In case you missed it, the Arizona Executive and Legislative branches are embroiled in a battle over expanding Obamacare’s Medicaid program in Arizona. Here is the latest Friday poll gauging our reader’s position on this issue. Votes are scheduled in the Arizona House next week.
By Christina Corieri
Last week, the Arizona Senate passed Medicaid expansion. Sadly, the proponents were not satisfied with merely passing a program expansion we can’t afford; they actively worked together to kill a series of common sense amendments that would have prevented extra expense and abuse.
One amendment would have activated the circuit breaker if the federal government ever dropped its share of the cost below the promised 90 percent, but every senate Democrat and five Republicans voted the amendment down, signaling that the Feds should feel free to increase Arizona’s costs.
Another amendment would have required an independent audit to ensure hospitals don’t pass the provider tax on to patients. Expansion proponents voted the amendment down, making it easier for hospitals to illegally pass the cost along without fear of being caught.
An amendment was offered to require an annual report on the quality of care provided by AHCCCS, Arizona’s Medicaid program. Although taxpayers have a right to know whether their money is being put to good use, these same senators voted the amendment down. Without this transparency, proponents can continue to assert how well the program works without risking evidence to the contrary.
This coalition also voted down amendments designed to curtail non-emergency use of emergency rooms and ambulances, which result in high, unnecessary costs to the state. Likewise, they voted down amendments to require health professionals and pharmacists to check the prescription monitoring database before authorizing or filling a member’s prescription for a controlled substance such as Oxycodone, Percocet, or Vicodin. These amendments would have saved taxpayers from paying for and enabling addictions to these medications.
While the Medicaid expansion is a costly and misguided policy, these amendments were not poison pills but sensible ways to mitigate some of the costs and prevent abuse. The proponents, however, made a bad bill much worse by rejecting these amendments. Thankfully, the Senate does not have the last word. While we hope the House declines the Medicaid expansion, at a minimum, we hope it supports some common sense amendments that will help protect taxpayers.
Christina Corieri is a health care policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute.
Dear Arizona Republican State Representatives and Senators,
“Be careful about going down a road that you cannot come back out from. Be careful about accepting this federal program that once you are in you will not get back out of. You still have a choice to make an individual decision for the citizens of Arizona, and you have a choice to look to the west at California, or you can look to the east at Texas, and decide whether or not you want to go bankrupt as a society,” Whittle said.
Arizonans throughout the state heard Bill Whittle’s message loud and clear. I certainly hope you heard and agree with Mr. Whittle, and the millions of Americans who are against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion. An overwhelming majority of Republicans here in Arizona and the U.S. oppose ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion – with the overall support by all Americans dropping to 35 percent (please see article below).
Even though Arizona’s U.S. Senators, Congressional Delegation, Republican National Party and Arizona’s Republican County and LD Committees are adamantly opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, Arizona has a rogue Governor and a few state legislators who say they’re Republicans aligning themselves with the liberal Democrats and progressive socialists.
May 16, 2013, will be remembered as a “day of infamy” in Arizona’s history. Their egregious actions will have serious consequences. Their political careers are all but over and their days numbered.
I am asking all of you to vote no on any proposal to expand ObamaCare and Medicaid here in Arizona.
Voting no on any proposal is the right thing to do.
A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
The Central Arizona College (CAC) Board of Governors has approved a tentative budget that will require a 35% in crease in property taxes for Pinal County homeowners. This tax translates to approximately a $100 tax increased per $100,000 assessed valuation on a home. A lot of retirees live in $400,000 homes and a $400 increase in taxes will hit them very hard.
Currently, Pinal County has the second highest primary tax rate in the State at $3.7999. Pinal County Board of Supervisors reduced the property tax rate by $.10 last year. The Board of Governor’s property tax increase obliterates the County tax reduction.
What is going on in CAC? Since 2009, the CAC property tax rate has increased by over 72%, while Pinal County’s property tax rate has increased almost 13%. The CAC property tax rate has grown over 5.5 times faster than the Pinal County tax rate.
The proposed CAC tax rate will make CAC the most expensive community college in Arizona yet CAC serves only 3% of Arizona’s full-time student equivalent (FTSE) in all Arizona community colleges. How can this be? Are salaries excessively high?
The President of CAC, Doris Hemlich, was invited to a meeting of concerned citizens on May 16th. She was totally unprepared for the reaction of SaddleBrooke residents. Resident after resident stood up to speak against the egregious tax increase. Dr. Helmich attempted to frame the tax increase issue as critical to building an educated workforce that will attract businesses.
Unfortunately, Dr. Hemlich had it backwards. Currently, approximately 56% of Pinal County’s work force leave Pinal County daily to go to work. If you look at Maricopa county , businesses are located along the Pinal County line but very few in Pinal County. The reason: Pinal County has the second highest primary property tax rate in the State at $3.7999. Maricopa County, at $1.2407, ranks 11th.
The CAC proposed primary and secondary property tax rate is over twice that of Maricopa County’s primary rate alone. The CAC Board of Governors, through its egregious tax increase, is, in effect, telling businesses to stay away.
Let me quote a CAC student, who shall remain anonymous to protect the student from any CAC administration retaliation:
“CAC couldn’t fill their existent classrooms when they received money to buy the satellite campus at Trekell and Florence. Next they used our tax dollars to get hold of another satellite facility in the Palm Center mall just off I10 and Florence. I use these two facilities constantly and have observed they have a running ratio of administration to students at roughly 7:1. The classrooms are always empty. At the facility on Trekell, the guy running things has his computer screen facing the door. He spends much of his day of time poking around on the internet . . .
The computer lab there was being monitored by a student employee. When she had to study for finals, tests, etc. she’d simply close the lab and leave… leaving students who paid money to use those computers nowhere to go other than out to the main campus . . . The computer labs rarely have more than three students (20 computers) at any given time . . .
This college is NOT about education: it is the new WPA and operates without ANY responsible supervision . . .”
The proposed CAC property tax represents 62% of Pinal County’s property tax rate. The Board of Governors and its decision to increase the CAC property tax by 35% do not pass the proverbial sniff test. The CAC “truth in taxes” meeting on May 21st should be very interesting, indeed.
From the AZ Republican Party resolutions:
“Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
John Parker, Battle of Lexington, 1775.
In a stunning late night move Republican Senators John McComish, Adam Driggs, Rich Crandall, Steve Pierce, Bob Worsley and last minute surprise Michele Reagan turned on the Republican caucus passing a pork-heavy-spend-expand-grow budget. Make no mistake – they drew first blood.
Senator John McComish voted 18 times with the Democrats.
There was nothing bi-partisan about the budget, nothing bi-partisan about the amendments and absolutely nothing bi-partisan about the Medicaid Expansion – simply the 6 Brewercrats gave the Democrats everything they asked for. An observer in the gallery observed the Democrats were “drunk with glee.”
The afternoon began with President Biggs proposing a budget that offered the Governor many of her spending increases including education but not including the Medicaid Expansion.
So John McComish put it on their for her releasing a frenzy of million dollar spending.
The AZ Capitol Times reported they “included $9 million for Child Protective Services, $875,000 for Navajo Technical College and funding for the Arizona State Parks Board and Arizona Arts Commission.” Senator Rich Crandall justifies making the cake and then fork-feeding it to the Democrats as a “challenge to get the 16 votes …. Biggs warned his colleagues that adding at least $57 million in spending over three years could blow up the entire spending package.”
So – you following this? The Democrats would only agree to pass the Medicaid Expansion budget if it also funded Adult Education, Arts, and the stupid State Parks Board! Not one compromise was extended to a Republican. President Biggs offered 11 amendments trying to keep the Expansion constitutional and in control of the legislator. All were voted down by the democrats and a mixture of the same 5 Senators. Senator Kelli Ward, the only elected physician, offered 7 amendments with justifications based on real life consequences - all defeated. The oh-so-delighted to discover the liberal out of control spending mindset was back in charge at the Arizona senate twittering press ramped up the personal insult slings at Ward.
