NDN Blog

GOP's Attack on ACA May Harm Party With Latinos As Much As Imm Reform

I have a new op-ed running on the Huffington Post home page. It is cross-posted here:

GOP to Hispanics: Drop Dead Again, ACA Edition

For those Republicans worried about getting their party right with the new American electorate, I would be more than a bit concerned about the current attack on the Affordable Care Act.  No group will benefit more from the ACA than Hispanic Americans.  Estimates are that as many as 10 million Hispanics could gain health insurance in the coming years due to the new American health care system.    

The Republican narrative to them this week, just days before the ACA kicks in?  We are so committed to denying you health insurance that we are not just opposed to the ACA, but are willing to shut the government down, default on our obligations, and throw the US and global economy into chaos to make sure you don’t get it.

The ferocity of the GOP’s opposition to the ACA will be long remembered by tens of millions Americans whose families directly benefit from our modernized health care system.  For Hispanics, the most underinsured portion of the US population, the material gains in health and well-being from the ACA will be greater than for any other demographic group.  Estimates suggest 10 million Hispanics will be eligible for health insurance in the coming years.  To put that in perspective, these 10 million are about 20 percent of the total US Hispanic population, and millions more than the 7-9 million Hispanics who could gain legal status under the proposed immigration bill. 

This suggests that as the act kicks in over the next few years, and millions of Hispanic families sign up for insurance, the damage to the GOP’s brand for opposing this commonsense and powerful health care reform could equal or surpass the damage done by the GOP’s opposition to immigration reform.  The math is simple here. More Hispanics are likely to benefit from the ACA than immigration reform.  Most polls taken in recent years show that Hispanic voters care more about health care issues than immigration reform.  Not a big surprise as the ACA will have a much bigger effect on the families of Hispanic citizens than immigration reform will.  The potential for long term damage to the already damaged GOP brand with Hispanics here is huge, and lasting. 

There is a precedent for House Republicans dramatically impacting the political alignment of thenational  Hispanic electorate.  In 2005 the House GOP passed the Sensenbrenner Bill, which called for the direct deportation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US.  This harsh bill directly led to the rallies and demonstrations we saw in the spring of 2006, some of the largest civil rights demonstrations witnessed in US history.  Polling NDN conducted at the time found a huge shift in sentiment against the GOP because of their harsh anti-immigrant actions.  In the fall elections, the Hispanic electorate broke dramatically against the GOP, going 70-30 for the Democrats even without the Democrats mounting any campaign at all at any level geared towards the Hispanic electorate.

George Bush’s able campaigns began a re-alignment of the Hispanic electorate towards the GOP.  The Republican share of the Hispanic vote jumped from 21% in 1996 to 35% in 2000 to 40% in 2004.  These gains were essential in flipping states like FL, CO, AZ and NM carried by Bill Clinton in 1996, and arguably the single most important component of the only GOP Presidential wins since 1988.  These gains were undone by the virulent anti-immigrant politics of 2005 and 2006, when the Hispanic electorate shifted to about a 70-30 structural advantage for the Democrats, a margin we first saw in 2006, and one replicated in each of the last three elections. 

As I showed earlier, it is possible that the GOP’s extraordinary opposition to the ACA could have an impact on the Hispanic electorate equal to or greater than this critical 2005-2006 moment when the GOP became defined as an anti-immigrant party.  For the Republicans interested in the future of their party this should be very worrying.  

Fortunately, the Republicans have two ways to mitigate – not erase - what is likely to be a catastrophic and searing event with Hispanics.  First, drop the ACA hostage taking and work with the President and the Senate to pass a budget.  Second, work with the Democrats to pass a good and reasonable immigration reform bill this fall.  As I have argued elsewhere, the two parties are much closer to a deal than many realize.  Given the enormity, and futility, of the mistake the House GOP is making on the ACA – Sensenbrenner 2 let’s call it – the urgency for the Republicans to pass immigration reform has never been greater.  And there will not be another chance after this fall.  This is it.  Or it may be the way of the Whigs for the party of Lincoln, undone by the very reactionary racial politics that were ironically the genesis of the founding of the GOP a long time ago.

Note, Update - I've updated this piece a bit from its initial version, published this morning.   While we know more Hispanics will be elibigible for health insurance under the ACA than are undocumented Hispanic immigrants in the country, what we don't know is whether more will gain insurance that will get legal status.  While it is likely, I have softened that sentence above a bit, as we don't really know.  

