The Economics of Bernie Sanders

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Sanders shockingly similar to Mussolini

by William L. Anderson | Mises.org | September 3, 2015

As the political campaign of Hillary Clinton continues to run aground, Democrats are flocking to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the self-described “socialist” US senator from Vermont, who has been a fixture in that state for more than three decades.

Not unlike the presidential campaign of Ron Paul, Sanders is drawing large, enthusiastic crowds who are very receptive to his message of increased state control of the US economy.

Obviously, when a person running a campaign based upon socialist principles is drawing attention and big crowds, we might ask just what does Sanders mean by “socialist,” and what would he do if he were elected president of the United States? To better answer that question, I am taking a closer look at what we would call the “economics” of Bernie Sanders.
What Do We Mean by “Socialism”?

Before looking at Sanders’s platform, however, I believe it is important to note that when socialists speak of “victories” in the economy, they are not talking about actual results, but rather political achievements in the forms of laws being passed that mandate certain policies. Whether or not these policies actually achieve what socialists claim will be accomplished is another story altogether, but results are irrelevant to socialists.

This should surprise no one because, after all, socialism is based upon political control of the economy. True (or at least original) socialists believe that state agents via the “magic” of their authority should allocate all resources to where there is the greatest need for them. Political representatives, not surprisingly, determine what constitutes the greatest need. The state would take ownership of all factors of production and then wisely determine the needs and how production of goods would fulfill them.

Ludwig von Mises in 1920 in his short work, Socialism (three years later expanded into a book), exploded the socialist myth by pointing out that in a world of scarce resources, economies needed private ownership, prices, profits and losses to determine where resources should be directed. The early years of the “experiment” of the Soviet Union proved Mises correct, and socialists then sought to redefine what socialism actually meant.

In the USSR, and later in China and North Korea, the state took ownership of factors of production, but tried to create a parallel economy by using shadow prices and production functions via the mechanisms championed by Polish communist Oskar Lange, who admitted that Mises had pointed out serious flaws in the original plans of socialists. We also know how that “experiment” turned out, which is why there no longer is a USSR, China has abandoned much of the economics of Mao, and North Korea is a failed state where most people live in grinding poverty.

But people like Bernie Sanders, while maybe not rejecting the old socialism spiritually, nonetheless have embraced a “socialism” in which government takes ownership of large portions of what has been produced by private enterprise and transfers wealth from one group of people to another. A look at the Sanders website spells out his brand of “socialism” that he says is based upon what Nordic countries like Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have done, levying high taxes with governments using that funding for social programs like medical care and other public welfare initiatives.
Secondary Socialism

A number of people have pointed out that the Sanders “program” is not socialism per se, but rather is something based upon socializing the results of private enterprise, or what one might call secondary socialism. The Bernie Sanders regime would take control of some of the produce of private enterprise, as opposed to taking outright control of factors of production, which would remain in private hands. If this reminds one of thefascism of the 1930s, that is because Sanders is promoting a version of the governing models of Germany under Adolph Hitler and Italy under Benito Mussolini.

Of the two, Sanders certainly is closer to Mussolini. Like Sanders, Mussolini called himself a socialist and was a leader in the Italian Socialist Party. Like Sanders, Mussolini decried “profiteers” and the wealthy, and spoke out against political corruption. Like Sanders, Mussolini spoke of a larger “national purpose” and sought to harness nationalism as a political force. Like Sanders, Mussolini sought to impose more and more controls on Italian businesses in order to direct production in a way to satisfy political purposes. Like Sanders, Mussolini built political power by appealing to Italian voters by saying that other Italians were well-off because they had gained their wealth on the backs of the poor.

Having similar economic proposals to Hitler and Mussolini does not make Sanders either of those two men and it is important to emphasize that while Sanders regularly employs the powerful political tool of appealing to voter resentment of others, he is not advocating the kind of genocide that ultimately helped to characterize the fascism of Central Europe in the 1930s and 40s. Bernie Sanders is an economic nationalist, and economic nationalism was at the heart of European fascism, but we do not want to make unwarranted accusations against Sanders, either.

