Wednesday, September 27, 2023

More (Illegal) Immigration Nightmares

Previously, here and here

Even 'Fact-Checkers' Can’t Cover Biden Losing 85,000 Kids & Flying In Migrants

Under Joe Biden’s centralized federal bureaucracy, the migrant flood along the borders of southern US states has become such a pressing problem that many conservatives are starting to acknowledge the wisdom of federalism and of states to handle things unfettered by the feds. And many are acknowledging that, no matter how many old-guard news agencies and how many US bureaus try to hide the truth, this federal immigration bureaucracy is both losing track of vulnerable migrant kids who have been separated from their parents, and also literally flying migrants into and around the US – while trying to keep it quiet.

Kamala Harris Fails to End Border Crisis, So Biden Taps Her to Also End Gun Violence

Despite her failure to secure the nation’s border, Pres. Joe Biden’s Border Czar – Vice Pres. Kamala Harris – has been given a new responsibility: stopping gun violence.

On Immigration, Who Are You Rooting For?

In his book We Wanted Workers, Harvard economist George Borjas says the main question in immigration policy is “Who are you rooting for?” (It should be “whom,” of course, but I think we’ve lost that fight.) Every government policy results in winners and losers, those who benefit from it and those who be hurt. Our preferences will be based, at least in part, on who the winners and losers are likely to be.

One of those choices is whether we should favor a tighter or a looser labor market. In a looser labor market, workers have to hustle to find jobs; by contrast, in a tighter labor market, it’s employers who have to hustle to recruit and retain workers. Different people benefit depending on which approach policy takes, but any and all decisions will tip the balance one way or the other.

Governors ask Biden for 'honest, accurate' information on illegal immigration

Twenty-four Republican governors said illegal immigration burdens every state and asked President Joe Biden for "honest" and "accurate" information about the situation.

A letter sent Tuesday blamed Biden's policies for a surge in illegal crossings at the southern border.

"States are on the front lines, working around-the-clock responding to the effects of this crisis: shelters are full, food pantries empty, law enforcement strained, and aid workers exhausted," the letter said. "As governors, we call on you to provide honest, accurate, detailed information on where the migrants admitted at the southern border are being relocated in the United States, in addition to comprehensive data on asylum claim timelines and qualification rates, and successful deportations. We ask for this information immediately, but also regularly as the crisis at the southern border continues."

Trudeau Cracks Down on Illegal Immigration

After reminding the world that Canada is “a country of laws,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the nation will no longer be ignoring refugees who enter the country illegally. Faced with a rash of border crossings from the U.S. and growing criticism of his quixotic approach to border control, Trudeau’s decision marks a major turning-point from his campaign.

Evidently, Trudeau is recognizing what any head of state who campaigns for radically loose immigration policies must at some point: Opening borders poses serious problems, both practical and political. Angela Merkel is facing pressure to accept an upper limit of refugees in Germany, and many see Britain’s exit from the European Union as a rebellion against the EU’s more liberal refugee policy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

What Is the Real Value of $100 in Metropolitan Areas?

If you’ve traveled to New York or San Francisco recently, you’ve likely noticed the price of your Starbucks order change from terminal to terminal. The difference is due to price level variation throughout the United States.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recently released data detailing the disparities in spending power across metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas of each state for calendar year 2021. Using the data, we can compare how much $100 buys across the country.

The differences can be large and they have significant implications for the relative impact of economic and tax policies across the United States. $100 tends to buy the least in large cities in the Northeast, California, and the Pacific Northwest. On the other hand, $100 goes the furthest in rural areas in the Southeast and Midwest. Prices can vary significantly within states too—$100 in California tends to buy $89.45 worth of goods on average, but in the Los Angeles area, $100 can purchase about $87.86 worth of goods and services, while rural Californians can purchase $99.15 worth.

View Full Story at Tax Foundation

Note: It seems to me the most expensive areas to live have been run by Democrats. The correlation merits further study. 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Again, Mortgage Rates Rise

More than reversing a notable two-day drop, rates on 30-year mortgages roared back Thursday, surging almost a quarter percentage point higher to set a new historic record. Rates for every single mortgage type were up Thursday, with most averages rising by double-digit basis points.

