Immigration

Be Careful What You Wish For

By David Stockman  |  July 11, 2018

Government has become ungovernable; that is, it cannot leave off governing. Law has become lawless; that is, it cannot see where laws should stop. The chief feature of our time is the meekness of the mob and the madness of the government.

– G.K. Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State (1922)

 

An element of the Donald’s support won’t see that his war on the border is a Statist’s move.

It’s filling the Swamp, not draining it.

And it’s based on a predicate that’s simply not true.

There’s no apocalypse – now or at any other time – on the southern border of the United States.

It’s not overrun with criminals and other undesirables.

Actually, only 304,000 “illegals” were apprehended at border in 2017. That’s despite the Trump administration’s aggressive step-up in enforcement.

Consider that Obama’s agents swept up 409,000 in 2016. Indeed, during its last year, in 2000, the Clinton administration nabbed 1.6 million.

The monthly apprehension numbers for 2018 tell the same story.

So do ICE data on ICE removals.

There is no flood of “illegals.”

This “menace” is manufactured by Inside-the-Beltway types stoking resentments to keep GOP hope alive.

There’s nothing new, nor is anything out of control.

The Donald has surely capitalized on the benighted politics brewed up in Imperial Washington and delivered via a chorus of Mainstream Media carnival-barkers.

Yet, even more surely, he must not let this kind of disruption distract from the main goal.

That’s lighting up the Deep State, right-sizing the Warfare State, and streamlining the Welfare State.

If there is a threat, it’s what’s behind all the phony hysteria. It’s an ugly political truth.

It’s the fear among right-wing Republican nativists that the U.S. population mix is shifting rapidly to the disadvantage of the GOP.

Though not as sophisticated as other forms, it’s a classic move to manufacture an “enemy.”

Consider, for example, the administration’s recent announcement that it’s using an “upgraded” process to review foreign investment in the United States.

This is ahead of final Congressional votes on a legislative monstrosity called the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act.

The prospect of FIRRMA’s passage has Imperial Washington’s lawyers, lobbyists, consultants, and other grifters tickled pink.

What’s being set up here is a facts- and politics-ridden tribunal that generate in tens of millions of billable hours per year.

It’ll also provide cause for still more missions for Deep State operatives.

Chief among them is spreading fear of foreign enemies.

The imperial city’s prosperity is a direct result of this way of doing things.

This entire FIRRMA gambit – “protecting American technology” – is completely bogus.

It arises from the same kind of self-serving sophistry that spawns Big Government time and again.

We’re not falling for it.

Chinese households get 5G wireless services and robotic homemakers from America-based inventions at the same time as U.S. households. So what?

Does their good fortune undermine ours?

There’s not a worthwhile technology in the history of the planet that hasn’t been reverse-engineered by some wannabe competitor.

If it can be done without legal violation of a patent, that’s exactly what capitalist competition is all about.

And it’s the patent owner’s job, not some Washington D.C. trade nanny, to protect its property rights.

The Donald’s rhetoric implies a zero-sum game, even at the level of the civilian economy. That’s the middle ground between his tweets on “illegals” and his tweets on trade.

His war on the border is really an attempt to use the vast powers of the state for partisan political advantage.

At the end of the day, that’s how we end up with Big Government.

And that’s why the Swamp keeps getting deeper.

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David Stockman

David Stockman is the ultimate Washington insider turned iconoclast. He began his career in Washington as a young man and quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan.MORE FROM AUTHOR