At the same time, I do not want to let Sanders off the hook. He promotes economic nationalism and has built his campaign upon resentment, the kind of which Henry Hazlitt wrote in 1966 in his famous, “Marxism in One Minute.” Hazlitt wrote:

The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. (Emphasis mine)

As one moves through the website for the Sanders campaign, there is plenty of resentment for others. First, there is the ubiquitous “One-Percent” that is the main focus of the typical Sanders stump speech:

This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: “you can’t have it all.” You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America, if you refuse to accept your responsibilities as Americans.

While I would agree wholeheartedly that the US economy is in serious trouble, it is not because of the “greed” of billionaires. It is because the US government, through the Federal Reserve System, has created what David Stockman has called the “casino economy” that has substituted trading of sovereign debt and monetary manipulation for a real economy with interest rates that reflect actual economic fundamentals. Like the Bush and Clinton administrations before it, the Obama administration has promoted political entrepreneurship and demonized market entrepreneurship.
Sanders’s List of Recycled Twentieth-Century “Solutions”

Americans are not jobless because some people are not paying “their fair share” of taxes; they are jobless because the US government insists on directing resources from higher-valued uses to lower-valued uses, as determined by consumer choice. They are jobless because Washington insists on remaking the economy in its own image, and there is nothing in the entire Sanders campaign that would change any of the things that vex the US economy the most.

So, what does Sanders propose to “revitalize” the US economy? Here are some things listed on his website:

Raise taxes on US corporations (ironically, corporate tax rates in the Nordic countries are substantially lower than current corporate taxes in the USA, something that has escaped Sanders’s notice);
Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour;
Expand the reach of labor unions and vastly expand their membership;
Make it illegal for US corporations to manufacture goods abroad, and then sell those goods in the USA;
Impose new taxes on financial transactions;
Spend at least a trillion dollars on building and repairing roads, bridges, and utilities;
Create a “youth jobs program” in which unemployed young people are given government-sponsored jobs (Sanders sees no connection between high minimum wages and youth unemployment);
Enact “equity pay” that will “guarantee” that women are paid the same as men for comparable work;
Break up banks and financial institutions;
Enact a Canada-style single-payer healthcare system;
Provide free tuition for all public colleges and universities;
Expand Social Security benefits;
Require businesses to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, at least 10 days of paid vacation a year, and seven days per year of paid guaranteed sick leave.

Notice that there is nothing in the Sanders platform that calls for “nationalization” of the means of production, nor does he propose to do away with the price system. In other words, Sanders’s vision of socialism is not what Mao or Trotsky or Lenin proposed, yet there is not one thing in the entire platform that would reverse the dangerous economic trends of the past decade.

Instead, Sanders proposes to direct huge amounts of resources in the direction of constructing something akin to a European welfare state. To put it another way, Sanders wishes to “turn back the clock” to create or promote social and economic structures that already have been undermined by the modern “sharing” economy.

If one reads Sanders’s platform from another perspective, it would be the New Deal. Indeed, there is nothing Sanders has written or said from the stump that would not be reminiscent of a New Deal rally (with the possible exception in appealing to black Americans, which was not part of the Democratic Party agenda in the 1930s, as well as Sanders’s appeal to furthering the Sexual Revolution). Bernie Sanders pushes an economic agenda that is frozen in time.

The problem, economically speaking, is that Bernie Sanders proposes nothing that actually would enable entrepreneurs to help bring about a true economic recovery. In Sanders’s world, entrepreneurs are parasites and employers are oppressors who seek to harm their employees, and wealth is defined by how much governments have in their treasuries.

If I could put the economics of Bernie Sanders into a nutshell, it would be this: Burden private enterprise with one directive after another, and then demonize it when it ultimately falls down under the awful weight of taxes, higher costs, and mandates. While many people believe that instituting the Sanders economic agenda would help turn the USA into another Sweden or Denmark, the more likely outcome would be turning this country into another Venezuela.

TRUMP SUPPORTERS BUCKING PARTY — AND EVERYTHING CONNECTED TO IT . . .

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BY PEGGY NOONAN

So, more thoughts on Donald Trump’s candidacy, because I can’t stop being fascinated.