If the Medicaid Expansion circuit breaker kicks in and the Federal Government stops paying Medicaid Expansion these additional programs and all this spending will not stop. This scenario is setting Arizona up for mountainous debt worse than 4 years ago. Do we want to live through all these cuts again?
Six Republican Senators turned on their own over and over and over again.
They turned on the precinct committeemen in Arizona.
They turned on those who walked and called and gave them money.
They turned on the 11 republicans in the room with them.
Then they went up to the Governor’s office for a pizza party before they dealt the final blow.
All while the Democrats celebrate the new plus four majority in the Arizona Senate.
What is next? It now goes to the House. – we can and must stop it there. Speaker Tobin is leading this battle and trying everything in his power to stop Obrewercare. For a complete list of contact information, email updates and call to actions go to: www.fragaz.org
Arizona Republican Legislative District 10 Conclusion:
While we applaud Governor Brewer’s decision to oppose the Obamacare Exchanges, we oppose her support for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. We must stop State implementation of both. We urge Governor Brewer, and all Republican legislators, to hold the line against enabling the socialist takeover of our health care system and insurance industry by rejecting the Medicaid expansion. Do not sell out our Republican principles and our birthright of Liberty for a bowl of lentils and the promise of 3 years funding that will benefit a few special interests at the cost of our State sovereignty and our core Republican values. We will adamantly oppose all those who compromise our core values for short term political expediency. Governor Brewer is correct that “elections have consequences”. She is wrong in believing that it means that Republicans must roll over and forsake our core values whenever Republicans lose a national race. This is our line in the sand.
First, kudos to Greg Patterson for catching this one and posting on EspressoPundit. (Glad to see you’re back posting on a regular basis.)
I admit, I don’t run to the Arizona Republic first thing in the morning to read what the left-of-center media is disseminating so I missed this horribly despicable cartoon by Steve Benson that ran on May 10th.
It’s probably a good thing that I’m no longer the Communications Director at the Arizona Republican Party because I would have had a hard time letting this one go until Benson and management both apologized AND Benson was summarily terminated.
For starters, Benson dragged politics into a horrifying criminal situation by showing just how insensitive the left can be injecting their political agenda into a criminal matter. By Benson’s logic, abortion should have been safe and accessible for Ariel Castro to continue covering up his evil crimes – “destroying the evidence.”
Secondly, Benson is so far removed from the real world of what happens among conservative people of faith who personally put their time, talent and treasure to work helping women in real-world crappy situations through crisis pregnancy centers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, foster care, the list goes on. Benson, we really do put our money where our mouth is.
This type of trash by Steve Benson is wrong, beyond civility, insensitive and even evil. He needs to go away permanently where he can no longer pollute our political discourse.
A great debate is raging among conservatives these days. One camp argues the gang of eight immigration reform is amnesty, contrary to conservative principles, amnesty encourages more illegal immigration, and immigrants vote Democrat.
The other camp, led by Senator Marco Rubio and Grover Norquist, argues our legal immigration system has been broken for decades, and we effectively have de facto amnesty because it’s simply not practical, humane, nor economically wise to deport 11 million. They believe our present immigration system, with its arbitrary quotas and massive bureaucracy is inconsistent with conservative free market principles. They reject the notion that immigrants invariably vote Democrat, and see opportunity to win more New American votes, as proven by Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and recently by Canada’s Conservative Party.
A May 2011 poll by Pew Research found “staunch conservatives” split 49%/49%. Three Republican groupings, “staunch conservatives”, “main street Republicans”, and “libertarians” split roughly 60/40% in favor of immigration reform including a path to citizenship.A recent poll found 60% of Republicans support immigration reform, and after details of the gang of eight immigration reform plan were explained, support rose to 75% with just 10% strongly opposed. The perception fostered in the mainstream news media for years is that Republicans are monolithic and opposed to immigration reform, but clearly Republicans have been and still are divided. Before November, Republicans who were shrill about immigration were often quoted in the media, while most Republican leaders tended to avoid the topic or only talk about immigration enforcement, which is less divisive. Since the November election debacle, pro-reform Republicans are more vocal, pushing back against the shrill minority who for years have berated immigrants.
Grover Norquist has been staunchly pro-immigration reform for many years. He participated in a series of immigration reform conferences during 2012. Only the last conference, just weeks after the election, garnered any media attention at all, while Mitt Romney’s self-deportation rhetoric garnered constant media coverage. Most media coverage of conservatives who support immigration reform is recent.
Immigration Before the Progressive Era
Prior to the progressive era, American had no immigration quotas and a few common-sense restrictions, such as barring criminals, prostitutes, paupers, etc.
America’s first unauthorized immigrants were African slaves, imported after Congress banned the importation of slaves in 1808. In the Southern states slavery was still legal, and more slaves needed, and so the importation continued despite the ban.
Later, many Irish immigrants bypassed legal ports of entry because they were simply too impoverished to pay the head tax. The federal government did not have immigration inspectors until 1890, though some states had immigration inspectors. Very few immigrants who arrived in America were turned away. Those who chide unauthorized immigrants with the claim their grandparents came legally would do well to compare today’s immigration laws with the past; the laws are vastly different now.
Immigration as a Tool of Progressive Social Engineering
Prior to the first quotas, Ellis Island admitted 98% of immigrants who arrived. There were no immigrant visas; those who wanted to immigrate simply arrived, and unless they were in an excluded class (i.e. criminal, prostitute, sick, etc.) they were admitted.
In 1921 and 1924 strict per-nation quotas were imposed, designed to bar non-Europeans altogether, and severely restrict immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe. Early modern progressives like Margaret Sanger, Madison Grant, and Harry Laughlin argued Southern and Eastern Europeans were genetically inferior and lowered the intelligence of America’s people”, would never assimilate, came seeking charity, increased crime rates, etc, many of the same arguments we hear today.
Harry Laughlin infamously testified in Congress that 82% of Jewish immigrants were feeble minded.” Madison Grant wrote the book “The Passing of the Great Race, or the Racial Basis of European History” (read here), which argued “Nordics” were superior, and greatly inflamed American public opinion against immigration. Hitler called Grant’s book his “Bible” and ordered it translated and published in Nazi Germany, and Nuremberg war crimes defendant Karl Brandt referred to Grant’s book. Not surprisingly Hitler praised the 1924 National Origins Act.
“…’human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.”
Later, Laughlin founded the Pioneer Fund, which later financed today’s leading anti-any-immigrant organizations with millions, and still funds academic “research” about “differences” between the races. Numerous Pioneer funded studies were referenced in the book “The Bell Curve“, which insinuates blacks have lower intelligence levels than whites for genetic reasons. The book has been widely debunked by other researchers, but the ideology keeps cropping up, most recently among the anti-any-immigrant lobby headed by FAIR, NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies. FAIR grew with the help of millions in funding from the Pioneer Fund.
John Tanton, founder of the modern day anti-any-immigrant movement is very much like Madison Grant, except Tanton’s bigotry is much more subdued, since most modern day Americans won’t listen to bigots. Like Madison Grant, John Tanton is a liberal, conservationist, eugenics activist, and has held leadership positions in Planned Parenthood, Zero Population Growth, etc. Most of the arguments Tanton and his disciples use to argue against immigration and for population reduction are identical to those of his ideological great-grandfathers Madison Grant, Harry Laughlin, Margaret Sanger, and Paul Ehrlich (author of The Population Bomb).
Is the Gang of Eight Immigration Reform Amnesty?
