FROM “IN DEFENSE OF RURAL AMERICA”
by Ron Ewart, President, NARLO, ©2017
Any good engineer will tell you that “deferred maintenance” (putting off repairs and maintenance) leads to higher costs ….. much higher costs. “Deferred maintenance” is what America has done to her roads, bridges, train tracks, tunnels, airports, water and sewer lines, natural gas and oil pipelines and electrical generation and power distribution facilities.
Most maintenance and repairs for infrastructure are put off because of the lack of money. But how can such a rich country allow its infrastructure to decay so badly when it puts American lives at risk and raises the cost of property damage, auto and truck repairs and insurance, astronomically? How can a country that boasts the highest standard of living on the planet be out of money and so deep in debt? The answer lies directly at the foot of “100+ Years of Progressive Rule.”
Like many pundits often say, “follow the money.“
The most reliable estimates state that illegal immigrants cost the American taxpayer around $113 Billion per year, $84 Billion of which is shouldered by the states. These estimates are over and above any contributions made to the economy by illegal immigrants.
Obviously, these estimates do not include the huge costs of the Border Patrol ($12 Billion in 2013, currently over 20,000 agents), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ($5.8 Billion in FY 2011- 20,000 employees), or the cost of detainment. As an example, the federal government paid GEO Group $32,000,000 to build a containment center at the border, or $52,632 per bed. The government pays GEO Group $15,000,000 a year to operate the facility.
But the illegal immigrants detained at this one facility stay for an average of only 12 hours before most of them are released into the general population with a bond to make a court appearance. In 2010 it was reported that 715,000 of these illegal immigrants released on bond failed to appear at the court hearings and are now living in the shadows and costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year. That number has probably doubled since 2010. Apparently, the Trump administration has stopped Obama’s “catch and release” policy and illegal immigrants will be ushered back across the border to whence they came, that is, if some Democrat State Attorney general doesn’t convince some federal judge to overturn Trump’s order.
The hard truth is, Border Patrol and ICE spend the lion’s share of their time controlling border security and enforcing immigration law because of illegal immigrants. On top of that, the Border Patrol and ICE are up against open defiance from hundreds of “Sanctuary Cities.” Thus, the real cost of illegal immigration is in the billions of dollars above the $113 Billion estimate.
We are told that the compassionate thing to do is to absorb as many legal and illegal immigrants that we can. Just how many illegal immigrants, that are now costing the American taxpayer $113 Billion per year or more, can America afford? It only takes $71 Billion to fix America’s bridges.
But one of the other nagging questions is, how many non-assimilating illegal immigrants does it take to irreversibly alter the culture of a nation in the name of compassion? It is a fact! Too much multi-culturalism, with irreconcilable differences, destroys a free nation. It is destroying ours.
Very seldom do you see press reports on the cost to the American taxpayer for refugee resettlement programs. Since 1983 when the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) was established pursuant to “The Refugee Act of 1980 (Section 413(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” well over 2,500,000 refugees, from many parts of the globe, have been admitted to the U.S. The five-year cost for each refugee has been calculated at $64,370, or over $257,000 per household. The total annual cost is well over $3 Billion but increases every year as more refugees get on the program ….. and never get off. This does not include State Department, Health and Human Services, or Department of Homeland Security costs involved in the refugee program. Further, welfare use is staggering among refugees. Officials never count refugee welfare usage as part of the cost of the program. Yet, when it is included, some estimates put the total cost of the refugee program to as much as $20 billion a year. But worse, most refugees seldom assimilate into American culture, especially Muslim refugees.
According to the “2009 HUD Report to Congress on Refugee Resettlement,“ only 57.7% of refugees become self-sufficient after 5 years. Obviously, then, 42.3% remain on resettlement programs, or welfare, or both. However, the definition of “self-sufficiency” has been steadily defined downward. A refugee can be considered “self-sufficient” while using all of the welfare programs available to legal Americans.
Until Trump’s recent Executive Order, the program gradually shifted towards the resettlement of refugees from Muslim countries. Yes, there are some Christians or other minorities, but most are Muslims. In the early 90’s the percentage of Muslim refugees was near zero. By 2000 the program was 44% Muslim. The Muslim component decreased after 911, but today is back up to about 40% and is likely to rise. Strangely, membership in a U.S.-registered Islamic terrorist group is not a bar to entry on the program as long as the refugee was not a “direct participant” in “terrorist” activity.
More often than not, the United Nations dictates the refugees that America must take. Even worse, thanks to Obama, America is now being forced to absorb 1,250 Muslim refugees to whom Australia refused entry.
To many, the refugee resettlement program is a self-perpetuating global enterprise. Staff and management of the hundreds of taxpayer-supported U.S. contractors are largely refugees or immigrants themselves who want to add their extended families or friends to the refugee program. Like so many government programs, the refugee resettlement program has become an ever-expanding cash cow for charitable organizations. There is so much federal money available to charitable organizations for refugee resettlement that private capital has been driven out.