You know the latest numbers. Quinnipiac University’s poll this week has Mr. Trump at a hefty 28% nationally, up from 20% in July. Public Policy Polling has Mr. Trump leading all Republicans in New Hampshire with 35%. A Monmouth University poll has him at 30% in South Carolina, followed 15 points later by Ben Carson.

Here are some things I think are happening.

One is the deepening estrangement between the elites and the non-elites in America. This is the area in which Trumpism flourishes. We’ll talk about that deeper in.

Second, Mr. Trump’s support is not limited to Republicans, not by any means.

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Third, the traditional mediating or guiding institutions within the Republican universe—its establishment, respected voices in conservative media, sober-minded state party officials—have little to no impact on Mr. Trump’s rise. Some say voices of authority should stand up to oppose him, which will lower his standing. But Republican powers don’t have that kind of juice anymore. Mr. Trump’s supporters aren’t just bucking a party, they’re bucking everything around, within and connected to it.

Since Mr. Trump announced I’ve worked or traveled in, among other places, Southern California, Connecticut, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey and New York’s Long Island. In all places I just talked to people. My biggest sense is that political professionals are going to have to rethink “the base,” reimagine it when they see it in their minds.

I’ve written before about an acquaintance—late 60s, northern Georgia, lives on Social Security, voted Obama in ’08, not partisan, watches Fox News, hates Wall Street and “the GOP establishment.” She continues to be so ardent for Mr. Trump that she not only watched his speech in Mobile, Ala., on live TV, she watched while excitedly texting with family members—middle-class, white, independent-minded—who were in the audience cheering. Is that “the Republican base”? I guess maybe it is, because she texted me Wednesday to say she’d just registered Republican. I asked if she’d ever been one before. Reply: “No, never!!!”

Something is going on, some tectonic plates are moving in interesting ways. My friend Cesar works the deli counter at my neighborhood grocery store. He is Dominican, an immigrant, early 50s, and listens most mornings to a local Hispanic radio station, La Mega, on 97.9 FM. Their morning show is the popular “El Vacilón de la Mañana,” and after the first GOP debate, Cesar told me, they opened the lines to call-ins, asking listeners (mostly Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican) for their impressions. More than half called in to say they were for Mr. Trump. Their praise, Cesar told me a few weeks ago, dumbfounded the hosts. I later spoke to one of them, who identified himself as D.J. New Era. He backed Cesar’s story. “We were very surprised,” at the Trump support, he said. Why? “It’s a Latin-based market!”

“He’s the man,” Cesar said of Mr. Trump. This week I went by and Cesar told me that after Mr. Trump threw Univision’s well-known anchor and immigration activist, Jorge Ramos, out of an Iowa news conference on Tuesday evening, the “El Vacilón” hosts again threw open the phone lines the following morning and were again surprised that the majority of callers backed not Mr. Ramos but Mr. Trump. Cesar, who I should probably note sees me, I sense, as a very nice establishment person who needs to get with the new reality, was delighted.

I said: Cesar, you’re supposed to be offended by Trump, he said Mexico is sending over criminals, he has been unfriendly, you’re an immigrant. Cesar shook his head: No, you have it wrong. Immigrants, he said, don’t like illegal immigration, and they’re with Mr. Trump on anchor babies. “They are coming in from other countries to give birth to take advantage of the system. We are saying that! When you come to this country, you pledge loyalty to the country that opened the doors to help you.”

He added, “We don’t bloc vote anymore.” The idea of a “Latin vote” is “disparate,” which he said generally translates as nonsense, but which he means as “bull—-.”

He finished, on the subject of Jorge Ramos: “The elite have different notions from the grass-roots working people.”

OK. Old style: Jorge Ramos speaks for Hispanic America. New style: Jorge Ramos speaks for Jorge Ramos. Old style: If I’ve lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America. New style: How touching that an American president once thought if you lost a newsman you’d lost a country.

It is noted that a poll this week said Hispanics are very much not for Donald Trump. Gallup had 65% with an unfavorable view of him, and only 14% favorable. Mr. Trump and Mr. Ramos actually got into that, when Mr. Ramos finally questioned him after being allowed back into the news conference. Mr. Trump countered with a recent Nevada poll that has him with a state lead of 28%—and he scored even higher with Nevada’s Hispanics, who gave him 31% support.

I will throw in here that almost wherever I’ve been this summer, I kept meeting immigrants who are or have grown conservative—more men than women, but women too.

America is so in play.

And: “the base” isn’t the limited, clichéd thing it once was, it’s becoming a big, broad jumble that few understand.

***

On the subject of elites, I spoke to Scott Miller, co-founder of theSawyer Miller political-consulting firm, who is now a corporate consultant. He worked on the Ross Perot campaign in 1992 and knows something about outside challenges. He views the key political fact of our time as this: “Over 80% of the American people, across the board, believe an elite group of political incumbents, plus big business, big media, big banks, big unions and big special interests—the whole Washington political class—have rigged the system for the wealthy and connected.” It is “a remarkable moment,” he said. More than half of the American people believe “something has changed, our democracy is not like it used to be, people feel they no longer have a voice.”

Mr. Miller added: “People who work for a living are thinking this thing is broken, and that economic inequality is the result of the elite rigging the system for themselves. We’re seeing something big.”

Support for Mr. Trump is not, he said, limited to the GOP base: “The molecules are in motion.” I asked what he meant. He said bars of support are not solid, things are in motion as molecules are “before combustion, or before a branch breaks.”

I end with this. An odd thing, in my observation, is that deep down the elite themselves also think the game is rigged. They don’t disagree, and they don’t like what they see—corruption, shallowness and selfishness in the systems all around them. Their odd anguish is that they have no faith the American people can—or will—do anything to turn it around. They see the American voter as distracted, poorly educated, subject to emotional and personality-driven political adventures. They sometimes refer to “Jaywalking,” the old Jay Leno “Tonight Show” staple in which he walked outside the studio and asked the man on the street about history. What caused the American Civil War? Um, Hitler? When did it take place, roughly? Uh, 1958?

Both sides, the elites and the non-elites, sense that things are stuck.

The people hate the elites, which is not new, and very American. The elites have no faith in the people, which, actually, is new. Everything is stasis. Then Donald Trump comes, like a rock thrown through a showroom window, and the molecules start to move.

CBO warns debt becoming unsustainable…

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CBO report forecasts unsustainable debt in long term

BY STEPHEN DINAN

The economy is sluggish but growing and inflation remains low, painting a decidedly mixed picture for the federal government, the Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday, saying the fiscal situation is improving this year but will snap back by 2018 to swelling deficits and unsustainable debt.

The inflation rate is so low that Social Security beneficiaries probably won’t get a cost-of-living raise after this year, the CBO said. But tax revenue is up and spending has stayed pat, which is helping reduce the pool of red ink in the federal budget.

Combined, those numbers mean the government will run a deficit of $426 billion in fiscal year 2015, down about $60 billion from 2014 and marking the smallest deficit of President Obama’s tenure.


SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton heads to Ohio to boost slipping poll numbers


The good news will continue for a couple of years as the economy belatedly but fully rebounds from the recession of December 2007 to June 2009. By 2018, though, debt will rise as government spending grows and the economy will cool again, the CBO said.

“The growth in debt is not sustainable,”CBO Director Keith Hall said in presenting the estimates. “At some point, it’s going to get to a very high level. Obviously, you can’t predict tipping points, but at some point this becomes a problem.”

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Democrats saw the short-term outlook as progress and said it’s time to close tax breaks and bring in more revenue for spending on investments such as infrastructure.


SEE ALSO: Old Dominion University fraternity suspended for crude signs: ‘Freshman daughter drop off’


Republicans kept their focus on the longer-term warnings in the CBOreport. They noted that taxes will remain higher than their historic average over the past five decades but deficits will persist because spending will still outpace revenue.

Budget watchdogs pleaded with all sides to go beyond the numbers and talk about solutions to persistent debt.

“I don’t know how anyone can declare victory when trillion-dollar deficits are just on the horizon,” said Judd Gregg, a former senator and a co-chairman of the advocacy group Fix the Debt. “While deficits are down this year, the real story is that they are on the rise and that our national debt is at record-high levels and growing.”

Watchdogs pleaded with presidential candidates to start talking about the national debt in their campaigns.

