Authors: Aaron Klein,Brenda J. Elliott
Other second-term progressive immigration plansâsome of which are included in the amnesty bill detailed aboveâ
actually call for more immigrants to enter the United States
, albeit legally. John Podesta's Center for American Progress, the “idea center” of the Obama White House, highlighted those plans in a January 2012 reportâ“Immigration for Innovation: How to Attract the World's Best Talent While Ensuring America Remains the Land of Opportunity for All.”
Podesta's recommendations include eliminating the cap on the number of the H-1B visas provided to foreigners. H-1B is the most widely used high-skilled immigration classification for temporary workers. Currently, the system is regulated by a Congressionally established annual cap set at about 85,000 H-1B visas per year. The report also complains we aren't giving out enough “green cards” (currently about 140,000 employment-based permanent visas, or “green cards,” are available each year) and demands that the cap on those highly restricted visas be removed, as well.
To be fair, this particular progressive goalâan increase in legal immigration of highly skilled foreignersâis shared by many fiscal conservatives. Many of those in business already live in ethnically diverse American cities, and have not experienced the sense of cultural inundation of average Americans forced to adjust to large waves of illegal aliens flooding into their more ethnically homogenous communities. Fiscal conservatives also see the economic contributions of highly skilled immigrants as compensating for the services they receive in the U.S., in a way that the poorer, and much more numerous, illegals do not.
The 2009 amnesty bill itself makes precisely the same CAP arguments for lifting the cap on visas in a section entitled “Visa Reform.” But its solution is to take the regulation of legal immigration away from Congress, and vest it in an agency within the executive branch. The so-called Commission
on Immigration and Labor Markets would establish “employment-based immigration policies that promote America's economic growth and competitiveness while minimizing job displacement, wage depression and unauthorized employment in the United States.” The executive branch would henceforth determine the numbers of new immigrants, as well as to whom visas would be issued. Viewed another way, it would oversee the flow of an untold number of new immigrants into the U.S., in addition to the unknown number currently inside of, and still entering, the country.
As noted earlier, mass amnesty for 10 to 20 million illegals would profoundly alter the American electorate. Many champions of amnesty have noted this openly, although the news media routinely neglect to report it. A good example is Eliseo Medina, the SEIU's international secretary-treasurer, who was appointed in November 2008 to serve on Obama's transition team committee for immigration.
Medina made some very revealing, if largely unreported, remarks at the 2009 session of the annual progressive conference organized by Campaign for America's Future. Medina said of Latino voters:
[W]hen they voted in November , they voted overwhelmingly for progressive candidates. Barack Obama got two out of every three voters that showed up.
So I think there's two things, very quickly, that matter for the progressive community.
Number one. If we are to expand this electorate to win, the progressive community needs to solidly be on the side of immigrants, then we'll solidify and expand the progressive coalition for the future â¦ When you are in the middle of a fight for your life you will remember who was there with you. And immigrants count on progressives to be able to do that.
Number two. We reform the immigration laws, it puts 12 million people on the path to citizenship and eventually voters. Can you imagine if we have, even the same ratio, two out of three? If we have eight million new voters that care about our [winning?] and be voting, we will be creating a governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle.
Medina was boasting to a friendly audience that granting citizenship to millions of illegals would expand the
electorate and help ensure a
governing coalition for the long term.
This is not mere rhetoric. We discovered specific, second-term plans for government agencies to immediately register as voters the new Americans who would receive amnesty. One such plan was outlined in a thirty-two-page report from the progressive think tank Demosâ“From Citizenship to Voting: Improving Registration for New Americans.”
In future chapters, we will show how Demos, like the CAP, has been highly influential in crafting White House policy. This particular Demos report was authored by Tova Andrea Wang, a senior fellow at both Demos, and at a group called the Century Foundation, which works closely with the Center for American Progress.
The Demos report calls for the United States Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS) to fully implement a new policy to ensure “new Americans” are provided with a voter registration application at all administrative naturalization ceremonies. Ultimately, USCIS should be designated as a full voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act so that every newly naturalized American is automatically given the opportunity to register to vote. The report also wants state and local elections officials to be proactive in registering new citizens to vote by reaching out to their communities through every possible means.
RESIDENT OBAMA ACTUALLY
laid out much of his plan for a second administration in the final State of the Union address of his first. On the subject of jobs, the forty-fourth president's broad outline was vague, but he telegraphed unspecified intentions by repeatedly invoking the theme of “fairness”:
No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
As we shall see, this progressive president's “job fairness” agenda would never be the traditional American one of
fairness of opportunity
for all. Rather he seeks to implement the progressive socialists' “fairness” of politically driven outcomes. Fortunately thus farâand in spite of record unemploymentâthe ruinous jobs agenda of the far left that we expose here has not won much support from the American people, nor in Congress, and has virtually no chance of being enactedâunless Obama is reelected to a second term.
In the fall of 2011, Obama was already nearly six months into reelection
campaign mode. He was desperately trying to salvage his disastrous first term by pushing for nearly half a trillion dollars in new “jobs creation” spending. His memorable speech to a joint session of Congress, on September 8, found him demanding of those he'd assembled to just “pass this jobs bill”âa $447 billion package of tax cuts and a pork-barrel overflowing with new spending.
