So, how would you all like a nice, juicy chunk of political red meat to chew on a lovely Tuesday morning? For those of you who aren’t interested, it’s all below the jump. For the rest of you, 350 comments or bust! Let’s do this…
Yesterday the Senate voted for cloture on what has been commonly described as The Immigration Bill but is technically known as Senate Bill 744. In order to make the bill palatable to a bipartisan supermajority of the Senate an amendment, known as the Corker- Hoeven amendment after it’s two Republican sponsors, was added late last week.
The primary focus of the amendment was to strengthen security at the border before legalization (or amnesty, if you prefer) for undocumented aliens could begin. Depending on which group of talking heads and/ or political hacks you want to believe, the border surge will either be a bulwark never failing against the rising tide of third- world misery threatening to engulf the Southwest or a completely hollow piece of garbage meant to give Republicans a fig leaf of “tough on illegal immigration” talking points to use as a Jedi mindtrick on the rubes back home that elected them.
So, what does all this have to do with cars? I’m getting there. As with
all most legislation at the Federal all levels of government, it contains a lot of bribes vitally important funding necessary for the survival of the Republic. A brief (and admittedly partisan) breakdown of some of the bribes can be found here.
One of the Senators who needed some vital funding necessary for the survival of the Republic thrown his way before he could vote in good conscience for cloture was Senator Bernie Sanders (I- VT). His vital funding is found in Title V of the amendment under the heading ”Jobs For Youth” and the text of it begins on page 1169 of the Corker- Hoeven Amendment. Basically it’s a $1.5 billion a year jobs program for underprivileged youths, tacked onto the bill as an admission that flooding the labor market with millions of unskilled and low- skilled immigrants willing to work 90 hours a week for wages barely above subsistence level will make it hard for native- born unskilled and low- skilled young people who demand a 40 hour workweek and minimum wage to get a job.
What’s causing consternation on the right side of our political aisle is a provision in Bernie’s Bribe that the funds can be used to “to provide summer employment opportunities for low-income youth, with direct linkages to academic and occupational learning, and may be used to provide supportive services, such as transportation or child care, that is necessary to enable the participation of such youth in the opportunities.” That highlighted line is being translated as authority for states that receive this money to use it to buy or lease cars for poor kids. Expect that to become a meme among the right over the next 24- hour news cycle leading up to the vote on the final bill.
As much as I enjoy beating up on the government (From the inside, no less!) and as wasteful as I may think Bernie’s Bribe is, the idea that the government is going to provide cars to underprivileged youths is nonsense on stilts. Even a hardcore Socialist like Bernie Sanders knows that people on either side of the aisle won’t tolerate buying individual people new cars, even if they were Priuses. Conservatives would be against it just because we’re mean, but liberals will be against it because providing an individual with his own car is anathema to the overwhelming desire to shoehorn individuals into public transportation.
“Supportive transportation services” is government-ese for “bus passes and subway tokens.” At worst, it’s authority for a state agency to buy a van and hire somebody to pick up underprivileged youths and take them to job training. As we watch the news cycle over the next couple of days, keep that in mind. There are plenty of good arguments to be made for and against the immigration bill as it gets voted out of the Senate and sent to die in the House of Representatives. There’s no need to resort to fairy tales of an ObamaCar in every driveway to be followed by ObamaJacuzzis on every back deck and ObamaBigScreens in every living room.