Those who constantly throw out the term “amnesty” in describing the gang of eight immigration reform would do well to consult Webster’s dictionary:
amnesty: the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals.
pardon: the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty.
With $2,000 in fines and a ten year wait to even apply for permanent resident status, clearly a stiff penalty is exacted, in addition to a tough set of requirements such as proof of payment of taxes, background check, etc. The 1986 immigration reform clearly was amnesty, as no fine or wait time was required. Those who met the requirements were simply granted permanent resident status.
Is “Amnesty” a Magnet for More Illegal Behavior?
Opponents of the gang of eight immigration reform argue amnesty is a magnet for more illegal immigration, and point to the increase in illegal immigration after 1986 as evidence that amnesty is a magnet.
Historically, what has been America’s experience with mass amnesty? Did past amnesties lead to more illegal behavior?
America’s first mass amnesty was Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation granting amnesty to confederates who would swear a loyalty oath to the United States. Lincoln didn’t live to see the end of the civil war, but President Andrew Johnson honored Lincoln’s amnesty, though he added exclusions, for example refusing amnesty to top confederate leaders. How many civil wars have we experienced since 1865? Zero!
If the U.S. had made a serious effort to prosecute confederates for treason during time of war, we could probably have denuded a number of forests building gallows for hanging hundreds of thousands. However, the nation saw the need to move on after a bloody civil war, and virtually all confederates were granted amnesty in exchange for regaining their loyalty to the U.S.
America’s first immigration mass amnesty came in the late 1920s. Early modern progressives saw immigration laws as a tool for social engineering. Immigrants from various nations were barred, starting with the Chinese in 1882.
In the early 20th century, 200,000 Italians immigrated to the U.S. each year, but in 1924 Italy’s immigration quota was set at under 4,000, a 98% reduction! Similar reductions were imposed on Russia and other Eastern and Southern European nations. Not surprisingly, within a few years the U.S. had several million unauthorized immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, who were “inspected” and allowed to stay. Then, as today, it was considered impractical to deport so many. Recently the New York Times opined that Hispanics are the New Italians, drawing parallels with 20th century immigration.
Did the late 1920s immigration amnesty lead to more illegal immigration? Clearly not, because the great depression soon followed and the economic forces that led so many to immigrate illegally vanished.
Critics of immigration reform argue the 1986 amnesty served as a magnet to more illegal immigration, but was this really the case? In statistics, there’s a term “correlation is not necessarily causation.” A doctor once pointed out in an op-ed the correlation between pantyhose usage and lung disease, but pantyhose clearly doesn’t cause lung disease!
There has indeed been more illegal immigration after 1986, but a review of the inflows of unauthorized immigrants reveals that inflows followed to the state of the economy, not policy. During the late 1990s illegal immigration inflows surged, while in recent years net illegal immigration from Mexico has dropped to zero, as the U.S. experienced a jobless recovery while Mexico’s economy has been strong, and Mexican birth rates have declined. AFTER a 1996 law that toughened immigration enforcement, there was a surge in illegal immigration. Clearly illegal immigration inflows have much more to do with economics than policy!
Is Today’s Immigration Policy “Conservative” or “Progressive”?
The quota concept originated with early modern progressives, who were huge believers in racial eugenics and social Darwinism. The infamous Dillingham Commission (1907-1910) authorized by Congress devoted entire volumes of their report to immigrants as charity seekers, criminals, and predicted immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe would never assimilate and become a vast underclass. Children of immigrants were often “retarded” according to the Dillingham Commission.
I have read through several volumes of the Dillingham Commission Report, and one thing stands out: Southern and Eastern Europeans were smeared in the same manner as Hispanic immigrants are today. A vast permanent underclass was predicted by early modern progressives, but for some reason I’m not able to find a vast underclass of Southern and Eastern European descendants in America today, nor am I able to locate a large population of feeble minded Jews as predicted by 1924 National Origins Act architect Harry Laughlin. In fact, Jews are among the most successful demographics.
The blatantly racist per nation immigration quotas and bars to non-European immigration were eliminated in 1965, but the quota concept remains with us to this day, for both immigrants and guest workers.
Do quotas make sense? I think not! Immigration is driven by economics, and inflows should be driven by labor markets, not arbitrary quotas influenced by special interest groups (i.e. big labor). Critics of immigration reform point to America’s immigrant quota as largest in the world. However, as a percentage of population U.S. immigration inflows are #22 of 34 OECD nations. Canada admits 2-1/2 times as many immigrants; Switzerland and Germany five times as many, and tiny Luxembourg ten times as many immigrants, as a percentage of population. For some strange reason our demise as a nation is predicted if we accept more immigrants, but 21 other nations already accept more immigrants and don’t experience the dire consequences predicted for America.
Similar arguments were made by slavery proponents, that freeing the slaves would bankrupt the U.S. We freed the slaves and paid for a long civil war, but didn’t go bankrupt in the process.
Conservative Principles in Immigration Reform
Conservatives believe in limited government in free markets and limited government, but are current immigration policies consistent with conservative principles? I say emphatically not! The main features of today’s immigration policy are arbitrary quotas with no basis in free market capitalism, with massive government bureaucracies telling employers how many immigrants they can hire, how to recruit them, and even how much to pay. Some employers, particularly farmers, must deal with several big bureaucracies, with no assurance their harvesters arrive in time for harvest, and big fines for honest paperwork mistakes. Not surprisingly, farmers bitterly complain how difficult the system is to use, and less than 10% of farm ‘guest workers’ have visas.
Conservatives also believe in the ‘rule of law’ and conservatives are against amnesty, as amnesty by itself is a temporary solution. As a conservative, I am opposed to amnesty in and of itself, as that doesn’t address the underlying problem. In 1986 Congress passed immigration amnesty with some enforcement provisions which proved largely ineffective. Congress failed to follow up for many years on border security, and never followed up on guest workers. In effect, in 1986 Congress ‘kicked the can down the road’, making three million immigrants legal, without addressing the root causes of the problem.
Current immigration and guest worker quotas have no rationale in economic need. Historically whenever economic demand for immigrants and guest worker labor exceeds quotas, the result has always been widespread illegal immigration. This happened in the 1929s, again in the 1950s when a resurgent post war economy required more guest workers than the quota. We’ve often experienced illegal immigration since the braceros program was eliminated during the 1960s at the behest of big labor unions. Big labor continues to be a major obstacle to guest worker programs. We presently have 9-9.5 ‘guest workers’ of which 1.8 million have a work authorized visa. The balance would no doubt be happy to obtain a visa if those were available to them, but they’re not.
Immigration Reform and the Rule of Law
As a conservative, I support the ‘rule of law’, but I also recognize that enforcement alone cannot turn bad policy into good policy. If we lowered superhighway speed limits to 20 MPH to conserve gasoline we’d surely have enforcement problems! Then would we pour massive enforcement resources to stop speeding, or step back and recognize that policy and enforcement are intertwined, and sensible policies result in manageable enforcement? Or would we take an ‘enforcement first’ stance and massively enforce a 20 MPH speed limit until everyone stops speeding, before setting rational speed limits?
When guest worker visas are limited by arbitrary quotas to less than 20% of demand, we should not be surprised that many come here illegally seeking work. Obviously we’d like for everyone to enter the U.S. through the front door, but when that door has been broken for decades we should not be surprised that our ‘hired help’ enters through the back door or windows. It’s obvious that the best way to divert migrant workers from illegal channels to legal channels is with sensible guest worker programs.
