The Trump administration loves political correctness

The Trump administration wants to reduce the number of refugees coming in to the US, but a report they had asked for didn’t have quite the conclusion they wanted:

Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.

The internal study, which was completed in late July but never publicly released, found that refugees “contributed an estimated $269.1 billion in revenues to all levels of government” between 2005 and 2014 through the payment of federal, state and local taxes. “Overall, this report estimated that the net fiscal impact of refugees was positive over the 10-year period, at $63 billion.”

What could they do? Why ignore the part they don’t like:

“In an average year over the 10-year period, per-capita refugee costs for major H.H.S. programs totaled $3,300,” it says. “Per-person costs for the U.S. population were lower, at $2,500, reflecting a greater participation of refugees in H.H.S. programs, especially during their first four years” in the United States.

The budget Mr. Trump released in May argued that refugees and other immigrants were a fiscal drain. “Under the refugee program, the federal government brings tens of thousands of entrants into the United States, on top of existing legal immigration flows, who are instantly eligible for time-limited cash benefits and numerous noncash federal benefits, including food assistance through SNAP, medical care and education, as well as a host of state and local benefits,” the document said.

President Trump loves to rail against political correctness, but here his administration is engaging in the real thing. They have a set conclusion and ignore any information that contradicts it. That’s political correctness, only information that is ‘correct’ matters.

Goodbye Cassini

The Cassini spacecraft is scheduled to plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere tomorrow ending its 13 exploration of Saturn. Here’s a picture (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute), it’s not the best but it is one of the last:

For better views you can get a short movie here (WordPress doesn’t allow me to put it in this post) or there’s a nice book here.

It’s been a great ride Cassini, thanks for the great pictures and videos over the years.

How discrimination disadvantaged blacks

Via here, here’s an explainer of how segregation worked and how it has lead to racial inequality:

The term “redlining” … comes from the development by the New Deal, by the federal government of maps of every metropolitan area in the country. And those maps were color-coded by first the Home Owners Loan Corp. and then the Federal Housing Administration and then adopted by the Veterans Administration, and these color codes were designed to indicate where it was safe to insure mortgages. And anywhere where African-Americans lived, anywhere where African-Americans lived nearby were colored red to indicate to appraisers that these neighborhoods were too risky to insure mortgages.

In one development … in Detroit … the FHA would not go ahead, during World War II, with this development unless the developer built a 6-foot-high wall, cement wall, separating his development from a nearby African-American neighborhood to make sure that no African-Americans could even walk into that neighborhood.

The Underwriting Manual of the Federal Housing Administration recommended that highways be a good way to separate African-American from white neighborhoods. So this was not a matter of law, it was a matter of government regulation, but it also wasn’t hidden, so it can’t be claimed that this was some kind of “de facto” situation. Regulations that are written in law and published … in the Underwriting Manual are as much a de jure unconstitutional expression of government policy as something written in law.

African-American families that were prohibited from buying homes in the suburbs in the 1940s and ’50s and even into the ’60s, by the Federal Housing Administration, gained none of the equity appreciation that whites gained. So … the Daly City development south of San Francisco or Levittown or any of the others in between across the country, those homes in the late 1940s and 1950s sold for about twice national median income. They were affordable to working-class families with an FHA or VA mortgage. African-Americans were equally able to afford those homes as whites but were prohibited from buying them. Today those homes sell for $300,000 [or] $400,000 at the minimum, six, eight times national median income. …

So in 1968 we passed the Fair Housing Act that said, in effect, “OK, African-Americans, you’re now free to buy homes in Daly City or Levittown” … but it’s an empty promise because those homes are no longer affordable to the families that could’ve afforded them when whites were buying into those suburbs and gaining the equity and the wealth that followed from that.

The white families sent their children to college with their home equities; they were able to take care of their parents in old age and not depend on their children. They’re able to bequeath wealth to their children. None of those advantages accrued to African-Americans, who for the most part were prohibited from buying homes in those suburbs.

The vacancies in the white projects were created primarily by the Federal Housing Administration program to suburbanize America, and the Federal Housing Administration subsidized mass production builders to create subdivisions that were “white-only” and they subsidized the families who were living in the white housing projects as well as whites who were living elsewhere in the central city to move out of the central cities and into these white-only suburbs.

So the government instituted policies that made it much harder for African-Americans to buy houses which made it so their children were less likely to be able to afford to go to college (even ignoring the discrimination at colleges of the time) and less likely to have an inheritance that they could use to build wealth or help their children. That’s why we have this thing called Affirmative Action. Official government policy kept African-Americans out of better schools and colleges, and made it very difficult to buy homes in most better neighborhoods well into the 1960s; this directly meant that they would have less wealth that they could use for their children which meant the children were disadvantaged by government action. If a government action hurts a group, a government action should try to fix it.

