Does Diversity Really Unite Us? Citizenship and Immigration

By Edward J. Erler, Co-Author, The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 11, 2018, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Colorado Springs.


President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy for illegal border crossers has provoked a hysterical reaction from Democrats, establishment Republicans, the progressive-liberal media, Hollywood radicals, and the deep state. What particularly motivated the ire of these Trump-haters was the fact that the zero-tolerance policy would require the separation of parents and children at the border. The hysteria was, of course, completely insincere and fabricated, given that the policy of separating children and parents was nothing new—it had been a policy of the Obama and Bush administrations as well.

Furthermore, where is the compassion for the thousands of American children who are separated from their parents every year as a result of arrests and convictions for non-violent crimes? Many of those arrested are single mothers whose infants become wards of the government until their mothers complete their sentences. No hysteria or effusive compassion is elicited by these separations, confirming that the object of the hysteria surrounding illegal border crossers is to force open borders on the nation under the guise of compassion for children.

President Trump’s preferred solution for ending the influx of illegal immigrants and providing border security is a wall; it is also the preferred solution of the American people. Zero tolerance is an interim policy that—if enforced—will help deter illegal crossers. The hysteria provoked by zero tolerance could have been predicted, but its magnitude and sheer insanity are almost breathtaking. Some prominent constitutional scholars have gone so far as to argue that the government has no constitutional authority to control the border. And this, which seems almost beyond hysteria, from the elite intellectual class that should be most immune to hysteria!

In the meantime, a Federal District Court judge in Southern California has discovered a substantive due process right guaranteeing the right to “family integrity” lurking in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and has ordered all children reunited with their illegal immigrant parents. Obviously the judge expects the parents to be released from incarceration to join their children, but the Trump administration seems determined to keep parents and children together in detention centers until legal proceedings determine their fate.

More than a century ago, the Supreme Court announced what was considered the settled sense of the matter when it remarked: “It is an accepted maxim of international law . . . and essential to self-preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners within [a sovereign nation’s] dominions, or to admit them only in such cases and upon such conditions as it may see fit to prescribe.” This view was reaffirmed in the recent Supreme Court decision, handed down on June 26, that upheld Trump’s travel ban on foreign nationals from eight countries, six of which have majority Muslim populations.

Part of the complaint against the ban was that it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because Trump had displayed “animus” against Muslims in speeches before and after the 2016 election. The plaintiffs argued that the national security reasons for the ban were merely pretexts for Trump’s thinly disguised contempt for the Muslim religion. Although the Court agreed that individual injury could be alleged under the Establishment Clause, the travel ban on its face was neutral with respect to religion, and it was therefore possible to decide the issue on statutory rather than constitutional grounds.

The dissenting opinion in this case would have invalidated the ban on constitutional grounds, based on the idea that the President’s campaign statements and those of his advisers proved that animus against Islam was the real and pervasive motivation for the travel ban. Had this dissenting opinion prevailed, it would have created an anomaly in constitutional jurisprudence. Conceding that the plain language of the travel ban was neutral and therefore constitutional, what rendered the travel ban unconstitutional was Trump’s purported display of animus in his public speeches. If signed by any president other than Trump, there would therefore be no constitutional objections. In other words, in the minds of the dissenters, psychoanalysis of Trump’s motives held greater constitutional significance than the intent of the law expressed in its plain language.

In any case, the majority opinion held that “by its plain language” the Immigration and Naturalization Act “grants the President broad discretion to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States. The President lawfully exercised that discretion based on his findings . . . that entry of the covered aliens would be detrimental to the national interest.” Few limits have ever been placed on the President’s broad authority to act under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, especially when national security and foreign relations are involved.

In the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump appealed to the importance of citizens and borders. In other words, Trump took his stand on behalf of the nation-state and citizenship against the idea of a homogeneous world-state populated by “universal persons.” In appealing directly to the people, Trump succeeded in defeating both political parties, the media, political professionals, pollsters, academics, and the bureaucratic class. All these groups formed part of the bi-partisan cartel that had represented the entrenched interests of the Washington establishment for many years. Although defeated in the election, the cartel has not given up. It is fighting a desperate battle to maintain its power.

Historically, constitutional government has been found only in the nation-state, where the people share a common good and are dedicated to the same principles and purposes. The homogeneous world-state—the European Union on a global scale—will not be a constitutional democracy; it will be the administration of “universal personhood” without the inconvenience of having to rely on the consent of the governed. It will be government by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, much like the burgeoning administrative state that is today expanding its reach and magnifying its power in the United States. “Universal persons” will not be citizens; they will be clients or subjects. Rights will be superfluous because the collective welfare of the community—determined by the bureaucrats—will have superseded the rights of individuals.

Progressive liberalism no longer views self-preservation as a rational goal of the nation-state. Rather, it insists that self-preservation and national security must be subordinate to openness and diversity. America’s immigration policies, we are told, should demonstrate our commitment to diversity because an important part of the American character is openness, and our commitment to diversity is an affirmation of “who we are as Americans.” If this carries a risk to our security, it is a small price to pay. Indeed, the willing assumption of risk adds authenticity to our commitment.

In support of all this, we are asked to believe something incredible: that the American character is defined only by its unlimited acceptance of diversity. A defined American character—devotion to republican principles, republican virtue, the habits and manners of free citizens, self-reliance—would in that case be impermissibly exclusive, and thus impermissibly American. The homogeneous world-state recognizes only openness, devotion to diversity, and acceptance as virtues. It must therefore condemn exclusivity as its greatest vice. It is the nation-state that insists on exclusive citizenship and immigration policies that impose various kinds of restrictions.

Our progressive politicians and opinion leaders proclaim their commitment to diversity almost daily, chanting the same refrain: “Diversity is our strength.” This is the gospel according to political correctness. But how does diversity strengthen us? Is it a force for unity and cohesiveness? Or is it a source of division and contention? Does it promote the common good and the friendship that rests at the heart of citizenship? Or does it promote racial and ethnic division and something resembling the tribalism that prevents most of the world from making constitutional government a success? When is the last time we heard anyone in Washington talk about the common good? We are used to hearing talk about the various stakeholders and group interests, but not much about what the nation has in common.

This should not be surprising. Greater diversity means inevitably that we have less in common, and the more we encourage diversity the less we honor the common good. Any honest and clear-sighted observer should be able to see that diversity is a solvent that dissolves the unity and cohesiveness of a nation—and we should not be deceived into believing that its proponents do not understand the full impact of their advocacy!

Diversity, of course, marches under the banner of tolerance, but is a bastion of intolerance. It enforces its ideological liberalism with an iron fist that is driven by political correctness, the most ingenious (and insidious) device for suppressing freedom of speech and political dissent ever invented.

Political correctness could have been stopped dead in its tracks over three decades ago, but Republicans refused to kill it when they had the opportunity. In the presidential election campaign of 1980, Ronald Reagan promised to end affirmative action with the stroke of a pen by rescinding the executive order, issued by Lyndon Johnson, that created it. This promise was warmly received by the electorate in that election. But President Reagan failed to deliver his promised repeal. Too many Republicans had become convinced that they could use affirmative action to their advantage—that the largesse associated with racial class entitlements would attract minorities to the Republican Party. By signing on to this regime of political correctness, Republicans were never able to mount an effective opposition to its seemingly irresistible advance.

Today, any Republican charged or implicated with racism—however tendentious, outrageous, implausible, exaggerated, or false the charge or implication may be—will quickly surrender, often preemptively. This applies equally to other violations of political correctness: homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and a host of other so-called irrational prejudices. After all, there is no rational defense against an “irrational fear,” which presumably is what the “phobias” are. Republicans have rendered themselves defenseless against political correctness, and the establishment wing of the party doesn’t seem overly concerned, as they frequently join the chorus of Democrats in denouncing Trump’s violations of political correctness. Only President Trump seems undeterred by the tyrannous threat that rests at the core of political correctness.