It’s Time to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform
I’m not happy with all aspects of the gang of eight immigration reform. I’d rather see us get rid of quotas, perhaps implementing a tariff on guest worker wages payable by employers, to tile the table in favor of hiring Americans workers first. It’s easy to predict future waves of illegal immigration, when demand exceeds quota and Congress again fails to act, under pressure from big labor. Big labor has already been hard at work undermining guest worker reforms, for example limiting the number of guest worker visas in the construction industry. However, once housing rebounds, and the need for guest workers exceed quotas, we can expect unauthorized immigrants to fill that gap.
I’m also not keen about e-verify. The federal government has been trying to make e-verify work since 1996. E-Verify is a deeply flawed system. Unauthorized immigrants can readily circumvent e-verify by using a real person’s name and social security, with fake ID. As long as the name and social security number match, most will pass e-verify. U.S. citizens who are unlucky enough to be the subject of errors in government databases, and their employers, can expect to spend weeks dealing with mammoth bureaucracies to get errors fixed!
The gang of eight immigration reform plan calls for increased use of e-verify, and buried within the bill are provisions to incorporate biometrics into e-verify. Biometrics will make it much more difficult to circumvent e-verify, but many Americans will balk at providing biometric information such as fingerprints, DNA, etc., viewing it as the invasion of privacy it is. Another major annoyance will be exit controls for everyone leaving the country. Without capturing information about those leaving the U.S., the entry/exit tracking for visa overstayers cannot work. However, this will impose delays on all travelers exiting the U.S.
However, all-in-all, the gang of eight immigration reform plan would be a big improvement over the present situation. Eliminating quotas is not likely as long as progressives and their big labor backers are wedded to the notion of quotas, especially for guest workers. Guest worker programs would be streamlined, and guest worker visas would become portable. It may also be easier for Congress to act in the future with the most contentious issue – legalization – behind us. We should all back the gang of eight immigration reform plan, while also writing our elected representatives with suggestions for improvement.
Bob Quasius is the founder and president of Cafe Con Leche Republicans.
Freer Labor: A Biblical Concept for Immigrant Labor
At first glance when reading through the Bible, one would think that the Bible does not directly address the concept of free labor – the concept that immigrants should legally be allowed to travel and be employed without any overly encumbering restrictions. However, if one takes a closer look, one will notice several key biblical principles that can support the idea behind a biblical policy for immigrant labor. Moreover, economic data also reveals that there is also a net benefit that is achieved from immigrant labor. In Romans 13, Paul is clear that God gave the sword to the government to punish those who do evil and God expects the government to reward good behavior. The United States government does much good and it gets many things right. Yet, one of its grave shortcomings has to do with the issue of immigration. The current immigration system in the US can even be considered unjust due to three inherent flaws: (1) its regulations infringe on the Christian individual/business owners’ rights to be able to carry out God’s command to be hospitable towards immigrants, (2) its regulations are unrealistic towards immigrant laborers and employers, (3) and its regulations go against God’s command to do good for the nation’s people.
First, the scripture makes it clear that God expected His people to be hospitable towards immigrants. The Hebrew word used to refer to resident aliens or immigrants in the Old Testament is gēr. This term is used to refer to both Israel and any other people group residing in a foreign land (Ex 23:21). In a sense gēr is referring to an individual’s status or position in the foreign nation. The scriptures also makes mention of the verb gur, which means to “reside [as an alien].” According to Rousas Rushdoony, the biblical laws dealing with hospitality towards aliens both “permanent and temporary” are dealing with those who resided in the land and not those foreigners who were just passing through. This concept of hospitality was a personal, individual, or familial decision to take care of the immigrant.
God called his chosen people to treat the resident immigrant justly. In fact, the Old Testament is very specific in requiring the people of God to treat the immigrant as a protected class (Ex 20:10, 23:12; Lev 16:29). This is most clearly shown in Exodus 22:21 which states, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” and Deuteronomy 27:19, “‘Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” (NASB) In the book of Exodus, God reminds the nation of Israel that they were once resident aliens in Egypt. One can therefore infer that the reason God willed for them to remember this, was so they would make it a point to treat the immigrants in their land as they would have wished to be treated in Egypt.
God also had expectations of how the nation of Israel was to treat foreign laborers, in matters such as being given the right to glean for food and to be employed as residents if taken in by a family to work on their residence. Daniel Carrol states,
Without land and kin, many sojourners would be dependent on Israelites for work, provisions and protection. They could be day laborers (Deut. 24:14), and the Old Testament mentions that they were conscripted to do the labor in building the temple (1 Chron. 22:2; 2 Chron. 2:17-18). 
In other words, God expected his people to treat the immigrant labor justly. Bernhard Asen even further bolsters this point by stating that Israel was not just to treat the ger as a protected class, but the people of Israel were to also incorporate or include them into their society. Asen States, “in addition to protection, inclusion of the gēr into the community to share privileges also is seen as important.” This incorporation according to Christopher Wright included the “feast of weeks and booths,” and a resident alien who happened to be a hired laborer could also be included at Passover. Write argues the eligibility was based on the fact that they would have been included within an Israelite family with whom they were residing. Therefore, the people of God in the Old Testament were to be hospitable toward the resident alien and include and protect them as a class, just as they would have wanted to have been treated when they were in slaves in the land of Egypt.
This concept is even more important if one looks at the teaching of Jesus. As he stated in Luke 6:31, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Thus, just as Christians would want people from other nations to give them help and employment, so that they could take care of their families, so then should Christians help out those immigrants who wish to labor for their families. However, this has proven problematic in the United States since there are unrealistic worker visa programs that make it almost impossible for Christian business owners to be able to be hospitable and have the opportunity to hire immigrant laborers who are in need. The current federal caps on immigrant labor incentivize many immigrants to come here illegally and risk being caught. Many of these people, if they could, would have obtained a work visa or a legal means to come to the United States.
This becomes a problem, biblically, for Christians because as the chosen people of God they too should be hospitable towards aliens and any other class of people who should be protected. This is why the current immigration policy restrictions pose a dilemma for Christians, because while they are to be submissive and respectful to the government God has placed over them, they also have an obligation to protect and seek justice for those who are in classes that need to be protected, like the resident alien. Christian individuals/business owners should respect their government, while at the same time seek for a more biblical policy that will lead to a more realistic policy towards aliens seeking work, and continue to work to incorporate the alien into the community. This is all founded on the basic biblical concept of loving one’s neighbors and treating them, as the believer would want to be treated if he or she were in a similar situation.
The second problem with the immigration system is that it has unrealistic regulations on immigrant labor. As previously mentioned, the scriptures do not ban migrant or immigrant labor. Rather, it takes for granted that foreigners would be around and would need protection. Just as prohibition failed because it was an unrealistic regulation on human action; so too the current immigrant labor quota system is failing because it is unrealistically regulating labor. There is not a biblical mandate on the total number of immigrants a nation should allow to enter its borders; rather, the Scriptures simply presuppose that resident aliens will be around. The guest worker program in the United States is broken down into three major sections H-1b(skilled labor) which is capped at 65,000 persons and the H-2a(agricultural) and H-2b (non agricultural) visas – both capped at 66,000. These all do not even come close to meeting the demand for labor that many American industries need.
In addition to these quotas, the Federal government, under the current administration, has made it harder on farmers to legally higher immigrant labor. According to an Immigration Works policy brief, the Obama administration’s new regulations eliminated “the streamline application process for employers” implemented by the Bush administration and instead in required employers to “submit to a lengthy DOL(Department of Labor) review,” to apply for immigrant laborers. The Obama administration also has raised the federal minimum wage on foreign workers to $9.48, and increased fines to $1,500 per employee for farmers who are missing even one piece of paper work. This is on top of that fact that it costs farmers thousands of dollars to hire lawyers to help them file all the legal paper work with the department of labor. Another added cost for farmers created by new regulations is the increased risk for being sued. David Bier explains,
Labor Department requirements mandate U.S. employees be treated similarly to migrants, but Obama officials created a new definition of ‘corresponding’ treatment that could be interpreted by courts to include the housing, transportation, and in some instances, meals that H-2A regulations require employers to supply to migrants. Disgruntled employees who are citizens or permanent residents could sue under the ambiguous definition and potentially collect damages.
