E-Verify’s Slippery Biometric Slope….

Federal programs are notorious for mission creep. Small programs intended to address specific concerns typically grow far beyond their original bounds. Social Security numbers are a prime example: They initially were intended to track personal income in order to calculate Social Security benefits, but now they are indispensable for access to credit, purchasing a firearm and much more.

The House Judiciary Committee is considering another program destined to creep into the rest of our lives. The Legal Workforce Act (LWA), introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), would mandate E-Verify for all new hires in the United States. E-Verify is a government program intended to discourage the hiring of illegal immigrants by enabling employers to verify the legal work status of all new employees.

Mandating E-Verify would force every American to ask the government for permission to work. That is bad enough, but it gets even worse: The system is defective. The database it relies on often fails to identify illegal immigrants and sometimes rejects people who are legally eligible to work.

These inaccuracies portend dangerous mission creep. According to a recent government audit, E-Verify approves roughly half of illegal immigrant workers, partly because it only checks the documents that the worker gives the employer, creating a huge loophole. LWA attempts to resolve that by notifying all Americans when their Social Security numbers are used for employment verification. But that won’t close the loopholes, and so eager politicians in Washington will keep piling on new regulations, mandates and controls.

The next step will be a national biometric identity card for all citizens and legal residents to aid workplace verification of immigration status. LWA creates “pilot authentication programs” based on “new technologies,” which will combine E-Verify with our biometric information to create a more foolproof system. Such a system was proposed in 2010. Organizations like the Federation for American Immigration Reform already support it.

But mandatory E-Verify could soon morph into far more….

By Alex Nowrasteh – The Hill –

Supreme Court takes up religion in the workplace

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that could help define the limits of religious freedom in the workplace.

The case, known as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) v. Abercrombie, centers on Samantha Elauf, a practicing Muslim who applied for a position as a model at the Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa, Okla., in 2008. She was denied employment because she was wearing a black headscarf, known as hijab, during her interview.

Abercrombie has a “look policy” that prohibits employees from wearing black clothing and “caps;” it rates prospective employees based on their dress. Though the policy fails to define what constitutes a “cap,” it says an employee is subject to “disciplinary action up to and including termination for failing to comply with” the cap policy.

In the case, the EEOC argues that Abercrombie violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by failing to accommodate Elauf’s religious beliefs. Abercrombie claims Elauf never informed hiring managers of the conflict and that allowing her to wear a headscarf would have imposed an undue hardship on the Ohio-based company.

The company’s position was upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, after a federal district court sided with the EEOC.

The high court must decide whether employers have to ask prospective workers if they need a religious accommodation, or if it is it up to the job seekers to make the need known.

Business interests are paying close attention to the case.

By Lydia Wheeler – The Hill –

You’ll Need A $300 License To Start A Blog in Philadelphia!

The American Dream represents hard work and success of free individuals pursuing their own economic gains. It is often expressed in “rags to riches” stories of impoverished citizens obtaining great feats through their free will. Today, people question whether that dream still exists. Politicians want to impose more regulations to “restore the American Dream”. In reality, we need less regulation and more economic freedom. People can lift themselves from poverty, but it has to be easier to start lifting.

Licensing regulations reduce economic freedom by creating barriers to market entry. For example, in my current home of Philadelphia, bloggers are required to obtain a $300 permit from the city. Blogging is by no means a lucrative business. In fact, an estimated 80% of bloggers will never make more than $100 from their work. A city official ironically says Philadelphia “loves the self-employed”. These permit-happy bureaucrats fail to grasp basic economics: occupational licensing can be detrimental to the economy.

Today, nearly 500 different occupations require some form of licensing. Economically speaking, this translates in to a reduction and constraint on supply. From hair braiding to lemonade stands, government has increasingly targeted different occupations for licensing. Licenses are now required by 30% of occupations in the workforce, which is up from 5% in the 1950s. This does not mean that more occupations require exceptional training. It does indicate that more occupations are prohibited without such a license….

By Grant Phillips – The Libertarian Republic –

IRS to pay refunds to illegals who didn’t pay taxes

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress on Wednesday that even illegal immigrants who didn’t pay taxes will be able to claim back-refunds once they get Social Security numbers under President Obama’s temporary deportation amnesty.

The revelation — which contradicts what he told Congress last week — comes as lawmakers also raised concerns Mr. Obama’s amnesty could open a window to illegal immigrants finding ways to vote, despite it being against the law.