In addition to the Affirmative Action Executive Order in 1965, there were other actions taken during the Great Society that were meant to transform America. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was sound legislation, authorized by the Fourteenth Amendment and designed to abolish racial discrimination in employment. But the administrative agencies, with the full cooperation of the courts, quickly transformed its laudable goals into mandates that required racial discrimination to achieve racial proportionality in hiring and promotion.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 similarly sought to ban racial discrimination in voting. It too was transmogrified into an act that required racial discrimination in order to achieve proportional results in elections. Proportional results were touted by a palpable fiction as the only reliable evidence of free and fair elections.

The Immigration Act of 1965 was a kind of affirmative action plan to provide remedies for those races or ethnic groups that had been discriminated against in the past. Caucasian immigrants from European nations had been given preference in past years; now it was time to diversify the immigrant population by changing the focus to Third World nations, primarily nations in Latin America and Asia. The goal, as some scholars have slowly come to realize, was to diversify the demographic composition of the American population from majority white to a majority of people of color. There was also some anticipation that those coming from these Third World countries were more likely to need the ministrations of the welfare state and therefore more likely to be captured by the Democratic Party, the party promoting the welfare state.

White middle-class Americans in the 1960s and 70s were often referred to as selfish because their principal interests were improving their own lives, educating their own children, and contributing to their own communities. They showed no inclination to support diversity and the kind of authentic commitment to the new openness that was being advocated by progressive-liberalism. They stood as a constant roadblock to the administrative state, stubbornly resisting higher taxes, increased immigration, and expansion of the welfare state. Once they were no longer a majority, they would be powerless to resist. Demographers say that sometime around 2040 is the day of reckoning when whites will no longer be a majority and will sometime thereafter have to endure the fate they have inflicted on others for so many years. This radical demographic change will be due almost entirely to the immigration reform that was put into motion by the Immigration Act of 1965.

Of course, it is entirely a fiction that the American political system has produced monolithic white majorities that rule at the expense of so-called “discrete and insular minorities.” Whites as a class have never constituted a majority faction in the nation, and the Constitution was explicitly written to prevent such majorities from forming. The fact that, among a host of other considerations, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by a supposed “monolithic white majority” to promote the equal protection rights of minorities belies the idea that it was a majority faction ruling in its own racial class interest.

President George W. Bush, no less than President Obama, was an advocate of a “borderless world.” A supporter of amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, he frequently stated that “family values don’t stop at the border” and embraced the idea that “universal values” transcend a nation’s sovereignty. He called himself a “compassionate conservative,” and said on several occasions that we should be more compassionate to our less fortunate neighbors to the south.

President Reagan used this same kind of rhetoric when he signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which provided amnesty for three million illegal aliens. This was touted by Reagan as a way of “humanely” dealing with the issue of illegal immigration. In his signing statement, he said the Act “is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America.” The Act was supposed to be a one-time-only amnesty in exchange for stronger border control, but only the most naive in Washington believed that the promise of border control would be honored. In fact, illegal immigration continued unabated. The Act also fueled expectations—even demands—for additional amnesties, and delays in implementing new amnesties have been proffered as evidence by immigration activists (including Jeb Bush) that the American people lack compassion.

Any clear-thinking observer, however, can see that compassion is not a sound basis either for foreign policy or immigration policy. Compassion is more likely to lead to contempt than gratitude in both policy areas. The failure of the 1986 amnesty should be a clear reminder of the useful Machiavellian adage that in the world of realpolitik it is better to be feared than loved. Fear is more likely to engender respect, whereas love or compassion is more likely to be regarded as a contemptible sign of weakness. In 1984 Reagan received 37 percent of the Hispanic vote, but after the 1986 amnesty George H.W. Bush received a significantly lower 30 percent. Granted, Bush was no Reagan, but such ingratitude seemed to puzzle Republicans.

Republicans and Democrats alike are reluctant to consider serious measures to control illegal immigration. Republicans want to continue the steady supply of cheap and exploitable labor, and Democrats want future voters. Republicans are thinking only in the short term—they are not thinking politically. Democrats always think politically. President Trump wants to stop chain migration and the diversity lottery. Those who win in the diversity lottery also begin chain migration, as do all legal immigrants. Since 2005, more than nine million foreign nationals have arrived in the U.S. by chain migration, and when they become voting citizens, in all likelihood, two-thirds of them will vote Democrat. Trump knows how to think politically!

Birthright citizenship contributes to a borderless world. Any woman who comes to the United States as a legal or illegal alien and gives birth confers the boon of American citizenship on her child. In these instances, America has no control over who becomes a citizen. Constitutional law experts say it is a settled issue that the Constitution adopted the English common law of birthright citizenship. William Blackstone is cited as the authority for this proposition, having written the authoritative Commentaries on the Laws of England—a work that was well known to our nation’s Founders. What the proponents of birthright citizenship seem to ignore is that Blackstone always refers to “birthright subjects” and “birthright subjectship,” never mentioning citizens or citizenship in his four volume work. Under the common law, anyone born under the protection of the king owed “perpetual allegiance” to the king in return. Blackstone freely admitted that birthright subjectship was an inheritance from the feudal system, which defined the relations of master and servant. Under the English common law there were no citizens—only subjects.

The Declaration of Independence, however, proclaims that the American people “are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown.” Thus, it is clear that the American people rejected the common law as a basis for citizenship. What is substituted in place of “perpetual allegiance” to a king is “the consent of the governed,” with the clear implication that no individual can be ruled without his consent. Consent—not the accident of birth—is the basis for American citizenship.

James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration and the Constitution and later a member of the Supreme Court, perfectly expressed the matter when he wrote: “In America there are citizens, but no subjects.” Is it plausible—is it even remotely credible—that the Founders, after fighting a revolutionary war to reject the feudal relic of “perpetual allegiance,” would have adopted that same feudal relic as the ground of citizenship for the new American regime?

The American people can, of course, consent to allow others to join the compact that created the American nation, but they have the sovereign right to specify the terms and conditions for granting entry and the qualifications for citizenship. Presumably the qualifications for entry and naturalization will be whether those who wish to enter demonstrate a capacity to adopt the habits, manners, independence, and self-reliance of republican citizens and devotion to the principles that unite the American people. Furthermore, it would be unreasonable not to expect that potential immigrants should possess useful skills that will ensure that they will not become victims of the welfare state.

Immigration policies should serve the interests of the American people and of the nation—they should not be viewed as acts of charity to the world. Putting America first is a rational goal. It is the essence of sovereignty. And the sovereign nation-state is the only home of citizenship—as it is the only home of constitutional government.

Edward J. ErlerEdward J. Erler is professor emeritus of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He is the author of The American Polity and co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.

Unions Conspire with State to Illegally Continue Fee Collection for Non-Union Employees

HPR: …The State of Hawaii has announced a new policy regarding the collection of so-called agency fees from non-members of public employee unions.

The policy, outlined in a memo from the State Comptroller, was spurred by last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Janus v AFSCMEThat case, brought by Illinois state employee Mark Janus, overturned a precedent established in 1977 that allowed public unions to collect dues from all public employees, regardless of their membership status in the union.

Non-members were charged a reduced rate compared to full members. These agency fees could not be used for lobbying or political purposes. That precedent was established in the 1977 Supreme Court case Adood v Detroit Board of Education, which found that non-members still benefit from collective bargaining carried out by unions and should contribute to funding those non-political actions.

Here in Hawaii, the State Department of Accounting and General Services automatically withholds dues and agency fees from all state employees on behalf of the union. However, in the memo published yesterday State Comptroller Roderick Becker said it is the State’s intent to “suspend non-member deductions as soon as possible.”

But that appears to be easier said than done.

The state’s payroll system does not contain state workers’ union membership status. The state has evidently been relying on each of the various public employee unions to identify members and non-members. This makes it difficult to go about stopping payroll deductions for non-members.

The memo from the Comptroller’s office indicates that the Department of Accounting and General Services is asking unions to confirm whether or not they have a non-member population and to provide the names of those members to the state. Once the names of non-members have been provided, agency fee withholdings will be suspended.