Certainly most of Congress was not buying into yet another ruinous spending package. And the president surely had no expectation at that stage of their approval. (Rather, he is shrewdly campaigning on their recalcitrance.) But about one-sixth of the U.S. House today are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (with seventy-five members in the House, plus one in the U.S. Senate), who have complete allegiance to the so-called “fair jobs” agenda. The CPC's own literature describes its fair jobs schemes as rooted in core principles embodied in its Progressive PromiseâFairness for All.
The specific ways these core principles are translated into a tsunami of progressive policies and legislation, we detail here and throughout this book.
It is important to note that the Congressional Progressive Caucus was launched, in 1992, with the help of the Democratic Socialists of America. DSA is a full member of the Socialist International, a worldwide organization of 162 social democratic, socialist, and labor political parties and organizations.
On its website, DSA laments that the “vision of socialism” has taken root everywhere in the worldâexcept in the United States.
For progressive socialists worldwide, a major goal is government-created jobs. As the DSA stated on its website in 2011, “We â¦ have long been calling for jobs, good jobs, and lots of them,”
but at the same time DSA was critical of the progressive president. “Obama has proposed creating jobs, but his program is too small, and most of it goes to tax incentives, not to direct job creation.”
But the DSA and its progressive allies were working overtime to get their wish.
The same day as Obama's jobs speech to the joint session of Congress, a far-left think tank called Demos issued its response. Based on the idea of wealth redistribution, Demos claims to be nonpartisan, and lobbies federal
and state policymakers to address “economic insecurity and inequality” in American society. It advocates for a “more steeply progressive income-tax structure, on the premise that âthe rich must pay their fair share if communities are to thrive.'”
The authors of
Help Wanted: American Needs a Better Jobs Plan
are David Callahan and Tamara Draut, Demos' co-founder and vice president, respectively. In response to the president's speech, on behalf of Demos, they were only mildly impressed with Obama's jobs plan, asserting it did not go far enough. In particular, the almost half-trillion dollars just proposed by the president was not nearly enough. Moreover, Obama's speech failed to push for something Callahan and Draut characterized as an “urgent effort”âto ensure “better jobs.”
The Demos officials referenced a paperâbarely a week oldâwritten for the group by Prof. Paul Osterman, of MIT's Sloan School of Management. Osterman believes “far too many jobs fall below the standard that most Americans would consider decent work.”
Osterman's co-author on a 2011 book is Beth Shulman, and together they assert that
are those that “pay enough to support a family and provide decent, safe conditions.” They say that “many middle-class jobs have disappeared or deteriorated into low-wage ones that cause families to fall below the poverty line.”
Here they are referring to the
, meaning those employed below their abilities and ability to earn more. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, almost a half million people, as of October 2011, were underemployed.
A month after the president's speech to the Congressional joint session, two other Demos analysts published a report called
Worth Working For: Strategies for Turning Bad Jobs into Quality Employment
. Just finding a job, “while critical,” is not enough, wrote Ben Peck and Amy Traub. Hard work should be rewarded with “more jobs capable of supporting a family with a decent standard of living.” “Millions of workers,” Peck and Traub asserted, were unable to achieve or remain in the middle class due to the recession, leading to an “earnings shortfall.” The majority of jobs lost were middle-income positions, they claimed, “yet the majority of jobs gained during the recovery have been in low-wage occupations.”
Peck and Traub's assertions about the state of the job market may or may not be accurate. These, as well as their questionable claim that there has
actually been any economic “recovery,” are matters for experts to debate. One notable point is that Peck and Traub identified the cause of the purported underemployment malaise as â¦ corporate greed.
Further, among the utopian solutions they advocate would be a family leave law such as the proposed Family Leave Insurance Act. The new bill, first introduced in the House of Representatives in 2005, builds upon the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. This measure afforded eligible workers
unpaid family leave
, while preserving a worker's job or a comparable job upon return.
But the new plan goes a giant step furtherâfrom job preservation to a new form of entitlement. It would provide
twelve weeks of paid benefits
to employees who need time offâto care for a new child, a sick family member, or their own illness. This would allegedly be financed through employees paying premiums into a trust fund, who would then be eligible through a tiered system after having paid into the trust for six months. Yet besides the cost of such a scheme, nowhere in their paper do the authors address the impact of the easily imaginable scenario of dozens of employees taking up to three months of paid leave simultaneously.
Peck and Traub also want to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to give workers the right to refuse overtime. It is hard to see how that squares with predictions by the Department of Labor that the largest job growth in the next decade will be in “low-paying occupations, such as home health aides, food service workers, and retail salespeople.” Workers in lower-paying jobs are often desirous of overtime and less likely to be looking for ways to get out of it. Conversely, employers need to be able to rely upon their workers to get the job done. Moreover, add this to the aforementioned three months of paid family leave, and it is easy to see how the two plans could virtually shut down a business's operations. The silver lining Peck and Traub find here is that these low-paying jobs cannot be outsourced and will need to be filled by resident workersâif employers can stay in operation.