Disturbing Numbers in Heritage Expert’s Testimony on Amnesty

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Heritage expert Robert Rector testified in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the real cost to taxpayers of President Obama’s unilateral amnesty (link in PDF):

Illegal immigrants, as a group, historically have received around $2.50 in total government benefits for every $1.00 in taxes paid. The resulting fiscal burden has been limited because they are barred from receiving Social Security, Medicare and most means-tested welfare.

The Obama executive action removes that bar, granting a large portion of illegal immigrants full access to Social Security and Medicare and increased access to means-tested welfare. This will substantially increase the already vast burden on U.S.taxpayers

Rector has calculated how much the average beneficiary of the amnesty, known as Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, or DAPA, will receive from federal entitlement and welfare programs. He found some startling answers. Rush Limbaugh cited some of these figures on his show:

Based on Rector’s calculations, which assume that at least 3.97 illegal immigrants would apply for and receive legal status under [DAPA], and that the average DAPA beneficiary would have a 10th grade education,” the costs would be $1.3 trillion for, again, Social Security and Medicare benefits of illegal immigrant beneficiaries.

Do you think taxpayers should bear the burden of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants? 

A Victory for Worker Freedom in Wisconsin

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The Daily Signal

Heritage Foundation economist James Sherk recently testified before the Wisconsin Senate on the benefits of right-to-work legislation. And on Monday, Gov. Scott Walker signed a law making Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state.

“The victory is a historic moment for the growing right-to-work movement,” writes Sherk in the Daily Signal:

Workers in half the country are now free to stop paying dues to a union they feel is not representing their interests.

Despite vehement pushback from union officials, Walker stood with the majority of voters nationwide and in Wisconsin who support workplace freedom. Without right-to-work, workers have little protection from their own union, which can seize part of their paycheck without their consent. Right-to-work lets workers decide whether or not their union has earned their support.

What do you think of this victory? Tell us in the comments. 

Here’s a Conservative Win the Media Didn’t Publicize

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Late last week the House quietly pulled a bill to reauthorize the George W. Bush-era education law known as No Child Left Behind until 2021.  NCLB is frequently cited as one of the biggest failures of the Bush administration, and as Heritage expert Lindsey Burke has pointed out, the bill proposed by the House missed several opportunities to advance meaningful reforms.

The withdrawal of the legislation, which Burke dubbed “No Program Left Behind,” is a win for education freedom. It shows the power conservative ideas can have — despite what we hear from the progressives and the establishment.

What’s the alternative? Burke has a suggestion: “Conservatives in Congress should pursue the A-PLUS approach in order to restore educational decision making to state and local leaders, who are better positioned to make informed decisions about the needs of their school communities. ”

Do you think stopping NCLB reauthorization was a success for the conservative movement?

A Victory for Common Sense Beats Back Overcriminalization

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The Supreme Court this week sided with a fisherman who faced up to 20 years in federal prison for throwing undersized fish into the ocean. He was charged under a law passed after the Enron scandal designed to prevent the shredding of financial documents.

The ruling for fisherman John Yates was a victory against overcriminalization, Heritage Foundation legal expert John Malcolm writes. Overcriminalization, in which ordinary activity is subject to severe penalties, is a real problem:

It is not uncommon for prosecutors to stretch the law beyond the breaking point by charging defendants with violating a broadly-worded statute that carries an unusually stiff penalty even though it seems self-evident that the particular statute was not designed to address the factual situation presented.

Yates’ legal team sent the following message to Heritage after the court’s ruling:

On behalf of Mr. Yates, the Yates team, and the entire Middle District of Florida, Federal Defender’s Office, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to you for your support on Mr. Yates’ case.  The decision, as it turns out, was a close one, and undoubtedly your support helped carry the five votes at the end of the day. We cannot express how valuable we found your moot to be and how much we gained from that experience.

Do you think the government has too many laws on the books regulating Americans’ lives?

Ben Carson Visits With The Daily Signal at CPAC

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Ben Carson stopped by The Daily Signal booth at CPAC today. The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal have a robust presence at the annual conservative gathering outside Washington, D.C.

