Zaid Jilani at the Center for American Progress put up a blog post titled, “College debate organizers unable to find any law professors to argue health reform is unconstitutional.” Indeed, it seems that none of the four panelists at the University of Washington Law School event had any issues with Obamacare.
Maybe the UW organizers, who couldn’t find anyone with the opposing view, are talking to the same folks who told John Conyers about the “Good and Welfare Clause.” Because, as I said before, it’s not that hard to find constitutional scholars who have problems with this legislation.
OK, look, I’ll make it easier: I hereby announce that I am willing to travel anywhere at anytime to debate the constitutionality of Obamacare. Whoever sets up the debate has to pay my travel expenses, but that’s it. Any takers?
The Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Center released a new study this morning that finds comprehensive immigration reform would boost the U.S. economy by $189 billion a year by 2019. The bottom‐line results of the study are remarkably similar to those of a Cato study released last August.
Titled “Raising the Floor for American Workers: the Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” the CAP study was authored by Dr. Raul Hinojosa‐Ojeda of the University of California, Los Angeles.
It finds that legalizing low‐skilled immigration would boost U.S. gross domestic product by 0.84 percent by raising the productivity of immigrant workers and expanding activity throughout the economy.
Using a different general‐equilibrium model of the U.S. economy, the earlier Cato study (“Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform,” by Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer) found that a robust temporary worker program would boost the incomes of U.S. households by $180 billion a year by 2019.
Both studies also concluded that tighter restrictions and reduced low‐skilled immigration would impose large costs on native‐born Americans by shrinking the overall economy and lowering worker productivity.
I’m partial to the Cato study. Its methodology is more comprehensive and more fully explained, but it is worth noting that very different think tanks employing two different models have come to the same result: Legalization of immigration will expand the U.S. economy and incomes, while an “enforcement only” policy of further restrictions will only depress economic activity.
If Congress and President Obama want to create better jobs and stimulate the economy, comprehensive immigration reform should be high on the agenda.
1) Commandant of the Marine Corps announces part of justification for sending more troops to Afghanistan: “where we have gone, goodness follows.” Pat Lang is displeased.
2) Glenn Greenwald observes that in Foreign Policy magazine’s survey of leading public intellectuals who write about foreign policy, the United States is tied with Somalia and Iran for second place in the category “Most Dangerous Country in the World.”
3) Afghanistan is an ideologically cross‐cutting issue. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D‑OH) praises Cato’s Afghanistan study on Fox News’ On the Record, saying
…I’m against any further taxes to pay for this war. But I think it has to be pointed out, this isn’t a left‐right issue. I mean, here’s the Cato Institute, hardly a left‐wing organization, wrote a piece called “Escaping the Graveyard of Empires,” and they have a plan, and I’ve met with them, that gets us out of Afghanistan, with advisers and a new approach to intelligence and also a new drug policy.
Meanwhile, the liberal Center for American Progress has produced a statement on Afghanistan that offers some empty rhetoric about an exit strategy but contains no actual plan – or even a call for a plan – for exiting. Instead, their proposal for when to leave is limited to calling for a multinational effort that merely will “have all Afghan forces in the lead within four years, or the 12‐year mark of our engagement.” CAP is also offering a pretend plan to cut the Pentagon budget, urging Obama to spend more than $600 billion on defense for each of the next several years.
Today the Center for American Progress rolled out its proposal that we add "public directors" to the boards of companies that have been bailed out by the government. CAP scholar Emma Coleman Jordan argues that "public directors will provide a corrective to the boards of the financial institutions that helped cause the crisis."
One has to wonder whether Ms. Jordan has ever heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If she had, she might recall that a substantial number of the board members of Fannie and Freddie were so-called "public" members appointed by the President. Perhaps she can ask CAP adjunct scholar and former Fannie Mae executive Ellen Seidman to review the history of those companies for her.
Years ago, talking with a public school teacher friend of mine at the end of the school year, she told me how excited she was about her impending orca whale watching outings in the San Juan Islands. Not only would it be a blast, but it would count as a continuing education credit (toward a master’s of education degree, as I recall) that would boost her salary substantially.
Normally, I bite my tongue in such situations. But before I could stop myself I blurted out the question: “Is watching whales going to make you a better teacher?”
The lack of any relationship between education master’s degrees and student achievement is acknowledged in a recent study from the Center for American Progress by Marguerite Roza and Raegen Miller. In fact, Roza and Miller find that states waste $8.6 billion every year paying for master’s degrees that do nothing to improve student performance. Ironically, the state that offers the highest wage bump to teachers who obtain an M. Ed. ($10,777) is my home state of Washington.
Watching whales may not do much for your students, but it does wonders for your pocketbook. (HT: Joanne Jacobs)
Someone forwarded me an email update from our friends at the Center for American Progress Action Fund (motto: “Disagree with us? Then you hate progress.”).
In one blurb, CAPAF’s crack team of spin‐disclosers chides Republicans for discussing health care reform using the language recommended by pollster Frank Luntz, who “advised Republicans to fearmonger” Obama’s proposals to death! Or something.
The same email had another blurb titled, “INSURANCE COMPANIES AT THE TABLE?” There, CAPAF’s crack team of spin‐disclosers describe how “health insurance companies and lobbying groups” stood beside President Obama last week to announce their support for reducing spending growth. The blurb continues:
However, days later, the insurance companies tried to walk back their promises, saying Obama had overstated their commitments. Richard Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association, wrote to his company’s state and local affiliates to “clarify” that “[t]he groups did not support reducing the rate of health spending by 1.5 percentage points annually.” However, the letter to Obama signed by Umbdenstock and the other insurance leaders specifically pledged…
“Umbdenstock and the other insurance leaders”?? Since when do we classify hospitals as insurance companies? And if “the insurance companies…sa[y] Obama had overstated their commitments,” why not quote the insurance companies? Could they not find such a quote?
It’s as if CAPAF’s crack team of spin‐disclosers has decided to blame every development that might threaten a — ahem — government take‐over of health care on the insurance companies. Now why might they want to do that? Could it be because insurance companies are less popular than hospitals?
And how would CAPAF’s crack team of spin‐disclosers know that? By listening to a … pollster?
Matt Yglesias nails it:
I don’t know exactly what the issue is, but it doesn’t make sense for the American government to be acting as if this is a bigger deal for us than it is for the Pakistanis.
Washington’s excessive fear of the Taliban threat may be warranted, but the disproportionate response is literally “perverse.”