which strips out food and energy inflation), the the drop in per capita chained GDP rises to over 4% – a significant recession.  And the unemployment figure is completely worthless.  If every worker worked for one hour during the month and made only $5, that would be considered 0% unemployment.  A much more meaningful figure is weekly jobless claims of 350-400,000, which is an annual rate of 13% of the work force filing for unemployment. 

“‘No temporary setbacks can hold back the most powerful force in our economy — the ingenuity of the American people,’ Bush said. ‘Because of your hard work and dedication, I am confident that we will weather this rough period and emerge stronger than ever.’”

While the ingenuity of the American people is second to none, no amount of cheerleading can overcome the effects of foolish trade policy.  The effects of attempting to trade freely with overpopulated nations can’t be overcome by any amount of ingenuity, unless it’s the kind of genius that finally comes to realize that we need to go back to the only trade policy that ever worked for us – tariffs.  And is the “rough period” he’s referencing the last 30-35 years?  Because that’s how long our economy has been in decline.  I agree with him, the ingenuity of the American people isn’t the problem.  It’s the lack of ingenuity at the top levels of our leadership, and their failure to comprehend the devastation being wrought by failed trade policies that are rapidly bankrupting our country. 

“In Bush’s final year in office, families have been hit from all sides — soaring gas prices, crumbling mortgages, rising grocery bills, struggles to afford college loans.”

But, hey, food and energy aren’t part of the calculation of the “core rate” of inflation, so let’s just ignore them!  Maybe no one will notice.

“The president is counting on a short-term economic boost to help. In a deal he reached with Congress back in February, tax rebate checks of up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples are on their way to more than 130 million households.”

Yeah, that’ll help.  A one-time 1% boost in our median annual income will really make a difference in our three decade decline.  Throw the peasants a few crumbs.  That’ll make ‘em happy. 

“Among his (Bush’s) agenda for lawmakers: make permanent his first-term tax cuts, which are due to expire in 2010; allow drilling for oil in northern Alaska and encourage more oil refining capacity; and modernize the Federal Housing Administration to allow some additional homeowners to refinance from subprime loans into government-backed mortgages.”

More deficit spending, more prolonged dependence on fossil fuels, and no mention of the role of overpopulation in eroding our quality of life and the role of idiotic trade policy that has produced a cumulative $9 trillion trade deficit since 1976. 

Without real leadership soon, this country’s downward spiral will accelerate. 

Pete