The current administration has also passed new regulations on highly skilled laborers with H-1b visas that are adding cost to businesses that would keep their business here in America if it were not for these added costs. One such regulation dictated that no company who had employees with H-1b visas could be eligible to partake in federal bailouts through the Trouble Asset Relief program known as TARP. There has also been an increase in the processing fees of business with more than 50 employees who wish to higher immigrants with H-1b visas “from $325 to as much as $2,300.” These are all added cost that do harm to business and ultimately the nation’s economy.
All of these added costs and legal liabilities incentivize farmers to hire illegal immigrants. The caps on legal immigration also incentivize immigrant workers to come work in the United States illegally, even with increased federal enforcement. The fact is, “if the extra cost of such enforcement[along with these new regulations] is larger than the net fiscal cost of illegal immigration, then driving illegal immigration to zero would fail a cost benefit test.” Current federal enforcement for hiring legal immigrants may cost more than to take a risk to higher immigrants who are not authorized to be here. A perfect example of this risk taking by business owners can be found in Arizona, since it passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA). LAWA required Arizona employers to use E-verify to ensure the legal status of their employees. In response to this law, employers and immigrants responded differently. First, there was an increase in self employment by 73%, of which, “about 25,000 Arizona Hispanic noncitizens dropped out of the formal wage market and became self-employed.” Moreover, employers responded with only a “72 percent” participation rate in 2010, and a “67 percent in 2011.” The reality is that this is a Genesis 3 world; unrealistic laws like prohibition and immigration labor regulations are unjust because they do not coincide with basic human nature. The government should seek to do good for its citizens (Rom 13:4), and placing unrealistic labor restrictions that incentivize individuals to sin by breaking laws is not good. This is why Christians should seek to reform immigrant labor laws to be more free and open by removing these unrealistic restrictions.
Thirdly, the current immigration policies inhibit economic growth and reduce national productivity. This is counter to the idea that, “one of the primary responsibilities of government is to act as God’s servant to ‘do good’ for the citizens of a nation (see Rom. 13:4).” The reality is that immigration will increase the nation’s ability to produce and therefore increase economic growth. Yet, there are some detractors who disagree with this position like Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), and possibly the most academic detractor when it comes to low skilled immigrant labor is Economist George Borjas.
For example CAPS runs sensational TV ads, insinuating that Americans are unemployed, because immigrants are “taking American jobs.” This is clearly Malthusian’s thinking that there are only a set number of jobs. There are not a set number of jobs. Jobs are created and lost every day; there is no set labor force. Since the 1950s, there has been an increase of about 90 million new workers in the labor force including women, and baby boomers. This has not resulted in any “long term increase” in unemployment rates. Many activists who support immigration and immigrant labor argue that immigrants do the jobs that Americans won’t do, at least for the wages being offered, but if the wages were increased then Americans would apply for those jobs. In some cases this may be true, but it does not ring true in all situations. The problem is that higher wages would mean that many of those jobs would no longer be there. Benjamin Powell explains,
Approximately one third of all garment workers in the United States are immigrants. If wages needed to be higher to get Americans to take the jobs, many of these jobs would have gone overseas. .. In Arizona, for example, only 30 percent of the 2004 lettuce crop was harvested; the rest was left in the ground to rot. Losses were nearly $1 billion. Farmers certainly could have paid higher wages to get the crop harvested, but losses would presumably have been even greater.
In the end, an increase in wages could result in a loss of productivity and economic growth.
Another proponent of the idea that immigrants are taking “American jobs” is Harvard Economist George Borjas. In 2010 he coauthored an article arguing that African American incarceration rates were on the rise because low skilled immigrants were taking their jobs. Diana Furchotgott-Roth explains the flaws in Borjas’s study. First, African American men started to “withdraw from the labor force in the 1960s,” when immigrants made up “less than 1 percent” of the labor force.Moreover, “The percentage of black men between ages 16 and 24 who were not in school, not working, and not looking for work rose to 18 percent in 1982 from 9 percent in 1964. It then reached 23 percent in 1997 and remained at that level as of 2011.” Finally, Borjas does not even mention in his study the changes in laws and policies, nor does he consider how both have been enforced. Therefore, immigration is not the reason for the rise in African American unemployment or the direct reason for the increase in their incarceration rates.
Another problem with this argument that immigrants take American jobs is the fact that, many more families are moving towards both parents working outside of the household. Hanson found that this, “often requires hiring outside labor to care for children, clean the home, launder clothes, and tend to the yard.” He also found that the in cities where immigrant labor was prevalent that these services were more affordable.
Borjas in several of his studies showed that cheap immigrant labor harms the high school dropouts by reducing their wages. In 2003 he claimed wages dropped by 9%, in 2004 by 7%, and in 2006 by 5%. There are two other studies worth noting. One is by David Card which showed that low skilled immigrant labor reduced low skilled workers wages by 3 percent in cities where the population of immigrants was higher. The second study was done by Giovanni Peri, who found that immigrants only cause 0.7 percent decrease in low skilled workers’ wages. In other words, even though wages are depressed for high school drop outs, there is not enough decisive evidence to point out how much wages are lowered, nor is there enough negative evidence to call for a reduction in low skilled immigrant labor compared to its benefits.
There any many benefits to having affordable labor. As previously mentioned, in cities that boast a high percentage of low skilled immigrant labor, goods and services are provided at a more affordable rate. This translates into cost savings for the population as a whole. It is imperative to understand that the total national income is not lost from these savings; rather it is redistributed by creating employer gains and savings for consumers. The savings for the consumer will allow them to later choose where they would like to spend the extra cash, which would in turn help another business, consequently, helping the employees of that business. In the end, the wealth is not lost. In addition, high skilled laborers who are paid less than native born employees actually add to economic growth and job creation. Economist Peri explains that “firms pay immigrants less than their marginal productivity, increasing the firms’ profits. Such cost savings on immigrants act as an increase in productivity for firms…[T]his allows firms to expand production and employ more people in complementary task many of which are supplied by natives.” Therefore, immigrant labor helps to creates more affordable goods and services by increasing profits to businesses and helps them to employ more Americans, which are net benefits, instead of a net loss.
In conclusion, a biblical policy towards immigrant labor would be to allow for a freer more open system, because it fulfils God’s command that the government do good to the people, and it allows Christian individuals/business owners to legally carry out God’s command to be hospitable towards immigrant laborers. This should include the removal of federal caps on labor and a shift towards a system where the free market decides the number of laborers that are needed. There should also be a removal of unrealistic federal mandates and regulations that make it harder for business owners to legally hire immigrant labor. A policy based off the free market would not just benefit the United States, but it would also benefit the immigrant who comes to the United States to make several times more than he or she could have earned in their home nation. In many cases, this move would also improve the immigrant’s standard of living. Some may argue that these immigrants harm low skilled native born workers; but the reality is that these people already have protections which come in the form of unemployment insurance, welfare, food stamps and so on. Ultimately, the government’s job should not be one of creating jobs, but one of being just. A just society creates the ideal framework for economic growth and prosperity – for both the citizen and the immigrant.
 The term freer labor is used instead of Free Labor because, the author does not believe in open borders, but does believe that the free flow should be allowed by the Government who should screen and have limited regulations, but not cap allowing people to freely and legally come to work in the United States.
 Baker, D. L. Tight Fists or Open Hands?: Wealth and Poverty in Old Testament Law. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub, 2009.178.