“While we may disagree about whether your deferred action programs were lawfully created and implemented, we are confident that we can all agree that these programs cannot be permitted to impair the integrity of our elections,” Republican members of Congress from Ohio wrote in a letter to Mr. Obama Wednesday, ahead of a hearing on the issue in the House on Thursday.

Mr. Obama’s new deportation policies, which carve most illegal immigrants out of danger of being removed, and could proactively grant as many as 4 million illegal immigrants work permits and Social Security numbers, are increasingly under fire for ancillary consequences such as tax credits and competition for jobs.

Mr. Koskinen, testifying to the House oversight committee, said the White House never asked him or anyone else at the IRS about the potential tax effects of his amnesty policy.

“I haven’t talked to the White House about this at all,” he said.

He also clarified his testimony to the Senate last week, where he acknowledged illegal immigrants who had paid taxes using substitute Social Security numbers but who gain real Social Security numbers when they are approved for the amnesty can apply for back-refunds of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

On Wednesday, he said even illegal immigrants who didn’t pay taxes will be able to apply for back-credits once they get Social Security numbers.

The EITC is a refundable tax credit, which means those who don’t have any tax liability can still get money back from the government.

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times –

The Eugenics Plot Behind the Minimum Wage

In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. identifies the government as the enemy of the rights and dignity of blacks. He was locked up for marching without a permit. King cites the injustices of the police and courts in particular. And he inspired a movement to raise public consciousness against state brutality, especially as it involved fire hoses, billy clubs, and jail cells.

Less obvious, however, had been the role of a more covert means of subjugation — forms of state coercion deeply embedded in the law and history of the United States. And they were offered as policies grounded in science and the scientific management of society.

Consider the minimum wage. How much does racism have to do with it? Far more than most people realize. A careful look at its history shows that the minimum wage was originally conceived as part of a eugenics strategy — an attempt to engineer a master race through public policy designed to cleanse the citizenry of undesirables. To that end, the state would have to bring about the isolation, sterilization, and extermination of nonprivileged populations.

The eugenics movement — almost universally supported by the scholarly and popular press in the first decades of the 20th century — came about as a reaction to the dramatic demographic changes of the latter part of the 19th century. Incomes rose and lifetimes had expanded like never before in history. Such gains applied to all races and classes. Infant mortality collapsed. All of this was due to a massive expansion of markets, technology, and trade, and it changed the world. It meant a dramatic expansion of population among all groups. The great unwashed masses were living longer and reproducing faster….

The eugenics movement, as an application of the principle of the “planned society,” was deeply hostile to free markets. As The New Republic summarized in a 1916 editorial:

“Imbecility breeds imbecility as certainly as white hens breed white chickens; and under laissez-faire imbecility is given full chance to breed, and does so in fact at a rate far superior to that of able stocks.”

To counter the trends unleashed by capitalism, states and the national government began to implement policies designed to support “superior” races and classes and discourage procreation of the “inferior” ones. As explained by Edwin Black’s 2003 book
, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race, the goal as regards women and children was exclusionist, but as regards nonwhites, it was essentially exterminationist. The chosen means were not firing squads and gas chambers but the more peaceful and subtle methods of sterilization, exclusion from jobs, and coercive segregation.

It was during this period and for this reason that we saw the first trial runs of the minimum wage in Massachusetts in 1912. The new law pertained only to women and children as a measure to disemploy them and other “social dependents” from the labor force. Even though the measure was small and not well enforced, it did indeed reduce employment among the targeted groups.

To understand why this wasn’t seen as a failure, take a look at the first modern discussions of the minimum wage appearing in the academic literature. Most of these writings would have been completely forgotten but for a seminal 2005 article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by Thomas C. Leonard.

Leonard documents an alarming series of academic articles and books appearing between the 1890s and the 1920s that were remarkably explicit about a variety of legislative attempts to squeeze people out of the work force. These articles were not written by marginal figures or radicals but by the leaders of the profession, the authors of the great textbooks, and the opinion leaders who shaped public policy.

“Progressive economists, like their neoclassical critics,” Leonard explains, “believed that binding minimum wages would cause job losses. However, the progressive economists also believed that the job loss induced by minimum wages was a social benefit, as it performed the eugenic service ridding the labor force of the ‘unemployable.’”