For the most part, that conversation has been muted. Democrats have called for tax hikes to pay for more spending, and Republicans generally have focused on other issues.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, however, has sparred with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a fellow Republican presidential candidate, over the fate of Social Security. Mr. Christie argues that the program needs benefit adjustments to survive.

The CBO report said Social Security spending will be slightly lower than analysts projected five months ago because fewer people will qualify for disability payments. Still, the $66-billion-a-month payout this year makes Social Security the largest single federal program, which is projected to represent 5.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2025.

Medicare and Medicaid, the government’s health care programs for the elderly and the poor, also are growing quickly and are projected to reach a combined 6.2 percent of GDP within a decade.

Defense and other basic domestic spending, however, continue to dip as a percentage of government spending and the economy, reaching levels not seen in decades.

Democrats say cuts to domestic discretionary programs such as education and infrastructure have gone deep enough and that it’s time to reverse them, and they reject Republican calls for limits on growth in entitlement spending.

The CBO said the economy is recovering, though more slowly than predicted. The GDP, the report said, will grow 2 percent this year and rise to 3.1 percent next year before slowing again.

Mr. Hall said recent turmoil in stock markets has not changed those estimates.

“The economic fundamentals, at least so far, haven’t been changed,” he said.

In a more pressing finding, the CBOsaid the government has room to stave off a debt limit breach through November or December — a longer time frame than projected a few months ago. Mr. Hall credited higher tax receipts this year as the reason.

Debt held by the public will dip this year to 73.8 percent, down from 74 percent in fiscal year 2014, and will fluctuate for a few years before beginning a steady climb by 2020 and nearing 77 percent in 2025. Those are levels unseen since 1950, when the country was getting out from under the burden of World War II.

Report: Every Deported Illegal Household Saves Taxpayers More than $700,000

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BY JULIA HAHN

Advocates for mass-migration are using skewed financial claims to smear Donald Trump’s popular border proposals, which actually would help revive the near-bankrupt Social Security and Medicare programs.

For every illegal migrant household that leaves the United States under Trump’s plan, Americans would recoup nearly three-quarters of a million dollars ($719,350), according to 2010 data collected by Heritage scholar Robert Rector.

The lifetime savings accrued from one deported illegal household would provide funds for 125 low-income inner city students to receive the maximum Pell Grant award in 2015-2016 ($5,775); it could cover the cost of pre-kindergarten for 90 at-risk children (around $8,000 per child); or it could cover the one year cost of Medicaid for 124 enrollees ($5,790 based on FY2011 data).

But business interests want the migrants to stay. That’s because migrants help lower the cost of Americans’ wages, but also because the migrants spend their wages — plus taxpayer aid — at retail stories and rental agencies.

For example, the American Action Forum (AAF), a business-backed pro-amnesty group, claims that legal costs and forced migration would spike the cost of Trump’s plan up to $300 billion to arrest and remove all illegal immigrants living in the United States. The AAF was founded by Fred Malek, who co-founded and chairs a hospitality investment company whose hotels employ many low skilled migrants.

AAF’s cost projections have been trumpeted by many in the mainstream media such as NBC and Fox News.

In reality, “a modest increase in enforcement (such as E-verify or visa tracking) would cause significant attrition in the illegal population– sending millions of illegals home on their own at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer.” said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies.

There’s good evidence for Vaughan’s argument. “Arizona’s population of unauthorized immigrants of working age fell by about 17 percent” in the course of a single year, after the state began to enforce E-verify, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

The claim from Malek’s AAF also ignores the financial savings caused by the return of migrants to their home countries.

Illegal migrants cost U.S. taxpayers a net total of nearly $100 billion annually, concluded a 2010 investigation by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The 2010 report calculated the total contributions (mainly taxes) generated by the illegal migrants, and then subtracted the cost of taxpayer aid to those migrants. The aid includes education, subsidized housing, food stamps, tax credits, medical expenses. Overall, the report found illegal migrants cost taxpayers a total of $113 billion a year. The report then “accounts for taxes paid by illegal aliens [which is] about $13 billion a year, resulting in a net cost to taxpayers of about $100 billion.”