 Baker, Tight Fist Open Hands, 178. This verb “gur” (1481a.גּוּר)has been translated by the NASB several ways which many can convey the idea of residing, or dwelling: “abide*(1), alien(1), aliens(1), assemble(1), colonize(1), dwell(3), dwells(1), habitation(1), live(4), live as aliens(2), lives(1), reside(13), resided(1), resides(3), sojourn(11), sojourned(9), sojourning(1), sojourns(13), stay(6), staying(4), stays(1), strangers(3).” Robert L. Thomas, ‘1481aגּוּר gur.” New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).
 Rushdoony, Rousas John. The Institutes of Biblical Law 2, Law and Society. (Nutley, N.J.]: Craig Pr, 1982.):199.
 M. Daniel Carrol R., Christians at the Boarder: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible. (Grand Rapids: Baker Pub. Group, 2008): 95.
 Carrol, Christians at the Boarder, 103.
 Bernhard Asen, “From Acceptance to Inclusion: The Stranger (גֵּר /gēr) in Old Testament Tradition, in Christianity and the stranger: historical essays. (ed. Nichols, Francis W. Atlanta, Ga: Scholars Press, 1995): 16-35.
 Christopher J. H. Wright, God’s People in God’s Land: Family, Land, and Property in the Old Testament. (Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1990.): 101.
 Wright, God’s People in God’s Land, 101-102.
 Andorra Bruno, “Immigration of Temporary Lower-Skilled Workers: Current Policy and Related Issues,” Congressional Research services. (2012): 9.
 Immigration Works USA, “Reduced Access: New Regulations Aimed at Temporary Worker Visas.” (2009):1.
Beir, Obama’s Secret, 2012.
 Beir, Obama’s Secret, 2012; & Immigration Works USA, “Reduced Access,” 2009, 3.
 Beir, Obama’s Secret, 2012
 Alex Nowrasteh, The Economic Case against Arizona’s Immigration Laws, Cato Policy Analysis No. 709. (2012).9.
 Nowrasteh, The Economic Case, 9.
 Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for understanding Modern Political Issues in the Light of Scripture, (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2010), 269.
 Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), “Press Release: Memorial Day TV Ad Ask why President Obama is admitting millions of Immigrant Workers when 1 in 3 Young Veterans are Jobless.” 22 May 2012.
 Powell, Case for Immigration, 2010.
 Powell, Case for Immigration, 2010.
 Powell, Case for Immigration, 2010.
 Borjas, George J., Jeffrey Grogger, and Gordon H. Hanson. 2010. “Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men.” Economica 77, no. 306: 255-282.
 Furchotgott-Roth, The Path Forward, 2012, 12.
 Harrison, Immigration and Economic Growth, 2012, 28.
 Harrison, Immigration and Economic Growth, 2012, 28.
 Furchotgott-Roth, The Path Forward, 2012, 9.
 Furchotgott-Roth, The Path Forward, 2012, 9.
 Harrison, Immigration and Economic Growth, 2012, 28.
 Peri, Giovanni. “IMMIGRATION, LABOR MARKETS, AND PRODUCTIVITY.” CATO Journal 32, no. 1 (Winter2012 2012): 35-53.44.
Asen, Bernhard, “From Acceptance to Inclusion: The Stranger (גֵּר /gēr) in Old Testament Tradition, in Christianity and the stranger: historical essays. ed. Nichols, Francis W. Atlanta, Ga: Scholars Press, 1995.
Baker, D. L. Tight Fists or Open Hands?: Wealth and Poverty in Old Testament Law. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub, 2009.178.
Beir, David, “Obama’s Secret Anti-Immigrant Campaign.” Real Clear Politics.com, 9 July 2012, (16 April 2013).
Borjas, George J., Jeffrey Grogger, and Gordon H. Hanson. 2010. “Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men.” Economica 77, no. 306: 255-282.
Bruno, Andorra, “Immigration of Temporary Lower-Skilled Workers: Current Policy and Related Issues,” Congressional Research services.2012.
Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), “Press Release: Memorial Day TV Ad Ask why President Obama is admitting millions of Immigrant Workers when 1 in 3 Young Veterans are Jobless.” 22 May 2012.
Carroll R., M. Daniel. Christians at the Border Immigration, the Church, and the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Pub. Group, 2008.
Furchotgott-Roth, Diana ,“The Path Forward for Immigration”. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. 12 December 2012.8.
Grudem, Wayne, Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for understanding Modern Political Issues in the Light of Scripture, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2010.
Harrison, Gordon H., Immigration and Economic Growth, CATO Journal. 32, 1 (2012): 31.
Immigration Works USA, “Reduced Access: New Regulations Aimed at Temporary Worker Visas.” (2009):1.
Nowrasteh, Alex, The Economic Case against Arizona’s Immigration Laws, Cato Policy Analysis No. 709. (2012).1-20.
Peri, Giovanni. “IMMIGRATION, LABOR MARKETS, AND PRODUCTIVITY.” CATO Journal 32, no. 1 (Winter2012 2012): 35-53.44.
Powell, Benjamin , An economic Case for Immigration, 7 June 2010.
Rushdoony, Rousas John. The Institutes of Biblical Law 2, Law and Society. [Nutley, N.J.]: Craig Pr, 1982.
Thomas, Robert L. ‘1481aגּוּר gur.” New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition,Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998.
United States citizen and immigration services, “Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants,” 17 April 2013, (21 April 21, 2013).
Wright, Christopher J. H. God’s People in God’s Land: Family, Land, and Property in the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1990.
This was originally published on Thomas’s personal Blog Arizona Seminarian
Reposted with author’s permission – original link.
Editors note: as with all blog postings that appear with a by-line, the opinions presented are the author’s and not necessarily the positions of Cafe Con Leche Republicans.
Thomas Martin Salazar is an Arizona leader of the Café con Leche Republicans. Thomas was born and raised in Arizona. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Grand Canyon University and is currently working on obtaining a MDiv in Biblical Communication from Phoenix Seminary. Thomas has also served as the Grand Canyon University College Republicans Vice President and interim President (February 2007-April 2008) and as a Maricopa County Republican Precinct committeeman (August 2009 – August 2012).
During their last earnings call, as reported in the Arizona Republic, Arizona Public Service (APS) CEO Don Brandt was asked about the financial impact rooftop solar could have on APS if solar’s popularity continued to soar.
Just like the public education monopoly, the APS utility monopoly is concerned that more energy efficiency and choice, specifically more rooftop solar, is starting to eat into its profits and revenue growth. APS clearly disclosed this to its investors when it revealed that between now and 2015, it expects its electricity sales to grow by less than 1% even though its customer base will grow 2% annually. The reason? APS customers are investing in more energy efficiency with rooftop solar being the primary technology of choice.
Frankly, how APS addresses this with investors is no concern of mine. And neither should it concern the Arizona Corporation Commission. A more innovative future with more energy choices for Arizona consumers should not and must not be dictated by the utility’s bottom line. By that same logic, we would have harnessed the Internet because of the challenge it posed to newspapers and many other technologies.
I would think by now that any astute energy consumer would recognize that APS’s sudden concern about the proliferation of rooftop solar in Arizona has nothing to do with empathy for Arizona ratepayers. It has everything to do with curbing a disruptive technology growing quickly in their existing marketplace. As one pollster has opined, allowing APS to do this would be “political malpractice.”
But there appears to be a far greater threat to APS’ stock price (PNW) on the horizon and that, fortunately for consumers, is a healthy competitive change. Because of their blatantly naked attempts to kill independent solar in Arizona, along with other reasons, the Arizona Corporation Commission is rightfully looking at opening up more utility competition in Arizona. In fact, they took the first step down this path last week. Kudos to Chairman Bob Stump and Commissioners Gary Pierce, Brenda Burns, Susan Bitter Smith and Bob Burns for their actions. Clearly, APS’ effort to thwart more solar choice in Arizona is exactly why we need more competition in Arizona.
