A Non-Ethics Problem With The Gang Of 8 Bill: It Won’t Work.

Complex Systems Tend To Suck Because They Are Complex.
Complex Systems Tend To Suck Because They Are Complex.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.


Oh Good. We have Comprehensive Immigration Reform being set before the US Senate. It’s the brainchild of a Gang of 8. Perhaps I can be forgiven for wondering if that means this bill will be twice as odious as the intellectual deep thoughts of Mao Tse Tung’s Gang of Four.


Now I understand that this was catty and mean, but I’m just getting really tired of these comprehensive master plans from the desks of our elected mental midgets. Attempting to do everything at once with regards to a difficult, complex issue leads us to the type of legislation where you have to pass it first to find out what’s in it. That, I fear is what will happen with the latest Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposal.

The intentions of Senator Rubio are probably a lot classier and ennobling than the comments of his spokesman. Yet, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the US Senate comprehensively lacks the intellectual firepower to effectively hand out 12 million amnesties and not experience massive negative externalities when this policy interacts with other complex policy behemoths such as Obamacare and Homeland Security.

Peggy Noonan is of a similar mind on the topic of Homeland Security and Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

But the FBI and Homeland Security will want more resources for tracking sketchy characters like the brothers Tsarnaev. As for immigration, it’s hard to believe that under the present circumstances there will be great public clamor to support the Gang of Eight bill to legalize and regularize. Something tells me it’s going to be back to the drawing board for immigration reform. A major problem for those who want an immigration bill is lack of faith in government to do all the jobs it’s set itself well. People don’t trust it to be able to execute—to do, adequately, the thing it’s set itself to do in its big new laws. We always look at the motives and politics behind a big bill, and talk about that. But simple noncrisis execution—the ability to track and deal with a Tamerlan Tsarnaeu, or to patrol and control a huge border—is a big reason why which people lack faith. Because, you know, they read the papers.


The questions she raises are a good first-order set of possible negative externalities. How does the DHS deal with amnestied people who suddenly buy out every pressure cooker at the local Home Shoppe? Are they on the side of the angels if they immediately jump in these people’s knickers? Are they e-vil xenophobes of the iniquitous Amerikkkan Empire? Just how far will the Constitution follow the flag on this issue?

And now we move on to the second-order negative externalities. Would you really want to run the landscaping crew that accidently and in all good faith, hires the next Tamerlan Tsarnaeu? Or for that matter, if these people were no longer illegal, would it really help your landscaping firm to hire them at all. Given the already pernicious negative externalities of other comprehensive legislation such as ObamaCare, isn’t the fact that these people can be hired sub-rosa and on the cheap the only reason they are getting hired at all?

Businesses already jettisoning human capital in an effort not to be driven to the poorhouse by ObamaCare and other Federal regulations are not going to rush out hire 12 million new perspective hyper-expensive health insurance policies. The difference between hiring a legal US resident and properly filling out an I-9 and hiring an illegal via cash payment is significant. It’s like the difference in Argentina between paying via legitimate currency and paying via Bitcoin.


To understand how these 12 million new amnesty beneficiaries will be treated once they can no longer just be picked up by an ad hoc work crew and paid off the books in cash, go shopping at Walmart or Kroger. Notice something about a lot of the cashiers? They are automatic machines. These aren’t jobs Americans won’t do. These are jobs no sane accountant will let his boss hire an American to do. Americans with their full bevy of rights and entitlements are far more expensive than the value added from the labor of cashiering justifies. 12 million new amnesty beneficiaries may well get to celebrate their new status by being immediately fired.

This brings us to another second-order negative externality. What happens when a large number of the amnesty recipients get fired for being too expensive as legal, on-the-record employees? The United States Code is not ambivalent about what is supposed to happen:

Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, first passed in the 1950s and still the law today: “Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”


So do we pass one law that forces us to ignore another one? Do we openly announce that it is official US policy to no longer worry if people from all over the world come to the US for all the welfare benefits? After all, once we’ve amnestied 12 million people, do we really want to turn around and round up all the ones that get insta-fired so that we can send them all back?

All of these negative externalities won’t come to pass. Some of them will. Which won’t and which will is any rational person’s guess. So the critics pipe up and say, how could the US Senate possibly plan for all these crazy things that may or may not come to pass? To which I say “Exactly! Thank you for conceding my point.” It’s not just comprehensive, one-over-the-world immigration reform that would suck. It’s comprehensive, too-big-to-fail anything.

The Gang of 8 self-righteously assumes it is making the American People an offer they cannot refuse. In truth, they are making the American People an offer that they don’t even completely understand. The sane and wise course for the House, the Senate and the people is to raise our voices in a loud and emphatic clamor. We need to give this Gang of 8 a clear and comprehensive “Hell No!”


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