Are Republicans Really Focused on the Economy?

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Republicans swept into power promising to undo the economic damage done by the anti-business, growing-government policies of the Democrats.  The Republicans did not sweep Colorado, perhaps because the Colorado voters were not fooled!

Colorado Republicans are clearly showing that improving the economy of their state is not their overriding goal.  They are convening a summit that will likely result in the recommendation of a bill to enforce strict immigration laws, such as the one passed in Arizona earlier this year.  Thankfully, it has little chance of passing, but the Republicans in Colorado (and elsewhere) are in favor of enacting such laws, which are immoral and violate individual rights. 

These laws make American businesses less competitive by violating an employer’s rights to hire who they please. These laws also place additional burden on our law enforcement and court systems which are charged with the task of processing and housing nonviolent, illegal immigrants.  Those immigrants could be contributing to economic growth rather than contributing to the growth of government.

If the Republicans truly wanted to jumpstart the economy, they might start by removing counterproductive efforts to control labor such as immigration quotas, the minimum wage and laws giving special favors to unions, rather than cater to a xenophobic obsession with deporting as many illegal immigrants as possible.


From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

It appears Congress will try to pass DREAM Act before the year is over.  The DREAM Act, while far from perfect, is a small step in the right direction towards legalizing countless immigrants whose only goal is to live and work peacefully in this country.  

Please contact your congressman and give a quick show of support for the bill.  You may contact your Representative here and your Senator here.  

We will review DREAM Act in a future post and explain how it is a step in the right direction, but far from a complete solution to the country’s immigration problem.

This Week’s Objectivist Roundup

It’s over at The Playful Spirit.  Go check it out!

The Visa God

Okay, so this article about the “visa god” seems hilarious at first…

Balaji is one of the most worshipped local incarnations of the Hindu god, Vishnu. His adherents flock to his many temples to pray for things such as happiness, prosperity and fertility.

Lately, the deity has grown particularly popular at the once quiet Chilkur Balaji temple here, where he goes by a new nickname: the “visa god”. The temple draws 100,000 visitors a week, many of whom come to pray to Balaji for visas to travel or move to the US and other Western countries.

Mohanty Dolagobinda is one of the visa god’s believers. Three years ago, a US consulting company applied for a visa on his behalf. It was rejected. When the company tried again the following year, Dolagobinda’s friends told him to visit the Chilkur Balaji temple ahead of his interview at the US consulate. Weeks later, he sailed through the interview. “I’ve never heard of anyone who’s gone to the temple whose visa got rejected,” says Dolagobinda.

..but I find it really sad.  First, I find it sad that people are so superstitious and out of touch with reality, but second, it’s sad that people have to resort to wishful thinking instead of action to better their lives.  If you’re not violating other people’s rights, why should you be restricted from moving elsewhere to accept work?  Does a person not have a right to their own life and happiness?  Does an employer not have the right to hire whomever they please to work in their business? 

The only feasible answer to the first question is the god-awful welfare state.  It’s not fair to taxpayers for someone to move into their country and go on the government dole, right?  But is that an immigration problem or a welfare state problem?

I think it’s a welfare state problem.  Frankly, I don’t care whether someone is an immigrant, was just born here today or has lived here all their life, it’s a blatant violation of my individual rights to forcibly redistribute my income to anyone else.

Perhaps the first step in doing away with the welfare state could be to disallow immigrants access to those services and eliminate the proportionate taxes they pay for them.  Then wean the rest of the population off as well!

Immigrant Labor Creates Jobs

The New York Times had an interesting article last weekend titled How Immigrants Create More Jobs.  From the article:

The study notes that when companies move production offshore, they pull away not only low-wage jobs but also many related jobs, which can include high-skilled managers, tech repairmen and others. But hiring immigrants even for low-wage jobs helps keep many kinds of jobs in the United States, the authors say. In fact, when immigration is rising as a share of employment in an economic sector, offshoring tends to be falling, and vice versa, the study found.

In other words, immigrants may be competing more with offshored workers than with other laborers in America.

I think it’s time to end the scaremongering associated with immigration and let the truth (and freedom) reign!

You Work for Uncle Sam Now

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Current immigration laws are a moral farce, but the practical consequences on business owners and those who they deal with are not brought up nearly enough.  Let’s explore that for a moment.

Conservatives and other get-tough-on-illegal-immigration types insist that it is just to hold employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants. They suppose that every employer has merely to take one look at the application and instantly tell that their new employee must be an illegal immigrant. Employers face hefty fines (up to $5,000 per employee in some cases) for hiring illegal aliens "knowingly," which has been interpreted by the courts in a very wide manner. For example, Wal-mart was fined $11 million for hiring a contractor who hired illegal immigrants - so if you deal with any sub-contractors you not only have to verify that everyone you hire is authorized to work in the US but that they do as well.

Such laws add another administrative "compliance" burden on employers, effectively drafting them into the US government to act as immigration officers. This costs businesses money and its effectiveness is extremely dubious. Even with the much-touted "E-Verify" program (which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will cost us $40 billion by 2018) there is an estimated 54% false positive rate - that means someone who is actually illegal has a 54% chance of coming back as authorized. For this, smaller businesses must create entirely new positions to ensure compliance, larger businesses must spend millions of dollars in auditing and compliance - costs that are passed on to us in the form of increased costs for goods and services.

"Stealth taxes" like this are a favorite tactic of politicians who wish to appear "tough on illegal immigration." It punishes employers - in some cases costing them millions of dollars in enforcement costs followed by million of dollars in lost revenue when an INS raid (which use of the E-Verify program does not protect against) deprives them of large portions of their work force. Then it might cost them millions of dollars in fines if it is determined that they were not zealous enough in determining the immigration status of their employees. These sorts of laws do not just violate the rights of employers to hire the best labor for the cheapest price, but cost us all untold amounts of money for absolutely no effective outcome.