Mortgage Rates Rise Across the Board, Setting New Record for 30-Year Average

Kelly Evans: Who is really raising rates in Washington?

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Here’s How Biden Admin Destroyed Our Immigration Law

By Victor Davis Hanson

Since early 2021 we have witnessed somewhere between 7 million and 8 million illegal entries across the now-nonexistent southern border of the U.S.

The more the border vanished, the more federal immigration law was rendered inert, and the more Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas spun fantasies that the “border is secure.” He is now written off as a veritable “Baghdad Bob” propagandist.

But how and why did the Biden administration destroy immigration law as we knew it?

The Trump administration’s initial efforts to close the border had been continually obstructed in the Congress, sabotaged by the administrative state, and stymied in the courts. Nonetheless, it finally had secured the border by early 2020.

Yet almost all the Trump administration’s successful initiatives were immediately overturned in 2021.

Construction of the wall was abruptly stopped, its projected trajectory canceled. The disastrous Obama-era “catch and release” policy of immigration nonenforcement was resurrected.

Prior successful pressure on Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to stop the deliberate export of his own citizens northward ceased.

Federal Border Patrol officers were forced to stand down.

New federal subsidies were granted to entice and then support illegal arrivals.

No one in the Democratic Party objected to the destruction of the border or the subversion of immigration law.

However, things changed somewhat once swamped southern border states began to bus or fly a few thousand of their illegal immigrants northward to sanctuary city jurisdictions—especially to New York and Chicago, and even Martha’s Vineyard.

The sanctuary-city “humanists” there who had greenlighted illegal immigration into the southern states suddenly shrieked. They were irate after experiencing the concrete consequences of their own prior abstract border agendas. After all, their nihilism was always supposed to fall upon distant and ridiculed others.

New York Mayor Eric Adams went from celebrating a few dozen illegal immigrants bused into Manhattan to blasting his own party for allowing tens of thousands to swamp his now bankrupt city.

But why did the Biden administration deliberately unleash the largest influx across the southern border in U.S. history?

The ethnic chauvinists and Democratic Party elites needed new constituents, given their increasingly unpopular agendas.

They feared that the more legal Latino immigrants assimilated and integrated into American society, the less happy they became with left-wing radical abortion, racial, transgender, crime, and green fixations.

Democratic grandees always had bragged that illegal immigration would create what they called “The New Democratic Majority” in “Demography Is Destiny” fashion. Now they slander critics as “racists” who object to left-wing efforts to use illegal immigration to turn southwestern red states blue.

Mexico now cannot survive as a modern state without some $60 billion in annual remittances sent by its expatriates in America. But many illegal immigrants rely on American state and federal entitlements to free up cash to send home.

Mexico also encourages its own abject poor and often indigenous people from southern Mexico to head north as a safety valve of sorts. The Mexican government sees these mass exoduses northward as preferable to the oppressed marching on Mexico City to address grievances of poverty and racism.

The criminal cartels now de facto run Mexico. An open border allows them to ship fentanyl northward, earn billions in profits—and kill nearly 100,000 Americans a year. Illegal immigrants pay cartels additional billions to facilitate their border crossings.

Don’t forget American corporate employers. Record labor nonparticipation followed the COVID-19 lockdown. In reaction to the dearth of American workers, the hospitality, meat packing, social service, health care, and farming industries were desperate to hire new—and far cheaper—labor.

Human rights activists insist that the borders themselves are 19th-century relics. And the global poor and oppressed thus have a human right to enter the affluent West by any means necessary.

Many in the tony suburbs and in universities do not live anywhere near the southern border. So they pontificate on the assurance that thousands of unaudited illegal immigrants will never enter their own enclaves or campuses.

The result is elite bottled piety—but not firsthand experience with the natural consequences of millions chaotically fleeing one of the poorest countries in the world to pour into the wealthiest. Without background checks, vaccinations and health audits, legality, high school diplomas, English facility, skill sets, or capital, the result is an abject catastrophe.

