Monday, March 4, 2013

Last Call

And suddenly GOP Sen. Marco Rubio is all alone on immigration as fellow Floridian Jeb Bush drives the blade right into Rubio's back.

Former Florida governor – and potential GOP presidential candidate – Jeb Bush said this week that a pathway to citizenship should not be a component of an overhaul of the nation's immigration system.

Bush, a Spanish-speaker who's wife is Mexican-born, has long-been viewed as one of the more liberal-minded GOP leaders when in comes to immigration policy, warning Republicans for years that they oppose significant reform at their own political peril.

But in a Monday interview with NBC's “Today," Bush advocated for a system in which the millions of immigrants living in the country illegally be given the option of attaining permanent residency, but not eventual citizenship.

“There has to be some difference between people who come here legally and illegally. It’s just a matter of common sense and a matter of the rule of law,” he said. “If we’re not going to apply the law fairly and consistently, then we’re going to have another wave of illegal immigrants coming into the country.”

That position puts him to the right of another Floridian and potential 2016 presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who is part of the bipartisan group of eight senators pushing for an immigration overhaul that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

That's a complete reversal on Jeb's previous position, and he solidifies that in his new book on immigration out this week:

In a new book, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) makes a notable reversal on immigration reform, arguing that creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would only encourage future unauthorized immigration.

"It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences -- in this case, that those who violated the law can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship," Bush and lawyer Clint Bolick argue in a new book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution. "To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship."

If I'm Team Rubio, I'm flipping tables and lighting them on fire.  Jeb Bush just backstabbed Rubio for what may be fatal damage.  How does Rubio survive any sort of primary for 2016 when he's now to the left of arguably the most moderate GOP candidate around?

Answer is, he doesn't.  But this massive flip-flop also burns Bush.

The revelations angered top advisors to Mitt Romney, who felt that Bush went out of his way to make statements during the campaign that undermined the former Republican presidential candidate's campaign by seeming to urge a softer approach to immigration.

"Where the hell was this Jeb Bush during the campaign?" said one advisor."He spent all this time criticizing Romney and it turns out he has basically the same position. So he wants people to go back to their country and apply for citizenship? Well, that's self deportation. We got creamed for talking about that. And now Jeb is saying the same thing."

So not only does Marco Rubio know know he's been had, but now the party will have to deal with Jeb Bush basically killing immigration reform.

Good luck with that in 2014, much less 2016, boys.

Read more here:

Wage Slaving 101

Former Obama economic adviser and current UC-Berkeley econ professor Christina Romer all but pours cold water on the notion of even having a minimum wage, let alone raising it to $9 an hour as the President suggested in his SOTU speech last month.

First, what’s the argument for having a minimum wage at all? Many of my students assume that government protection is the only thing ensuring decent wages for most American workers. But basic economics shows that competition between employers for workers can be very effective at preventing businesses from misbehaving. If every other store in town is paying workers $9 an hour, one offering $8 will find it hard to hire anyone — perhaps not when unemployment is high, but certainly in normal times. Robust competition is a powerful force helping to ensure that workers are paid what they contribute to their employers’ bottom lines. 
One argument for a minimum wage is that there sometimes isn’t enough competition among employers. In our nation’s history, there have been company towns where one employer truly dominated the local economy. As a result, that employer could affect the going wage for the entire area. In such a situation, a minimum wage can not only make workers better off but can also lead to more efficient levels of production and employment. 
But I suspect that few people, including economists, find this argument compelling today. Company towns are largely a thing of the past in this country; even Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest employer, faces substantial competition for workers in most places. And many employers paying the minimum wage are small businesses that clearly face strong competition for workers. 

Now, I'm not a economics professor, but the problem isn't production, efficiency, or competition.
It's cost of living.  It's the fact that minimum wage doesn't begin to cover a place to live anywhere in America.

And Romer's solution is increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit.

It’s precisely because the redistributive effects of a minimum wage are complicated that most economists prefer other ways to help low-income families. For example, the current tax system already subsidizes work by the poor via an earned-income tax credit. A low-income family with earned income gets a payment from the government that supplements its wages. This approach is very well targeted — the subsidy goes only to poor families — and could easily be made more generous. 

By raising the reward for working, this tax credit also tends to increase the supply of labor. And that puts downward pressure on wages. As a result, some of the benefits go to businesses, as would be the case with any wage subsidy. Though this mutes some of the direct redistributive value of the program — particularly if there’s no constraining minimum wage — it also tends to increase employment. And a job may ultimately be the most valuable thing for a family struggling to escape poverty. 

Not if the job doesn't cover the cost of rent in the first place.  Even here in Kentucky, one of the cheapest states to live in,  you'd need to be pulling down $11+ an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

Ohio's $7.85 a hour minimum wage still means you'd need $13+ an hour, same with Indiana's federal minimum.  The $9 an hour the President is talking about is a solid first step, but more tax credits for the poor isn't going to fix the problem.

Talking about minimum wages without talking about cost of living problems is a ridiculous waste of time and space, and frankly I'm more than a little peeved at Professor Romer for forgetting that:  nowhere in the piece does she mention a living wage.

Just annoying as all hell.
Related Posts with Thumbnails