Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Trump's cruelty limits our workforce and makes America poor again

Stephen Miller (top left): willing Trump to act?

Trump’s cruelest immigration policies are yet to come as Stephen Miller consolidates power reports Kerry Eleveld of the Daily Kos Staff.

Donald Trump’s most racist, anti-immigrant West Wing aide is in the midst of consolidating his power over immigration policy, and the nation should be bracing for the worst. From the initial roll-out of Trump’s fatally flawed first Muslim ban to forced family separation, Stephen Miller has championed nearly every one of Trump’s cruelest and most incompetently implemented immigration policies to date. But now, with a string of firings at the Department of Homeland Security leaving the agency’s hierarchy littered with “acting” titles, Miller, in all his incompetent glory, will be left to come up with the most draconian policies yet in pursuit of fulfilling Trump’s No. 1 campaign promise: reducing immigration.

Miller’s aspirations for dominating Trump’s border policy reportedly didn’t stop with firing now-ousted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. CNN reports that Miller is also eyeing director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Lee Cissna, and the department’s general counsel, John Mitnick. As it stands now, the following positions at Homeland Security are currently occupied by “acting” leaders:

Deputy secretary
ICE director
FEMA director
Secret Service director
DHS inspector general
Customs/Border Patrol director

Naturally Trump likes it that way. “It’s easier to make moves when they’re ‘acting,’” Trump said in early February when he was asked about the dearth of Senate-confirmed appointees holding important positions in his administration. Translation: I like the chaos of being able to do any damn thing I want to do. And in the past couple weeks, Trump has wanted to take on health care (as if the GOP had a chance in hell of navigating that) and shut down the border (whatever the cost to average Americans and the economy).

GOP leaders and administration officials managed to talk him off of both ledges, leaving Trump casting about for a policy, a purpose, and a post-Mueller villain heading into his 2020 re-election campaign. Apparently, Nielsen bore the brunt of trying to explain to Trump that shutting down the border, refusing entry to asylum seekers, and implementing a new super-charged family separation policy were all bad ideas, not to mention illegal in some cases. Not that Nielsen is any saint after presiding over Trump’s original child kidnapping policy, but with her exit, Trump will be unleashed to pursue all of his worst instincts, fueled by Miller’s sadism.

Judd Legum ( email) weighs in on Miller:

The man behind the curtain

Nielsen’s ouster was reportedly orchestrated by White House advisor Stephen Miller, a notorious immigration hardliner.

On Friday, Trump announced he was withdrawing the nomination of Ron Vitiello to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Vitiello has been leading the agency on an acting basis since last summer. “We’re going in a little different direction. Ron’s a good man, but we’re going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction,” Trump said. CNN reported that Miller was behind the move.

Both Vitiello and Nielsen opposed closing the southern border, creating distance between them and Trump, “and bringing Miller and Trump closer.”

Nor does it appear that Miller is done. He is also reportedly seeking to convince Trump to fire “the director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Lee Cissna, and the department’s general counsel, John Mitnick.”

Trump wants to move his immigration policy from cruel to crueler. The thing is, Trump has not yet hit cruelest.

Why all that is Effing nuts (economically speaking)

Trump Says the U.S. Is ‘Full.’ Much of the Nation Has the Opposite Problem report Neil Irwin and Emily Badger at the NY Times. The demographic trends are clear. “An aging population and a declining birthrate among the native-born population mean a shrinking work force in many areas.

President Trump has adopted a blunt new message in recent days for migrants seeking refuge in the United States: “Our country is full.”

To the degree the president is addressing something broader than the recent strains on the asylum-seeking process, the line suggests the nation can’t accommodate higher immigration levels because it is already bursting at the seams. But it runs counter to the consensus among demographers and economists.

They see ample evidence of a country that is not remotely “full” — but one where an aging population and declining birthrates among the native-born population are creating underpopulated cities and towns, vacant housing and troubled public finances.

Local officials in many of those places view a shrinking population and work force as an existential problem with few obvious solutions.

Here are ominous trends.

Nearly half of Americans live in a county where the prime working-age population (ages 25 to 54) shrank over the last decade. [Check out the graphic in the Times report.]

… The Congressional Budget Office foresees the American labor force rising by only 0.5 percent a year over the coming decade, about one-third as fast as from 1950 to 2007. That is a crucial reason that economic growth is forecast to remain well below its late 20th-century levels.

Population growth in the United States has now hit its lowest level since 1937, partly because of a record-low fertility rate — the number of children born per woman. The United States increasingly has population growth rates similar to slow-growing Japan and Western Europe, with immigration partly offsetting that shift.

So we have three intersecting trends that put pressure on our economy. (1) America is aging so workers are retiring. (2) Our birthrate is declining so fewer are entering the workforce. (3) Trump is holding back immigration thus further limiting the working population.

Trump might be making America white again. But in so doing, he’s making America poor again.

"We’re full” has often been a motto for people to keep out poorer renters, minority households or apartment buildings, among both conservatives and liberals. The claim can be a way of disguising exclusion as practicality. It’s not that we’re unwelcoming; it’s just that we’re full.

When it comes to the economy, at least, the country looks more like one that is too empty than too full.

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