Irma

It looks like Hurricane Irma has turned into a very dangerous storm:

Florida residents picked store shelves clean and long lines formed at gas pumps Wednesday as Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 monster with potentially catastrophic winds of 185 mph, steamed toward the Sunshine State and a possible direct hit on the Miami metropolitan area of nearly 6 million people.

The most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic destroyed homes and flooded streets as it roared through a chain of small islands in the northern Caribbean some 1,000 miles from Florida. Forecasters said Irma could strike the Miami area by early Sunday, then rake the entire length of the state’s east coast and push into Georgia and the Carolinas.

Via NASA, it’s an incredible storm (credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project:

Hopefully it won’t be as bad as it looks now.

Trump punks out on DACA

So, Donald Trump has decided what to do with DACA now:

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would begin to unwind an Obama-era program that allows younger undocumented immigrants to live in the country without fear of deportation, calling the program unconstitutional but offering a partial delay to give Congress a chance to address the issue.

So, Trump is trying to pass the buck to Congress–note he doesn’t even pretend he will write a bill. And you’ll note that Trump was too much of a wimp to announce it himself:

In announcing the decision at the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions

What a bold president.

Now look at the statement:

As President, my highest duty is to defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States of America.  At the same time, I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents.

This is an example of Trump’s compassion:

Guillen’s father, Jesus Guillen, said he’d asked his son not to try and rescue people in the storm, but he insisted, saying he wanted to help people. He cried and prayed on Sunday afternoon as they pulled his son’s body from the water.

Alonso Guillen was a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which temporarily lifted the threat of deportation for immigrants brought to the U.S. before they were 16, family members said.

“I’ve lost a great son, you have no idea,” she said, weeping softly. “I’m asking God to give me strength.”

She said she hoped U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials would take pity and grant her a humanitarian visa so that she could come to Houston and bury her son, but she was turned back at the border.

back to Trump’s statement:

In referencing the idea of creating new immigration rules unilaterally, President Obama admitted that “I can’t just do these things by myself” – and yet that is exactly what he did, making an end-run around Congress and violating the core tenets that sustain our Republic.

Officials from 10 States are suing over the program, requiring my Administration to make a decision regarding its legality. The Attorney General of the United States, the Attorneys General of many states, and virtually all other top legal experts have advised that the program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.

This from a President who signed an executive order about immigration that caused chaos because it was so poorly written and was issued a stay because it was so likely to be found unconstitutional.

Therefore, in the best interests of our country, and in keeping with the obligations of my office, the Department of Homeland Security will begin an orderly transition and wind-down of DACA, one that provides minimum disruption.  While new applications for work permits will not be accepted, all existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration up to two full years from today.  Furthermore, applications already in the pipeline will be processed, as will renewal applications for those facing near-term expiration.  This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out.  Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months.  Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.

It is now time for Congress to act!

Most Presidents who want something done will present legislation to be introduced in Congress, not this one. Like with healthcare and taxes, he expects Congress to do all the work and he expects to get the credit. If things go wrong then it’s not his fault. What a coward.

Labor Day

Once again it’s time to celebrate unions and labor in general. Labor Day was fought for and emblematic of all unions have done for the country: higher wages, weekends, shorter days, healthcare, better working conditions. Celebrating by taking the day off and being with friends and family is perfect, so go have a blast … just remember who made it possible.

Flooding in Asia

It’s not just Texas that is flooding, it’s also really bad in and near India:

At least 22 people were killed and dozens injured Thursday when a 117-year-old apartment building collapsed in a densely populated area of India’s financial capital following two days of torrential rains, hospital officials said.

Rescue workers in Mumbai combed through the wreckage of the five-story Hussaini building, which state officials had declared unsafe six years ago, but where about 40 people were living, according to residents.

Before you think of this as a third-world problem remember the fire in London and the explosions in Texas and its aftermath:

An unfolding crisis at a flooded chemical plant outside Houston on Thursday led to the prompt announcement of an investigation by a federal body that President Trump would eliminate.

The administration’s proposed budget would wind down funding for the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, a small, independent federal agency tasked with investigating chemical accidents.

The board, which has a budget of $11 million and 40 staff, played a major part in investigating the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and has conducted more than 130 investigations since its began operations in 1998. It originated as part of a set of 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act.

Good job President Trump. Anyway, it’s really bad in India:

The annual monsoon season from June to September routinely triggers floods, landslides and building collapses across South Asia, one of the world’s most densely populated regions, but this year’s rainfall has been among the deadliest in years.

The United Nations said last week that nearly 1,000 people had been killed and tens of thousands of homes, schools and businesses destroyed in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

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