One state worker who is a member of the Hawaii Government Employees Association told HPR that following the Janus decision he attempted to change his status with HGEA to non-member. The employee was told that change could not be made until it was time to renew his annual membership in Hawaii’s largest public union….

PDF:  DAGS MEMO

READ: State Moves to Stop Fee Collection for Non-Union Employees

Democrats Have Zero Tolerance for Solutions to Illegal Immigration

As soon as the Trump administration adopted a “zero tolerance” policy requiring law enforcement to prosecute all immigrants who crossed the border illegally, it became clear that officials weren’t prepared to deal with the crush of kids who would find themselves under their supervision. Nor were they able to implement the policy in a humane way.

Family separation is callous and ineffective, but its existence doesn’t excuse the ginned-up moral panic, the pious grandstanding, or the historically illiterate associations to Nazi death camps unleashed by its critics. Nor does it excuse the fact that Democrats have shown zero interest in dealing with the undermining problems that propel these situations.

“Why won’t the GOP stand up to Donald Trump?!” is the well-known refrain from those who lockstepped their way through the eight-year hard-left turn of Barack Obama. Yet every Republican member of the Senate claimed to support legislation to fix existing laws that separate children from parents who are caught crossing into the United States illegally even as the president defended it.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, despite criticism from the president, has proposed perhaps overly optimistic legislation expediting asylum claims by adding more immigration judges and prioritizing families to be processed first.

So maybe the House (also working on legislation) and the Senate won’t be able to come to an agreement. Or maybe Trump will veto the bill. We don’t know. Not that any of it is going to matter if Democrats block the legislation, which is what they were promising to do before even seeing it.

“There are so many obstacles to legislation, and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is a co-sponsor of proposed Democratic legislation to supposedly fix the problem, stated. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”

Now, I realize Democrats have gotten used to the idea of a president ruling with a pen while concocting immigration law unilaterally. But even though Trump acquiesced to pressure and signed an executive order, the subsequent action will not be “easy.”

Democrats know that the administration could be stopped by the courts and that the long-standing Flores consent decree complicates efforts to enforce border laws and keep families together. They know that only legislation could allow both to happen. They’re more interested in returning to the status quo.

Someone should ask leading Democrats whether they believe that any immigrant illegally bringing children should be detained at the border for any reason whatsoever—because these Democrats, who ignore the moral cost associated with thousands of children wandering over the border, have yet to explain how we can possibly know whether these kids are going to be OK if we have no way of ensuring their parents’ compliance with a court.

Someone should ask Schumer whether he opposes the “child separation” policy or he opposes a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration. Has any Democrat clarified why the latter position wouldn’t incentivize more migrants to bring children (sometimes their own and sometimes not) on the dangerous trek over the border rather than to ports of entry? There’s been a spike in the number of families and unaccompanied children at the border over the past five years. Claiming amnesty after apprehension is basically a get-in-free card.

Someone should ask Democrats what kind of undocumented immigrant they believe doesn’t deserve de facto asylum. I’m well aware that most of the people flowing in from Central America are escaping poverty and violence, and I’m highly sympathetic to their plight. But I assume migrants who properly ask for asylum are in the same situation—other than being punished for following rules.

I’m a pretty liberal guy on immigration—open to more asylum-seekers, bigger immigration, more temporary workers, etc. But I’m not a huge fan of chaos. And I suspect I’m not alone.

Yet we have Democrats and activists calling for the elimination of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We have a Democratic Party unwilling to make any compromise on the issue even when we’re faced with a surge of migrant children.

As Gabriel Malor pointed out in The Federalist this week, the proposed legislation co-sponsored by every Senate Democrat was so carelessly written that it would prevent “federal law enforcement agencies almost anywhere inside the United States from arresting and detaining criminals who are parents having nothing to do with unlawfully crossing the border and seeking asylum.”

It’s not healthy for the country or the people who come here seeking a better life to be thrown into a system that doesn’t work. Nor, as we are increasingly seeing in Europe, is it politically tenable to rely on emotionalism as a means of ignoring all law.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the forthcoming “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” Twitter: .

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Watch California Whistleblower: Illegals have ‘Taken Over Every Trade’ in Construction Business

A whistleblower who works in the construction industry in southern California said illegals have “taken over every trade” in his business, and wages are suffering.

The whistleblower made the claim while speaking with Progressives for Immigration Reform.

He said he’s been working in the industry since the 1980s, and has seen the transformation up close and personal.

Breitbart has more:

A whistleblower in the southern California construction industry says illegal alien workers have “taken over every trade” in the business while driving down wages by an estimated 40 percent.

In an interview with the group Progressives for Immigration Reform, a whistleblower who was an independent contractor throughout the 1980s and 1990s explains how the California construction industry transformed into one in which American men could make a middle-class living off blue-collar work to a business where wages have plummeted and illegal aliens dominate the field.

Blaine Taylor, the whistleblower, said the construction industry in California once offered a starting wage of about $45 an hour in the late 1980s. Fast-forward to 2018 — nearly two decades into when illegal aliens began flooding the industry — he now says that wages have fallen by more than half, standing at just $11 an hour.

TAYLOR: If I hired a framer to do a small addition [in 1988], his wage would have been $45 an hour. That was the minimum for a framing contractor, a good carpenter. [Emphasis added]

For a helper, it was about $25 an hour, for a master who could run a complete job, it was about $45 an hour.

That was the going wage for plumbers as well. His helpers typically got $25 an hour.

[ … ]

TAYLOR: The reality is that a person that was hired as a laborer in 1988, I paid $15 an hour and within a month if I could leave him on the job alone, he got $20 an hour. If I hired somebody that already knew how to do certain types of labor or certain types of operations, they would get $20 an hour.

Now, the average wage in Los Angeles for construction workers is less than $11 an hour. They can’t go lower than the minimum wage. And much of that, if they’re not being paid by the hour at less than $11 an hour, they’re being paid per piece — per piece of plywood that’s installed, per piece of drywall that’s installed. Now, the subcontractor can circumvent paying them as an hourly wage and are now being paid by 1099, which means that no taxes are being taken out. [Emphasis added]

Taylor says that the flood of illegal alien workers contributed to wages in the California construction industry plummetting between the 1980s to today.

Between 2008 and 2016, construction wages were actually lower than in 1998, representing a roughly 40 percent drop in pay. At the same time, construction materials, Taylor said, increased by about 50 percent.

INTERVIEWER: It’s really strange because as a young man, of course, just entering your working life, you’re making a living wage, and then as you got middle-aged, the wage dropped, which is like… you know most people don’t expect in their careers that they’re going to start out at the top and they’re actually going to fall below where they are when they start.

TAYLOR: Well, part of it was due to the market, but then there’s the other part that really pulled it down and that was the influx of just a flood of undocumented workers. [Emphasis added]

Meanwhile, Taylor says that illegal aliens are dominating the blue-collar trades in the California construction industry, with an illegal alien population that potentially exceeds more than three million.

TAYLOR: Unfortunately, what I have found, is that [the construction in California is] overwhelmingly being built by illegal immigrants that have basically taken over every trade. [Emphasis added]

Just to go back for a second, in the 80’s and early 90’s when I was a contractor, it wasn’t unusual to see undocumented workers doing landscaping, demolition, then it became roofing, and concrete work. So the heavier, more difficult, and dirtier sort of trades where you actually got in the ditches were the first trades to be taken over [by illegal aliens], then the rest of them began to fall.

The drywall was next, painting, framing was the last, and now electrical and plumbing has been taken over. All the trades finally went to the illegal immigrants. [Emphasis added]

In a 2017 report by the Los Angeles Times, the left-leaning paper admitted that at the time illegal aliens began flooding the California construction industry, wages drastically dropped.

“You can’t live on a wage of $11 an hour for a construction worker,” Taylor said. “There’s no hope for people. Young people, as a young man growing up in Detroit, you looked forward to hopefully working in the construction industry.”