None of the changes the basic argument .  This debate over the ACA is going to have a very impact on the GOP brand with Hispanics, and there are ways for the Rs to mitigate this damage, including passing Immigration Reform later this year. 

This article is available in Spanish here.

Update - The Washington Post's Greg Sargent references this analysis in a new piece.  And what remains most remarkable is that it is two of the GOP's most important Latinos - Cruz and Rubio - leading this effort to take away something so important to the aspiring Latino community.   The desire of Cruz, Rubio and Paul to gain advantage in the GOP primary has left taking a position on an issue which will cost them dearly with Latinos should they be on a future Republican ticket. 

Update - Stories like this in the NYTimes showing how minorities are disporportionatiately effected in the states refusing the ACA's Medicaid expansion will not help the GOP. 

Event Re-Cap: "Evaluating Immigration Reform's Prospects"

NDN and the New Policy Institute hosted long-time immigration advocates Tamar Jacoby and Frank Sharry along with NDN President Simon Rosenberg for an expert thought-provoking discussion on immigration reform. While they agreed that the timeline is uncertain, and the strategy has yet to be fully articulated by politicians on both sides of the aisle, they all demonstrated a rare undeterred optimism that a path forward to bipartisan immigration reform legislation exists and is within reach.

You can watch the video of their discussion here and a summary of highlights follows below.

Ms. Jacoby, a self-identified “R,” outlined where her party is on immigration reform now, saying the “fundamentals are better than they have ever been.” Throughout the last decade, most of the Republican Party has been against immigration reform, but now Republican leadership, including Speaker Boehner, Representatives Cantor, Goodlatte, and Ryan, “all are very invested in reform” and working to get something done. Meanwhile, virulent opponents of immigration reform like Representative Steve King (Iowa) have been marginalized and no longer represent the majority of the party who are really “grappling” with the issue and what they can do. Ms. Jacoby proceeded to address one of the most controversial topics of the immigration debate, the dispute over legalization and citizenship. She gamed out that through the approach, recently articulated by Goodlatte and Ryan, of immigration reform that includes legalization without a “special path” to citizenship, plus a Kids’ Act, as many as 7 million undocumented immigrants would be eligible for citizenship through existing channels. While immigration reform is a difficult topic and other issues have bumped it down the to-do list, there is above all a "lingering sense that it has to get done and party has to get to it."

Mr. Sharry, a leader of the progressive immigration reform movement, touted that the entire pro-immigration reform movement “left, right and center, has never been stronger."  In firm opposition to the “conventional wisdom that we’re being slow-walked to death,” he affirmed why he is still optimistic. The politics of immigration reform have transformed as Arizona-style attrition and self-deportation laws were defeated by the Supreme Court and 2012 election, and President Obama approved the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals last year. The Senate bill passed with a strong bipartisan majority in June. There are enough votes in the House “to pass a reasonably good bill…immigration reform with a path to citizenship,” and “our fundamentals are stronger than the House Republican dysfunction.” From a policy perspective, the majority of the US supports immigration reform and it would benefit the economy by leveling the playing field for employers and wages, decreasing the national deficit, and increasing innovation. Young DREAMers have put a human face on the issue, allowing critics to see the “others are us’es.” Finally, a broad diverse coalition of business groups, evangelicals, Catholics, agriculture groups, and progressive forces all support it. Mr. Sharry said he could also see the outline of a bipartisan deal on legislation, as long as the details do not include something like the SAFE Act on interior enforcement, and do support family unification and legalization with an opportunity for citizenship for the 11 million. “If House Republicans come forward with commonsense approach to dealing with the 11 million, I think we’ll get across the finish line this year.” 

Mr. Rosenberg of the center-left NDN, whose 21st Century Border Initiative has focused on the need for smart improvements on the border that promote trade and serve the entire US economy, also laid out his version of a compromise. He highlighted that it should include border infrastructure and reengage the Texas Congressional GOP, including Senator Cornyn and Representative McCaul, who shepherded a border security act through the House Homeland Security Committee with unanimous bipartisan support.

Immigration reform is alive. It is time for both parties to step onto the path forward to compromise. 

New NDN Op-Ed in The Hill – A Way Forward in Syria

Bradley Bosserman published an article in The Hill this morning analyzing the implications of the proposed agreement over Syrian chemical weapons. The piece argues that the seemingly contradictory aims of securing chemical weapons and ushering in a transitional government can best be achieved by focusing US policy toward the goal of quickly ending the conflict.

