Tag Archives: Cato Institute

Immigration ‘Reform’ Will Turn the U.S. into a Police State

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 05, 2013

Whenever the federal government decides to reform something we can be fairly sure that the problem is about to get worse, especially if they call the plan bi-partisan. The bi-partisan immigration reform proposal launched last week in the US Senate will be no different.

The new plan, introduced by Sens. McCain and Schumer, would provide a path to citizenship for many of those in the United States illegally. This would only begin after the borders are deemed secure and applicants have paid fees for their illegal entry. They must also pay back taxes on their earnings while working here without government permission. Those on a path to citizenship would be subject to background checks and would be monitored while in the US.

The devil is in the details, and the details of the McCain plan are deeply disturbing. To secure the borders he is calling for a massive increase in drones flying over US territory, spying on US citizens along the border – and presumably within the 100 mile “border zone” over which Department of Homeland Security claims jurisdiction. What if these drones detect suspicious activity unrelated to illegal immigration? Imagine the implications for the federal government’s disastrous war on drugs. Imagine what’s left of the Fourth Amendment completely tossed into the trashcan. The “privatized” prison system in the US that now benefits from the war on drugs and illegal immigration will no doubt look forward to booming business thanks to the army of drones overhead.

Additionally, the McCain/Schumer plan calls for a nationwide, mandatory E-Verify program, which forces employers to act as federal immigration agents, and forces American citizens to prove to the government that they are allowed to work. E-Verify is an East Germany-like program that creates a massive federal database of every American citizen and notes whether or not they are permitted to work.

As Cato Institute privacy expert Jim Harper noted of E-Verify, potentially tens of thousands of American citizens would come up as a false positive for illegal status, denying them the right to work and forcing them to prove to the government that they are not here illegally. He writes, “If E-Verify goes national, get used to hearing that Orwellian term: ‘non-confirmation.’ ”

Harper rightly notes that E-Verify is in fact a national ID card, writing last week that, “the system must biometrically identify everyone who works—you, me, and every working American you know. There is no way to do internal enforcement of immigration law without a biometric national identity system.”

Much of the most recent immigration problem of the 2000s was actually created by the federal government. The easy money policy of the Federal Reserve blew up the housing bubble and created enormous demand for labor. This artificial demand was filled largely by workers who crossed into the US illegally. Within a year of the housing market crash in 2008, an estimated one million illegal workers left the United States for Mexico and beyond. Net illegal immigration into the United States last year had fallen to zero.

As I noted in my most recent book, Liberty Defined, much of our immigration problems would be eliminated were the federal government to simply return to sound money practices and end the welfare incentive for individuals to come to the US illegally. Afterward, what remains of the problem would mostly be solved with a far more generous and flexible guest worker program. Whatever the case, turning the US into a police state in order to fight a hyped up illegal immigration “crisis” is a bad deal for us all.

Ron Paul

 

 


Overspending on National Security Threatens National Security

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 – by Ron Paul

The administration recently released its 2013 budget proposal, and conservatives are correctly alarmed that it calls for unprecedented spending and continued annual deficits exceeding $1 trillion. But the same conservatives complain that the budget does not devote enough funds to overseas adventurism.

I continue to be dismayed that in spite of our economic problems, most of those who call themselves fiscal conservatives refuse to consider any reductions in military spending. Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute very aptly addresses this in his recent article for the American Conservative entitled “Attack of the Pork Hawks.” He points out that conservatives are using a tired liberal argument to defend the bloated military budget: Namely, that more spending equals better results. The federal education morass is merely one example that clearly disproves this.

The facts are that the President’s budget calls for an 18% increase versus the previously planned 20% increase. This is not a cut, yet Pentagon hawks continue to issue dire warnings that this “draconian” decrease in proposed future spending will seriously threaten our national security. In truth, the majority of DOD spending goes to protect other nations, including prosperous allies like Europe, Japan and South Korea − nations that could and should take more responsibility for their own defense.

Is there any amount of money that would satisfy the hawks and the neoconservatives? Even adjusted for inflation, military spending is 17% higher now than when Obama took office. Even the worst case scenarios of Obama’s “cuts,” adjusted for inflation, still put outlays at 2007 levels, which are 40% higher than a decade ago. Our total spending on overseas adventurism and nation building equals more than the next 13 highest-spending countries in the world combined. Even if we were to slash our military budget in half, we would still be the world’s dominant military power, by far.

In reality, the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about has become every bit the voracious monolith he feared. It wastes as much as any other arm of government, if not more, because it knows it can depend on unlimited blank checks from a terrified Congress.

Mr. Bandow concludes that America is more secure today than at any point since before WWII, and that military outlays should be reduced accordingly. We should, Mr. Bandow argues,

“stop garrisoning the globe, subsidizing rich friends, and reconstructing poor enemies. Instead, it’s about time Washington focused on defending America and its people.”