Polls continue to show that the American people support measured, diverse, legal, and meritocratic immigration as much as they oppose mass illegal immigration into their country and the subsequent loss of American sovereignty on the border.

They understand what the Biden administration does not: No nation in history has survived once its borders were destroyed, once its citizenship was rendered no different from mere residence, and once its neighbors with impunity undermined its sovereignty.

Ending illegal immigration now depends solely on the American people overriding the corrupt special interests and leaders who profit from the current chaos and human misery.

Friday, September 22, 2023

The (Illegal) Immigration Problem

American Has Fallen, And Can't Get Up

...There’s no denying the crisis. In some areas, the border between Texas and Mexico looks like a refugee camp in sub-Saharan Africa. There are thousands of African and Latin American migrants coming through daily. More than two million came last year, over 5,000 per day, and nearly as many will come this year.

...That hardly means we’re helpless to stop the flow. This year, for the first time, US Border Control is encountering more migrants from outside Latin America than from within it. That means people are flying from Africa to Latin America and entering through Mexico.

Is this part of a plan by Democratic leaders to expand the voting rolls? Some Republicans say so. And in California, some progressive politicians want to give undocumented immigrants the right to vote. They already provide official California state driver’s licenses and IDs.

But if that was the plan, it’s turning the nation against them

The migrants are overwhelming not just the state of Texas but also New York, whose Democratic leaders, both Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul, say bluntly that the city is filled up.

“The national government has turned its back on New York City,” said Adams in April. “This is impacting our schools, public safety, our ability to take care of those who were already in shelters. This is impacting the entire city.” Hochul is now proposing eliminating New York’s “right to shelter” law.

Maybe the progressive Democrats who run Chicago, Illinois, have more room — or compassion?

Not quite. “Let me state this clearly,” said Chicago’s progressive new Mayor. “The city of Chicago cannot go on welcoming new arrivals safely and capably without significant support and immigration policy changes.”

What, then, is to be done?

The Biden administration doesn’t even bother offering an answer. Democrats can only say what must not be done. We must not build a wall. We must not deport. Anyone. We must instead find jobs for the millions of mostly unskilled and uneducated immigrants to the US who, critics say, will drive down working-class wages and tax.

Biden's Bogus "Visa" Program

The Biden administration has made up its own bogus visa program to let hundreds of thousands of aliens illegally cross into the U.S. and remain indefinitely—as long as they have sponsors here willing to “support” them. Shockingly, those sponsors can include other illegal aliens.

In January, Texas and 19 other states sued the Department of Homeland Security complaining that:
DHS … under the false pretense of preventing aliens from unlawfully crossing the border between the ports of entry, has effectively created a new visa program—without the formalities of legislation from Congress—by announcing that it will permit up to 360,000 aliens annually from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela (CHNV) to be “paroled” into the United States for two years or longer and with eligibility for employment authorization.
“Parole” in immigration law gives the secretary of Homeland Security the authority to let foreigners enter the U.S. on a very temporary basis when they don’t have time to get a visa through the proper channels. Congress intended for parole to be very limited, such as when a foreign national’s testimony was crucial in an important trial.

The 20 states claim that the Biden administration’s mass parole of inadmissible aliens into the U.S. “fails each of the law’s three limiting factors” in that it is (1) not case-by-case, (2) not for urgent humanitarian reasons, and (3) advances no significant public benefit. The states specify their “substantial, irreparable harms” include millions of dollars in uncompensated education, health care, and social service costs.

Full Story

Biden Open Border Policies Have Created Immigration Crisis

President Donald Trump was committed to enforcing US immigration laws and policies. His policies were intended to slow illegal immigration and were thus opposed and criticized by many on the left.

Yet while Trump’s policies were controversial and widely criticized, they largely worked to the extent that immigration did not continue to expand rapidly under his administration. His efforts were dramatically affected by the outbreak of COVID which forced immigration changes in many countries, including the US.

President Biden, on the other hand, is committed to increasing immigration, and from day one in the White House, he worked very hard to reverse Trump’s policies. One of his first actions was to declare our southern border open to immigrants which essentially invited foreigners to enter this country and automatically receive benefits and rights normally available only to US citizens.

