If you are in need a thin smear of rhetorical mush today, then look here.
In case you missed it, the Rio Grande Foundation got some nice ink in the Albuquerque Journal relating to our rally marking the one-year anniversary of the Kelo decision.
Whether Governor Richardson’s commission succeeds in finding a solution that secures our individual property rights or whether John Dendahl pulls an upset and pushes legislation through the legislature next year, we hope that this will be the last time New Mexicans are forced to mark this dreadful Supreme Court decision.
President Bush celebrated the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision with an Executive Order, basically restating the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution. By the President’s order, private property is now protected by:
limiting the taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken.
It’s absurd that the Fifth Amendment needs repeating, especially to certain Justices whose reading comprehension is diminished in the presence of our founding documents.
We’re still at the mercy of state and local government land grabs, but I guess we’re not supposed to worry about the Federal government, at least until January, 2009, when our next chief executive may have other orders in mind.
Our government was founded on the principle that individual rights are not subject to the whim of any one man or government body. They are not granted to us by government, but inherent in our very existence as sentient beings. We should demand a government that holds our Constitutional rights as inviolable, not feel grateful for whatever meager scraps of rights a government official is willing to indulge.
The President’s Order is an insult. His oath of office would be better served by leading a movement to impeach those Justices who rule in clear violation the US Constitution.
Speaking of the failure of New Mexico to protect the cornerstone of liberty, there is a new book out. In Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st-Century America, a new book published today by the Cato Institute, Timothy Sandefur, a staff attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, examines the state of property rights after Kelo.
Today marks the 1st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision. It was such a bad interpretation of the constitution that it makes you wonder what they were smoking.
Property rights are the cornerstone of the liberty that has made us so prosperous. Paul is leading an event today that calls attention to New Mexico’s subsequent failure to protect those property rights.
Thanks to Robin for the graphic.
Should New Mexico replace the state income tax with an immigrant tax?
No country can let in an infinite number of immigrants. And, if we allow immigrants to take advantage of public schools, welfare, social security and Medicaid, it will cost us a lot. Tech Central Station has come up with a strategy: tax the immigrants. According to the plan, each immigrant must put the dollar amount necessary to pay for his own deportation into an account; if he is ever unable to support himself, the money will be used to pay for his removal; in addition other taxes are levied on his wages that don’t apply to citizens. This way we could be sure that there is no drain on the economy of taxpayer funded programs and instead immigrants create more revenue.
Why not replace some current taxes with a tax on immigrants? Nobody can argue against a tax refund for all citizens. In any case, it is an interesting and innovative idea for an old and sometimes divisive problem.
I have signed on to the following open letter on immigration. The only thing I could add is that our inefficient and ineffective welfare system tends to reduce the benefits of immigration while enabling the “misguided commentary.” Look here to find the many distinguished scholars who signed the letter. Thanks to Alex Tabarrok for putting it together.
Dear President George W. Bush and All Members of Congress:
People from around the world are drawn to America for its promise of freedom and opportunity. That promise has been fulfilled for the tens of millions of immigrants who came here in the twentieth century.
Throughout our history as an immigrant nation, those who were already here have worried about the impact of newcomers. Yet, over time, immigrants have become part of a richer America, richer both economically and culturally. The current debate over immigration is a healthy part of a democratic society, but as economists and other social scientists we are concerned that some of the fundamental economics of immigration are too often obscured by misguided commentary.
Overall, immigration has been a net gain for American citizens, though a modest one in proportion to the size of our 13 trillion-dollar economy.
Immigrants do not take American jobs. The American economy can create as many jobs as there are workers willing to work so long as labor markets remain free, flexible and open to all workers on an equal basis.
In recent decades, immigration of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to have been small, with estimates of wage reductions for high-school dropouts ranging from eight percent to as little as zero percent.
While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to our economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade in goods and services, the gains from immigration outweigh the losses. The effect of all immigration on low-skilled workers is very likely positive as many immigrants bring skills, capital and entrepreneurship to the American economy.
Legitimate concerns about the impact of immigration on the poorest Americans should not be addressed by penalizing even poorer immigrants. Instead, we should promote policies, such as improving our education system, that enable Americans to be more productive with high-wage skills.
We must not forget that the gains to immigrants coming to the United States are immense. Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised. The American dream is a reality for many immigrants who not only increase their own living standards but who also send billions of dollars of their money back to their families in their home countries—a form of truly effective foreign aid.
America is a generous and open country and these qualities make America a beacon to the world. We should not let exaggerated fears dim that beacon.
Today’s Albuquerque Journal reports on HB80, Equitable Sentencing Schedule, which among other things doubles the threshold at which shoplifting becomes a felony from $250 to $500. This bill was passed during the 2006 legislative session and is set to go into effect on July 1.
The bill’s sponsor, Hector H. Balderas (D), argues the change is necessary to keep up with inflation, one of the chief tools in the belts of those seeking higher minimum wages at the local, state, and federal levels. Professional shoplifters will now be able to steal just under $500 at a time to avoid a felony arrest, instead of the presumably inadequate bundles of grifted goods available today. I guess even Jane’s Addiction
But it’s certainly not good for New Mexico retail businesses and their law abiding customers. According to the Online Lawyer Source:
The consequences of shoplifting cause one third of all new businesses to fail. Businesses lose sixteen billion dollars annually in lost revenue as a result of shoplifting. In addition to lost profits, the consequences of shoplifting also force businesses to raise prices and take other costly preventative measures to reduce their vulnerability to shoplifting… The average family in America spends $300 every year in order to subsidize the cost of what shoplifters steal.
So who does benefit, beside those employing the five-finger discount ? Following the nail-bitingly close presidential election in 2000, Richard Romero’s 2001 Restoration of Felony Voting Rights act allowed an estimated 50,000 convicted felons to return to the polls after completing their sentences, and passed after:
Every Democratic member of both the House and the Senate received copies of a study in progress which demonstrated that Democratic defeats in several close elections in various states could be attributed directly to felony disenfranchisement.
Apparently, removing some shoplifters from the voter rolls during the maximum 18 month sentence for a fourth degree felony conviction is too much a burden for the state’s politicians to bear, especially with mid-term elections coming up. Maybe this post should be titled “The Voting Rights Act for Shoplifters.”
Lawmakers should concentrate on protecting the property of the state’s businesses and providing a secure environment in which residents can engage in mutually-beneficial trade. Easing the lives of criminals, and their voter eligibility, in order to maintain entrenched political power is as perverted as special interest politics can get.
It looks like California may be the next state to succumb to “minimum wage madness,” only this time, the Governator, supposedly a big fan of Milton Friedman and his book “Free to Choose” looks to be in on the plan to not only raise the state’s minimum wage, but to index it to inflation. In “Free to Choose,” which was published in 1980 when the federal minimum wage was much higher relative to wages, Friedman wrote “The high rate of unemployment among teenagers, and especially black teenagers, is both a scandal and a serious source of social unrest. Yet it is largely a result of minimum wage laws.”
New Mexicans can’t do much about California’s misguided politicians, but perhaps we should all send our legislators copies of Friedman’s book?