“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” — James Bovard American author, lecturer
At least one of the bombers in Friday’s Paris terrorist attack snuck into France posing as a Syrian refugee. ISIS is infiltrating refugee camps to penetrate Europe and the United States.
But on Monday, President Obama dismissed the danger, doubling down on his plans to settle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees here. The White House insists Syrian refugees go through “extensive screening.” That’s a deadly lie.
Obama’s own intelligence experts admit screening Syrian refugees is impossible, because the FBI and Homeland Security Department have no data on Syrians — no fingerprints, arrest records, travel data — to indicate what these people did in Syria, or even whether they are who they claim to be. “There won’t be anything in our database,” FBI head James Comey cautioned Congress last month. “So I can’t sit here and offer anybody an absolute assurance that — there’s no risk associated with this.”
But Obama’s in denial.
Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was asked by Congress for assurances that “no terrorist could get through the process” of screening refugees. “Well, we may have somebody who comes to us and is simply not on our radar for any discernible reason.” Feel safe?
Obama’s State Department insists terrorists will be weeded out by a single in-person interview. That’s a joke. Each Syrian refugee selected by the United Nations is interviewed once by someone with just eight days of training on Syria.
Worse, the interviewers — from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services — were ordered last May to relax standards. It’s now OK if your spouse was part of a terrorist organization, provided you can convince the screener you didn’t know you were sleeping with a terrorist. It’s also OK to have a history of supporting a terrorist group yourself — as long as you felt slightly pressured (not even under “duress”) to do it.
Refugees are going to breeze through that screening as long as they don’t strap a Kalashnikov to their chest on the way in.
After the interview, refugees are home free. They’re flown to the United States and resettled. Their children are enrolled in local schools and they’re signed up for food stamps, welfare, health care and other benefits.
What’s missing here? How about local law enforcement, which is kept in the dark, along with mayors, schools boards and governors, about where these refugees are being placed. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had to formally demand the information before learning 14 Syrians had just been placed there. Now more than half the nation’s governors, including Democrat Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, are saying “no” to more Syrian refugees.
Where’s Gov. Cuomo? New York’s a top target for terrorists, and the FBI scores more arrests for ISIS terrorism plots here than any other state. No. 2 is Minnesota, where many refugees have been relocated.
The United States already is offering more help to Syrian refugees than any other nation. Obama is scolding us not to “close our hearts to these victims.” But we’re not. There’s a difference between helping over there and putting our own families and communities at risk here.
Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.
Originally published in the New York Post
As we’ve cheerfully noted on these pages, the good news on the presidential campaign trail is that almost all Republicans are now for serious pro-growth tax reform and simplification. Every candidate wants lower rates (some a one-rate flat tax), fewer loopholes and carve-outs, and a reduced role for an abusive IRS.
What a contrast with Bernie Sanders, who declared at last week’s Democratic debate that he could live with a 90% tax rate on the rich. Why not take it all, Bernie?
All the GOP tax plans look good to us — though some are admittedly better than others. The danger now is that too many conservatives have formed a circular firing squad and are shooting down nearly all proposals on purity grounds or attacking trivial differences.
This is the surest way to derail tax reform altogether.
If Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp and Bill Bradley had held to such a “my way or the highway” approach, the epic 1986 tax reform that collapsed tax rates to 15% and 28% never would have happened.
Which brings us to Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. The two of us helped craft their low-rate flat tax plans.
The plans are similar: Paul’s rates are 14.5% on business net sales and wages and salaries. Cruz has a 16% business net sales tax and a 10% wage and salary tax.
These would be the lowest tax rates since the income tax was devised 100 years ago. Both are estimated by the Tax Foundation to grow the economy by a gigantic $2 trillion in extra GDP per year after 10 years.
Both eliminate almost all deductions and special-interest carve-outs. (Against our wishes, they retain the tax write-off for charitable organizations and have family deductions that are too big. But no one’s perfect.)
They completely kill the corporate tax, the estate tax and the FICA payroll tax.
Yet conservatives are strangely griping. Economists at the Cato Institute have joined with Larry Kudlow to complain that the business tax is a value-added tax (VAT). Such a dreaded tax, they fear, would be a giant new source of revenue and lead to government gone wild, as has happened in Europe.
That’s the last thing we want.
But nearly all leading flat-tax plans have some form of VAT to replace the god-awful corporate income tax. If these plans didn’t eliminate the corporate tax entirely, and the new tax was a European-style add-on VAT, we’d be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Kudlow in denouncing them.
When we designed our Complete Flat Tax in our book “Return to Prosperity,” we came up with this business tax system with no deductions, simple as can be, and the lowest rate just about anywhere in the world.
Hello. That’s exactly what you want in a good tax, isn’t it?
Almost every economist will agree that the right way to tax businesses is on their income minus their allowable expenses.
The crux of the complaint here is that the Paul and Cruz tax plans are too efficient and too pro-growth and thus raise too much revenue.
Let’s go back to basics.
The sole reason we need taxes is to raise the requisite revenues to fund government. (The left wants taxes to punish the rich, but that’s the subject of another column.) The U.S. government should collect taxes in the most efficient way possible so as to do the least damage to the economy.
Criticizing the Cruz and Paul VATs based on worries about providing too much revenue to government is like arguing against cutting the capital gains tax rate — because every time we cut that rate, the feds get more revenue.
If a VAT raises lots and lots of revenue at minimal economic cost, it enables us to eliminate all sorts of other taxes that are less efficient and more damaging to the economy. As Br’er Rabbit told Br’er Fox: “Please, please don’t throw me in the briar patch.”
We fail to see how cutting individual tax rates from 40% and business taxes from 35% to 16% or less isn’t conservative or pro-growth.
We fail to see how eliminating the corporate and death taxes isn’t pro-growth.
We fail to see how allowing American companies to expense all their capital expenditures immediately isn’t pro-growth.
And for Trump voters, there’s a bonus: Under the Paul and Cruz plans, all imports will be taxed at 14.5% or 16%, respectively, and all our exports won’t be taxed at all.
Under either of these plans, no country — not China, not Mexico — will ever eat our lunch again.
• Laffer is chairman of Laffer Associates.
• Moore is an economics consultant with FreedomWorks
Source: Investor’s Business Daily: