The Bogeyman Isn’t Real - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Bogeyman Isn’t Real

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is countering President Donald Trump’s use of a presidential declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall by ominously predicting — dum, dum, DUM!! — that some future Democrat president will use a similar declaration to attack things conservatives hold dear. She did it with a smirk and smug chuckle worthy of someone who has just snatched enough Dalmatian puppies to make a very comfy coat. Don’t be surprised but Madame Speaker is being disingenuous. If Trump hadn’t declared a national emergency, it wouldn’t have reduced the likelihood of a future Democrat president declaring one for whatever he thought to be an emergency. As Barack Obama’s weaponizing of the IRS, the FBI, and other federal agencies demonstrated, power placed in Democrat hands is used whether doing so is in keeping with statesmanly tradition, is ethical, or is even legal. So, we can confidently predict, that like the sun rising tomorrow or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying something nutty, a Democrat president will do whatever it takes to advance the Democrat agenda. But will a presidential declaration of a national emergency (hereafter, PDNE) by a Dem prez work for the causes Lefties find delightful?

Pelosi explicitly mentioned increasing gun control using a PDNE. Extending and improving border barriers that already exist and destroying a fundamental right enumerated in the U.S. Constitution aren’t, however, the same thing. Such an effort would bring a quick trip to the Supreme Court, where it would be unlikely to prevail. Additionally, over 326 million firearms are in private hands and it will be difficult to gather them up. A 2014 effort in California to confiscate 21,249 guns owned by convicted felons and domestic violence offenders collected just 3,770 guns. The guns were registered so the collecting officers had the names of the owners, their addresses, and the number of weapons they owned. They spent nearly $10 million of a $25 million appropriation or about $2500 per gun and left 17,479 of the targeted weapons uncollected. Imagine a similar effort to collect all American guns. The cost would be enormous and we haven’t mentioned the costs of hunting down guns less readily found nor of imprisoning those who resisted confiscation nor of diverting law enforcement from their normal duties nor of the costs of crimes that would otherwise be prevented by those officers and gun owners lawfully using their guns. The needed police intrusion into millions of lives would be an incredible imposition on America. While anti-gun voices might protest that no guns would mean no gun deaths and that confiscation would thereby be justified, it’s hard to imagine a gun confiscation effort that would collect all guns and keep criminals from obtaining a firearm. At best, it would make guns a highly valuable black market item to smuggle into America or to make in an ordinary machine shop.

There’s also a political cost to gun confiscation. While anti-gun voices dominate the debate as conducted in the mainstream media, there are millions of pro-gun voters. Lefty politicians are aware of this. Even socialist superstar Sen. Bernie Sanders tiptoes around the issue of gun control. In the Senate, he voted against the Brady Bill. He knew that the gun owners in his rural home state, Vermont, might vote for someone else if he interfered with their right to bear arms. Anti-gun politicians prefer to endorse “common sense gun control,” which nibbles away at gun rights without alarming pro-gun voters.

Another commonly threatened use by a future Democrat president of a PDNE is to counter climate change. Ocasio-Cortez, with her Green New Deal (GND), has become the voice of her party on this issue and would rejoice if a PDNE were used to implement her 10-year plan for avoiding her prophecy that in 12 years we’ll all be dead. The scope of her Green Great Leap Forward, however, is colossal. In addition to anti-CO2 measures like renovating every building in America to be energy efficient and switching from fossil fuels and nuclear energy to 100% renewable energy, it includes universal health care, free college tuition, a higher minimum wage, and lots of other things dear to socialist hearts. One article published by estimates that even if Ocasio-Cortez’s plan is only partially realized, it would cost $6.6 trillion each year or about 34% of the annual U.S. GDP. Federal spending currently amounts to 38% of the economy. If no federal programs are cut to pay for the GND, about 72% of America’s wealth would be passing through Washington, D.C. State and local governments spent an estimated $3.74 trillion in 2018 or about 19% of the U.S. GDP. Consequently, if a Democrat president used a PDNE to force Ocasio-Cortez’s plan on America, just 9% of U.S. GNP would remain for non-governmental purposes. Of course, this wouldn’t be the case, as our federal, state, and local governments would borrow to pay for her goodies on top of current goodies. Federal debt is presently about $22 trillion. State and local governments owe an estimated, more modest $1.9 trillion. Piling up trillions more in government debt could send America the way of Venezuela, probably not a vote-winning strategy for Democrats. Ocasio-Cortez’s Green Great Leap Forward will serve as a beguiling dream to rally the Left’s minions but won’t, God willing, ever go beyond a few big-buck boondoggles like Obama’s Solyndra flop.

A Democrat president who risked using a PDNE for anything as controversial and expensive as the above would have to accept sole blame for the scalding reaction that would follow. A Republican president would face similar difficulties if he used a PDNE for something unpopular and costly. Trump’s wall, however, isn’t as controversial as Lefties like to pretend, and it isn’t too expensive.

Despite unrelenting pro-illegal immigration media coverage, an Economist/YouGov survey reported that just 2% of Republicans, 7% of independents, and 12% of Democrats believe illegal immigration is “not a problem.” Not everyone agrees a wall is necessary, but it makes sense to a big chunk of America and was a key issue in Trump’s election win. While $8 billion isn’t chump change, let’s put it in the context of public construction. Trump’s wall will cost less than what it cost to build just four of America’s many sports stadiums. It cost $8.26 billion to build the Los Angeles Stadium ($2.66 billion), the Las Vegas Raiders Stadium ($2.4 billion), the Atlanta Falcons Mercedes Benz Stadium ($1.6 billion), and the New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium ($1.6 billion). Watching football from a nice seat is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, but securing our southern border is certainly more important.

By limiting illegal immigration, a wall will reduce government spending. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that illegal immigrants cost the federal, state, and local governments of America $134.8 billion each year (illegals pay only $18.9 billion in taxes). Their numbers can be debated, but they don’t include the devastating costs of crimes by illegal immigrants — lives ruined by drugs, women raped, Americans maimed and murdered. In response, open border advocates cite dubious statistics that claim illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than American citizens (FAIR persuasively argues in a recent article that illegals commit more crime). This ignores the simple fact that a crime committed by an illegal would never have occurred, if he hadn’t been allowed to enter the U.S. The statistical argument is just a device to hide the fact they don’t care about the avoidable victimization of Americans. CNN contributor Ana Navarro is a good representative of this attitude. During a January 2019 discussion of crimes committed by illegals, she ostentatiously shrugged and rolled her eyes and even filed her nails when the devastation illegals inflict was described by commentator Steve Cortes. For those like Navarro, a murdered American is worth nothing.

If a PDNE produced disastrous results, a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate could terminate it without presidential approval. A divided Congress would be unlikely to do this but, to extend Pelosi’s argument, while the Lefty president of her imagining might use a PDNE to push the country leftward, a conservative president following him could shove it right back. He could rescind the former president’s PDNE or issue his own ameliorating PDNEs. Pelosi’s bogeyman, who she predicts may ravage conservatives in some future Democrat regime, isn’t as threatening as the actual, horrific state of affairs on our border now.

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