Under the Trump plan, that spending could be used to reduce taxpayer spending. The resulting savings could fund the entire federal cost of major proposals by liberal Democrats, such as a Universal Pre-Kindergarten program. President Obama’s original 2013 proposal was projected to cost $75 billion over a decade.

Or the government could allocate 60 percent more resources and benefits for returning American soldiers and veterans (increasing the President’s 2016 budget request for the VA from its current $168.8 billion to $268.8 billion)

Alternatively, public schools could have the funds to employ an additional 1.9 million elementary school teachers to help teach young Americans in already-overcrowded schools.

State and local governments could employ 1.6 million more police officers in to reduce crime in gang-besieged neighborhoods.

These savings could the expand the government’s allotment for Emergency Shelter Grants, which provide support for the homeless or victims of domestic violence, by than 400 times its 2014 budget ($250 million).

Upon first hearing the costs illegal migrants impose upon U.S. taxpayers, many find the figure difficult to believe, says Heritage’s Robert Rector:

“The debate about the fiscal consequences of unlawful and low-skill immigration is hampered by a number of misconceptions. Few lawmakers really understand the current size of government and the scope of redistribution… Unlawful immigrants, on average, are always tax consumers; they never once generate a ‘fiscal surplus’ that can be used to pay for government benefits elsewhere in society.”

Nations that are more serious about enforcing their immigration laws, however, are aware of the fiscal burdens mass migration places on its citizenry and have taken measures to combat economic strains. Israel, for example, has begun offering migrants $3,500 in cash and a one-way airplane ticket home in order to encourage repatriation.

Tech firms post want ads: foreign workers only…

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A post-graduate student-visa program is just another scheme to displace American technology workers.

BY IAN SMITH

American technology workers won a big victory in the federal courts this month. The D.C. District Court ruled that a STEM-related visa program created by the Department of Homeland Security was potentially damaging to the domestic labor market and also in violation of federal rule-making procedure. For the plaintiffs in the case, the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, however, the fight against BigTech lobbyists and Homeland Security has only just begun. DHS’s so-called Optional Practical Training (OPT) program allows foreign nationals to live and work in the U.S. on a student visa even after graduation. In a rule promulgated by DHS in 2008, foreigners graduating in a STEM field at a U.S. school had these authorizations extended to nearly two and a half years after their graduation. U.S. employers love this because, on top of the longer work period, they have a greater chance to transition them into the H-1B program, a “professional specialty worker” visa that can last up to an additional six years. Also, employers receive a tax benefit for hiring OPT participants over Americans, as they do not have to pay Medicare and Social Security taxes for aliens on student visas. Plaintiffs’ counsel, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (which I work for), argued in court that the OPT extension, created not by statute but entirely by DHS, was really just a way to circumvent the existing H-1B cap of 65,000 annual visa grants set down by Congress years before. Helpfully for us, DHS had already admitted that this was the purpose for the extension. As it explained in the agency rule creating the extension, “the H-1B category is greatly oversubscribed,” which, as a result, has “adversely affected the ability of US employers to recruit and retain skilled workers.” With the H-1B cap having been held up by Congress over the last few years, DHS did the next best thing. As H-1B guru Norm Matloff describes in a blog post discussing our case, the agency simply went ahead and created “a de facto expansion of H-1B.” Let me digress for a moment on the H-1B lottery and the “oversubscription” issue. Unlike other visas, the fees for H-1B applications are refundable; there is no penalty for oversubscribing. As a consequence, heavy H-1B users, such as the outsourcing firms that supply BigTech companies as well as BigTech companies themselves, always apply for more visas than they really want in order to get close to their target. David North at the Center for Immigration Studies explains the process here. So when you hear in the press and elsewhere that “petitions have outstripped slots yet again by two-to-one,” the numbers are merely a reflection of companies’ trying to game the lottery system. RELATED: The H-1B Visa Program Gives American Workers a Raw Deal As Matloff explains, OPT is “just as harmful as H-1B.” The two programs are now similar in size, and the benefits to BigTech are also similar. Like H-1B holders, OPTs are younger than most American technology workers, and therefore cheaper. Citing the “prevailing wage” rules that technically exist for H-1Bs, Matloff notes that “the legal wage floors for H-1Bs depend on experience” (the worker’s age, in other words), “so hiring young H-1Bs in lieu of older Americans is legal.” As he says with cases such as SoCal Edison and Disney, “age was the key factor underlying the wage savings accrued by hiring H-1Bs.” See this link for information on a similar suit against Google based on age discrimination (which the company has since settled).

