Saturday, January 20, 2018
5 Democrats broke away from the Schumer Shutdown. Please let them know you appreciate it. I have included Twitter and Facebook pages; you can comment there, or call them. Be aware that if you are not a constituent, your voice has less influence, so keep any phone messages short "Thank you for voting to fund the government." These Democrats voted for funding the government and did not hold it hostage to get legalization of illegal aliens: 1) Joe Donnelly @SenDonnelly Senator Donnelly's Facebook (202) 224-4814 2) Heidi Heitkamp @SenatorHeitkamp Senator Heitkamp's Facebook (202) 224-2043 3) Doug Jones @SenDougJones Senator Jones's Facebook 202-224-4124 4) Joe Manchin @Sen_JoeManchin Senator Manchin's Facebook (202) 224-3954 5) Claire McCaskill @clairecmc Senator McCaskill's Facebook (202) 224-6154 Here is a suggested tweet: To the 5 Democrats who broke away from Schumer: Thank you for voting against shutting down the government. You are truly putting country over party. @SenDonnelly @SenatorHeitkamp @SenDougJones @Sen_JoeManchin @clairecmc and a suggested Facebook message:I want to let you know that we appreciate your voting to fund the government and not holding our military and first responders hostage in order to allow Dick Durbin to dictate the terms of an immigration deal. You are truly are putting country ahead of party. The grateful voters will remember in November [2020 if you are writing to Doug Jones, who is not up for re-election this year], and so will non-constituents who give to campaigns outside their state. That is all.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Dear Readers: Here is a letter I sent my Senators and my Representative through their contact pages. Feel free to use it on your own Senators and Representatives. I added references not so much because I think anyone will look at them, but so that it does not look as if I am making up what I say. Dear XXXXX: I am writing to ask you please not to give any sort of legal accommodation whatsoever to DACA recipients until we have mandatory E-Verify for all businesses and an end to chain migration (i.e. limit family reunification to spouses and minor children). There is no reason to hurry to address DACA this year; it does not expire until March. Putting any sort of a “fix” in the spending bill, or passing legislation such as the DREAM Act, which would give away citizenship not just to DACA recipients but millions of other illegal aliens, would be a slap in the face to the American people and a declaration that you wish to put the children of illegal aliens ahead of those of U.S. citizens. Recent polls have shown that Americans do not consider sorting out the so-called DREAMers’ statuses to be a high priority ("DACA Fix Fades as a Priority for Voters: Poll" Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner 11/09/17). Moreover, polls consistently show that Americans favor enforcement measures prior to legalizing people here illegally ("Survey Highlights Popularity of Immigration Enforcement" Steven A. Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies, 11/07/16), which undercuts claims that the vast majority of Americans want DACA recipients legalized; even those who think that this should be the eventual decision do not want it done until we have taken steps such as ending chain migration and mandating E-Verify in order to limit its impact and to prevent future illegal immigration. (Various links on Glaivester blog, 10/20/13, last updated 9/26/17). There are also all kinds of problems that need to be addressed prior to even considering any “fix.” There is little verification of age or school attendance. ("Fmr. USCIS Investigator: There’s a ‘Huge’ Amount of Fraud in DACA" Margaret Menge, Lifezette, updated 11/21/17) People who arrived as older teenagers, make frequent trips to their countries of origin, and do not bother to become fluent in English still met the qualifications for DACA. ("Time to End DACA" Steven A. Camarota, 08/03/17. Center for Immigration Studies) DACA recipients tend to be lower-skilled and lower-income - despite the public image of them as college graduates - and estimates for their contribution to the economy tend to be lower per capita than those of current Americans (even including non-working Americans such as babies)("Are Dreamers Net Contributors" Glaivester Blog 09/13/17), indicating that they will on average consume more than they add to the economy, while even moderately sized increases in workforce participation by millennials could easily offset any reductions in the workforce from DACA recipients going home ("Industry Group Reacts in Horror: Ending DACA Will Put a ¼ of 1 Percent Dent in Economy (and That Claim Isn’t Even True)" Ira Mehlman, ImmigrationReformDotCom, 09/16/17). The election of Trump was a clear message that the American people want the government to get control of our border. The constant drumbeat of opposition to the enforcement of our immigration laws indicates that our politicians do not care about the people of the country and simply want to let businesses and other interests import new people to use against us. Please put the American people before illegal aliens and oppose efforts to extend or continue DACA before we have mandated E-Verify and ended chain migration. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, XXXX That is all.