I couldn’t agree more. Wasting money on overseas adventurism and nation building threatens our national security by massively contributing to our debt. Both welfare and warfare spending are tipping our economy into a serious currency and debt crisis. We can afford no sacred cows in our budget. One only has to look to the violence and civil unrest in Greece and ask − is that the sort of security we envision for our nation’s future?

Ron Paul:   View Bio 

Military-Industrial Complex :   View Glossary Description 

Dwight D. Eisenhower:   View Bio 

Original article: http://thedailybell.com/3632/Ron-Paul-Overspending-on-National-Security-Threatens-National-Security

 

 

 

 


Drugs and conservatives should go together

Legalization would not only promote specific policy objectives that are near and dear to conservative hearts, it is also consistent with core principles that conservatives endorse in other contexts.

By Jeffrey A. Miron                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
September 29, 2010

For decades, the U.S. debate over drug legalization has pitted conservatives on one side against libertarians and some liberals on the other. A few conservatives have publicly opposed the drug war (e.g., National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr.), but most conservatives either endorse it or sidestep the issue.

Yet vigorous opposition to the drug war should be a no-brainer for conservatives. Legalization would not only promote specific policy objectives that are near and dear to conservative hearts, it is also consistent with core principles that conservatives endorse in other contexts.

Legalization would be beneficial in key aspects of the war on terror. Afghanistan is the world leader in opium production, and this trade is highly lucrative because U.S.-led prohibition drives the market underground. The Taliban then earns substantial income by protecting opium farmers and traffickers from law enforcement in exchange for a share of the profits. U.S. eradication of opium fields also drives the hearts and minds of Afghan farmers away from the U.S. and toward the Taliban.

Legalization could also aid the war on terror by freeing immigration and other border control resources to target terrorists and WMD rather than the illegal drug trade. Under prohibition, moreover, terrorists piggyback on the smuggling networks established by drug lords and more easily hide in a sea of underground, cross-border trafficking.


Legalizing drugs would support conservative opposition to gun control. High violence rates in the U.S., and especially in Mexico, are due in part to prohibition, which drives markets underground and leads to violent resolution of disputes. With the reduced violence that would result from legalization, advocates of gun control would find it harder to scare the electorate into restrictive gun laws.

Legalization could ease conservative concerns over illegal immigration. The wage differences between the United States and Latin America are a major cause of the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S., but an exacerbating factor is the violence created by drug prohibition in Mexico and other Latin American countries. With lower violence rates under legalization, fewer residents of these countries would seek to immigrate in the first place.

Beyond these specific issues, legalization is consistent with broad conservative principles.

Prohibition is fiscally irresponsible. Its key goal is reduced drug use, yet repeated studies find minimal impact on drug use. My just-released Cato Institute study shows that prohibition entails government expenditure of more than $41 billion a year. At the same time, the government misses out on about $47 billion in tax revenues that could be collected from legalized drugs. The budgetary windfall from legalization would hardly solve the country’s fiscal woes. Nevertheless, losing $88 billion in a program that fails to attain its stated goal should be anathema to conservatives.

Drug prohibition is hard to reconcile with constitutionally limited government. The Constitution gives the federal government a few expressly enumerated powers, with all others reserved to the states (or to the people) under the 10th Amendment. None of the enumerated powers authorizes Congress to outlaw specific products, only to regulate interstate commerce. Thus, laws regulating interstate trade in drugs might pass constitutional muster, but outright bans cannot. Indeed, when the United States wanted to outlaw alcohol, it passed the 18th Amendment. The country has never adopted such constitutional authorization for drug prohibition.

Drug prohibition is hopelessly inconsistent with allegiance to free markets, which should mean that businesses can sell whatever products they wish, even if the products could be dangerous. Prohibition is similarly inconsistent with individual responsibility, which holds that individuals can consume what they want — even if such behavior seems unwise — so long as these actions do not harm others.

Yes, drugs can harm innocent third parties, but so can — and do — alcohol, cars and many other legal products. Consistency demands treating drugs like these other goods, which means keeping them legal while punishing irresponsible use, such as driving under the influence.

Legalization would take drug control out government’s incompetent hands and place it with churches, medical professionals, coaches, friends and families. These are precisely the private institutions whose virtues conservatives extol in other areas.

By supporting the legalization of drugs, conservatives might even help themselves at the ballot box. Many voters find the conservative combination of policies confusing at best, inconsistent and hypocritical at worst. Because drug prohibition is utterly out of step with the rest of the conservative agenda, abandoning it is a natural way to win the hearts and minds of these voters.

Jeffrey A. Miron is a senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron is the author of “Libertarianism, from A to Z” and blogs at jeffreymiron.com.

Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times




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