Since Mr. Biden became president, we have seen a flood of illegal immigrants enter this country. Specific numbers are not available, which could be as high as eight million illegals which have entered this country since he took office in 2021. Many believe the numbers could be substantially higher.

The question is, what have the effects been due to Mr. Biden’s open border policies? It depends on who you ask, of course, but today we’ll take a look and see if we can draw some conclusions. I trust most of my readers will conclude, as I have, that President Biden’s immigration policies have not been good.

It’s no secret that President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have presided over a national security and humanitarian crisis at our nation’s southern border. In the week leading up to the expiration of Title 42, Border Patrol saw more than 11,000 migrants crossing the border illegally each day – the highest single daily totals ever recorded.

Full Story


‘Absolutely unsustainable’: Hochul calls on Biden to fix NYC migrant shelter crisis

Karine Jean-Pierre refuses to answer question from Peter Doocy on illegal immigration

Illegal border crossings are on the rise: 7,500 migrants were stopped on Sunday alone

NYC shelters set to dump thousands of migrants to discourage new arrivals

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Biden Created 13.5 Million Jobs? Not So Fast!

from Gary D. Halbert's "Between the Lines"

President Joe Biden officially kicked off his 2024 re-election campaign in August, and he has been crisscrossing the country with campaign stops since then. His main re-election pitch is that the US economy is surging as a result of his economic policies.

On that subject, the president repeatedly touts that the US economy has added almost 13.5 million new jobs since he took office in January 2021. If true, that would be more jobs than created by any previous president over four years.

The question is: Is it true? The answer is a little complicated but I’ll sort it out for you below. The fact is, nearly 13.5 million jobs have been gained since Mr. Biden took office. But what is critical to realize is that the vast majority of those new jobs were simply businesses which shut down during Covid and are now reopening – and calling back their laid-off workers.

The issue when it comes to President Biden claiming he has created a record 13.5 million jobs since he took office is whether he should get credit for those workers being called back to their old jobs because their former employers are simply reopening. I say NO!

Let’s look at the actual jobs numbers from the House Budget Committee and the Labor Department. Of the 13.5 million jobs gained since Mr. Biden took office, nearly 72% of those were simply jobs that were being recovered from the pandemic, not new job creation.

In fact, when looking at today’s economy compared to pre-pandemic levels, employment is up only by 3.7 million under Biden. By comparison, prior to the pandemic, job creation under President Trump was 6.7 million -- 3 million more jobs than the current President.

So, the next time you hear President Biden claim that 13.5 million new jobs have been created on his watch, just know that he is lying. Almost 10 million of those jobs came from businesses that closed during the pandemic and have been merely reopening and rehiring workers which were laid of in 2021 and 2022.

The fact is, millions of American families are in serious financial trouble. A recent Morning Consult survey found that in the third quarter of this year only 46% of Americans could cover a $400 unexpected expense without going into debt.

It shows how expenses as commonplace as a surprise car repair or a medical bill are forcing many American families into debt – at a time when interest rates are disturbingly high.

The Lending Club’s “Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report” for June confirms the Morning Consult survey noted above. It found that a majority of Americans (54%) were living paycheck to paycheck. That includes 53% of consumers who earn $50,000 to $100,000 per year. So, this problem extends well beyond lower-income families, although it certainly hits you harder the less money you have.

But what about personal savings? Americans received a lot of cash from the government during the pandemic. In fact, when Biden took office, Americans had $2.3 trillion in personal savings. That number shot up to $5.7 trillion following Biden’s March 2021 legislation ironically named the "American Rescue Plan."

But by June of this year, a mere 27 months later, personal savings had dropped by nearly $5 trillion to a much diminished $862 billion.

Again, it isn’t just lower-income Americans who have watched their savings diminish. According to a Bloomberg analysis, the average middle-class household has lost over $33,000 in real wealth in just the past year. That’s huge!

The situation is so bad that many Americans are even draining their 401(k) plans to cover expenses. According to Bank of America’s analysis of its clients’ employee benefits programs (with a total of over 4 million plan participants), 36% more people drained their retirement accounts to make ends meet in the second quarter of 2023 as compared to the same period last year.

