David Brooks needs to get out more


Normally, this blog wouldn’t respond to the intellectually vapid ramblings of David “I love Obama’s pants crease” Brooks, but his commentary on Meet the Press on Sunday hails from the realm of fantasy.

On the show, Brooks debated Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) on immigration “reform.” Brooks ignored factual reality, instead relying on a surprising ignorance of politics to defend the Senate’s amnesty bill as immigration reform conservatives and Republicans should support.

The fact-check:

Before getting to Brooks, host David Gregory mentioned to Eugene Robinson that Senator John McCain (R-AZ), “Who just a few years ago was doing campaign ads saying ‘secure this darn border first,’ who’s saying that Congressman Labrador and anyone who cites insufficient security at the border is just looking for a way to kill this bill, and it’s not a credible opposition.”

Gregory has somehow forgotten two key facts: First, Senator McCain was desperate for re-election in 2010, and like many politicians, is willing to say anything to stay in power. Second, Senator McCain was a supporter of amnesty in 2007 – meaning his position from 2007 to 2010 likely changed due to electoral concerns.

In other words, for Gregory to cite Senator McCain as a trustworthy source on border security is laughable. Gregory followed this up by noting the long time between legalization and citizenship, claiming it’s a “pretty arduous process.” Again, Gregory is showing incredible political ignorance – the citizenship aspect is being put off for the same reason Obamacare’s initial implementation was delayed: to get the CBO and other sources to claim costs are low. If immigrants were able to be on social welfare programs right away, those costs would skyrocket, and the American people would immediately reject the bill in its entirety.

On to Brooks:

1. Brooks says the bill implements reductions in illegal immigration, which Republicans want. True enough. However, reducing the number of illegal immigrants by “one-third and one-half compared with the projected net inflow under current law” is not a ringing endorsement by the CBO of the bill’s border security effects.

 Furthermore, Brooks ignores how employees at the three agencies focused on  immigration– ICE, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services union, and border patrol agents – are opposing the Senate’s bill for reasons that include its lack of proper border security.

2. Brooks says “[Republicans] say they want to reduce the debt; the CBO says it will reduce the debt.” Not true, for three reasons – first, the CBO only examined the first two decades of spending under the bill. Its implications for Social Security and Medicare are largely ignored, since they wouldn’t see a large impact until well past 2033.

Furthermore, CBO says the bill will reduce the expected growth in debt, not provide a reduction in debt itself. To reduce debt is to assume the bill balances the federal budget, which no one is claiming as an outcome.

Finally, as explained at the New York Times’ “Economix” blog, the cost of having more illegal immigrants could easily be unseen at the federal level…while devastating state and local governments, especially with regards to the cost of education. Brooks ignores where amnesty hits hardest: our own towns, cities, and states.

3. Brooks acts as though the Obama Administration and future administrations will follow the law to a “T.” As Rep. Labrador pointed out, the delay of the Obamacare employer mandate shows just how ridiculous it is to trust any administration to not abuse flexibility given to bureaucrats in a bloated, complex, train wreck-style piece of legislation.

4. Brooks claims “all the top conservative economists say [the bill will] produce economic growth.” This is the “appeal to authority” fallacy rather than an actual response to the bill’s opponents. Furthermore, it ignores this statement by Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation, who is a “top conservative” in the immigration and economics field:

Well it’s true that increased immigration makes the GDP bigger, it doesn’t make the per capita income better. All the benefits go to the immigrants themselves … In my analysis, what I do is assume, once you legalize an illegal immigrant, he begins to use public services in equal proportion to his American counterpart here who is his same age.

5. Brooks also says the major issues are handled by the immigration bill that passed the Senate, and all other issues are secondary. Rep. Labrador dispatched that claim nicely, noting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are not allowed to work with local law enforcement under this bill, which is the same failed policy in existence now.

6. Finally, Brooks closes by noting illegal immigration will drop as compared to current law with the Senate bill, and says, “Generally when something is better than what we got, generally you want to support that thing.” This half-baked view of the Senate’s amnesty bill highlights how Brooks’ allegedly vast intellectualism has somehow abandoned him in his time of need.

The Senate’s immigration bill is a vastly flawed creature with the same train wreck trajectory of Obamacare. It’s obese, expensive, and clumsy. Rep. Labrador is to be commended for standing against a hostile crowd of amnesty supporters.