When Conservatives Are Ruled by Unions and “Government Takers”

By Alex Gonzalez

This week the Unions representing the Border Patrol (CBP) and Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Tea Party groups released support letters in opposition to the Immigration Senate Bill S.744. The Irony is that the letter from Tea Party groups is in protection of Entitlements while the USCIS Union is in opposition to fixing the “bureaucratic mess.”

The signatories for the Tea Party letter included former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), RedState.com editor Erick Erickson, and Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder and national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots.  The letter, which includes nearly 150 signers, contends that and this Immigration bill “could bankrupt the country’s entitlement programs; and it doesn’t sufficiently secure the nation’s borders before granting undocumented immigrants legalized status.

In simple terms, Tea Party groups opposing S.744, rather that offering solutions to fix Entitlement mentality to cut the trillions of dollars in Entitlements with an Immigration bill, are arguing for the protection of an Entitlements Society the embraces government benefits and rejects competition among workers, which fosters competitiveness, higher skills and work ethnic. The letter underlines that:

  • Hurts American job-seekers, especially those with less education. 
  • Threatens to bankrupt our already strained entitlement system.

But this is a similar message pushed by the Heritage Foundation, and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), aimed at derailing the Immigration bill with “fear-tactic.” For example, Heritage’s President Jim DeMint argues that:

The Senate bill imposes significant costs on taxpayers. At a time of trillion-dollar deficits and $17 trillion in debt, the cost of implementing amnesty and the strain it will add to already fragile entitlement and welfare programs should be of serious concern for everyone.

It is as though these Tea Party groups just copy/paste the Heritage Foundation’s narrative.  However, this is precisely what Nichoals Eberstadt from the American Enterprise Institute argues is corroding our national character, and thus, becoming a nation of “takers.” Nichoals Eberstadt’s A Nation of Takers: American’s Entitlement Epidemic, argues that “government Entitlement payments are benefits to which a person holds an established right under the law (i.e., to which a person is entitled.)”  In this context, Eberstasdt conclusively suggest that the “Entitlement  epidemic” is cultural, generational, Republican and Democrat “epidemic.”

According to  Eberstadt, the government of the United States has become colossal empire of an Entitlement machine managing, protecting and financing government programs. As a result, the US government devotes more resources to the public transfer of good to citizens than any other objective.  For example, the total transfer of payments in 1960 was only $24 billion but by 2010, the outlay of payment was 100 times  more.  The magnitude transfer of entitlement outlays are so staggering that in 2010 alone, the government transferred over $2.2 trillion in money goods and services to recipient men, women and children.  As a result, entitlement outlays have grown relentlessly in the past three decades, under both Republican and Democrat administrations, pushed by demands for health services by retiring baby-boomers.

In Eberstatdt findings, aging population is one of the principle drivers of entitlement but the other is the electronic transfer of money, or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), has made Americans more comfortable with receiving government programs. EBTs were issued instead of food stamps when in 2008 new Farm Bill, which had always had spoken of food stamps and “coupons,” struck those word from bill, and simply replaced with the EBT card to remove any possible stigma to such benefits.

But the fact show that both parties have worked to keep and enlarge entitlements programs to woo voters. In fact, and according to Eberstadt, entitlement government programs have actually been 8% greater under Republican administrations in the last 50 years. As a result, both parties have fueled the entitlement epidemic.

Furthermore,  this” epidemic”  of  Entitlements is incentivizing people to stay on employment benefits by calming “disability” under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). For example,  Richard Burkhauser, American Enterprise Institute argues:

SSDI reached a record high of 8.85 million in March 2013, an increase of 1.6 million or 21 percent since the start of the Great Recession in 2007.” Most SSDI growth is driven by its incentive structure and the increasing difficulty of its administrators to determine disability… SSDI’s most fundamental structural flaw is its reliance on a flat payroll tax for funding which does not rise for firms whose workers disproportionately come onto SSDI rolls or fall for firms who take measures to instead keep them on the job. Hence firms have less incentive to accommodate or rehabilitate their workers at the most effective point for such treatments-when workers first experience a health shock that affects their ability to work.

Thus, what Jim DeMint and Tea Party groups that signed this letter are protecting in reality is the “government  taker” Entitlement mentality and government programs.

Likewise, USCIS  is a Union of more than 12,000 immigration officers and bureaucrats opposing S.744,  and the Border Patrol is a union that has 21,000 members; so why are conservative rallying behind these Unions? These unions, albeit work for the federal government, are not under the purview of the federal government or the state of Texas, but rather Union bosses that only want to advance their unionist interests—more members. For example, the CBP Union opposed President Bush Immigration Reform in 2006 and 2007 using the same argument that any legislation aimed at fixing immigration problem only encourages more illegal immigration. In addition, TJ Bonner,  President of Border Patrol Union, used to appear on Lou Dobbs to opposed President W. Bush immigrating Reform in 2006-07 even though in 2006 unemployment was 4.5 percent. also, the Senate Judiciary Committee already passed  an Amendment  by Sen. Cornyn increasing the  number of Border Patrol  agents by 5,000, the Union still opposes the S.744.

Therefore, Unions are not in the business of solving problems with Republican or Democrat solutions, but rather more interested in the business on how to enlarge Union membership.

The USCIS, represented by The National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, represents the agents who issue and handle immigration documents, is for the first time joining the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council announced its position against the bill on Monday. However, their argument is that:

“The culture at USCIS encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications,” National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council President Kenneth Palinkas wrote in a release announcing the group’s opposition. “USCIS has been turned into an ‘approval machine.’.. Palinkas said the new bill would do nothing to fix the agency’s problems and leave in place an “insurmountable bureaucracy.”

Mr. Palinkas, the Union President, acknowledges that there is an inherent bureaucratic mess within USCIS, but they oppose any overhaul of the immigration system. But, why?  The reality is that S.744 actually fixes the immigration gridlock within USCIS since with this  bill those applicants granted the “Provisional Status”—after passing a background check– will not have to go to USCIS office only until the apply for green card in ten years, and thereby, cutting the bureaucracy of USCIS. Perhaps what Mr. Palinkas is more worried about is how many Union dues and members they may will lose with an affective Immigration system that requires less unionized governments workers.

And because this bill spurs more economic activity and creates about $60 billion in ten years—as projected by CBO, Manhattan InstituteHoover Institution and CATO—there is no reason why Republicans must  have federal unions attempting to regulate economic activity, which in itself is Un-Conservative.

As For the Tea Party groups wanting to protect an Entitlement society, James Madison believe that men are prone to fallibility by their own self-love, bias judgment and opinions;  and their passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other.

Alex Gonzalez  is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote!  He received a Bachelors Degree and a Masters’ Degree, with emphasis in American politics,  from San Francisco State University.
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