President Obama, following the Supreme Court decision Monday, called it "unmistakably clear ... that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform." The kind of reform, apparently, in which he showed no interest prior to campaign time, but let that go for the moment. What's the mission here -- rationalizing for a change the inflow of migrants, working to attract those with prized skills, especially in technology? Or is the mission creating a network of government benefits that in turn creates a network of grateful government clients, ready to march every two years to the polls and reward the donors?
Among the prospective encumbrances of Obamacare is (or was, depending on what judgment the high court renders this week) the extension of Medicaid to just about everybody remotely considered as economically deprived. That not even relatively rich states such as Texas can afford their indicated share of the cost of serving all these new enrollees isn't the point. The point lies elsewhere -- in the politics of the thing. Can't afford these services? Sure you can: Tax the rich or the corporations or the equity funds or the banks, maybe all of them at the same time.
The strategy worked in Europe -- until it quit working a few years ago and the time came for counting euros instead of votes. Even now disbelief persists among people and office holders alike that the politics of give instead of take can't work its old magic.
So it is with immigration and the United States. Getting things right becomes a lesser expedient than manipulating sounds and smells, at least through the general election. Democracy has its undoubted blessings. These flourish most truly, nevertheless, in environments where democratic government isn't the most ambitious, best-paying game in town.
William Murchison, author and commentator, writes from Dallas. To find out more about William Murchison, and to see features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.Creators.com.
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