Monthly Archives: April 2010

Arizona Has Rights, Too

Janet Murguia, President of La Raza, expressed concern over Arizona’s new immigration law.  She fears it will lead to racial profiling, wherein lawful Mexican immigrants will be harassed by the police.  Indeed, it would be wrong for the police to assume that all Mexicans in Arizona are there illegally.  Experts estimate 460,000 of them are illegal, roughly 23%.

On the other hand, if all such laws are deemed “racist,” then Arizona has no way to protect itself from illegal immigration – and Arizona has a serious crime problem.

The Arizona legislature acted for one reason and that is because the federal government did not act and carry out its responsibility to secure our borders.

Hispanic leaders like Ms. Murguia seem to welcome Mexican immigrants, legal or not.  This is unfair to those immigrants from all over the world, who respect our laws and go through proper channels.  There is no nation on Earth that accepts immigrants simply walking across its border.

Immigrations enforcement is about law, not race.  South Florida is filled with Cuban immigrants and no one complains, because they are here legally.  New York has plenty of successful Puerto Ricans, and would not welcome 460,000 illegal Canadians.

Arizona Senator John McCain says the administration has failed to enforce its own laws.  Ms. Murguia says it has “abdicated its responsibility.”  So, there is something both sides can agree on.

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What People Make

Last month, Wellpoint CEO Angela Braly was called to Congress for a ritual beating over health insurance premiums. Ms. Braly, aided by her chief accountant, did a competent job of explaining that rate hikes are needed to cover rising health care costs.  This is the root cause of America’s health-care problem, and Congress has no idea what to do about it.  Insurance companies, however, are a soft target.

In Wellpoint’s case, Congress had a ready solution.  Led by Rep. Henry Waxman, they zeroed in on Braly’s salary, and perks given to Wellpoint agents.  Problem solved.  CEO Braly earns over $1 million, plus stock options.  If only we could get rid of these greedy executives, rates would go down.

This populist salary-bashing goes down well with most Americans who, sadly, can’t read an income statement and don’t know what it takes to run a billion-dollar company.  They only hear what Congress wants them to hear – your rates went up and these fat cats went to Club Med.

Wellpoint’s income from premiums is $56 billion, they pay claims of $46 billion, and their salary expense is $8 billion.  Ms. Braly’s salary is a drop in the bucket.  If she makes the company run better, then she’s worth it.  You know she is, or the other greedy capitalists – the ones who own the company – would get rid of her.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally earned roughly $18 million last year.  That’s total compensation, including stocks and bonus.  No one thinks this is extreme.  Mr. Mulally is a hero in the auto industry, having saved Ford from bankruptcy.  Certainly, Ford’s 200,000 employees think he’s worth his salt.  There is even a campaign to have Mr. Mulally rescue Boeing next.

George Clooney earns roughly $20 million per movie, and that’s before profit sharing.  Mr. Clooney has not rescued an icon of American commerce, nor saved thousands of jobs.  So, why have movie stars not drawn the attention of President Obama’s pay czar?  If only Rep. Waxman would slap one of his famous surcharges on Hollywood, we could all get health care for free!

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David Frum’s Waterloo

Congratulations to David Frum on his induction as a centrist.  He was sacked from his job at the American Enterprise Institute after criticizing Republicans for their role in the health care debacle.  Among other things, Mr. Frum says that Republicans erred in supporting employer-paid health care.

The Economist agrees, calling employer-paid health care a “bug” and an “accident.”  The Obama plan now enforces the bug, while doing nothing to contain costs.  According to this analysis, health care costs will rise to 20% of GDP by 2017.

Both the right and the left have long argued that putting business at the heart of the health-care system is a bug.

Now, America has the worst of both worlds.  Employers pay, with the plans taxed “selectively” for political advantage.  Jeremiah wrote, last October, that the honest solution is to end the tax deduction entirely.  This industry is not going to shape up until individual Americans are holding the checkbook.

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