Here again, we are told that the compassionate thing to do is to absorb as many refugees as we can. But how many refugees, at some $20 Billion per year, can America afford? It doesn’t seem like much in the general scheme of things, but the costs never go down. They just keep rising, year after year after year.
Once again, how many non-assimilating refugees does it take to permanently alter the culture of a nation in the name of compassion? Even compatible people can’t get along very well. Incompatible people start fights and wars. Too much multi-culturalism, with irreconcilable differences, destroys a free nation. It is destroying ours as it is destroying Europe.
ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE:
In this category we are talking about REAL money. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the total annual cost for tobacco abuse is $295 Billion, with $130 Billion going to health care. The total cost of alcohol abuse is $224 Billion, with $25 Billion going to health care. The total cost of illicit drug abuse is $193 Billion with $11 Billion going to health care. This comes to a staggering $712 Billion per year and doesn’t include the cost that addiction inflicts on human lives.
“A study funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 77.4 percent of treatment in 2003 was paid for by Medicaid, Medicare, and other federal, state and local sources, up from 50.4 percent in 1986. Meanwhile, the private sector’s share of the treatment cost burden slipped from 49.6 percent in 1986 to 22.6 percent in 2003.”
If these numbers are even remotely correct and if the taxpayer is really picking up 77.4% of the cost of addiction and substance abuse, the taxpayer is footing $551 Billion of the total annual cost. You can repair a lot of roads and fix a lot of bridges for $551 Billion. America is indeed a sick, decadent and weak nation because of rampant substance abuse. Our drug addiction also feeds the brutal drug cartels and makes them powerful billionaires that kill for sport.
According to the Heritage Foundation, “The American welfare system is very complex. It involves six major federal departments that include Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, the Labor Department, Department of Treasury and Department of Education. The total estimated annual cost for state and federal welfare is $927 Billion from 79 welfare, interrelated, overlapping agencies and programs that distribute means-tested welfare. It is not unusual for a poor family to receive benefits from four different departments through as many as six or seven overlapping programs.”
The opportunities to abuse all of these programs are immense. The “Federal Safety Net“ website has published statistics for welfare fraud. For fiscal year 2015, $711.4 Billion was spent on 14 welfare categories. Of that $711.4 Billion, $71.5 Billion (10.1%) was due to fraud.
How much of that $711.4 Billion goes to welfare cheats and freeloaders is almost impossible to quantify. But if all of the fraud were assigned to welfare cheats and freeloaders, that amount would repair and maintain all of America’s bridges.
The Center for Immigration Studies calculated that illegal immigrant households cost an average of $5,692 per year, using at least one or more welfare programs. At 11,000,000 estimated illegal immigrants in America (it is probably much higher than that), the cost to the American taxpayer for illegal immigrants using welfare programs comes to over $1.57 Billion per year.
Yes, America is a rich and prosperous nation with a deep culture of compassion for those less fortunate. But when compassion for refugees, illegal immigrants, addicts, the disabled and the poor becomes irrational, without regard to the resources necessary to sustain that compassion; when compassion starts eating into the very resources necessary to defend the nation and maintain its standard of living; when compassion becomes government-enforced charity at the point of a gun and destroys our cherished individual liberties; when compassion starts irrevocably altering the long-accepted culture of a nation; when compassion becomes a threat to our national security; when compassion is used as a tool by one party to buy votes to gain perpetual power as the Progressives have done for over 100 years; when compassion creates a debt that can never be repaid, then compassion becomes a mindless obsession for its own sake and is, in fact, the very definition of insanity. We will have become a poisonous spider stinging itself to death.
Everyone wants to come to America and share the freedoms we observe, and millions don’t mind breaking our laws to get here or overstaying their visas. Millions of Americans and non-Americans want to “partake” in America’s generosity, even if they have no right to “partake.” Many want to come here to kill us.
Seven billion people live on this planet, and at least 80% of that seven billion are living in war or poverty, or under brutal dictators. America can only absorb a tiny fraction of that 80% without drowning. If we don’t control our compassion for refugees and illegal immigrants, we will significantly reduce or eliminate our freedoms, change our culture to a point that it will be unrecognizable, get so far in debt there is no recovery and put our national security in grave peril.
Our roads, bridges, tunnels, train tracks, airports and utilities will never be repaired or properly maintained. This insane, Progressive-driven, “let ’em all in” mentality on the guise of compassion, or votes, will SWAMP our own lifeboat.
We predict that by the year 2040, nothing will remain of the Founders’ dream of liberty for all men under a Constitutional Republic if America continues on its current path of irrational compassion.
Give us your TAKE on the issue.
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NOTE: The foregoing article represents the opinion of the author and is not necessarily shared by the owners, employees, representatives, or agents of the publisher.
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property rights issues and author of this weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America“. Ron is the president of the National Association of Rural Landowners (NARLO) (www.narlo.org), a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State, acting as an advocate and consultant for urban and rural landowners. Affiliated NARLO websites are “SAVE THE USA” (http://www.stusa.us/) and “Getting Even With Government” (http://www.gewgov.com/). Ron can be reached for comment HERE.