RAISE Legislation and Reality

Today, senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue gave a press conference joined by President Trump to announce their legal immigration legislation called the RAISE act which would reform the process and requirements for foreign workers to live and work in the US.  The reduction in immigration opportunities may not be so good for the country.

The bill will require certain qualifications such as  demonstrating needed skills that ensure the ability to support themselves and their families while being precluded from being able to receive welfare benefits.  These are just a couple of many provisions.

It seems that the concept is designed to prevent skilled or less skilled immigrants from coming to the US. and taking jobs that should otherwise be filled with American workers.  We can’t forget that we are talking about immigrants from all over the world,  not just from places like Mexico.

It appears to me that the intention of the bill has some merit, however, I also believe that there some inherent disadvantages to the US. given that the bill that would narrow the ability of foreigners to immigrate to the US, obtain employment, support their families, integrate into our diverse cultures and generally fill the need for more workers.

The notion that foreigners who are allowed to migrate to the United States take the jobs that belong to displaced American workers may be somewhat misrepresented.  This school of thought has been around for generations.  The truth is that the United States has a monumental shortage of workers to fill skilled and less skilled living wage jobs.  That is just a fact.

We already have some of the strictest prequalification rules in the world for becoming a citizen.  From sponsorship to swearing in, candidates need to show that they are worthy by living up to similar qualifications included in the RAISE bill.  In some, if not all cases, citizenship candidates are required to demonstrate a knowledge and acceptance of American ideals and cultures.  Just as importantly, they are required to have a comprehensive knowledge of our constitution.  Interestingly, only 35% of Americans have any meaningful knowledge of our constitution.

I am of the belief it is important that we look at a larger picture with regard to the debate and arguments that focus on employment in America.  Regardless of partisan beliefs, there are so many variables that make up our workforce or lack of, that we need address these current issues before we consider sweeping changes that will effect American jobs and foreign integration.

President Trump can still fulfil his campaign promises with regard to immigration.  He needs to study and learn to navigate the complex factors that make up our immigration successes and failures.  If he can knock one issue at a time off the list, we could end up with a comprehensive plan that addresses all of the issues related to immigration including topics such as border and national security, refugees, important skilled worker access etc.

The worst thing that America could do is dismiss issues that are just as important as those that we see on the news every day.  We have a lot of very serious problems domestically that will continue to need serious attention and resources.


Us vs. Them on Healthcare

As most of you know, the latest effort of the Republican to repeal and replace Obama Care failed.

It is worthwhile pointing out the undeniable fact that the two parties are acting like they are soccer teams playing for a victory.  Majority leader Mitch McConnel gave a speech after the vote expressing his disappointment in those who didn’t vote for the bill.  He said that the Republican party worked very hard to create a bill and get it passed in the Senate.

Following his speech, Chuck Schumer gave a smug speech expressing the Democrats relief that the bill failed and expressed the desire of the Democratic Senate to work together with the GOP to come up with a plan that works for everyone.  He said that the democrats always wanted bipartisan involvement.   We can’t forget that when the democrats owned the congress, they treated the division between the two parties the same as the republicans are now.  The one good thing he said was that Patty Murray of Washington State would be an effective orchestrator on the democratic side.

The truth is that a majority of Americans couldn’t care less about the childish us vs. them approach in both houses.

I would say that it is more accurate that the American people just want a plan that improves the ACA or any other effective plan.  Americans need a federal health plan that addresses Insurance rates, deductibles; prescription costs; coverage for existing conditions and some who want to ensure that those who can’t afford insurance will be covered through Medicaid and continue coverage through Medicare.

The government can’t afford an effective plan by reducing taxes for the wealthy and removing the mandate for coverage for those who would fall into a low risk group.

There is a lot of debate regarding the low risk group.  Besides allowing insurance companies to make money by reducing the overall cost of claims,  the logic is that anyone no matter how healthy is just a Dir.’s appointment away from a serious illness.

I do believe that we need strong welfare reform.  My sense is that there is so much fraud that it is costing the government a fortune to pay for this group who are enrolled in welfare and Medicaid.  I think the most common cases of fraud are when one of the people in a household are not reporting to the state when there is another person in the household who is working and making money on top of what the welfare benefits are.  If you want to see what I am talking about, just walk in to a local DSHS office and do some people watching or observe how people are paying in the grocery line.

I do think that those who need the help should receive it.  If the government were to cut back on Medicaid and Medicare, we would have a national crisis where people who can’t afford healthcare on their own, are denied important healthcare services.

Another point is that people without coverage will depend on Emergency rooms to receive health care.  Emergency rooms are designed to stabilize a persons condition, not to provide full medical care.  Since emergency rooms can’t turn away anyone seeking help and are aware that most patients will not be able to pay their bills, it is very important to hospitals that this group has coverage.