“That was an attractive career to go into as a young person,” Taylor said.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report. Pamela Geller’s shocking new book, “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” is now available on Amazon. It’s Geller’s tell all, her story – and it’s every story – it’s what happens when you stand for freedom today. Buy it. Now. Here.

SEIU Community Organizer behind the anti-woman “Women’s March to the Polls” in Chicago

There will be a Woman’s March to the Polls in Chicago, Illinois on October 11th, 2017. Is the march about protecting mothers and their children from the gang violence in Chicago? Is the march focused on eliminating the growing number of murders on Chicago’s streets? Is the march’s mission to restore the family and help create jobs for women?

Jaquie Algee

As of October 10th, 2017 Chicago had a total 530 murders, 8 murders since October 1st, according to DNAInfo.com. Is not the murder rate in Chicago a woman’s issue? Does the Woman’s March to the Polls care about Chicago’s murder rate and its impact on women, families and neighborhoods?

QUESTION: What does The Women’s March to the Polls have to do with helping women?

The organizer of the march is Jaquie Algee the Vice President/Director of External Relations for The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois/Indiana/Missouri/Kansas (SEIU HCIIMK).

The Woman’s March to the Polls (WMC) website describes its mission as follows:

WMC is an organization advocating for women’s rights, promoting intersectional feminism, and challenging the political system regarding issues affecting women. WMC brings together women and allies in support of reproductive justice, LGBTQ+ rights, immigrant rights, affordable childcare, racial justice, access for persons with disabilities, environmental protection, voting rights, and active citizenship, and other critical issues.

Let’s look at three of the missions of the Women’s March to the Polls.

The first is promoting “intersectional feminism.”

What is intersectional feminism and is it good for women? USA Today’s Alia E. Dastagir defines intersectional feminism thusly:

A white woman is penalized by her gender but has the advantage of race. A black woman is disadvantaged by her gender and her race. A Latina lesbian experiences discrimination because of her ethnicity, her gender and her sexual orientation.

Intersectionality has received increased attention in part due to how the Women’s March on Washington came together.

So does it help a white woman to hate herself because she is white? Does it help a black woman to hate anyone who is not black? Does being a lesbian help women and promote traditional families? Do LGBTQ+ rights help women, fathers, mothers and children?

Here are ten truths about the LGBTQ+ agenda. Here’s a pediatricians take on LGBTQ+.

Of course affordable childcare helps women and is a priority of the Trump administration as is equal justice under the law.

The second is advancing “reproductive justice.”

Reproductive justice are code words for abortion on demand. Is the act of a woman aborting her unborn child good for her health?

According to the Illinois Department of Health in 2015 there were a total of 39,856 abortions of which 25,809 were by unmarried women. Girls under the age of 14-years old accounted for 82 abortions, with girls between the ages of 14-17 years old aborting 1,144 babies. Chicago is in Cook County, which accounted for 22,892 or 64.7% of all abortions in Illinois. Abortion is the inextricable outcome of “reproductive justice.”

Why do underage girls and women abort their babies?

The Federalist’s Greg Scandlen has an answer in an article titled “How Many Women Are Pressured Into Abortions?” Scandlen reported:

One study from the pro-life side reported, “In a national study of women, 64% of those who aborted felt pressured to do so by others. This pressure can become violent. 65% suffered symptoms of trauma. In the year following an abortion, suicide rates are 6-7 times higher.“ See also this report from “Clinic Quotes.”

But even the pro-choice side is beginning to wake up to the issue. An article in The Daily Beast is headlined, “Coerced Abortions: A New Study Shows They’re Common.” The article is based largely on information from the Guttmacher Institute (a pro-abortion research center) but raises the topic of “reproductive coercion.” This is an interesting twist on the concept. Rather than looking at women who are coerced into having an abortion, it looks at women who are coerced or tricked first into getting pregnant, then also coerced into aborting the baby, identified as “reproductive control.”

Reproductive justice is a form of “reproductive control” and “reproductive coercion.”

Thirdly is futhering “environmental protection.”

How does environmental protection help women? Alex Epstein in “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” writes:

What does it mean to be moral?

This is an involved philosophical question, but for our purposes I will say: an activity is moral if it is fundamentally beneficial to human life.

By that standard, is the fossil fuel industry moral? The answer to that question is a resounding yes. By producing the most abundant, affordable, reliable energy in the world, the fossil fuel industry makes every other industry more productive—and it makes every individual more productive and thus more prosperous, giving him a level of opportunity to pursue happiness that previous generations couldn’t even dream of. Energy, the fuel of technology, is opportunity—the opportunity to use technology to improve every aspect of life. Including our environment.

Any animal’s environment can be broken down into two categories: threats and resources. (For human beings, “resources” includes a broad spectrum of things, including natural beauty.)

Epstein notes, “To assess the fossil fuel industry’s impact on our environment, we simply need to ask: What is its impact on threats? What is its impact on resources? The moral case against fossil fuels argues that the industry makes our environment more threatening and our resources more scarce.”

With scarce natural resources comes higher prices for food, home heating, gasoline and all other products used by women to sustain human life.

Perhaps the Women’s March to the Polls is all about politics and little to do with the life, liberty and happiness of women?  Or is this march just another a get out the vote to reelect Democrats to continue to lead Chicago on the same path that it is headed? You be the judge.

RELATED ARTICLES:

California Can Now Jail People for Misusing Gender Pronouns

When It Comes to Cost of Living, Red States Win

EDITORS NOTE: The feature image is of Colette Gregory, right, with her mentee Sara Phillips, 27 from the January 20th, 2017 Women’s March on Chicago. Photo by WTTW PBS channel in Chicago.

On Average an NFL Player is Arrested Every Seven Days for a Violent Crime

There is a dark side to the National Football League that few media outlets are talking about. Donald J. Trump, Jr. highlighted the issues in a Tweet:

According to NFLarrest.com:

The average time between [NFL player] arrests is just seven days, while the recorded without an arrest is slightly more than two months, at 65 days.

NFLarrest.com provides an interactive database of National Football League player arrests and charges. NOTE: Due to a spike in visits the website is now down and is asking for “donations will be put into development and server upkeep.”

The NFL appears to embrace players who abuse women.

Stephen L. Carter in a Chicago Tribune article titled “The NFL has a serious violence problem” on the 2017 NFL draft wrote:

In the first round, the Oakland Raiders drafted Gareon Conley, who has been accused of rape. In the second round, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Joe Mixon, who in a much-viewed video punches a woman so hard that she falls down unconscious. In the sixth round, the Cleveland Brownsselected Caleb Brantley, who was accused of doing pretty much what Mixon did. And they are not the only drafted players who face or have faced such charges.

The below chart from NFLarrest.com shows the past 5 years data on crimes/arrests by NFL team:

NFLarrest.com notes that the top team for arrests is the Minnesota Vikings with the top 5 teams for arrests are: Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

In 2006 there were 71 arrests of NFL players, 2013 had 62 arrests, while the lowest in the NFLarrest.com data base is 28 arrests. The player with the most arrests is Adam Jones who has played for both the Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals.

The top positions of those arrested are:

  • Wide receiver – 140
  • Linebacker – 119
  • Cornerback – 116
  • Running back – 99
  • Defensive tackle – 80

In 2016 the Berkeley Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law issued a report titled Unnecessary Roughness: The NFL’s History of Domestic Violence and the Need for Immediate ChangeThe report reads:

One week after the start of the National Football League (NFL)’s 2014-15 season, TMZ.com publicly released a video showing the Baltimore Ravens’ star running back, Ray Rice, knocking his fiancée Janay Rice unconscious in an
Atlantic City casino elevator. The couple is seen arguing in the casino lobby as they walk towards a waiting elevator. Less than ten seconds after entering the elevator, the grainy surveillance video shows Ray Rice slap Janay across the head. Less than ten seconds after entering the elevator, the grainy surveillance video shows Ray Rice slap Janay across the head. She immediately lunges towards him in the elevator to confront him and he punches her in the temple. Her head hits the metal safety rail in the elevator as she falls, rendering her unconscious. When the elevator doors reopen, Ray Rice, who has been described as a 212-pound “fire hydrant of muscle and speed” 1 drags the unconscious body of his fiancée halfway out of the elevator as her small black dress gathers around her waist.

[ … ]

The video shocked and horrified the nation.

Today the nation is shocked and horrified by players disrespecting the American flag and the National Anthem. Perhaps the National Football League should look inward.

RELATED ARTICLE: Boycott the NFL on Veterans Weekend, Sunday, November 12th

RELATED INFOGRAPHICS:

Nearly 30% of Public School Teachers Are ‘Chronically’ Skipping Classes, Study Says

Almost 30 percent of public school teachers are “chronically” skipping classes, according to a new study.

Over 28 percent of public school educators miss 11 or more school days each year, discovered a report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy nonprofit think tank.

dcnf-logo

The study, released Wednesday, found that public school teachers are three times more likely than their charter school counterparts to take more than 10 days a year off school for personal or health-related reasons.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute also revealed the average teacher takes eight days off per year. This figure is over twice as large as the three-and-a-half days missed by the average employee across industries nationwide.

Teachers employed by unionized charter schools were two times as likely as their peers to miss more than 10 days of school a year, the report revealed.

“When in doubt, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one,” David Griffith, the author of the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And the simplest explanation for the teacher chronic absenteeism gap between charter and traditional public schools is that the latter are usually subject to collective bargaining agreements that are extremely generous when it comes to the amount of sick and personal leave that teachers are guaranteed.”

Griffith referenced Hawaiian teachers, who receive 18 paid sick leave days out of their 180-day school year. The study says that nearly four-fifths of Hawaiian teachers take advantage of at least 10 of these days.

“In general, the union response defends these sorts of provisions by arguing that teachers are more likely to get sick than workers in other industries,” Griffith said. He noted the statement likely bears some truth.

“There’s a very direct link between teacher attendance and student achievement; so if teachers are missing more than two weeks of school (which is how teacher chronic absenteeism is defined), then students are losing about two weeks of education. And that’s incredibly damaging to their long-term prospects,” Griffith said.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has advocated school choice and alternatives to public school, including charter schools and school vouchers.

Rob Shimshock

Rob Shimshock is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @ShimshockAndAwe

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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EDITORS NOTE: “There’s a very direct link between teacher attendance and student achievement,” says the author of a Thomas B. Fordham Institute report. (Photo: iStock Photos) Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out more >>

9th Circuit, once again, throws monkey wrench into U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

Groups like the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and International Refugee Assistance Project, with their lawsuits through friendly courts, have so perverted the legal process that has been in place since 1980 for admitting refugees that there is even more reason for President Donald Trump to simply suspend the USRAP for FY18 which begins in 22 days.

Here is the latest crowing at the New York Times about how the recent 9th Circuit decision will allow more refugees to be admitted to the US.

But, but, but….

No where does the NYT article mention that the Supreme Court did affirm the President’s legal right to set a CEILING for the fiscal year and that Trump did set it once he was sworn in at 50,000.  We are now at 51,726 (as of this writing).  This is the first time in the history of the program that the ceiling has been exceeded. 

Any day now Donald Trump could set the CEILING for Fiscal year 2018 that begins on October 1 making moot so much of this legal wrangling.

All of this language created out of thin air by the Supreme Court—this “bona fide relationship” BS—is not in refugee law.

My argument again is that since the courts (including the Supremes) have so mangled refugee law (with the help of these political agitators) that the program should be suspended beginning October 1 to give CONGRESS and the President time assess the program and to regain their Constitutional authority to write and administer law!

The Refugee Act of 1980 does not mandate any number that a President must admit.  He can set the level at zero! He can do that without any executive order via his September ‘determination’ required under the Act!

If he sets the level at zero at the outset, he also takes away any claim the contractors have to having been promised (via contract/agreement) by the Dept. of State that they will be getting a certain number of paying clients (aka refugees) in the coming year.

Here is the New York Times helping to further muddy the public’s understanding of how refugee admissions to the US are processed.

Rebecca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project.

LOS ANGELES — A federal appeals court on Thursday reopened the country’s door to thousands of refugees who had been temporarily blocked by President Trump’s travel ban, and also upheld a lower court decision that had exempted grandparents and other relatives from the ban. [Thousands in 22 days?—ed]

The ruling, from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle, was cheered by refugee resettlement organizations,*** and clarified, for now, who was covered by the ban.

In June, the Supreme Court allowed parts of President Trump’s executive order temporarily barring all travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries, and all refugees, to take effect while the court considered arguments over whether such a ban was constitutional. But the court said the government should let in travelers and refugees with a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” without fully defining what that meant.  [There is no “bona fide” relationship standard in refugee law! Bona fide dies when the executive order dies unless Congress rewrites the law and the President signs it!—ed]

[….]

They also said that working with a resettlement agency*** meets the standard for a “bona fide” relationship with an entity in the United States.

[….]

The United States refugee resettlement program virtually ground to a halt at the end of June as a result of the travel ban. Since then, the government has frozen the applications of individuals already assigned to a resettlement agency, unless they could show ties to a close family member in the United States. Some 24,000 refugees were affected, the court noted in its opinion.

The court mandated that the government resume resettling refugees in the United States beginning in five days.

Becca Heller, director of International Refugee Assistance Project, an organization that provides free legal assistance to refugees abroad and has sued the government over the ban, said Thursday, “I am thrilled that two courts have now recognized the importance of the decades-old relationship between refugees and the American families, communities and organizations that help them resettle.”

More here.

The Dept. of Justice said they will appeal (to the Supreme Court) this latest legal overreach by the 9th Circuit.

If the Leftist resettlement agencies*** had never gotten involved, accepted the 120-day moratorium, it would be long over now and they would be back to their normal process.

And, so since this whole exercise will be moot shortly, what have the refugee advocacy and contracting agencies*** gained from these legal machinations?

They have gained an enormous anti-Trump media campaign, that’s what!

Tell the President and Congress that the US Refugee Admissions Program should be suspended for fiscal year 2018!

*** For new readers, these are the Federal contractors/middlemen/employment agencies/propagandists/lobbyists/community organizers? paid by you to place refugees in your towns and cities listed below.  Under the nine major contractors are hundreds of subcontractors.

The contractors income is largely dependent on taxpayer dollars based on the number of refugees admitted to the US, but they also receive myriad grants to service their “New Americans.”

If you are a good-hearted soul and think refugee resettlement is all about humanitarianism, think again! Big businesses/global corporations depend on the free flow of cheap (some call it slave) labor.  It is for this reason that Republican leaders of Congress are supportive of an uninterrupted flow of refugees into America.

The only way for real reform of how the US admits refugees is to remove these contractors/Leftwing activists/big business head hunters from the process.

As far as I know, all of the contractors below supported the lawsuits that Ms. Heller and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society filed.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

HIAS conference call informative; but appears to be in the dark about FY18 Presidential determination on refugees

Letter to media: “discredited” SPLC should be ignored

San Diego IRC office gets slap on wrist from U.S. State Department

When I was young there were only 2 classes of people — the working class and those wanting to join the working class

“I don’t pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

When I was growing up there were only two classes of people, those who were working and those who aspired to work. The type of work did not matter so long as it was honest work.

Many Americans remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I have a dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial. I however, believe that his greatest speech was his “Street Sweeper” speech given at the New Covenant Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, on 9 April 1967.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’

No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

The King Center expands on Dr. King’s words noting:

We need to constantly reflect on the privilege of being blessed to live in a country where we are free to labor in whatever work we choose, and are divinely called into, let us remember that no labor is in vain, nor is it worthless, but brings lasting value to those that we serve – let us serve with honor and excellence!

It seems that this quotation’s from Dr. MLK Jr. alludes to two things:

  1. That all work or actions have an impact in the world — there is nothing humanity does that is insignificant.
  2. That when such work is focused on uplifting and freeing human kind, it must be practices with awareness to doing it precisely and carefully…or in his words “with painstaking excellence”.

All our tasks are so intertwined no matter where we are in the society, in our churches, in our factories.  If one of us does not do our task well it brings down the entire group. [Emphasis added]

Read more.

The first black president did not heed the words of Dr. King, Jr. with a focus on “the privilege of being blessed to live in a country where we are free to labor in whatever work we choose.” Rather President Obama during his administration has:

  1. Created a black white racial divide.
  2. Created an economic divide, which created social stratification (i.e. more haves and abandoned the have-nots).
  3. Used government regulations and departments to attack opponents.
  4. Introduced Common Core into public schools nation wide to indoctrinate not educate.
  5. Created a divide between Christians and anti-Christians (e.g. Muslims, homosexuals, satanists, collectivists).
  6. Created a social divide between naturalized citizens and illegal aliens.
  7. Created class warfare (i.e. the 99% versus the 1%).
  8. Created a war on fossil fuels, especially coal, using Environmental Protection Agency rules.
  9. Created a barrier between law enforcement and citizens (e.g. in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, Detroit)
  10. Created a war against lawful gun owners rather than addressing criminals like Vester Lee Flanagan.
  11. The war against unborn children – over 55 million causalities and counting.
  12. The Planned Parenthood Industrial Complex – selling dead, mostly black, babies for profit.
  13. Created a opaque government rather than his promised transparent government.
  14. Created a political divide between Democrats and all others opposed to his policies, including some Democrats.
  15. Created a divide between America and Israel.
  16. Created a foreign policy divide between America and global freedom loving movements.
  17. And on, and on, and on…

Before President Obama Americans did not see issues like being black, being a member of a particular economic class, being Hispanic, homosexual or bulling as important. Rather Americans were focused on working, providing for their families and being good members of their community.

President Trump understood that Americans simply wanted to get back to work, hence his slogan Make America Great Again. This slogan resonated with the working class and those who aspired to become part of the working class in America.

Americans understand that “If one of us does not do our task well it brings down the entire group.”

Time for Americans to get to work. Work is a blessing.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Trump and Vice President Pence meet with workers at the Carrier factory in Indiana.

The Recent Popes on Work and Workers

Pope St. John Paul II, and Pope Francis on work and working men and women. Work is fundamental. 

The Church is convinced that work is a fundamental dimension of man’s existence on earth. She is confirmed in this conviction by considering the whole heritage of the many sciences devoted to man: anthropology, palaeontology, history, sociology, psychology and so on; they all seem to bear witness to this reality in an irrefutable way. But the source of the Church’s conviction is above all the revealed word of God, and therefore what is aconviction of the intellect is also a conviction of faith. The reason is that the Church-and it is worthwhile stating it at this point-believes in man: she thinks of man and addresses herself to him not only in the light of historical experience, not only with the aid of the many methods of scientific knowledge, but in the first place in the light of the revealed word of the living God. Relating herself to man, she seeks to express the eternal designs and transcendent destiny which the living God, the Creator and Redeemer, has linked with him.

The Church finds in the very first pages of the Book of Genesis the source of her conviction that work is a fundamental dimension of human existence on earth. An analysis of these texts makes us aware that they express-sometimes in an archaic way of manifesting thought-the fundamental truths about man, in the context of the mystery of creation itself. These truths are decisive for man from the very beginning, and at the same time they trace out the main lines of his earthly existence, both in the state of original justice and also after the breaking, caused by sin, of the Creator’s original covenant with creation in man. When man, who had been created “in the image of God. . . .male and female,” hears the words: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it,” even though these words do not refer directly and explicitly to work, beyond any doubt they indirectly indicate it as an activity for man to carry out in the world. Indeed, they show its very deepest essence. Man is the image of God partly through the mandate received from his Creator to subdue, to dominate, the earth. In carrying out this mandate, man, every human being, reflects the very action of the Creator of the universe.

Work understood as a “transitive” activity, that is to say an activity beginning in the human subject and directed towards an external object, presupposes a specific dominion by man over “the earth,” and in its turn it confirms and develops this dominion. It is clear that the term “the earth” of which the biblical text speaks is to be understood in the first place as that fragment of the visible universe that man inhabits. By extension, however, it can be understood as the whole of the visible world insofar as it comes within the range of man’s influence and of his striving to satisfy his needs. The expression “subdue the earth” has an immense range. It means all the resources that the earth (and indirectly the visible world) contains and which, through the conscious activity of man, can be discovered and used for his ends. And so these words, placed at the beginning of the Bible, never cease to be relevant. They embrace equally the past ages of civilization and economy, as also the whole of modern reality and future phases of development, which are perhaps already to some extent beginning to take shape, though for the most part they are still almost unknown to man and hidden from him. – from John Paul II’s Laborem Exercens (1981)

Click here to read the rest of the popes’ words . . .  

Robert Royal

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is a painting titled Men of the Docks by George Bellows, 1912 located in the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Unions Are the Worst Labor Day Deal by Gary M. Galles

Every Labor Day, unions repeat assertions of advancing the interests of all workers. But those claims are false. Unions harm most American workers.

Project Labor Agreements

Unions use government-delegated powers to restrict competition from other workers, extracting higher wages for their members. But higher wages mean fewer job openings because each worker is more expensive to the employer. That forces workers to move to other jobs, increasing the supply of labor services in non-union employment and reducing wages for all workers in those jobs. With far less than 10 percent of private sector workers in unions, more than 90 percent of them are injured by that exercise of union power.

Other union-backed initiatives also show how unions feather their own nests at the expense of other workers. Among the best examples are Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), such as the one recently adopted in Santa Ana (despite a staff report that estimates that it would increase construction costs by 10-20 percent).

PLAs are agreements negotiated between government bodies and unions (but excluding non-union workers and contractors), establishing in advance the terms and conditions that will be imposed on all workers for designated projects.

PLAs are rationalized as buying labor peace, “leveling the playing field” for competitors, guaranteeing projects are completed on time, holding down costs, increasing quality, and safety, etc. But they advance none of these goals. They restrict competition, raise costs, and pick taxpayers’ (i.e., other workers’) pockets. As Wharton Professor Herbert Northrup wrote in the Journal of Labor Research, PLAs “have little or no economic rationale, nor can they be defended on the grounds of labor peace, enhanced safety, or other reasonable criteria.”

Non-union workers must also contribute to union health and pension funds with nothing in return.

PLAs supposedly buy labor peace because unions promise not to engage in disruptive activities. Of course, strikes still hit the San Francisco International Airport expansion project, the largest PLA at the time. Such PLAs punish nonunion workers and contractors, who do not threaten strikes, to buy labor peace from unions who threaten strikes–penalizing the innocent (including taxpayers) to reward the guilty. As the New York Supreme Court described it in the Albany Specialties case, it reflects “capitulation to extortion” by unions.

PLA backers assert they just impose equal labor terms on all project bidders, allowing equal competition. But those “equal” terms are anything but even-handed. As in San Francisco and Santa Ana, all workers on the concerned projects, including non-members, must pay union dues and fees, for which they will receive no benefits. Non-union workers must also contribute to union health and pension funds with nothing in return.

Restricting Competition

Virtually all new workers are forced through union hiring halls and even apprentices are union-controlled. Union wages, work rules, job classifications, and hiring and grievance procedures are mandated, raising costs, particularly for non-union bidders. In 2009, John McGowan estimated that PLAs faced employees of non-union contractors with 20 percent cuts in their take-home pay, while increasing non-union employers’ costs by about 25 percent.

PLA terms are so onerous to non-union contractors and workers that most will not even bid on PLA projects (86 percent, in a 1997 survey of non-union contractors in Washington). Bids rise as restrictions eliminate bidders (particularly lower-cost non-union contractors), raising costs for taxpayers. For instance, a 1995 study of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York found that the winning bid without a PLA was 26 percent lower than the one with a PLA.

PLAs harm other workers both directly and as taxpayers financing public projects.  

Such results reinforce the repeated failure of PLAs to demonstrate an increase in either quality or safety, and a 1998 GAO investigation that could document no cost efficiencies from PLAs.

Just as with their other exercises of their unique, government-granted power to restrict competition, PLAs harm other workers both directly and as taxpayers financing public projects.

Rather than living up to union claims, Diana Furchtgott-Roth concluded that a PLA “drives out small businesses from competing for these projects; raises their cost to the taxpayers; and funnels a larger stream of union dues from taxpayers’ pockets to union treasuries.”

So, if we want to make the workers whose contributions we claim to celebrate on Labor Day better off, we should give them more freedom, rather than subjecting them to so many harmful union impositions.

Gary M. Galles

Gary M. Galles

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. His recent books include Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Apostle of Peace (2013). He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

RELATED ARTICLE: On This Labor Day Please Remember the 94 Million Killed by Communist Workers Party in the 20th Century

Grandfathered Salary Suit Filed Against Miami-Dade Schools

Last week, the Grandfathered Salary lawsuit was served upon Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Read the redacted complaint filed in federal court in Miami (redacted due to federal law per personal information of plaintiffs).

In the fall of 2015, M-DCPS and the United Teachers of Dade together unlawfully changed a legislatively designated “grandfathered salary schedule.”

Thus, a group of teachers incorporated as “The Grandfathered Inc.” decided to take action and challenge M-DCPS’ and UTD’s unlawful collusion in court and to set the record straight.

Sadly, the United Teachers of Dade sided with M-DCPS in PERC and is opposed to this lawsuit.

Why would 19,000 teachers sue the School Board of Miami Dade Public Schools for $60 million in lost salaries?

Because a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2011 required that as of July 1, 2014, whatever salary schedule was in place would thence forth be frozen in time, or, as the statute phrased it, grandfathered.  But the school district just didn’t do it.

The current law (Fla. Stat. §1012.22) was intended to prevent further annual increases to district salary schedules for teachers hired before July 1, 2014.  Teachers hired after that date would receive performance pay, which would be calculated or derived from the greatest increment between levels of the grandfathered schedule, depending upon a teacher’s effectiveness.  In theory, performance pay would quickly out-pace the frozen schedule forcing veteran teachers to relinquish their tenure to join the new comers.

However, M-DCPS just kept on bargaining new schedules to attack the higher end salary steps for teachers approaching retirement.  And not incidentally, for two years, the District did not award any performance pay whatsoever.   The damage to teacher salaries is estimated at $20 million per year.

A few points of the lawsuit explained:

  1. The statutes (both of them) are easy to read:

Grandfathered Salary Schedule — The District school board shall adopt a salary schedule or salary schedules to be used as the basis for paying all school employees hired before July 1, 2014.

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 4. a. (emphasis added).

Grandfathered salary schedule means the salary schedule or schedules adopted by a district school board before July 1, 2014, pursuant to subparagraph 4. (Cited immediately above).

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 1. b. (emphasis added).

  1. How about an example of grandfathering?

Many cellular phone carriers including AT&T and Verizon had an unlimited data plan in the past, but these plans were discontinued. However, customers who already had subscribed to unlimited data plans could continue them for as long as they kept the same service. They were grandfathered.  But not new subscribers.  For them, the unlimited plan was no longer available, and they had to select from a limited plan.

  1. Some examples of 2015-16 salary schedule deviations from the grandfathered salary schedule:

Step

17             48,425             Down $1,875.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
19             51,900             Down $1,200.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
21             57,350             Down $1,000.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
22             60,775             Down $3,539.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
23             66,575             Down $3,750.00 from the grandfathered schedule.

  1. The District tried to justify it by saying that the grandfathered salary schedule would be any schedule they “designated as such.”

The below video highlights a large part of the problem, which is M-DCPS seemingly diverting money meant for teacher salaries into capital projects.  From the video, you can view teacher Shawn Beightol putting Superintendent Carvalho on the spot at a public forum on this issue and view a PERC transcript with talking points that debunk District explanations.

The progress of the lawsuit can be followed on the  Grandfathered Salary Suit Facebook page.

If you are a M-DCPS teacher and desire to collect damages and regain your steps, sign a retainer.

Please note the lawyers will be paid out of the settlement, so you, the teacher, will not be billed lawyer fees, and legal costs are being covered by donations.

Man On the Street: Income Inequality

We know progressives deplore income inequality and believe the idea of income equality will bring about a better world, one that is more “socially just.” But do they know anything about what actually happens when their dream comes true?

Like, what do “income equality” societies (like Venezuela) look like?

Which society should the U.S. model itself after?

Documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz asks progressives what they know about income equality. Turns out, not that much. Watch Ami’s video here.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Illegal Immigration Drives Income Inequality

Busting Myths about Income Inequality by Chelsea German

Can Soaking the Rich Reduce Income Inequality? by Karen Walby, Ph.D.

PROGRESSIVE ABSURDITY #43 – “Income Inequality Is the Great Economic and Moral Crisis of Our Time” by Ron Robinson

How Mass Schooling Perpetuates Inequality by Kerry McDonald

While visiting a public park out-of-state recently, we met a young boy who shares many interests with my 8-year-old son and is also homeschooled. They hit it off immediately and we met up with Matt, along with his mom and younger brother, several times.Schooling can bring out the worst behaviors.

We learned that life is tough for this family. Matt’s father isn’t around, and his mother struggles as a single mom supporting two young children on her own. She pulled Matt out of public school a couple of years ago feeling that it wasn’t working for him. He was labeled as hyperactive, a troublemaker, a slow reader, a kid with a temper.

As I interacted with this engaging, polite, energetic boy, it became obvious to me how mass schooling would be a terrible fit for him – a square peg in a round hole. Mass schooling was designed to crush a child’s natural exuberance and make him conform to a static set of norms and expectations.

Being Labeled a Deviant

For kids like Matt, schooling can bring out the worst behaviors. Like a trapped tiger – angry and afraid –  they rebel.

Unable to conform properly to mass schooling’s mores, they get a label: troubled, slow-learner, poor, at-risk. They will carry these scarlet letters with them throughout their 15,000 hours of mandatory mass schooling, emerging not with real skills and limitless opportunity, but further entrenched in their born disadvantage. A tiny few may succeed at overcoming these labels – a dangling carrot that sustains the opportunity myth of mass schooling – but the vast majority do not.

Monique Morris writes in her book, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools: “Literature on the structure of dominance and the socially reproductive function of school tells us that schools may reinforce and reproduce social hierarchies that undermine the development of people who occupy lower societal status.”

In reference to the black girls she writes about in her book, Morris concludes that “these socially reproductive structures constitute educational experiences that guide them to, rather than direct them away from, destitution and escalating conflict with the criminal justice system.”[1]

That is why I was heartbroken to hear that Matt is going back to school in the fall.

What Do You Do With No Real Alternatives?

I understand why his mother feels she has no other choice but to send him there. She’s struggling to support her family on her own, to build a better life for her kids. It’s hard to be a single mom and to homeschool. In fact, a new homeschooling report issued last week by Boston’s Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research shows that 90 percent of homeschoolers live in two-parent families, and they are three times more likely to have one be a stay-at-home parent. Homeschooling as a single mom is beyond hard.

But it doesn’t have to be. If Matt’s mom could enroll him in a self-directed learning center, like those scattered across the country, she could support her family and continue to homeschool Matt with a complementary learning environment that encourages freedom and autonomy and pursuit of his passions and gifts. These learning centers, where tuition is typically only a fraction of a standard private school, often rely on donations to offer sliding scale fees or scholarships.

Of course, if Matt’s mom had a voucher that could help too, not only in defraying some education costs but also in encouraging the innovation and entrepreneurship necessary to launch more of these self-directed learning centers – and other school alternatives – across the country.

Imagine if some of the over $600 billion that American taxpayers are charged each year to pay for U.S. public schools were re-allocated to create alternatives to the mass schooling monopoly. Imagine what that might do to help families like Matt’s.