Here are a few Congressmen (and Senators) who have come out against illegal immigration whom you ought to give to over the next week if you can afford it. Make certain to write a comment on one of their Facebook posts (a germane one if possible) letting them know why you donated, or contact them on Twitter. Make absolutely certain to ask them to keep speaking out against any DACA fix until we have mandatory E-Verify for businesses and an end to chain migration. You can easily find their campaign, congressional and social media pages, but as I have time I will list them as links for your convenience. A sample message: "Thank you for your work in XXX [e.g. introducing a piece of legislation, speaking out against DACA]. I just donated $X to your campaign. We need more people to stand up for Americans! Please [make sure to speak out/continue speaking out] against any attempt to tie DACA to the spending bill." Dave Brat. Why: He has introduced the LAWS Act (H.R. 4340) that would end chain migration and mandate that businesses use E-Verify. Campaign website (Donate HERE) Congressional website Campaign Facebook Congressional FaceBook Campaign Twitter Congressional Twitter Marsha Blackburn recently introduced the CLEAR Act that would help local law enforcement work with immigration officials to deport illegal aliens. She is running for Senate in 2018). Mo Brooks recently introduced legislation to reform the temporary protected status program. (His only campaign website right now is for his Senatorial special election bid; you can give there or just let him know you will give when his re-election campaign site opens up). Louie Gohmert. Steve King. (Appears to have two campaign sites: steveking.com and kingforcongress.com) Lou Barletta. (He is running for Senate in 2018). In the Senate there are: Tom Cotton (co-introduced the RAISE Act) David Perdue (co-introduced the RAISE Act) That is all.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
I like numbers and so tax policy can be quite an interesting subject for analysis. While my primary focus is on immigration and "national question" issues, taxes can be a bit of a respite for me. This data (ExCel file) provides a starting point for determining how tax rate changes would affect government revenues. It's the filing data for the 2016 filing season (i.e. 2015 taxes) at week 47 (about November). In particular, it shows that there are at least 431,335 filers (counting joint filers as one filer) with incomes of over $1,000,000 (numbers are likely a bit higher, assuming some tax returns were received more than 47 weeks into 2016. The overall adjusted gross income (AGI) for these people is about $1.377 trillion ($944 billion in non-capital gains), which would be more than $945 billion if you exempt the first million from the count ($513 billion in non-capital gains if you simply take the average AGI and subtract the percentage that is capital gains before subtracting the million - this is not quite a precise way of measuring this, as the exact distribution of capital gains among people of an income class will affect the results, but it's a good working estimate). This means that even if we make conservative assumptions on growth, over the next ten years these people would make at least $10 trillion ($5 trillion non-capital gains) even if we do not count the first million each makes. In other words, every 1% tax on income over $1 million would make $100 billion over that time, assuming static scoring (I think that's the right term, I mean assuming that the tax does not change the economy or behavior in a way that alters revenue). So a 44% tax rate over $1 million (accompanied with a 24.4% capital gains rate for income over $1 million) would make $440 billion (44% being 4.4% higher than 39.6%). Even if you did not tax capital gains higher, it would bring in a little more than half as much - say $240 billion. There are 44,416 people making over $5 million. Total adjusted gross income is $668 billion ($372 billion non-cap gains), $446 billion of which remains given an exemption of $5 million ($150 billion non-cap gains). ( This would mean that a similar rate levied on incomes over $5 million would yield a little less than half as much - $210 billion, perhaps. If you only taxed regular income, it would be about a third as much - say about $70 billion. Obviously, there is a lot of wiggle room to use here if one wanted to shift taxes. I am all for moving taxes from corporate to high-income personal. That is all.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