Choice and competition – these are concepts all conservatives can rally behind. And it is one all Wall Street stock investors will surely be watching. The bottom line for consumers is we simply cannot have a better energy future in Arizona if the primary focus is on APS profits rather than innovation and competition that always best serves the marketplace.
Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee made the stunning prediction that Obama will not finish his second term. Huckabee, widely respected and not known for partisanship, may be right!
The Political Demise of Richard Nixon
Many older Americans remember the Nixon years. Richard Nixon was reelected in a landslide, but the groundwork for Nixon’s demise was laid during his first term. The Nixon administration engaged in dirty tricks to aggressively undermine his opposition.
The White House “plumbers” were hired to repair “leaks” of sensitive information that embarrassed Nixon. With no accountability or oversight, the “plumbers” were soon out of control. One night they broke into Democratic National Headquarters (DNC) at the Watergate Hotel, and were arrested.
Nixon didn’t know in advance about the burglary, and was furious. Like most presidents, Nixon’s king-sized ego that would not allow apology, and instead he covered-up, which led to Nixon’s downfall.
Nixon, like John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson before him, unleashed the IRS to go after his enemies, which also came to light during the furor over Watergate.
Nixon was able to cover-up scandals during his first term, but during his second term a steady drip-drip-drip of revelations about Nixon’s abuses of power appeared in the news media, and eventually Congress began impeachment proceedings, and when impeachment became apparent he resigned.
Obama’s Abuse of the IRS
Like Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy, the Obama administration used the IRS to intimidate enemies. The latest revelations are truly shocking. Any organization whose name included “tea party” or “patriot” received intense scrutiny from the IRS, which demanded answers to questions about donors, volunteers, Facebook posts, even which legislators they had talked to.
Now Jewish groups who had opposed Obama’s Mideast policies have revealed they were abused by the IRS too, and the Koch brothers revealed in 2010 the White House had information about them which could only have come from the IRS.
If Obama abused the IRS to intimidate and harass his political enemies, that may well lead to an Obama impeachment, just as it did with Nixon.
‘Fast and Furious’ may also lead to Obama impeachment
During Obama’s first term, the Obama administration sold over 2,000 high powered assault weapons to Mexican narco-traffickers, supposedly to track these weapons, but nobody put tracking devices in the guns or tracked them. Border patrol agent Brian Terry was killed with one of these guns, which initiated the scandal.
Basically the guns were allowed to ‘walk.’ The Mexican government was not told and dozens of innocent Mexicans were killed by drug traffickers with these weapons.
When Congress investigated, the Obama DOJ dragged its feet for months, withholding requested information. The eventual subpoena led to a showdown with Obama. With Holder about to be held in contempt of Congress, Obama threw an overreaching blanket of executive privilege over everything related to ‘fast and furious.’ Congress held Eric Holder in contempt, and not surprisingly the DA refused to prosecute his boss. Any day now we can expect a court to order compliance with the subpoena, court appeals, but in the end Obama will lose and the truth about ‘fast and furious’ will be public.
Will the Benghazi cover-up lead to Obama impeachment?
The full story of the tragic loss of four American heroes in Benghazi begs to be told. Benghazi was unmistakably a terror attack from the beginning, but Obama lied for weeks to assure his reelection.
There was nothing criminal about Obama’s actions leading up to Benghazi, but the incompetence will sink Hillary’s career and tarnish Obama’s leadership. Terror attacks on American diplomatic outposts are nothing new. Two U.S. embassies in Africa were destroyed by car bombs during the Clinton years with massive loss of life. Hillary Clinton was first lady, and Susan Rice the Associate Secretary of State for Africa at the time. Amazingly, Hillary Clinton ignored numerous urgent requests for beefed up security.
Obama failed to authorize military support when told about Benghazi, and at least two who died could have been saved with military support in the region. The Obama administration sought to cover up this gross incompetence to get past the election just two months later, and Susan Rice and Obama clearly lied to the American people about a third-rate video and “spontaneous” demonstration, to divert attention from the fact Al Qaeda is as dangerous as ever.
It remains to be seen whether witnesses in Congress were induced to lie and obstruct. There are already serious allegations a recent witness was the victim of retaliation. One thing is already apparent. The “talking points” from the intelligence community, which Jay Kearney said received one minor insignificant edit before release, were edited 12 times and scrubbed of any terror references. The Review Board that reviewed Benghazi didn’t interview key witnesses, who now are testifying in Congress. Apparently, the review board was a whitewash from the start!
Will Congress consider an Obama impeachment?
If an impeachment vote were held today, it would undoubtedly fail. Congress generally won’t impeach a popular president.
Bill Clinton committed impeachable offenses and was impeached, but the Senate balked at removing Clinton from office because he was still popular.
However, as these scandals grow and the wheels fall off of Obamacare next year, Obama’s approval ratings can be expected to sink to rock bottom levels, and we may well see an effort to impeach Obama. The Obama recovery is worse than the Bush recession, and the public is tired of a jobless economy. Bush has been out of office for four years now, and Obama owns the economic morass though he still blames Bush.
In my opinion, Obama is the worst president in modern history, and the only reason he was reelected is that Mitt Romney wasn’t the best candidate, and didn’t run a good campaign against Obama.
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN TO HOST BILL WHITTLE
STATE CAPITOL – (May 14, 2013) Tomorrow afternoon, conservative national blogger, political commentator, director, screenwriter, editor and author, Bill Whittle, will address like-minded opponents of Medicaid expansion. Representative Warren Petersen (R-Dist. 12) will host the discussion on the Senate Lawn.
WHAT: Response to Medicaid Expansion
WHEN: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 – 12:00 PM
WHERE: Arizona State Capitol, Senate Lawn
WHO: In attendance will be:
- State Representative Warren Petersen (R-Dist. 12)
- Other Arizona Legislators
- Various Republican Party County Chairmen
- Various Republican Party Precinct Committeemen
PHOENIX, Ariz., May 14, 2013 — In a poll released today by their leading association, small-business owners overwhelmingly oppose the high-stakes effort at the Arizona State Capitol to expand Medicaid coverage to all Arizonans at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level as envisioned by the federal healthcare law.
The recent survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB/Arizona) found 79 percent of Arizona small-business owners opposed to the proposed eligibility expansion for the state’s Medicaid program, also known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System or AHCCCS.
Eighteen percent support the Medicaid expansion proposal with less than 3 percent saying they are undecided.
The controversial Medicaid proposal, a centerpiece of Gov. Jan Brewer’s legislative agenda, is principally backed by hospital systems and opposed by key legislative leaders like Senate President Andy Biggs and conservative activists.
The political impasse over Medicaid expansion has stalled the Legislature’s work on the state budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2013.
“Small businesses in Arizona clearly feel they are under siege by the Obamacare law, with its harsh employer mandates, new taxes and pervasive uncertainty,” said Farrell Quinlan, the Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “Our survey found that Arizona’s small-business owners continue to strongly oppose expanding AHCCCS eligibility, because they have no faith in the federal government’s promises to pay for adding hundreds-of-thousands of Arizonans to our Medicaid rolls. Our small-business owners know Washington is more than $16 trillion in debt and Congress will be under increasing pressure to cut the biggest drivers of federal spending – entitlements like Medicaid.”
NFIB/Arizona’s May survey on Medicaid expansion reaffirms small business’ sentiments against expanding Medicaid found in a prior survey conducted before Governor Brewer announced her support for the policy change during her State of the State Address in January.
In that poll, 77 percent opposed the expansion with 13 percent favoring it and 10 undecided.