At least the eugenicists, for all their pseudo-scientific blathering, were not naïve about the effects of wage floors. These days, you can count on media talking heads and countless politicians to proclaim how wonderful the minimum wage is for the poor. Wage floors will improve the standard of living, they say. But back in 1912, they knew better — minimum wages exclude workers — and they favored them precisely because such wage floors drive people out of the job market. People without jobs cannot prosper and are thereby discouraged from reproducing. Minimum wages were designed specifically to purify the demographic landscape of racial inferiors and to keep women at the margins of society.

The famed Fabian socialist Sidney Webb was as blunt as anyone in his 1912 article “The Economic Theory of the Minimum Wage”:

Legal Minimum Wage positively increases the productivity of the nation’s industry, by ensuring that the surplus of unemployed workmen shall be exclusively the least efficient workmen; or, to put it in another way, by ensuring that all the situations shall be filled by the most efficient operatives who are available.

The intellectual history shows that whole purpose of the minimum wage was to create unemployment among people who the elites did not believe were worthy of holding jobs.

And it gets worse….

Eugenics as an idea eventually lost favor after World War II, when it came to be associated with the Third Reich. But the labor policies to which it gave rise did not go away. They came to be promoted not as a method of exclusion and extermination but rather, however implausibly, as a positive effort to benefit the poor.

Whatever the intentions, the effects are still the same. On that the eugenicists were right. The eugenics movement, however evil its motive, understood an economic truth: the minimum wage excludes people from the job market. It takes away from marginal populations their most important power in the job market: the power to work for less. It cartelizes the labor market by allowing higher-wage groups access while excluding lower-wage groups.

King wrote of the cruelty of government in his day. That cruelty extends far back in time, and is crystallized by a wage policy that effectively makes productivity and upward mobility illegal. If we want to reject eugenic policies and the racial malice behind them, we should also repudiate the minimum wage and embrace the universal right to bargain.

By JEFFREY A. TUCKER – Foundation for Economic Education –

Gallup CEO: Full-Time Jobs Number Lowest It’s Ever Been

Gallup CEO and Chairman Jim Clifton doubled-down on his comments earlier in the week on the misleading Obama unemployment rate.

Obama says the unemployment rate is 5.6% which is very misleading.

Clifton went on America’s Newsroom today to explain the misleading government numbers. (Video included)

“The number of full-time jobs, and that’s what everybody wants, as a percent of the total population, is the lowest it’s ever been… The other thing that is very misleading about that number is the more people that drop out, the better the number gets. In the recession we lost 13 million jobs. Only 3 million have come back. You don’t see that in that number. “

The real Obama unemployment rate is above 10%

By Jim Hoft – The Gateway Pundit –

Fuzzy Math in Unemployment Statistics

The Department of Labor announced that 252,000 new jobs were added to the U.S. economy in December. The Obama Administration is trying to pander to voters by touting a recent decline in government unemployment figures, but the official unemployment figure is dishonest because it excludes from the count the million unemployed Americans who have given up looking for a job. You don’t count as “unemployed” unless you are actively looking for a job.

Prospects are especially dismal for those who have been out of work for a half-year or more. A shocking 31.9 percent of the unemployed, about 2.8 million, have been out of work for 27 or more weeks, and that figure remained virtually unchanged last month despite rosy claims by the Obama Administration.

You would never know that by listening to spokesmen for the Obama Administration. Obama’s administration claims that unemployment has fallen to 5.6 percent. In fact, the more accurate U-6 unemployment rate was twice as high, 11.2 percent for December.

Once someone is out of work for an extended period of time, it becomes nearly impossible to get a decent job. Studies show that after eight months of being out of work, the likelihood of being called back for an interview declines to less than 50 percent.

This is what allows Obama to prevaricate about so-called falling unemployment rates. The more people who drop out of the workforce entirely, the lower is the official unemployment rate.

Why is the real rate of unemployment so high, why are wages stagnant, and why don’t Democrats or Republicans address this fundamental jobs issue instead of misleading the public about the figures and relying on more taxpayer programs and benefits?

The sorry answer is that Republicans and Democrats in Congress are following the Chamber of Commerce game plan: bring in more cheap labor to keep wages low. Economics 101 still teaches that the law of supply and demand works and a large supply of labor keeps wages low.

Obama facilitates this game plan by illegally admitting illegal aliens, and some Republicans want to expand guest worker visas at all levels (the well-educated by H-1B visas, the low-paid by calling them “guest workers,” or farm workers).

