Thursday December 05, 2013
Archive - 2013
For the White House, immigration reform perfectly encapsulates the most frustrating reality of President Barack Obama's second term: If it's to be a success, Obama needs to stay out of it - or at least out of the parts that involve Congress.
Is the full-time American job going the way of the dodo? The signs aren't exactly heartening.
Friday's employment report wasn't bad. But given how depressed our economy remains, we really should be adding more than 300,000 jobs a month, not fewer than 200,000. As the Economic Policy Institute points out, we would need more than five years of job growth at this rate to get back to the level of unemployment that prevailed before the Great Recession. Full recovery still looks a very long way off. And I'm beginning to worry that it may never happen.
Obamacare is going ahead. It's happening, and concerted efforts by its foes to scare the public and otherwise delegitimize the health care reforms will be ultimately futile. That doesn't mean that Republican opponents won't try. The question is why, other than crude political posturing, would they want the Affordable Care Act to fail?
We're decades past the Cold War years when the two leading nuclear powers of the day, the United States and the Soviet Union, talked freely about their MAD strategies, which stood for Mutual Assured Destruction in any nuclear-weapons exchange.
Have you heard about "libertarian populism" yet? If not, you will. It will surely be touted all over the airwaves and the opinion pages by the same kind of people who assured you, a few years ago, that Rep. Paul Ryan was the very model of a Serious, Honest Conservative. So let me make a helpful public service announcement: It's bunk.
Self-delusion is a sad spectacle. Watching Republicans convince themselves that killing immigration reform actually helps the GOP is excruciating, and I wish somebody would make it stop.
We Americans like to think of ourselves as a forgiving people, willing to turn the other cheek to offense in the interest of getting on with life. Although the most conservative of us rail against "amnesty" in its many forms, we actually practice it repeatedly.
If you want to alleviate worries about the economic impact of immigration reform, increase the minimum wage. If you want to reassure communities that bear the highest costs from large-scale immigration, revisit a proposal from 2006 by a senator named Hillary Clinton to help state and local governments cover some of the expense of providing health care and education to undocumented workers.
Every Fourth of July, somebody reminds us there's more to this national holiday than hotdogs and fireworks. Take time over the weekend, we are piously admonished, to remember what it's all about. Annoying advice, perhaps, but important. And, this year, more so than ever because one of our most basic rights is under attack.