Printed letters, November 5, 2013

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

On the day President Obama pushes for amnesty, The Daily Sentinel has an editorial calling for the very same thing.

We already have an immigration reform law on the books. It was passed in 1986 as the “Immigration Reform and Control Act.” It is better known as the Simpson-Mazzoli bill.

Simpson-Mazzoli rests on three promises. The government would make a concerted effort to control the borders; an effective employee verification program would ensure only legal workers would be hired; and one-time amnesty would be granted to people illegally in the United States. Only the last promise was kept. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with other proponents of amnesty, scuttled the first two promises.

We are hearing the same promises from advocates of amnesty that were made for Simpson-Mazzoli. The editorial lauds the amnesty bill as it would “significantly beef up immigration enforcement ... nearly double the number of Border Patrol agents ... (and) require completion of 700 miles of fence along the Mexican border.”

The editorial’s assertion that “reform is fiscally conservative” is laughable. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the budget deficit would shrink by $900 billion if the bill were passed. They also estimated in 1967 that Medicare would cost $12 billion in 1990, not the actual $110 billion.

“The solid support in this region” is dubious at best. The editorial cites a poll by America’s Voice. This group states on its website, “We must make what we want clear: Immigration reform MUST include a clear path to citizenship!”

If the question on the poll were changed to deny illegal immigrants citizenship until the borders were secured and the e-verification was in place, I would venture to say there would be no solid support for immigration reform.


Grand Junction

After caving to Democrats,
Tipton should lose in 2014

Congressman Scott Tipton’s attempt to dodge amnesty questions raises serious concerns over his assumed tea-party-aligned stance against it.

On Oct. 25, at his town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Tipton dodged a question regarding his position on immigration reform from a Palisade peach farmer, and instead wandered into the more politically neutral waters of reforming the guest worker program.

Tipton stated he wanted it to be easier for guest workers from foreign countries to come to the United States to work because American businesses needed “more workers.” When I spoke, I dropped my prepared question regarding his vote to reopen the government and extend Obamacare funding, and instead asked him to answer the question asked by the lady from Palisade regarding immigration reform with an amnesty-resembling provision

I also asked, while he was on an immigration note, to explain why, in his eyes, with 7.2 percent unemployment or 11.3 million people out of work (that number does not include those who have quit looking for work) he felt the need to flood the dwindling job market with foreign workers, inevitably depriving U.S. workers of otherwise-available jobs.

He refused to answer that question as well, instead diving into a scathing rebuttal of my opening comment criticizing him for compromising his principles by voting to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

Tipton deserted conservative House members and caved to Obama’s and the Senate’s irresponsible approach to our out-of-control fiscal issues and the train-wreck, job-killing Affordable Care Act.

We must have representatives in Congress who can last longer than 16 days in battles over our crumbling fiscal house. Tipton has proved he is not to be trusted to protect constitutional government and true fiscal reform. Bring him home in the 2014 primary.


De Beque


Despite changes in water use,
oil shale industry driven out

One of the main reasons given by environmental extremists for their rabid and visceral opposition to oil shale development (that culminated in the federal government rewriting the rules to make it virtually impossible to pursue such development in Colorado) was the claim that oil shale will use excessive amounts of water to produce a barrel of oil. Well, guess what? That claim, like so many others, has been debunked.

The industry has come a long way in just a few short years, from estimates that it could potentially take several barrels of water to produce a barrel of oil from oil shale, to now being able to do so using only a third of a barrel of water. The industry, led by companies such as Shell, spent a great deal of time and money trying to figure out how to minimize its water usage. The good news is that it succeeded. The bad news is that we won’t get to benefit from it.

Now that they have solved the water issues, they are being forced by federal government policies to close up shop and move somewhere else. As reported in the Sentinel recently, Shell not only came up with a plan to dramatically reduce water requirements, but also did so in such a way that would ensure that oil shale resources would still be available generations from now.

Instead of embracing this great example of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, our federal government drove them away by imposing unreasonable regulations and punitive land-use policies, as prescribed by a cartel of environmentalist organizations that fail to see humans as part of the environment.

Think about that when you hear of falling tax revenue in Mesa County.



Sen. Udall mistakenly touts
solar energy’s effectiveness

In a recent edition of The Daily Sentinel, Gary Harmon quoted Sen. Mark Udall as saying, “Clean energy creates jobs, saves consumers on their utility bills, strengthens our national security and makes us more energy self-reliant ... A national renewable energy standard, which would require a percentage of the electricity we use to be produced from renewable energy sources, will help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, keep our air and water cleaner and spur sustainable economic development in rural areas.”

No! It will do none of these things. All energy, excluding nuclear, is ultimately solar in origin — be it from coal, oil and gas, to wood, wind, hydro and direct solar. The difference is that fossil fuels have concentrated the solar flux over millions of years to a high density of BTUs and thus into useful economic packages. Wood and other bio-mass are solar-flux concentrated over decades. They are less dense than fossil fuels but still are sometimes in useful economic packages in special circumstances.