Oh, how did the Republican Senate work real hard when most of the members who voted yes didn’t know the details and didn’t want the bill to become law.  Most only voted for it to force it back to the house for debate and discussion.

I really hope that both democrats and GOP lawmakers come up with an equitable plan.

Trans Pacific Partnership

The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, more commonly called TPP was negotiated by President Obama, signed and awaiting ratification in 2015/2016.  This plan has been very controversial for years.

Ten allied countries would participate with the exception of China.

The ultimate goal was to give American companies more opportunity to export goods to the ten countries through innovation, competition and tax relief.  A product of the agreement was also designed to help foreign economies, employment and growth.

Some of the substance in the agreement, loosens thousands of tariffs and non tariff policies evoked by the US government.  The agreement also included environmental controls, transparency and dispute resolution for investors.

The plan was for this agreement to parallel the NAFDA agreements while modifying those agreements to be more interchangeable and similar.

President Trump stopped the ratification of the agreements citing that it would have a negative effect on American jobs because of the slow relocation of American businesses.

We will probably never know what the real results of the agreement would have been.

Elon Musk

On Saturday night I watched a panel discussion Which included thoughtful and expert commentary by Elon Musk, The CEO of Tesla and Space X.  The discussion took place at the American Governors Association Summer Meeting.

His commentary was fascinating leaving you with insight and reason for pause on several issues including the automotive industry, technology, alternative and renewable energy, regulations, NASA, Space exploration and the fossil fuel industry in general.

The  entire video can be found at:       https://www.c-span.org/video/?431119-6/elon-musk-address-nga&start=2099

To paraphrase just a couple of many topics that were interesting to me.  The governors asked him questions related to several topics.

He was asked about solarizing cars with roof panels.  He said that it can’t be done at this time because there is not enough surface area on a car to produce any significant solar power.  He figures that the most energy you could produce by increasing surface area would be about 30 miles of power.

He spoke to artificial intelligence related to cars.  One point he made was the fact that the biggest catastrophe of artificial intelligence would be the hacking of a whole fleet of cars rather than individual vehicles since a whole group of cars could be programmed to take over the operation of them and cause disaster.  Programing and encrypting safeguards are very important.  He says his company spends a lot of time programing and encrypting the programs built into his cars in order to stop such intrusion.  Another point he made was that the drivetrains and braking systems in such cars cannot be manipulated.  He also said that driver override systems have to be included so that the human driver can take over control of the car should it malfunction. He also pointed out that other companies are behind the curve and need to catch up.

He talked about simple economics with his belief that contractors for any project need to be selected by their capability and that multiple bids need to be considered to set a fixed cost.  Financially, The concept would allow for incentives based on achieving certain milestones rather than the  concept of cost plus agreements which allows for the contractor to be incentivized to raise the costs as high as they can in order to make more money.

Another interesting point relates to companies relocating manufacturing to other countries.  He said that should not really be a major concern.  He pointed out that companies like Boeing still manufacture airplanes in the Us as well as a majority of car companies.

He offered some interesting insight into SpaceX and their program to deliver freight to the space station.  An interesting point he made was that along with his company, Boeing is also being used as a suitable contractor for the same programs.  This relationship relates back to the bidding and suitability process.

I could spend the whole day paraphrasing the discussion.  If you are interested in learning about space, economics, fossil fuel regulations etc.  it is worthwhile taking 35 minutes to watch.

I personally feel that his incredible optimism, knowledge and enthusiasm for the future is refreshing and educational.  I have pointed out in previous blogs in the past that our quality of life is not really to be bogged down by the daily muck and mire of politics. We need to continue to be excited about the future and the opportunities that are just around the corner.  To me the assertion by our president that our country is a disaster is insulting.  We live in the greatest country in the world and some of us need to behave like it.



Notify the FBI?

I am sure it has been reported a million times, yet to me it’s worthwhile pointing out the obvious.

Say you believe the claims that Trump Jr. was led to believe that the Russian Attorney was going to provide him with damaging information about Hillary and her campaign. Say you believe that nothing of the sort was actually provided.

Trump Jr. maintains that the Attorney really wanted to speak about the Magnitski act.  If this is true, he, Kushner and Manafort had a discussion with an agent of an adversarial Country on the subject of US imposed sanctions.

Not only is this conversation inappropriate, Trump Jr. and his father were still private citizens and not authorized to speak to any foreign government as official representatives of the United States.  This part of the meeting by itself would have been subject to the reporting rules prescribed by the FBI.

Trump’s lies and Kushner’s failure to report the meeting would lead any reasonable person to interpret their actions or lack of as the makings of a cover up.

I’m just saying.