So, where did all that money go? Well, you may have noticed that Bidenomics-induced inflation has driven the cost of living up – a lot. Let’s look at it in dollar terms, which is how most Americans experience inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the Consumer Price Index (CPI) each month, a common measure of inflation. CPI takes a basket of commonly purchased goods and services and prices them on a monthly basis. In January 2021, when Biden took office, that basket cost about $261.50. In July of this year, the same basket cost $305.70. That’s a huge 16.9% increase in only two and a half years. It’s also larger than the CPI increase for any full four-year presidential term since the 1980s, and Bidenomics has 16 months to go.

Exacerbating the problem, wage growth has failed to keep pace with inflation – increasing only 13% since Biden took office (versus nearly 17% for inflation). When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, as over half of Americans are, that kind of disparity hurts.

The bottom line is: Bidenomics is not working out well for at least 54% of American families, as reported by Lending Club. It’s not working well for the other half of families not living paycheck-to-paycheck either. Most Americans know this.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

30-Year Mortgage Rates Rise Again, Flirting with Historic Peak

By SABRINA KARL, Investopedia

Rates on 30-year mortgages rose again Monday, adding to the jump they saw Friday and pushing the flagship average almost back to the historic 22-year high it registered earlier this month. Averages for most other loan types were flat to mildly up Monday, with only a couple of averages declining.

Rates on 30-year new purchase mortgages gained 6 basis points Monday, after jumping 16 basis points Friday. That raises the 30-year average to 7.82%, which is just barely below Sept. 7's historic reading of 7.84%—its highest mark since 2001.

Monday rates on 15-year loans rose only a minor 2 basis points, nudging the average to 7.15%. Like 30-year rates, the 15-year average is now back within a couple of basis points of its recent peak—a 21-year high of 7.17% reached in mid-August.

Jumbo 30-year rates held steady for a second day Monday, at the average's high-water mark of 7.02%. Though daily jumbo averages are not available before 2009, it's reasonable to assume that August's peak average of 7.02% was the most expensive level reached for jumbo 30-year loans in at least 20 years.

The biggest climbers Monday were the FHA 30-year and VA 30-year averages, each of which gained 12 basis points, while the FHA 15-year average sank 11 basis points. The only other average to decline was a minor dip of 3 basis points for the 7/6 ARM average.

What Causes Mortgage Rates to Rise or Fall?

Mortgage rates are determined by a complex interaction of macroeconomic and industry factors, such as:

  • The level and direction of the bond market, especially 10-year Treasury yields
  • The Federal Reserve's current monetary policy, especially as it relates to bond buying and funding government-backed mortgages
Because fluctuations can be caused by any number of these at once, it's generally difficult to attribute the change to any one factor.

Macroeconomic factors kept the mortgage market relatively low for much of 2021. In particular, the Federal Reserve had been buying billions of dollars of bonds in response to the pandemic's economic pressures. This bond-buying policy is a major influencer of mortgage rates.

But starting in Nov. 2021, the Fed began tapering its bond purchases downward, making sizable reductions each month until reaching net-zero in March 2022.2

Since that time, the Fed has been aggressively raising the federal funds rate to fight decades-high inflation. While the fed funds rate can influence mortgage rates, it does not directly do so. In fact, the fed funds rate and mortgage rates can move in opposite directions.

However, given the historic speed and magnitude of the Fed's 2022 and 2023 rate increases—raising the benchmark rate a cumulative 5.25% over the last 18 months—even the indirect influence of the fed funds rate has resulted in an upward impact on mortgage rates over the last two years.

The Fed's next rate-setting meeting is scheduled to conclude Sept. 20, and financial markets have priced in a near-certainty that the central bank will hold rates steady this time. A rate increase in November or December is still a possibility, however, with traders forecasting odds of 35-40% of an increase being announced at one of those meetings.

More (Illegal) Immigration Nightmares

Previously, here and here .  Even 'Fact-Checkers' Can’t Cover Biden Losing 85,000 Kids & Flying In Migrants Under Joe Biden’s c...