Heritage’s Pfitzenmaier Tells Senators Why Fixing the Debt Is Critical for Young People

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Heather Pfitzenmaier

“Higher debt threatens opportunity and stifles growth,” Heritage’s Heather Pfitzenmaier told the Senate Budget Committee in testimony today.

“My generation does not want to be the first generation in living memory that will be worse off than our parents.”

Pfitzenmaier, who directs Heritage’s Young Leaders Program, explained how young people will bear the burden of paying off today’s soaring federal debt.

The Young Leaders Program includes Heritage’s rigorous internship program and our work to promote conservative principles on college campuses nationwide.

Should we be concerned for younger generations as our government piles debt onto their shoulders?

Heritage’s Paul Larkin Urges Congress to Reform DOJ Practices

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Heritage expert Paul Larkin testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on February  12, 2015.

Photo: Heritage/Willis Bretz

When the federal government resolves corporate criminal investigations, it often requires the company to make payments to a third party. This practice is very problematic and should be reformed, Heritage legal scholar Paul Larkin said last week in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee (link in PDF):

First, the Justice Department lacks the statutory authority to hand over government funds to parties of its own choosing. Second, the practice of required third-party contributions is inconsistent with the federal laws that supply financial assistance to the victims of crime. Third, third party contribution requirements circumvent the constitutional process for appropriating taxpayer dollars. Fourth, this practice denies the public the opportunity to know how public funds are spent and to hold elected officials accountable for their choices because it enables Representatives and Senators to shirk their fiscal responsibilities. Fifth, third-party contribution requirements are rife with opportunities for political cronyism because they allow the Justice Department to pick-and-choose among private organizations as to which ones will receive federal funds without any guidance from Congress or any oversight by the Judiciary or Appropriations Committees in each chamber. Sixth, third-party contribution requirements are not necessary for plea bargains, civil settlements, and nonprosecution or deferred prosecution agreements to work as a means of disposing of criminal or civil cases.

Do you think the government should be able to direct companies to spend money this way as a condition of agreements with prosecutors?

Heritage Expert Testifies on Amnesty’s Cost to Election Integrity

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Heritage's Hans von Spakovsky testifies on the consequences for election integrity of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants on February 12, 2015.

Photo: Heritage/Willis Bretz

Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants could allow more noncitizens to vote in elections, Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky said last week in testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

Amnesty would make it “extremely difficulty for election offocials to prevent or detect those who intentionally or negligently affirm their eligibility to vote,” he said.

Read his full testimony (link in PDF).

Heritage Leads the Way in Building Ties with India – a Key Asian Partner and Force for Stability

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021115_indiatrip

Heritage Foundation experts Jim Carafano, Walter Lohman, and Lisa Curtis attend a conference in Dehli, India. (Photo: Vivekananda International Foundation)

While the Obama administration “leads from behind,” Heritage Foundation experts are actively advancing freedom and American interests globally.

Last week, Heritage and the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) cohosted a conference in New Dehli, India to advance U.S.-India cooperation on mutual security interests, including defense and counter-terrorism cooperation, and maintaining stability and peace in the Asia Pacific.

With a population of 1.2 billion and GDP of $5.1 trillion, India is a critical partner for the U.S.. That’s why Heritage experts Lisa Curtis, Jim Carafano, and Walter Lohman and the newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma attended the conference about how to deepen the U.S.-Indian partnership.

Heritage has for several years partnered with VIF, whose founder is now India’s National Security Advisor. Our partnerships with influential think tanks in other countries gives Heritage global policy impact.

This is just one example of how Heritage is making impact all over the globe. Do you think it’s important for Heritage to build relationships like this overseas?

Taiwan’s President Attends Launch of Index of Economic Freedom

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Heritage’s Anthony Kim and Terry Miller, left, greet Taiwan’s President Ma (Photo credit: Office of the President of Taiwan).

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou attended this week’s Taiwan launch of Heritage’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom.

Ma’s attendance reflects Taiwan’s commitment to economic freedom and the importance of the Index overseas. Taiwan is ranked as the 14th-freest economy in the world.

In fact, four of the top 20 freest nations are Asian nations, which is why Kim and Miller are touring the continent to advance freedom. They will be heading next to Seoul, South Korea.

Do you think the United States shares the same commitment to economic freedom as Asian countries like Taiwan?

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