This is, in part, how the GOPosaurs won the day in Michigan: by drumming up fear and promising solutions to problems that don’t actually exist.
Halting social benefits to undocumented immigrants should be the first step toward eliminating Michigan’s $1.6 billion structural deficit, state Sen.-elect Joe Hune said.
Hune, a Republican from the Fowlerville area, raised the issue on the campaign trial, and later said his first bill would cut off the benefits to undocumented immigrants.
He’s honored that promise, recently submitting the proposal as one of 10 that newly elected lawmakers can make to the state Legislative Service Bureau.
He said his immigration bill would be “a big component” of reigning in state spending, however, citing the Michigan League for Human Services and Center for Immigration Studies as sources for his information.
Sounds good, right? Here’s the rub:
[Michigan League for Human Services] spokeswoman Judy Putnam said Hune’s proposal sounds like “a solution in search of a problem.”
“As a matter of course, we already bar undocumented immigrants from receiving benefits, and the State’s pretty strict about enforcing it. I don’t think there’s any savings to be had on this one,” Putnam said.
Livingston County, as you probably already know, is a hotbed of über-conservative political action. This is where Wendy Day comes from, the woman who, after failing to get a proposal on the November 2nd ballot that would withdraw Michigan from health insurance reform, said “We didn’t fail, we just didn’t succeed enough”.
Hune is appealing to his Livingston County Tea Party base with this act. Unfortunately for him, it ignores a couple of things.
- The obvious fact that very little money will be saved with this bill since the laws are already on the books and being enforced.
- It will require hiring more staff to root out the causes instances of this nonexistent problem.
Hune’s bill could address unwarranted benefit expenditures in a few areas, such as state-run community mental health services, said Senate Fiscal Agency analyst Steve Angelotti.
He said boosting immigration documentation verification could require hiring more staff, or increasing pay for current employees to do the extra work.
“There are programs that would be affected by this bill,” Angelotti said, but “the major programs that people think of first when the think of social services and all that would not be affected by it.”
- Undocumented workers actually contribute to Medicare and Social Security.
Nationally, undocumented immigrants contribute $8.5 billion annually to Medicare and Social Security — the country’s largest social benefit programs.
- Most of the services that “illegals” are availing themselves of is under the purview of the Federal government, not State governments.
Most social benefits, including food assistance, health-care payments and welfare, are mostly — if not entirely — funded and dictated by federal spending guidelines, state analysts said.
There’s no doubt that our state faces major financial problems. Michigan’s projected budget deficit next year will be between $1 and $1.5 BILLION (Hune says its $1.6 billion) unless changes are made. And, of course, changes will have to made because we cannot carry a deficit. Hune says a major component of solving this massive problem is to save money by eliminating nonexistent waste.
This, folks, is your Michigan Republican Party. Smoke and also, too, mirrors. Yeesh.
I’m just sayin’…