By Phyllis Schlafly – Eagle Forum –

House passes 40 hour work week bill in Obamacare fight

The opening salvo in the Obamacare fight in the new Republican-controlled Congress has been fired, with the House easily passing a measure Thursday designed to weaken the healthcare law.

The bill seeks to revoke the Affordable Care Act’s provision that companies offer health coverage to employees who work at least 30 hours a week. Instead, the measure stipulates that employees must work 40 hours to be eligible for healthcare benefits.

The bill passed 252 to 172, with 12 Democrats voting yes. No Republican voted in opposition.

Republicans said the 30-hour threshold has caused many struggling Americans to have their work hours cut by employers that can’t afford to provide insurance.

“Businesses are now reacting to Obamacare’s perverse incentive, and scaling down,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “The employer mandate and Obamacre as a whole are hurting the job market and is hurting America. Only a full repeal of this law will solve the problem, but this bill helps.”

But Democrats say that upping the workweek definition will give businesses a legal excuse to stop covering employees who work more than 30 but fewer than 40 hours.

“This bill is nothing more than a tool for large employers to avoid providing their employees with health insurance, despite the fact they can afford to do so,” said Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. “The bill will reduce the number of people receiving insurance through their employers — simple fact.”

Democrats also say Republican claims that the 40-hour mandate is hurting small business are bogus because the provision only applies to companies with 50 or more employees.

The measure now goes to the Senate, where new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to take up the measure soon. But with Republicans assuming control of the Senate this week, anti-Obamacare measures like the “Save American Workers Act” now have an easier path at clearing Congress and landing on the president’s desk.

It’s uncertain if the measure will get the 60 votes likely needed for it to clear the 100-seat chamber….

By Sean Lengell – Washingtom Examiner –

Arizona told to stop prosecuting job-seeking illegals

Bit by bit, the federal judiciary is tearing out the legal ground from under “America’s toughest sheriff.

First, a federal appeals court said it was illegal to deny bail to immigrants in the country illegally. Then, on Monday, an Arizona federal judge blasted a state law that stretched the crime of identity theft to include everyone from forgers to people simply seeking employment without valid documentation.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was using that law to justify workplace raids, more than 80 since the Arizona Legislature passed the law in 2008. Those raids rolled up nearly 800 men and women, charged with felonies for seeking employment while they were in the country illegally. It was unclear how many of them were convicted or deported.

But federal law explicitly says seeking employment is not a crime, no matter a person’s immigration status. A group of immigration rights organizations sued Arizona, the county and Arpaio.

On Monday, the plaintiffs prevailed, at least for now.

Number of immigrants deported from U.S. dropped sharply in the last year.

U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in Phoenix ordered an immediate halt to the state’s enforcement of identity theft laws that penalize immigrants in the country illegally for seeking employment. Campbell said the Arizona law is at odds with corresponding federal statutes.

“These laws were one piece of a tool kit that Sheriff Arpaio used to terrorize immigrant communities,” said plaintiff’s attorney Jessica Karp, “and that tool kit is being taken apart.”

By Nigel Duara – Los Angeles Times –

THE ECONOMY IS NOT RECOVERING

To look at data being released by the Lying Machine out in Washington, DC., specifically minions who work for the criminal impostor in the Red House (formerly known as the White House), one would think happy days are here again!

I know it’s tiresome and depressing to constantly read how bad things are economically in this country, but commerce runs the engine of our economy and our lives for it generates the income we all need to survive. It’s also confusing because one doesn’t know who or what to believe. However, is it not better to know the truth than to rely on an illusion? Truth from people who actually care what happens to we the people.

Intellectually lazy media hacks, some who actually pass themselves off as journalists, not only in the ‘mainstream’ media but also on cable networks are nothing more than good little toadies who prattle on about a growing economy without ever broaching the subject of the head of the beast, the privately owned “Federal” Reserve and what impact its had on our economy and daily lives for over 100 years. Oh, sure, once in a while one might see a headline about the “Fed” and raise a soft-ball question about how “they” manage our money and economy. But, for the most part, they simply stick to the script:

Everything Is Awesome! (Dec. 24, 2014): “Good news! The U.S. economy grew at a rollicking 5 percent rate in the third quarter. Oh, and it added 320,000 jobs in November, the best of its unprecedented 57 straight months of private-sector employment growth. Just in time for Christmas, the Dow just hit an all-time high and the uninsured rate is approaching an all-time low. Consumer confidence is soaring, inflation is low, gas prices are plunging, and the budget deficit is shrinking….

By Devvy Kidd – News With Views –