Wind, solar and current crops (corn, switch grass, etc.), however, are solar flux at real-time concentrations, which are so dilute it is not economical to capture and package in usable quantities — the cost in equipment and geographical area required exceeds the value of net power available. They will never reach the break-even point, and thus need to be subsidized by taxpayer dollars or ratepayer dollars. They are not environmentally friendly, regardless of what the true believers think and they will never be economical. They are the energy version of the perpetual motion machine, a physical impossibility.

Any honest and competent scientist in the relevant field will confirm this, but the true believers do not want to listen. The only thing that will be accomplished with Udall’s 25 percent renewable energy bill will be to drive more manufacturing overseas and raise the cost of energy to all remaining users.




Obamacare may cancel 
thousands of health plans

Obamacare isn’t a failure. At least it seems to be accomplishing one of its objectives and that is eliminating private health-care insurance companies.

Since the first of October, hundreds of thousands of private insurance plans have been canceled because they can’t meet Obamacare requirements.

As a result, we’re one step closer to our health care being totally controlled by the government. It’s a wonderful plan, if you don’t get sick.




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While Joseph Luff’s letter (“Enforce Simpson-Mazzoli bill to reform immigration”) rightly questions whether Congress has learned appropriate lessons from the failed attempt at immigration reform in 1986, he incorrectly implies that neither S.744 (“The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013”
—crafted by the “Gang of Eight” and already passed by the Senate on a bipartisan vote)
nor H.R. 15 (the same-titled House version currently languishing in committee) does so.

Rather, both versions incorporate Simpson-Mazzoli’s “three promises” and include added provisions to both fully effectuate those promises and create an enforceable regime for permitting increased numbers of both agricultural workers and highly skilled foreigners to legally enter and at least temporarily remain in the U.S.

Both bills provide for interim “legalization” of undocumented immigrants who register, satisfy stringent eligibility requirements, and pay a $1000 fine – thereby self-sorting worthy potential citizens from those subject to deportation.

Because the 1986 “reform” failed due to lack of political will to enforce legal sanctions against scofflaw employers who hired undocumented immigrants, both bills provide for mandatory use of “E-Verify” by employers – a technology not yet available in 1986.

Both bills provide for a 13-year “pathway to citizenship” which cannot even begin until border security meets objective statutory benchmarks and “E-Verify” is fully deployed – precisely what Luff demands.  S.744 would spend $46.3 billion on enhanced border security (because the Corker-Hoeven “border surge” amendment doubles the Border Patrol); H.R.15 would spend “only” $8.3 billion (the Senate’s original number).

Thus, Luff’s pejorative use of the term “amnesty” is “dubious at best”, and his effort to discredit the bipartisan CBO (not created until 1976) – using 1967 Medicare projections is “laughable”. 

Meanwhile, as the Sentinel has aptly opined, the current immigration “system” remains “broken” and is costing billions in futile enforcement expenses and lost revenue.

Alden Savoca’s letter (“After caving to Democrats, Tipton should lose in 2014”) aptly portrays the predictable perils encountered by Scott (“Tea Party”) Tipton as he cynically defends fundamentally incompatible public policy positions—pandering to uninformed extremists like Savoca, while pretending to be attuned to the rest of his constituency’s interests, and thereby inadequately “representing” both.

Savoca was seemingly misled by one “palisade peach farmer’s” objection to an expanded
guest-worker program, not appreciating that other local agriculturalists support that facet of “comprehensive immigration reform”.  While Tipton would “cherry-pick” only locally popular provisions (likely gaining nothing), the reform bills give locals what they need.

Savoca also misunderstands that, first, the best time to implement proposed reforms is when domestic unemployment is high and illegal border-crossings are “net zero” (after one million deportations per year).  Second, both the Senate and House versions amply protect American jobs – requiring prospective employers to advertise locally and certify the non-availability of American workers willing to fill those jobs.

Ironically, Savoca excoriates Tipton for “caving to Democrats” – when that’s not what happened.  Rather, knowing that they didn’t have the votes in the Senate and deluding themselves that the adverse impacts of a government shutdown (not to mention defaulting on the debt ceiling) would not redound to their discredit, House Repugnicans undertook a “fool’s errand” (beginning in March 2013) and mindlessly inflicted some $24+ billion in economic damages on the country before “caving” to the reality of their craven ideology.

Moreover, it is not President Obama’s “irresponsible approach to our out-of-control fiscal issues” that’s the real problem.  Rather, our fiscal issues are only “out-of-control” (if at all) because Repugnicans remain determined to make matters worse and obstruct every sensible approach to dealing with annual deficits and rising debt.

Tipton has thus proven that “he’s not to be trusted”.

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