I am trying to figure out how I would change the GOP tax plan if I could. A few ideas (numbers based on bill as shown on Congressman Sam Johnson's website: First, I think it would be better at this point not to end personal exemptions. Ending them largely undoes the effects of increasing the standard deduction, and might increase taxes on those that itemize. Unfortunately, that would increase the "cost" of the tax plan by $1,562.1 billion dollars over ten years, so it would have to be made up for to keep the total "cost" at the level that the reconciliation rules require. (Note: I don't know whether costs are calculated as if each proposal were done alone against the current system, or how that proposal would do if measured against the rest of the tax bill being passed without it, or what. However, I am fairly certain that you can't just add the numbers up to get the total cost as each section will have some effect on the other sections, but I'll pretend that the parts do not effect each other for purposes of estimating the effect of these policy changes). I would make up for that in part by increasing the standard deduction only by 50%. I'll assume that this would approximately half the cost of the increase, which would give the government $460.7 billion more than the current House GOP plan. Second, I would keep the estate tax, and keep the personal alternative minimum tax as it currently is. The former would get the government $172.2 billion and the latter $695.5 billion. Third, I would ease up on the tax rate simplification. I would combine the two lower brackets into one 12% bracket, but leave leave the other brackets where they are (projected brackets for 2018), except that I would eliminate the 35% bracket, and set the threshold from the 33% to the 39.6% bracket at $425,000 for singles, $437,500 for heads of households, and $450,000 for married ($225,000 for married filing separately). This would mean that everyone would pay somewhat lower taxes, even after the exemptions phased out at higher incomes, and even if they itemized deductions, except for people who itemize deductions and have an income under $15,875.00 ($22,666.67 for heads of household and 31,750.00 for couples,). This would be resolved by giving singles/heads of households/couples who itemize deductions a tax credit of $2 for every $100 of taxable income up to $10,000/$15,000/$20,000 and then taking away $2 for every $100 up to $20,000/$30,000/$40,000. I'm not certain how this would change costs, but with the current GOP plan reducing revenues by $961.2 billion, if it only reduced revenues by half as much, it would still add $480.6 billion compared to the current plan. Overall, these changes (assuming the rate change has half the cost of the GOP plan) would add up to $1,809 billion, more than enough to keep the exemptions. In addition, I would probably limit the amount of "pass-through" income treated as business income (page 3-4 of the tax plan) to some amount at or under a million dollars to allow this provision to be used mainly for small businesses. This would add to revenues compared to the current bill being proposed, although I am not certain how much. Now, for things I would like to do if I could find the money in the plan: Keep the deductions for medical expenses. I would keep the deduction for state and local taxes but limit it to somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000 for all state and local taxes combined. If I could find the money, I would like to see some change in the alternative minimum tax the neighborhood of changing the rates from 26% and 28% to 24% and 30%, and changing the exemption phase out from 1/4 to 1/6 (i.e. you lose $100 exemption for every $600 of income over the threshold instead of $150). That would keep the highest effective marginal AMT rate at 35% (28% + 7% to 30% + 5%), and weight the tax away from lower earners to higher earners. Extra money in the plan beyond this could be used to increase the standard deduction by as much as we could afford. (There are other provisions in the tax bill that I am, in effect, leaving in place at this time. Maybe some of them should be changed; any of them that would have a significant cost to change would obviously have to be paid for somewhere, but I think this would be a better base to work from than the current plan). That is all.
Monday, October 02, 2017
The White House is planning over the next few days to release a set of "immigration principles" that it wants Congress to act on. A leak of the talking points is very hopeful for restrictionists. May I suggest that everyone contacts the President using the online form at WhiteHouse.Gov and encourage him to stick to his principles? Here is the message I sent, feel free to alter it to personalize it: Dear President Trump: I very much appreciated your speech to the United Nations where you pointed out the inefficiency of a refugee program dedicated to resettling people in wealthy countries as opposed to helping them closer to home. You are a voice of sanity in a world where there are very few. While I was hoping for a smaller number, I am still pleased that your refugee limit for Fiscal Year 2018 has decreased (compared to previous years) to 45,000. I hope that, as in most years, the number actually admitted is much smaller. I am also pleased to see what is in the leaked version of your “set of immigration principles.” Mandatory E-Verify (as in the Legal Workforce Act) and the limits of the RAISE Act are both needed very badly, and I hope that these remain in the final version of your framework. I also hope that you insist on getting votes on these prior to debating any considerations for DACA recipients. Finally, I am pleased to hear of the massive fine imposed on Asplundh Tree Experts for hiring illegal aliens. These types of fines are what are needed to stop the jobs magnet, and provide a great answer to those who mock immigration restrictionists on the basis that we supposedly are giving the employers of illegal aliens a pass. Asplundh is proof that your administration does target unscrupulous employers and is therefore truly serious about addressing illegal immigration from all angles, including the demand angle. Please continue to fight for the RAISE Act, for mandatory E-Verify, and for funding for a real, physical wall over as much of the southern border as is physically feasible. Sincerely, [Your Name] That is all.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