In the case of OPTs, however, this “wage floor” isn’t even available; being recent graduates, they’re all young (and cheap). Further, OPT participants are even cheaper to employ because, as stated earlier, aliens on student visas are exempted from Social Security and Medicare. Fundamentally, the OPT program, like H-1B, allows BigTech firms to flood the labor market, creating artificial competition and pressuring the standard of living we’ve earned through decades of hard-fought democratic and labor reforms. The cost savings, meanwhile, get siphoned up by private technology firms, many of which grew out of taxpayer-funded military programs. Thankfully, much of this wasn’t lost on the judge. DHS had asserted that our plaintiffs didn’t have standing to sue because (a) they couldn’t prove an OPT participant actually took one of their jobs (an impossible and unfair demand) and, in the alternative, (b) the plaintiffs were currently employed and so couldn’t show any injury — all are employed, mostly in contract positions. The judge knocked down both arguments by pointing out that “an influx of OPT computer programmers would increase the labor supply, which is likely to depress plaintiff’s members’ wages and threaten their job security, even if they remain employed” (emphasis added). RELATED: ’You’re Fired — Now Train Your Replacement’ More concrete evidence was also offered. Plaintiffs showed examples of job advertisements where only OPT participants were requested to apply. As Matloff likes to note, these companies are not just using H-1Bs and OPT participants to replace American workers, as in the SoCal Edison and Disney cases; they’re also hiring them instead of American workers. And many times, it isn’t “highly skilled” types that are being imported but simply “ordinary people, doing ordinary work.” The benefits of circumventing the H-1B program are apparently big. Arguing that DHS’s chosen 29-month extension period was an arbitrary and therefore invalid decision, plaintiffs showed the court that industry lobbyists CompeteAmerica, lobbyists from Microsoft and the Chamber of Commerce, and others had all been in contact with DHS requesting the same 29-month extension. And showing just how eager it was to comply, DHS implemented the rule without going through the statutorily mandated notice-and-comment period, a window of time in which the public can criticize agency action. GET FREE EXCLUSIVE NR CONTENT DHS tried to argue in court that skipping the process was necessitated by a looming “fiscal emergency” in the U.S. economy that could be ameliorated only by letting “tens of thousands of OPT workers” join the tech industry. Whose economic analysis did DHS cite to back this up? Studies from the technology industry itself. Ultimately, although the court knocked down the OPT extension on procedural grounds, the victory is only temporary. DHS can open up the rule to notice-and-comment and try again. MORE IMMIGRATION DID FACEBOOK INTENTIONALLY BLOCK POSTS FROM CONSERVATIVE IMMIGRATION THINK TANK? ON IMMIGRATION, SANTORUM ADDS SUBSTANCE WE CAN APPLY THE 14TH AMENDMENT WHILE ALSO REFORMING BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP Further, the judge rejected our argument that the program violates the law on other, more substantive (and less procedural) grounds. According to congressionally made statute (Immigration and Naturalization Act § 1101(a)(15)(F)(i)), student visas cannot be allocated for working purposes and may be allocated only to “bona fide students . . . solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study . . . at an established . . . academic institution” (emphasis added). But again, OPT, entirely a DHS creation, purports to let student-visa holders join the workforce. By ignoring the stipulations of Congress, the program exceeds DHS’s statutory authority. By giving DHS the authority to redefine what a “student” is, the court is allowing the agency to set the duration and conditions of a student’s stay, potentially letting them occupy the labor market for years upon years. Good for the foreign “student,” good for the trillion-dollar tech industry, but bad for the American worker.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/422943/technology-industry-foreign-workers

IRS SAYS THIEVES STOLE TAX INFO FROM ADDITIONAL 220,000…

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 2.37.37 PMBY STEPHEN OHLEMACHER

WASHINGTON (AP) — A computer breach at the IRS in which thieves stole tax information from thousands of taxpayers is much bigger than the agency originally disclosed.

