Why are Palin and Tea Partiers Attacking Sen. Rubio?

By Alex Gonzalez

If there is one positive thing about this whole issue of Immigration and attacks by Sarah Palin and Tea Partiers on Sen. Rubio and Republicans is that, at least now, they have come out of the closet for who they really are, government lovers. Tea Parties and Sarah Palin do not want to fix Entitlements and Immigration because gridlock in Congress behooves them. So they create all these conspiracies about benefits for immigrants under S.744 to derail the bill. But, in reality, it could be said that this movement was never and about limiting government, but rather about avoiding any compromise in Congress by pushing the GOP farther to the right to make it disorderly–no compromise. And there are good economic reasons for it, more Entitlements.

This is what Sarah Palin tweeted in reference to Marco Rubio s S.744 Bill:

Politicians wonder why we can’t trust them? Campaign flip-flops like this and carve-out bribes in the Amnesty…

Also, Palin now spends some of her  time on Fox news attacking Sen. Rubio and opposing and Immigration reform because she does not like the Republican Party that, according to her, is getting “bribes” for this Bill. But it is actually the opposite. Paling and Tea Partiers the ones benefiting from gridlock.

Since the early days of the movement in 2009, polls showed Tea Partiers opposed cutting Entitlements like Medicare and Social Security.  In 2011, 70% of Tea Partiers opposed such cuts. Similarly, the latest poll in 2013, shows opposition to cutting Entitlements increased to 84% among Tea Partiers.

In 2009-10, when Tea Partiers spoke about fixing Entitlements they mentioned Medicaid; when they spoke about cutting government, they meant education, notwithstanding the fact that for every $7 dollars spent on health services for seniors only $1 dollar is spent on education.  in 2010, when Tea Partiers asked that we cut government, they meant  from discretionary spending, which is only 16 percent of he budget.

Thus, the swift change from Tea Party leaders to oppose Immigration reform is not coincidence; they want use this bill to scare Tea Party follower. Most members of these groups are in the age-group that largely benefits  from public debt–$1.2 trillion annually–accrued to pay for Medicare and Social Security; debt that will have to be paid by millions of  young Americans, and immigrants. 

Thus, when populist leader like Palin Michele Bachmann attack Rubio on the immigration Bill, they know Tea Party members  can be easily terrified  if they  are told that “amnesty” is a bad policy for their government programs. But this is pure political fear-mongering than factual cost-benefits analysis of the Immigration bill.

Opponents to Marco Rubio’s Senate Bill argue that this is about “bribe” and that this bill will affect many Americans receiving federal programs, the mantra now pushed by Palin, Alan West and Michel Bachmann. But this is greatly misleading, especially for Social Security. 

As some 75 million baby boomers prepare to retire, immigrants will be crucial to keeping the federal pension program afloat. As too few Americans understand, Social Security is not a pre-funded retirement system and there is no “lock box” with money set aside for each worker’s retirement. It operates as a pay-as-you-go system. As the editorial by WSJ points out:

 Immigrants help ease this demographic problem in three ways. First, most come here between the ages of 18 and 35, near the start of their working years. Second, few come with elderly parents (only about 2.5% of immigrants are over age 65 when they arrive), and the seniors who do come aren’t eligible for Social Security because they have no U.S. work history. Third, immigrants tend to have more children than do native-born Americans and their offspring will also pay into the system.

Stephen Goss, Social Security’s chief actuary, to estimate the value of the 1.08 million net new legal and illegal immigrants that currently come to the U.S. each year. He calculates that over 25 years the trust fund is enriched in today’s dollars by $500 billion and the surplus from immigration mushrooms to $4 trillion over 75 years.

Thus the net effect of the immigration bill on the long-range Social Security trust fund “actuarial balance will be positive,” Mr. Goss recently wrote in a letter to Senator Marco Rubio. These higher post-reform levels of immigration would mean an extra $600 billion into the trust fund to about $4.6 trillion over 75 years. 

Similar projection about the contribution of an Immigration Bill to Medicare were detailed in study by Harvard economist. According to the Harvard Report,

Immigrants Contributed An Estimated $115.2 Billion More To The Medicare Than They Take. Many immigrants in the United States are working-age taxpayers; few are elderly beneficiaries of Medicare. This demographic profile suggests that immigrants may be disproportionately subsidizing the Medicare Trust Fund, which supports payments to hospitals and institutions under Medicare Part A. For immigrants and others, we tabulated Trust Fund contributions and withdrawals (that is, Trust Fund expenditures on their behalf) using multiple years of data from the Current Population Survey and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

In 2009 immigrants made 14.7 percent of Trust Fund contributions but accounted for only 7.9 percent of its expenditures—a net surplus of $13.8 billion. In contrast, US-born people generated a $30.9 billion deficit. Immigrants generated surpluses of $11.1–$17.2 billion per year between 2002 and 2009, resulting in a cumulative surplus of $115.2 billion. Most of the surplus from immigrants was contributed by noncitizens and was a result of the high proportion of working-age taxpayers in this group. Policies that restrict immigration may deplete Medicare’s financial resources.

Therefore, these groups opposing Rubio’s plan, who were supposed to be a fiscal conservative movements, have turned into movement fueled by conspiracies and right-wingers who even accused Sen. Rubio of being a RINO to try to discredit his plan. So this phony “limited government” populism by Palin in fact is more about keeping draining the federal budget through Entitlements, which cost about $2 trillion every year. And Palin knows big government program can be addictive since she comes from Alaska, a state that for every dollar it sends to Washington it collects $1.85 in return in subsidies.

There ample evidence underlining that this S.544 will a net benefit to the economy and help fund Entitlements.  The updated report by CBO on the ‘border surge” Amendment underscores that “For the committee-approved version of S. 744, CBO and JCT estimated that changes in direct spending and revenues would decrease federal budget deficits by about $700 billion (or 0.2 percent of gross domestic product) over the 2024-2033 period.” 

But this not what populists Tea Partiers want to hear. They want confusion . Tea Party Senators like Cruz and and Mike Lee now even argue that the have not have time to read the 100-page Amendment, notwithstanding the fact that the Amendment was introduced six days ago. They, too, now argue the Senate bill is like ObamaCare. Sen. Rand Paul even argues that the $40 billion  “border surge” is not enough.

Therefore, nothing in the rhetoric of the leaders of these groups suggest that they want to fix our economic woos but rather prevent any reform to Immigration, Medicare, and Social Security so they can continue passing on the national debt to future generation of Americans.  It is also clear that the Republican Party cannot revamp its image with Latino voters if these groups are setting an agenda of fear and tribal class-warfare about government benefits.

These groups are not in politics to fix things, they are in it to prevent changes to the status-quo. And no matter how many studies are presented to them, or the radio talk-hosts that controlled these groups, they will not change their views, they already have plan of no compromise so the government dole can keep coming. 

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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