D.C. Experts Try to Split Trump Coalition, but Refuse any Immigration Reforms

In this Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, photo released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows foreign nationals being arrested this week during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens in Los Angeles. Immigrant advocates on Friday, …
Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

An establishment group of D.C. experts is trying to reduce President Donald Trump’s support from working-class Americans in 2020 while refusing to offer any immigration reforms.

The report about policies that would aid working-class voters says it prefers to ignore the political iceberg of cheap-labor immigration which helped Donald Trump sink Hillary Clinton’s campaign:

The authors of this report came together in the months after the 2016 election to develop a plan of action.

Our group agreed: the perception that immigration is responsible for what ails the working class is mistaken … and we felt it was unnecessary to address immigration to propose solutions for the working class.

By ignoring the immigration iceberg, the D.C. experts are joining many other establishment players’ refusal to reform the establishment’s policy of using legal and illegal immigration to suppress working-class wages. Instead they say middle-class Americans should pay for the huge civic costs of the cheap-labor migration policies which benefit Wall Street’s valuations, CEO salaries, and lobbyists’ fees.

The report is titled “Work, Skills, Community Restoring opportunity for the working class.” It is being touted even though President Donald Trump’s low-immigration policies are successfully shifting work, skills, community, and wealth to the working-class and middle-class Americans who have been denied jobs and wages amid the cheap-labor migration policies set by prior Presidents.

The report’s anti-Trump political agenda was praised by New York Times columnist David Brooks, who promoted the report under the loaded headline, “Who should run the country next?” He wrote:

One of the core questions before us is this: Who is going to lead this country? Is it perpetual outsiders like Trump, with no governing or policy competence, who say the establishments have forfeited all credibility? Or are there enough chastened members of establishments, who have governing experience, who acknowledge past mistakes, who take the time to reconnect with the country and apply their expertise in new ways?

The bipartisan experts do not detail the total economic cost of their plan to transfer wealth from the middle-class to the many working-class American families who earn from $30,000 to $69,000 per year.

But the experts do detail some of the proposed transfers. For example, the report urges Congress to eliminate workplace-training subsidies for families who earn above $60,000, end childcare tax breaks for families who earn above $80,000 and end college tax-break for families earning above $100,000.

The report says:

Working-class voters aren’t wrong: the status quo is rigged against them. Far too many benefits—wage gains, tax breaks, private investment—flow to others and have for more than half a century.

Today, the primary beneficiaries of the child and dependent care tax credit are households with incomes above $100,000. We propose capping eligibility at $80,000 and making the credit refundable—payable even to families that don’t earn enough to owe income taxes. Likewise, we propose funding Pell Grants for career education and training—for college-age students and workers displaced by economic change—by reallocating money currently spent on 529 education savings accounts, tuition tax credits and graduate student loans. All of these subsidies benefit primarily higher-income students or those who could be equally well served by private lenders …

The report does not suggest any changes in the nation’s cheap-labor immigration policies which boost CEOs and wealthy investors by annually importing more than 1.3 million employable legal immigrants, temporary visa-workers, and illegal migrants. That inflow adds up to at least one new migrant for every three Americans who join the labor force each year.

But the report says the government should provide more aid to working-class people by taxing some wealthier people. But this transfer plan would quietly allow politicians to extract political profit from immigration by transferring some immigration-generated, indirect profits from the wealthy to working-class:

we propose raising new revenue—whenever possible, by taxing those on the winning side of growing economic inequality or those who benefited most from the expensive tax cuts of 2017. We propose enacting one of three possible tax increases: expanding the number of families that pay estate taxes, limiting tax deductions available to better-off households or raising minimum taxes for corporations that rely on tax havens.

The report does not call for higher taxes on stock-market gains earned from a high-migration, cheap-labor economy.

In fact, taxpayers should subsidize the employers who hire low-wage immigrant workers, the report says:

Policymakers should consider a broader and more direct wage subsidy to low-wage workers. Rather than supplement wages with a year-end tax credit, a subsidy would add money to each paycheck alongside the wage from an employer.

The experts even urge that the government employ the Americans who are left on the sidelines once employers have filled their jobs with preferred Americans and poor migrants:

[One] option would resemble an initiative pioneered during the Great Recession: as part of the 2009 stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Congress spent $1.3 billion to create some 260,000 subsidized jobs.

The report does include a throwaway sentence urging employers to pay higher wages to Americans:

The private sector has a role to play. For most of this century, returns on capital have been rising, while returns for labor have been flat. Employers should do more to balance the equation, raising wages for low-paid workers.

One explanation for the group’s avoidance of migration is that it was assembled and steered by one of D.C.’s most ardent advocates of cheap-labor migration.

The report says it was “convened by Opportunity America, cosponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution.”

The director of Opportunity America is Tamar Jacoby, who is also recorded as the head of ImmigrationWorks USA. Both organizations share the same D.C. address, and ImmigrationWorks USA is backed by a series of low-wage employers, such as the Texas Restaurant Association and the Marriott hotel chain.

In 2013, Jacoby championed the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill, which would have provided an amnesty to at least 11 million illegals. The bill would also have doubled the inflow of new legal migrants, allowed many more refugees, approved an unlimited inflow of foreign college-graduates. The many giveaways to business would have shifted even more of the nation’s annual earnings from employees to employers, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

In April 2013, Jacoby applauded the amnesty:

We applaud the eight Senators and staff who came together to craft the legislation. It’s a thoughtful, ambitious blueprint, proof positive that the art of compromise is still alive in the Senate. Many of my members are particularly pleased to see Republican lawmakers engaging as equal partners in the effort to pass immigration reform, and we are grateful to all eight Senators for their commitment to pragmatism and bipartisanship – pragmatism and bipartisanship evident on virtually every page of the bill.

Jacoby’s career of cheap-labor advocacy is not mentioned in the report.

In the United States, the establishment’s economic policy of using migration to boost economic growth shifts wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with cheap white-collar and blue-collar foreign labor. That flood of outside labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees.

The policy also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least five million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.

Immigration also pulls investment and wealth away from heartland states because coastal investors can more easily hire and supervise the large immigrant populations who prefer to live in the coastal states.

 

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