“It’s instructive that after months of intense promotion and expensive radio and television advertising campaigns, pro-expansion forces have utterly failed to move the support needle with Arizona small business owners,” said Quinlan. “The public’s attitudes have clearly hardened on Obamacare and the fundamental transformation of health care occurring in the United States.”
Respondents to NFIB/Arizona’s survey were also given the opportunity to provide an open-ended answer on the Medicaid expansion issue and implementation of Obamacare in general. The majority viewpoint is best summarized by one respondent’s declaration: “Arizona won’t be able to afford AHCCCS expansion when Washington realizes America can’t afford Obamacare.” Another opponent expressed his profound ambivalence over the decision before Arizona lawmakers: “Either choice is going to be tough and expensive, but to trust the federal government is a mistake. I do not feel that they will make good on their promise to cover the expenses.”
A Medicaid-expansion supporter wrote: “As I understand it, the expansion goes away if/when the federal money goes away. That is the only reason I am supporting it now. When Obama doesn’t want to pay for it anymore, neither should Arizonans.” Another supporter exclaimed: “Believe we are trapped. If O C [Obamacare] stays this seems like the only way to go. But we must have the 90 percent funding from the Feds.”
The latest poll was conducted May 6 to May 13, 2013, as an online and fax-returned survey with 375 Arizona small-business owners responding. The prior poll mentioned above was conducted November 9, 2012 to January 4, 2013 consisting of 449 Arizona small business owners responding. Both polls tested the same question though the set-up explanations of what proponents and opponents say about the policy proposal were updated and expanded in the latest survey. The online version of the May survey can be viewed here.
NFIB routinely surveys its members to determine the organization’s public policy position on issues at the federal and state levels. Due to the overwhelming and consistent results of the two surveys, the upcoming votes by the Arizona Senate and Arizona House of Representatives on Medicaid expansion have been identified as ‘key votes’ eligible to be used on NFIB/Arizona’s legislative score card for the 2013 session.
Commemorating its 70th anniversary, the National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small-business association with 350,000 members nationwide and 7,500 in Arizona. NFIB has offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small- and independent-business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends its views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.
Rooftop Solar Generates $34 Million A Year for APS. APS’ Customers – Not Shareholders – Should Reap This Benefit
(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) A new study shows that rooftop solar and net metering generate a windfall for Arizona Public Service (APS). Rooftop solar generation provides APS with $34 million in benefits each year.
TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) is calling on APS to give back the windfall it has made from rooftop solar energy. $34 million a year should be returned to APS customers in the form of lower rates, not put into the pockets of a giant monopoly and its shareholders.
TUSK Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. said, “In free enterprise, those who make the investment should reap the rewards. APS has not invested in private rooftop solar. Rather, the utility has been trying to kill the industry to limit competition. And for that, they deserve no reward.”
Net metering allows people who invest in rooftop solar to receive fair credit for the power they send back to the grid. It is a simple policy – used in 43 states today – that works very much like rollover minutes on a cell phone bill. Solar is far and away the most popular source of energy in the eyes of Arizonans, but to APS, rooftop solar has become a competitive threat to its monopoly. By working to get the Corporation Commission to change net metering rules, APS is attempting to kill the thriving independent rooftop solar market in Arizona in order to protect its monopoly interests and overwhelming profits.
Rooftop solar is a free market enterprise built by the private investments of homeowners and businesses that install solar panels on their roofs. School districts have also invested in rooftop solar. Through these investments, schools are saving taxpayers millions of dollars while home and business owners are saving money on their electricity bills.
The study showing that solar provides a $34 million benefit to non-solar customers was commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and authored by Crossborder Energy. Using APS and energy market data, the study found that in addition to providing benefits to solar adopters, like control and savings, rooftop solar provides benefits all APS customers. For each dollar of cost, rooftop solar generates $1.54 in benefits to all APS customers.
There are several ways that rooftop solar benefits all APS customers. First, rooftop solar enables APS to spend less money on purchasing power and building expensive conventional power plants. Second, APS can also avoid or delay investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure, because electricity is being generated at the same place it is consumed. In addition, rooftop solar saves APS money on ancillary service costs, capacity reserve costs, avoided renewables costs, and by providing environmental benefits, like lower air pollution emissions and less water use. To learn more about the study and see the full results, click here.
To learn more about T.U.S.K. visit www.dontkillsolar.com
T.U.S.K. believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the Arizona solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction in Arizona. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence for Arizonans means smaller profits for the utilities, so APS is doing everything it can to stop the spread of independent solar.
More information on the debate taking place to eliminate net metering and energy choice in Arizona. This is reposted from The Solar Energy Industry Association:
WASHINGTON, DC – A study released today shows that distributed solar generation (DG) and net energy metering will provide Arizona Public Service (APS) customers with $34 million in annual benefits.
The study was commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and was authored by Tom Beach of Crossborder Energy. Using data from APS’ 2012 Integrated Resource Plan and other APS data, the study examines the costs incurred and the benefits generated by distributed solar over the useful life of a distributed solar system — 20 years. This is consistent with how APS approaches long-term resource planning.
The study found that for each dollar of cost, DG provides $1.54 worth of benefits to APS customers. The net benefits for APS customers will amount to $34 million per year beginning in 2015. Benefits include savings on expensive and polluting conventional power and power plants; reduced investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure; reduced electricity lost during transportation over power lines, as distributed solar power is generated and consumer locally; and savings on the cost of meeting renewable energy requirements.
“This study clearly shows that solar offers concrete net benefits to all APS ratepayers, regardless of whether or not they have installed solar” said Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “It’s essential that we keep smart policies like net metering in place so that Arizona can continue to benefit from its abundant solar resources.”
Net metering is a popular consumer policy in place in 43 states that empowers homes, businesses, schools, and public agencies to install solar while helping the economy and other ratepayers. As a result of thousands of Arizonans’ choice to adopt rooftop solar, a competitive solar energy industry employs 9,800 Arizonans today. Arizona boasts the most solar per capita of any state in the nation with 1,097 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity. Beyond making a smart energy choice, this study shows that these customers’ investments provide financial benefits to all APS customers. Overall, Arizona ranks 2nd in the country for most installed solar, with enough capacity to power 139,000 homes. In 2012 alone, $590 million was invested in Arizona to install solar on homes and businesses.
“Arizona has become a national leader in the use of distributed solar energy. This is due to net metering and other policies put into place by the Arizona Corporation Commission and Legislature. In order to maintain this leadership role, it is imperative that these consumer-friendly policies remain in place,” says Michael Neary, former executive director of AriSEIA, the Arizona SEIA chapter.
The full Crossborder Energy Study is available here.
About Crossborder Energy:
Crossborder Energy has deep analytical experience in the energy field, and has participated actively in many of the major energy policy debates over the last 30 years, including the addition of new natural gas pipeline capacity to serve California and the restructuring of the state’s gas and electric industries. Crossborder Energy provides expert testimony, strategic advice, market intelligence, and economic consulting services on market and regulatory issues in the natural gas and electric industries in California, the western U.S., Canada, and Baja California, Mexico.
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA and its 1,000 member companies are building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. www.seia.org
- The Costs and Benefits of Solar Distributed Generation for Arizona Public Service, May 10, 2013: http://www.seia.org/research-resources/benefits-costs-solar-distributed-…
- U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2012 Year in Review: www.seia.org/smi
- The Solar Foundation’s State Solar Jobs Map: www.solarstates.org
We’re still in the early stages of the 2014 mid-term election and that means that individuals are starting to prepare to become candidates in campaigns for Congress.
With Ann Kirkpatrick in trouble in Arizona’s 1st Congressional district, we’re asking our readers to weigh in on who they best think would win back the district for Republicans.
Some of these names are confirmed but others are speculation or wishful thinking. Here’s your chance to vote: