It’s not that hard | The American Conservative
Anyone who wanders through the media coverage of current events must be impressed by the apparent unsolvability of our nation’s most critical national and international problems. Let me disagree and argue that many of these problems could easily be resolved with a modest dose of humility from the relevant stakeholders.
November 20th vs. January 6th January
Democrats and much of the mainstream media were outraged by the recent Senate Republican Republicans’ January 6th investigation into the Capitol invasion. However, the Capitol invaders were motivated by the belief that the November 20 election results were illegitimate, a belief still held by nearly a third of American citizens. While no court has found evidence of electoral fraud sufficient to change the election result, even a single fraudulent vote cancels a US citizen’s vote. The simple compromise: give each side the opportunity to deal with the facts of November 20th and January 6th through a single, professional, non-partisan national commission. Those (including many Republicans) who fear Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign should definitely demonstrate to supporters that he really “lost big” in 2020.
Whatever the merits of President Biden’s spending plans, his goal of finding new tax revenue to pay for is in the national interest. His focus on the corporate tax rate is less logical, as companies only generate around 12% of national income. Still, the tax rate on corporate profits (21 percent) is significantly lower than the tax rate of many shareholders who ultimately benefit from these profits (37 percent). Bringing the corporate income tax rate closer to the final shareholder tax rate may make sense, but only if those profits are not double taxed, an outcome that can easily be avoided by allowing a corporate tax deduction for dividends paid to shareholders who are paid by the U.S. Subject to income tax.
Discussions about immigration policy rage, mostly without cause. For example, illegal aliens flood our borders because they rightly believe that if they apply for asylum, they will be released and never deported. Technically, asylum only applies to foreigners fleeing persecution because of race, religion, or political beliefs, not because of the lower national crime rates than in Memphis, Tennessee. Most asylum seekers do not show up for hearings, almost all who do are found ineligible, and ICE’s budgetary constraints preclude the deportation of most of those found ineligible. What a farce! The Trump administration’s policy of waiting for asylum seekers in Mexico, where there was no risk of racial, ethnic, or political persecution, was sensible and worked well. It would make even more sense to require asylum seekers to submit their application to a US consulate in their home country or in any neighboring country to which they have fled.
Almost no one denies that illegal immigration is motivated almost entirely by an understandable desire to earn many times what the immigrants could earn at home. However, their unlawful employment in the United States lowers wages and job opportunities for Native Americans, and especially African Americans. Please forget “mandatory e-verify” as a solution: there is a better way. Today, employers are required to report the name and alleged social security number of a new employee to the Social Security Agency on Form W-2, and must also complete and retain a copy of Form I-9, which lists the same information and proof of the new employee’s work permit. Inaccurate or incorrect information on both forms is only relevant in the rare case of a construction site visit by ICE. If the employer wants to confirm the new employee’s ability to work himself, he must do the third Step of re-entering the I-9 information into the online e-verify system (a system rarely used by employers who know or suspect that foreign workers are “undocumented”).
The obvious, simple solution to this annoying, dysfunctional three-tier system is sitting on the White House desk right now in the form of a regulation approved by the Department of Homeland Security in 2020 called “G-Verify” for “Government Verification.” G-Verify would prevent the hiring of almost all illegal aliens while making life easier for employers by replacing three cumbersome, ineffective filings with a single filing of each new employee’s I-9 data, with instant confirmation of the new employee’s eligibility to work the employer.
Advocacy for immigration restrictions isn’t limited to Americans who want to preserve the culture they grew up in. Strict immigration restrictions have also long been the target of union officials and environmentalists (until both were recently stifled by “wakefulness”). Fortunately, the way to a rational, but undoubtedly non-racist, answer to which and how many foreigners should be admitted is in the Immigration Reduction Recommendations chaired by the Clinton-appointed US Immigration Reform Commission of the 1990s Civil rights activist Barbara Jordan, the first South African American to be elected to the US House of Representatives (hardly a “white racist”).
For many Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, writing off billions of dollars in college debt has become a “thing” for economically troubled graduates. As for the fighters, I feel their pain from leaving college and law school with significant student debt and a family to support. However, those who have never been privileged with a college education (and even those who have paid off and settled their debts) may resent that their tax dollars are being used to write off the debts of those who had that privilege and now want a free ride. Nonetheless, we could all sympathize with fellow citizens who have made an educational bet that has not paid off, especially minority students who have been encouraged through positive action to go beyond what was realistic given their pre-college academic performance. However, a simple, arbitrary write-off of most student debts would add to our already dangerous national debt and unjustifiably gift those who benefited from learning experiences that most working-class Americans do not enjoy.
The solution is so simple and obvious that the conservative economist Milton Friedman discovered it many decades ago: Don’t write off the college debts of financially troubled graduates, but limit their debts to a percentage of their income. Since 2007, the Department of Education has been offering such a program for college and graduate students, which allows them to fund their tuition fees with loans the repayment of which is calculated as a percentage of income and which are finally repaid when their job – The Graduation income is not enough to pay off the loan in full. However, this program does not apply to university debt prior to 2007, university debt that is not funded by the Department of Education, nor debt that finances tuition fees that exceed certain, relatively low amounts. The fact that the mechanisms for such a program are in place would facilitate the introduction of a more universal Friedman alternative to blanket forgiveness.
As “white supremacy” has become the standard explanation for the relatively poor educational and financial performance of African Americans, almost every topic in national discourse has been obsessed with figuring out how our national norms affect the interests of the relatively small percentage of our population that identify than black. A fact of life, however, is that almost every identifiable racial, religious or ethnic group in our country performs better or worse than any other group. For example, while Asian Americans are seen as high achievers, the differences between Asian Americans of different national origins are actually almost as great as those between any other American identity group. To what extent the American disparities can be traced back to the fact that the various races have developed geographically over millennia or have adopted cultures that simply give less weight outside of mine to the progressive psychology of the “strangest people in the world” (as articulated by Joseph Henrich) Understanding.
I do know, however, that married African American men are about as good economically as white men with the same education. Not me in 2021, but Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1965 concluded that the greatest obstacle to black advancement after the civil rights movement was the breakdown of the African American family as unmarried black mothers had to rely on livelihoods state welfare and 70 percent of their children grew up in families without fathers. Fortunately, there is reason to be hopeful. According to the Pew Research Center, 75 percent of black Americans trust their (mostly Protestant Christian) churches to help them move toward equality. Could the billions spent by governments and private foundations to encourage Ivy League schools to accept more black students and multinational corporations to appoint more black directors, better to work with the widespread, influential ones black parishes are issued to urge black men to adhere to their beliefs and marry the women who impregnate them?
After all, China and Russia’s challenges to a US-friendly world order trigger nightmares among Western leaders and foreign policy-makers. Please take a deep breath. Until its collapse, the Soviet Union posed an existential threat to the western liberal order, took control of practically all neighboring countries, encouraged attempted communist takeovers in many developing countries and had its model copied by the most populous nation in the world. Nothing is the same today. Russia’s economy and global standing are weak; it threatens neighbors only when necessary to protect Putin’s own domestic reputation.
China has given up Soviet-style global communism in favor of dictatorial ethno-nationalism that limits its interest in foreign conquest or upheaval to neighboring Taiwan. Apart from Taiwan, nothing is in sight that could trigger a third world war. Shouldn’t we, instead of sitting and fretting, take this opportunity to finally deal with the abundance of nuclear weapons in the US, Russia and China? A large reduction in these arsenals would remove the threat of global annihilation and could even induce countries like India, Pakistan and North Korea to abandon their comparatively tiny arsenals.
William W. Chip Most recently, he was Senior Counselor to the US Secretary of Homeland Security.
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