While it may not be his intention, this statement by Rush Limbaugh could be seen as pooh-poohing the idea that Trump voters are opposed to any form of being sold out on the immigration issue. May I suggest that you mail him, email him (ElRushbo@eibnet.us), or call his show and impress upon him how wrong that is? For more details of how to get in touch, here is the Contact Page Here is a pre-written message (or make your own): Dear Mr. Limbaugh: Please beware of any polls that suggest that Trump supporters are okay with Trump passing amnesty legislation for the so-called "DREAMers." Almost all of the polls are deliberately skewed, as this Breitbart piece shows: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/02/daca-polls-conceal-public-opposition-cheap-labor-amnesty/ If you are merely saying that people don't think he really means it with a deal, and is simply playing a game in order to get Chuck and Nancy where he wants them, that's one thing. But please stop implying that an amnesty sell-out would be okay with us! Sincerely, [Your name] That is all.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
People often claim that "DREAMers," aka DACA recipients, are a boost to the economy. The Center for American Progress (CAP) says that deporting DACA recipients will cost $433.4 billion over ten years, and CATO says $283 billion. The problem, however, is the lack of context. What does this actually mean per capita? Well, let's do some back-of-the-envelope calculations. According to Trading Economics, U.S. GDP in 2016 was $18,569.1 billion dollars. We will assume a modest 3% growth rate in the future. I say this is modest because the average annual growth from 2009 to 2016 was 3.68%. I calculated this by taking the overall growth over 7 years (18569.10 divided by 14418.74 equals 1.2878 or 28.78% growth over 7 years) and taking the 7th root (1.2878^(1/7) = 1.0368 or 3.68% growth per year). Under this assumption, the GDPs for 2017 will be $19126.17 billion and the GDPs for the next ten years will be: 2018 19699.96 2019 20290.96 2020 20899.69 2021 21526.68 2022 22172.48 2023 22837.65 2024 23522.78 2025 24228.46 2026 24955.32 2027 25703.98 The total GDP for the decade 2018 to 2027 will be $225,837.94 billion, or approximately $226 trillion. According to Wikipedia, the U.S. Population in 2017 is estimated at 325,365,189. Assuming a growth rate similar to that of 2000-2010, let's say the the population will be 10% bigger in 2027. That would bring it to about 358 million. This includes everyone, children, the elderly, the unemployed. The number of DACA recipients is estimated at 800,000. The CAP study is based on 741,546 people leaving (645,145 of whom are workers). The Cato study is based on an estimate of 750,000 people. That comes out to between .207 and .2095 percent of the U.S. population. Using the lower number, .207 per cent of the GDP for 2018-2027 is $467.8 billion. In other words, unless the contributions of DACA recipients are more than $467.8 billion over ten years, they are actually reducing per capita GDP. And remember, this is using the population figure for the end of the period and assuming modest economic growth, both of which would tend to make the per capita GDP smaller and therefore make the DACA recipients' contributions look bigger in comparison. And of course, this is not counting how much collateral population growth letting DACA recipients stay versus deporting them will create - if half of DACA recipients have one kid (who won't be contributing economically at all for at least about fifteen years), that would mean that DREAMers would have to make $701.7 billion to keep per capita GDP flat. The point is, getting rid of the DACA recipients would reduce the size of the overall U.S. economic pie, but it would reduce the number of people eating the pie by a greater percentage. Most of the discussions of the "economic benefits" or immigration tend to act as if the immigrants simply produce value for the native population without consuming anything. Now this analysis does not conclusively show that there is no economic benefit to Americans from DACA recipients - that would depend on how much of the recipients' productivity is consumed by the recipients themselves. However, they would have to consume less than the average American for there to be any surplus at all, and perhaps significantly less if the CATO rather than the CAP study is correct. Then there is the issue of how the surplus is distributed, and whether there are winners and losers in the system. And all of this is assuming that economics is the only measure here. In short, the benefits of allowing DACA recipients to stay are greatly exaggerated and may not exist at all. Don't let economists use half-calculated figures and incomplete statistics to trick you. That is all.