Responding to Cornwall: Three Important Issues

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

As I read through Bob Cornwall’s reply to this week’s question, I was initially struck by how much common ground there was, at least in terms of the issues themselves, and yet as I thought more about each one, the more that I could see that we differed considerably.

Income Disparity 

This is an area where I have been critical of my fellow conservatives, and I do think this is a problem that should be addressed. The key questions, however, are how and by whom?  While I do think that government can play a very limited role, frankly I think that their actions to date have only made the problem much worse.  For example, past government actions and threat of actions in regards to the salaries of CEOs basically resulted in CEO compensation being moved from direct wages to the much more lucrative stock options and bonuses that are now the source of much of the problem.

As for the issues of equality of opportunity vs. outcome, and the inherent problems of government attempting to enforce equality, see the discussion of this in chapter nine of my book Preserving Democracy.  In short, trying to enforce outcomes is impossible and the attempt comes at a very high cost to liberty. Unless stopped the result is totalitarianism.   Thus when it comes to income disparity as a political issue, I get very nervous.

Immigration Reform

This is a hot button issue for both the left and right.  More importantly, I believe the solution is actually quite simple and has the broad support of the American people, but it requires an initial step that the left refuses to accept:  Seal the border.  Under Reagan we tried the grand compromise of sealing the boarder in exchange for granting amnesty. The amnesty was granted, but the boarder was left open and now the problem is worse than ever.  As a result, most conservatives approach this issue with the attitude of “fool me once…”  They are no longer interested in promises or pledges; they want the boarder closed to new waves of illegal immigration.  (And no this does not mean 100%.)

If that were done with any sort of confidence, the rest, i.e., what to do with those already here; how to increase immigration quotas; creation of a guest worker program for those who want to come here to work, but who do not want to immigrate; etc., could all be solved fairly easily, or at least easily in terms of any government action, as these are areas where a broad bi-partisan support could be established.

This is one of the things that was so troubling about Obama’s recent actions on the Dream Act, as this was one of the very few areas where a bi-partisan consensus could have been built without first sealing the boarder. In fact, Senator Rubio had been working on a bi-partisan compromise on the Dream Act and was getting close.  While these things are never done until they are done, I was fairly confident that he was  going to succeed, and may very well have done so by now.

Then “President Obama swooped in with a DREAM Act-like executive order” which ended any chance at working out a compromise. Not only was it clearly unconstitutional (if for nothing else, it creates a new legal classification without any actual law to support it) and is almost certain to be overturned by the courts, such a ruling is unlikely until after the election. Frankly it is hard to see this as anything but a nakedly political move to short circuit Rubio’s efforts, lest a Republican bring about a compromise that Obama had failed to even seek.   After all, if President Obama was really interested in working out a solution, why not partner with Rubio to get something done?

Finally, there is a moral component to this issue that is often ignored on the left, which is the issue of justice.  It can be seen in the example of two students here on student visas.  Both want to live in America.  When their visas expire, one returns home and applies to immigrate back.  The other just stays here illegally.  Where is the justice in rewarding those who broke our laws while those who chose to follow the law, are left waiting in line?  I have heard more than one legal immigrant wonder why they put up will all the hassle of working with the INS, as things would be so much easier if they were willing to break the law.

Health Care

Again this is an issue where there is some agreement over the problem.  Despite claims that conservatives want to return to the old system, few were actually happy with system before ObamaCare, aka the Affordable Care act.  But, there is no agreement on what ObamaCare will do.  While Cornwall thinks that the Affordable Care act “is enough to fix a broken system” I could not disagree more.  We can get into the details later, but there is no doubt in my mind that ObamaCare will have (and in some cases already is having) a devastating impact on the health care system in this country.  It will result in more, not less, people without health care coverage, and the health care they do receive will be of lesser quality.  In the end there will be an even greater disparity in the delivery of health care in this country than before ObamaCare. 

This is before we even begin to consider our ability to afford the so called Affordable Care Act.  Like so many other programs, the cost of ObamaCare has already exploded way beyond the estimates used when it was passed.   In short, we simply cannot afford the Affordable Care Act and there is no compassion in an empty promise.

Aug 22nd, 2012

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