An additional 220,000 potential victims had information stolen from an IRS website as part of a sophisticated scheme to use stolen identities to claim fraudulent tax refunds, the IRS said Monday. The revelation more than doubles the total number of potential victims, to 334,000.

The tax agency first disclosed the breach in May.

The thieves accessed a system called “Get Transcript,” where taxpayers can get tax returns and other filings from previous years. In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address, the IRS said.

The personal information was presumably stolen from other sources. The IRS believes the thieves were accessing the IRS website to get even more information about the taxpayers, which could help them claim fraudulent tax refunds in the future.

“As it did in May, the IRS is moving aggressively to protect taxpayers whose account information may have been accessed,” the IRS said in a statement. “The IRS will begin mailing letters in the next few days to about 220,000 taxpayers where there were instances of possible or potential access to `Get Transcript’ taxpayer account information.”

In all, the thieves used personal information from about 610,000 taxpayers in an effort to access old tax returns. They were successful in getting information from about 334,000 taxpayers.

The IRS said it is notifying all potential victims and offering free credit monitoring services. The IRS is also offering to enroll potential victims in a program that assigns them a special ID number that they must use to file their tax returns.

The IRS believes the thieves started targeting the website in February. The website was shut down in May.

On Monday, the IRS did not identify a potential source of the crime. But in May, officials said IRS investigators believe the identity thieves are part of a sophisticated criminal operation based in Russia.

It wouldn’t be the first time the IRS has been targeted by identity thieves based overseas.

In 2012, the IRS sent a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds went to a lone address in Shanghai, according to a report by the agency’s inspector general. The IRS has since added safeguards to prevent similar schemes, but the criminals are innovating as well.

The IRS estimates it paid out $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds to identity thieves in 2013.

Trump Supporters Are Racists, Not Patriotic Americans – Appeals To Fear And Prejudice – Lindsey Graham

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 8.44.00 AMBY RICK WELLS

Sending an email may be the next challenge for the “most qualified” presidential candidate, Lindsey Graham, as he proudly announces his acquisition of a new, crankless and wire-free telephone.

ABC host of “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos asks Graham what is the appeal of his public nemesis Donald Trump. Graham says it’s not so much that Trump appeals to the Republican mainstream as it is his appeal to the racists in the American citizenry.

Graham says, “He’s appealing to the dark side of American politics,” that he “is basically selling fear and prejudice.” Stephanopoulos asks Graham to explain why he’s doing so well, if that is the case. Graham then goes on to paint Trump supporters as racists, saying, “There’s a market in my party for people, if you say that Obama’s not born in America, that he’s actually born in Kenya, there are people want to believe that.”

Of course there aren’t any members of Congress willing to examine the stacks of evidence to support the fact that Obama is not who he claims to be, including his use of a previously issued Connecticut Social Security card, a state in which he never resided. Graham prefers to attack rather than account for his own failures to act on our behalf, a list as long as his career as a tool of the political elite.

He goes on to distort Trump’s depiction of Mexican rapists and murderers being flooded into America as using the word “most” which it did not, as if it is somehow okay for us to be invaded as long as it is by non-rapists and non-murderers.

The legitimate desire of patriotic Americans to protect our nation from a foreign invasion is completely dismissed by the tool of corporate America as racism. According to the talking piece of excrement, we have no right to protect our nation and our culture from being overrun, yet he touts himself as “the national security candidate.”

He’s a fascist corporate tool for the arms industry and the illegal labor benefactors. He may be too stupid to learn to send email or just too lazy or disinterested yet he’s qualified to be commander in chief? His arms industry and CFR cronies would love to have him in charge, that’s for sure. Graham needs to just go play with his new phone and end the name-calling and his pathetic public display of servitude to big business.

Patriotism and love of country has nothing to do with racism. If he were a true patriot rather than merely a career government lawyer, he’d know that.

Rick Wells is a conservative writer who recognizes that our nation, our Constitution and our traditions are under a full scale assault from multiple threats. Please “Like” him on Facebook, “Follow” him on Twitter or visit www.rickwells.us. If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it. And if you have the time, check out for more posts here.
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