Generating a Resistance to Learning

I can see the reel playing before me of Matt’s remaining years in school: the endless discipline, the daily detentions, the force-fed academics, the testing that masquerades as learning, the sadness and despair that will only be amplified now that Matt has had a taste of education freedom and autonomy. He knows how learning can be, should be, but for most children is not.

As Schooling the World documentary filmmaker, Carol Black, writes in her powerful essay:

Children’s resistance takes many forms; inattention, irritability, disruption, withdrawal, restlessness, forgetting; in fact, all of the ‘symptoms’ of ADHD are the behaviors of a child who is actively or passively resisting adult control. Once you start to generate this resistance to learning, if you don’t back away quickly, it can solidify into something very disabling.”

I hope I’m wrong. I hope school will be ok for Matt this time around. But I am not optimistic. And I am angry: angry that mass schooling is the only other option for Matt, angry because this was how the system was designed to be. Remember: Horace Mann, the proclaimed “father of American public education” who created the nation’s first compulsory schooling law in Massachusetts in 1852, homeschooled his own three children with no intention of sending them to the common schools he mandated for others.

The Pioneer Institute homeschooling report says of Mann:

This hypocrisy of maintaining parental choice for himself while advocating a system of public education for others seems eerily similar to the mindset that is so common today: Many people of means who can choose to live in districts with better schools or opt for private schools resist giving educational choices to those less fortunate.”

Matt is an important reminder for me of why I advocate so strongly for education choice and parental empowerment. He should be a reminder for all of us that mass schooling was created as a system of social control for those without privilege. If we truly care about equity we should care about choice.

[1] Morris, Monique. Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. New York: The New Press, 2016, p. 188.

Reprinted from Whole Family Learning.

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald has a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband and four never-been-schooled children. Follow her writing at Whole Family Learning.

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Trump’s Immigration Reform Fights for American Workers

Is it outlandish to say that the welfare of Americans should come before the welfare of potential immigrants in the actions of the American government?

No. Of course not.

It is reasonable, rational and what almost every other country does without all the name-calling we get from the progressive left in this country. Some European countries recently tried magnanimity over the protection and welfare of their citizens and their citizens have paid a steep and deadly price. Wrong choice.

America has been increasingly throwing the door open to wrong legal immigration in the front door, while leaving the back door unlocked for massive illegal immigration. The result has been a predictable stew: of the diminishment of American culture that was, and amazingly still is, the envy of the world; of overburdened public facilities (including hospitals and schools); of stagnant incomes; and of a growing entitlement mentality for many of those sneaking in the back door.

While the ruling amalgam of coastal elites, big businesses and Washington smarmies have enjoyed this arrangement for various reasons, most Americans have witnessed the damage in real life. This was the first and biggest issue that President Trump tapped into and that propelled his election.

He has slowly started delivering on locking the back door: Building the wall to stop the endless flow of illegal immigrants.

On Wednesday, Trump unveiled his immigration reform for the front door with U.S. Senators Tom Cotton and Dave Perdue, entitled the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act.

The devil is always in the details of this sort of legislation, but it is promising on the surface and it keeps another Trump promise. For all of his personal peccadilloes, the man does seem to be keeping his promises, and that’s good for the American people.

Of course the problem will be the faux Republicans in the Senate and getting past a Democratic filibuster. That will require 60 votes, but if they do, they should have to do it the old-fashioned Mr-Smith-Goes-To-Washington way — stand there and keep talking constantly.

Rightly done immigration is necessary

Immigration is a powerful engine for economic growth, but wrong immigration has been a recipe for low wages at the bottom and middle parts of the income scale, high governmental costs and faster growing wages at the top end of the scale.

And there is wrong immigration. We’ve been practicing it for decades and are reaping the results.

The unofficial, bipartisan policy of the Washington smarties the past 30 years or so has been a de facto open border with Mexico that allows somewhere between 11 million and 20 million illegal immigrants to sneak in here and work, live and enjoy the benefits of this country without assimilation or legal contribution. Talk about cultural appropriation!

However, they are allowed to keep sneaking in with a wink and a nod because politicians have opposed enforcing U.S. immigration laws — largely for their own personal, political futures. Sure, we have some fencing and a Border Patrol and we do stop some and send them back — about 250,000 annually. But even those come right back again and eventually get through. President Obama made it much easier by enacting “catch and release,” meaning we did not send them back at all, but released them into America with a promise to show up at a court date in the future. Needless to say, they didn’t, and no one expected them to anyway. It was more flouting of American law.

In the rest of the picture, we have legal immigration that takes many years and is an arduous and expensive journey. But because we are controlling it, we are getting immigrants that as a batch are more capable of not only improving their own lives, but those of other Americans.

In 2014, 29 percent of the 36.7 million immigrants ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30 percent of native-born adults. While that lines up nicely with the existing American population, the bottom end still does not: 30 percent of immigrants lacked a high school diploma or GED certificate compared to 10 percent of native-born Americans.

What this overall picture shows is that we allow — legally and illegally — millions of low-end workers into the country, and that has enormous consequences for low- and middle-income Americans and eventually for economic growth. That is what is being fixed in this reform.

The “compassion” deceit

The conceit of quasi open borders is that we are a “compassionate” nation. Well yes, that is indisputable by nearly every definition of charity — at home and around the world. Of course in this case, compassion emanates from people who will never be negatively impacted by wrong immigration but will most often gain from it personally. So it’s a bit lame.

In the meantime, while letting millions of poor, unskilled, illiterate immigrants into our country may play as showing compassion toward them, it is demonstrably not showing compassion toward tens of millions of poor Americans.

Consider: Millions of uneducated, unskilled and illiterate immigrants from south of the border come to America seeking a better life — or for many, just income to send money back “home.” The economics is undeniable: Their very presence not only blocks many Americans trying to get a foothold in the workforce, but also depresses the low end of wages for those jobs.

The canard of jobs “Americans won’t do” are actually only jobs Americans won’t do at the prevailing wagesset by wrong and illegal immigration. Without all those immigrants — legal or illegal, but most are illegal — low end wages would inevitably rise to meet demand. Perhaps a lot. And that would push up middle incomes as well.

Professor George Borjas, at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, writes: “Wage trends over the past half-century suggest that a 10 percent increase in the number of workers with a particular set of skills probably lowers the wage of that group by at least 3 percent.”

That is invaluable information and explains part of wage stagnation while also explaining the big social bogeyman in American politics: income inequality. And it is due to both illegal immigration and wrong legal immigration.

The RAISE Act reforms some errors

Americans have long admired and desired merit-based systems. They understand that too often that is not the case — in unionized schools, certainly in Congress, in the welfare system.

But the remnants of rugged American individualism know that is still the right path forward. And Trump and the Senators’ plan does just that by creating a more merit-based legal immigration system.

The RAISE Act would dramatically reduce low-skilled immigration (which we already have far too much of) while overhauling the system for skilled immigration and cutting low-skilled immigration by more than 40 percent immediately. That may be more than is necessary, but those are quibbles in the big picture.

It ends the absurd “diversity” lottery to get more immigrants from countries that do not send as many — mostly from Africa. And crucially important, it eliminates most of the abused system of preferences for family members — aside from spouses, minor children and elderly parents who need care. So no more brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the butcher, baker and candlestick maker being allowed to come in because of one person here — legally or illegally.

The RAISE Act creates a system for those seeking green cards to be awarded on the basis of employment via a new point system similar to those used in other Western countries, such as Canada and Australia. Points are earned by level of education, English fluency (yes!), their age, the salary they’ve been offered, and, if an applicant wants to bring a spouse, the spouse’s education, age, and language skills also. Further, immigrants allowed entry through the point system would not be eligible for welfare benefits for five years.

This system is obviously better for the United States and for all Americans — except maybe the wealthy and powerful who have benefited most from the current system. Whether that gives it any chance in Congress is doubtful.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.