Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington
Perhaps because the most provocative immigration reform proposal this election season has a near zero chance of becoming real, the debate on the topic hasn’t focused much on the nuts and bolts of the policy itself and its impacts. Instead, attention has trained on the political fallout of Donald Trump’s call to build a border wall and assemble a deportation force. How much will it hurt him with Hispanics? How much will it hurt the Republican Party with Hispanics? Will the damage outlast the campaign? Could it spill over and damage U.S.-Mexico relations? All those questions were front and center again this week as the GOP nominee ended his extended flirtation with “softening” on his signature issue in typically theatrical fashion. After a lightning-strike visit south of the border to meet with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, Trump flew to Phoenix and delivered a barnburner that appeared to close the door definitively on moderating his hardline.
So with Trump standing pat on an immigration reform plan that has no shot at Congressional passage, it’s worth considering the impact of Hillary Clinton’s approach — one that given its resemblance to a package the Senate recently approved (not to mention her solid polling lead) stands a reasonable chance of making it into law. Clinton’s proposal, like the 2013 Senate-passed bill it builds on, would dramatically hike the number of noncitizens who could come into the country legally, for both permanent and temporary stays. And it would create a path to citizenship for those here illegally, provided they meet certain conditions.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the “Gang of Eight” package that passed the Senate would grow the population by about 10 million people in its first ten years. That growth would boost economic output, increasing real GDP by 3.3 percent over ten years and reducing federal budget deficits by about $200 billion over the same period. Both effects grow more pronounced in a 20-year window. Average wages would dip by .1 percent in the first ten years but rise by .5 percent over 20 years, since in the early going, the amount of capital available to workers wouldn’t keep pace with number of new entrants into the workforce — and because those new workers would be less skilled on average, thereby earning less and pulling down the average wage overall. Moody’s Analytics, in a favorable macroeconomic review of Clinton’s platform, writes that “there is no policy she has proposed that provides a more potent boost to the economy than immigration reform. Driving this is the 10.4 million additional legal immigrants and their dependents that are expected to come into the U.S. over the next decade under the new law.”
The debate, as we’ve seen, has many dimensions, and they are intertwined. Deep-seated resistance to immigration, sentiment Trump has both drafted off of and stoked, reshapes the politics of the issue, complicating federal action. But action, when it comes, is bound to look more balanced than Trump’s approach, and that should translate to good news for the economy.
• Clinton’s record-keeping comes in for new scrutiny
The FBI on Friday released 58 pages of documents from its probe of Clinton’s email use during her tenure as Secretary of State. The release sheds new light on the bureau’s investigation by including 11 pages of notes that agents took during their three-and-a-half-hour interview with Clinton at FBI headquarters and 47 pages offering a detailed account of the entire probe. There’s no new evidence suggesting Clinton broke secrecy laws. But the documents raise questions about whether the then-Secretary of State violated the Federal Records Act, which requires federal officials to preserve their work records, including communications.
• Trump pays IRS penalty for gift to Florida attorney general
Trump paid federal tax collectors a $2,500 penalty this year after it was revealed that the GOP nominee’s charitable foundation gave a political contribution to a campaign group affiliated with Florida’s attorney general. The $25,000 contribution, made in 2013, came as Florida AG Pam Bondi was deciding whether to investigate Trump University for fraud allegations. She declined to pursue them.
• Clinton isn’t doing better with Latinos than previous Dems
Election observers might take it for granted that Clinton is outperforming previous Democratic presidential nominees with Latinos, considering the lengths her Republican opponent has gone to alienate them with harsh rhetoric and a hardline anti-immigration stance. But in Nevada and Florida, the two battlegrounds with the highest Latino populations, Trump is running competitively with Clinton. Nationally, her support among Latinos is roughly equivalent to what forerunning Democratic candidates enjoyed.
Around the Water Cooler
• Trump as master of the politics of fear
Trump’s use of fear as a galvanizing political force has likely gone under-heralded in explaining his rise. But the tactic’s potency is evident in the attitudes of his supporters, who are disproportionately fearful of crime, terror, foreign influence and social change, recent polling shows.
• The case for a new radical Republican centrism
Groups that exist to pour money into challenging Congressional Republicans who compromise with the opposition have contributed to the Washington stalemate. A possible solution, one columnist argues: Forming groups that serve the same function, but from the political center.
New York Times
• What would it cost to buy the White House?
The White House is not for sale. But what if it were? What would it list for? The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors of London set out to answer that pointless but fun question by looking at cost, income and comparables and arrived at a $90 price tag for the 132-room structure and its 18 acres of land. Include the buildings 750-odd artifacts and the estimate jumps to $250 million.