"Effectively securing these weapons in the midst of a civil war will be functionally impossible and setting the precedent that gassing your citizens can be a strategy for extracting powerful concessions would weaken norms against chemical weapons use, not strengthen them. The stated policy of the United States is to aid the opposition, support the transition to a post-Assad government, and secure the country’s vast stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. The only way to reconcile these objectives is to actively seek an end to the conflict and usher in a more responsible, transitional government. As the White House has said, Assad must go."

Read the full article here.

Policy Brief – Intervention in Syria Needs to be Tied to a Larger Strategy

Today we have released a new Policy Brief analyzing some of the problems with the Administration’s current approach to winning support for Syria authorization and laying out a framework for a more convincing and strategy-led argument.  We believe that Congress should authorize the President to use military force in Syria, but argue that:

The U.S. has already rightfully chosen sides in this conflict, sending aid, training, weapons, and logistical support to the rebels. Decoupling this latest action from these ongoing efforts to support the opposition and from the stated policy aim of regime change simply makes no sense. If the administration is going to convince the Congress, the country, and the world that military intervention is now the proper response, they must address this fundamental dissonance by articulating a cogent vision of American involvement in the region that ties the ongoing – and proposed – actions in Syria to American values and concrete U.S. interests. Only then will the President be able to make a compelling case for not only his Syria policy, but also a broader agenda of engagement. There should be at least three components to this argument.

  • Preventing  nuclear weaponization of Iran and constraining its foreign policy adventurism is a legitimate aim of U.S. policy.
  • We need to encourage more constructive engagement from our Gulf partners.
  • We need to help empower more modern and pluralistic forces vis-a-vis violent and radical groups who seek to destroy the emergence of open, tolerant, and prosperous societies.

Download the full Syria Policy Brief.

The Biggest Risks to the U.S. Economy Now Come from Congress and China

As summer ends, and investors and policymakers look ahead, the American economy faces a range of downside risks. Most of these risks are what economists call “exogenous,” which is a fancy way of saying that they come from sources outside the economy itself. Left to itself, the economy appears set to maintain its current path of moderate growth. GDP grew at a 1.8 percent rate in the first quarter of this year followed by 2. 5 percent growth in the second quarter, with no signs of the bracing job and income gains Americans remember from the 1980s and 1990s. But this may be the best-case scenario, since outside forces from lamebrain moves by Congress to developments in China could knock moderate growth off its perch.

The most clear and present threat to growth lies in the looming fight over the debt ceiling. It has to be said how truly foolish and irrational it is that this matter should pose any risk to our economic security. But the Republican Party is caught in an internal power struggle that could well result in Congress suspending the Treasury’s legal authority to issues bonds to finance debts already accrued by the current and previous congresses. It would constitute a technical default by the United States — and that would trigger an unprecedented slump in the value of all U. S. Treasury securities, until now the world’s most secure and stable financial instrument.

Interest rates on those securities would shoot up, and we would see a chaotic selloff in U.S. and global bond markets followed by a sharp economic slowdown and a precipitous nosedive in stock markets. It would all unfold like a bitter divorce, where one spouse spitefully engineers a collapse of the marital assets heedless of how it will affect their children (that’s the role for rest of us). Of course, it is not inevitable. Once the debt limit debate has produced some fiery political theater, the grownups in the GOP leadership and wealthy donors who underwrite most Republican campaigns may yet bring their party’s radicals to heel.

That outcome must be the expectation of most bond and stock traders, who are less concerned today about the debt limit than about the risks of Federal Reserve policy. The trillion-dollar question for big finance is when and by how much the Fed will step on Wall Street’s near-zero interest rates by “tapering” the Fed’s current quantitative easing program, QE3. The path of QE3 has even become an issue in the contest to succeed Fed Chair Ben Bernanke. While Vice Chair Janet Yellen believes that but for QE3, the economy would be weaker, Larry Summers has said the program doesn’t make much difference anyway. The implication is that Summers sees less risk in rapid tapering. And that may be why, according to a recent survey, most Wall Street traders prefer Yellen, despite Summers’ lucrative stints as a Wall Street adviser. While all of this makes for diverting debates on cable TV, the truth is that QE3 policy probably poses little risk to the U. S. economy. If interest rates jump in response to Fed tapering, whoever chairs the Fed will slow or suspend it.

That leaves risks from abroad to disturb the sleep of the President’s economic advisers. Two regions (the Middle East and Europe) and one country (China) have the economic heft to materially affect the path of American economy. In the Middle East, the immediate economic issue for the President is whether his coming response to Bashar al-Assad’s crimes could trigger some series of events that ultimately affects the flow of oil from the region, driving up energy prices everywhere.

Europe seems even less likely to disturb our recovery, especially as compared to a year ago, when investors’ confidence in the ability of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal to finance their sovereign debts nearly collapsed. A European sovereign debt crisis could still bring down the continent’s largest banks and plunge all of us into a deep recession. But for now, Mario Draghi, who heads up the European Central Bank (ECB), has convinced Germany’s Angela Merkel to muzzle her qualms about large-scale ECB interventions to head off a Eurozone meltdown.

The possibility of a different sort of debt crisis also has appeared in China. Since 2008, public and private debt in China has shot up from 130 percent of GDP to 200 percent, even as the country’s GDP has expanded nearly two-thirds. Over this brief period, corporate debt nearly doubled and household debt tripled. Worse still, in the face of these skyrocketing debts, overall growth, the returns that Chinese companies earn on assets they borrowed to finance, and Chinese wages all have slowed sharply. Already, many companies now pay their suppliers with six-month promissory notes, producing cash crunches for their own suppliers and workers. Many large banks are also writing down large numbers of non-performing loans. And as banks pull back, interest rates have risen, increasing the debt loads of firms and households, and forcing thousands of companies to downsize.

The Financial Times observed recently that “such a rapid increase in borrowing has historically led to crises in countries from Argentina to South Korea.” Some experts dismiss this prospect, pointing to China’s stringent capital controls to prevent large-scale capital flight and Beijing’s strict management on the value of the currency. But markets that lose confidence find ways to subvert such controls; for example, through bank runs, accelerating inflation, and sharp drops in foreign investment. So, even if China can sidestep a full blown credit crisis, it cannot escape much slower growth while the government and domestic firms unwind the excess debt. And that will mean slower growth in many countries that depend on rising exports to China—starting with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and Chile — as well as here at home, in states such as California, Texas, Washington, Illinois and New York.

This post was originally published in Dr. Shapiro's blog

Washington — or Its Accountants — Finally Accept the Idea-Based Economy

Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will put in place a set of critical changes in how it measures America’s gross domestic product (GDP). The most important change reclassifies what businesses spend on research and development, which now will be counted as an economic investment rather than an ordinary business expense. By so doing, the country’s official national accounts finally recognize that ideas play the same role in prosperity and income growth as new factories and equipment. More important, the change signals that Washington — or at least its accountants — accept that the country has an idea-based economy.

I was present at the creation of these changes. In the late 1990s, while overseeing the BEA as Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, I helped them set up the first tests of how to approach R&D as an investment. Then as now, this shift was a no-brainer. Those of us who study what makes economies grow learned as students that innovations drive growth even more than new capital investments. Based on the strict patent protections which the United States has embraced since the time of the Constitution, Americans always have known this intuitively. So for more than 200 years, the world’s most market-based economy has granted temporary monopoly rights to anyone who comes up with a new invention.

Investors clearly believe in the value of patents and the inventions they animate. A new study covering more than eight decades of patents (1926-2010) has found that when a company receives a new patent, its stock market value increases on average by $19.2 million (in 2013 dollars). Even setting aside such blockbuster patents as the core inventions from Apple or Google, the researchers found that the median bump in a firm’s stock market valuation after receiving a patent was $5.9 million.

In fact, intellectual property and, more broadly, intangible assets now virtually dominate American business. Since the mid-1990s, American firms have invested more in new, intangible assets — databases, brands, worker training and competencies, as well as R&D and patents — than they have in new physical assets. That tells us that businesses now expect to earn more from ideas in their various forms than from their plant and equipment.

Here, too, investors agree. In 1984, the “book value” of the 150 largest U.S. corporations — what their physical assets would bring on the open market — was equal to about three-quarters of their stock market value. So, nearly 30 years ago, large American businesses were worth about one-quarter more than the plant, equipment and real estate that generated their profits. By 2005, the book value of America’s 150 largest companies equaled just 35 percent of their stock market value. By that time, about two-thirds of their value came from their intangible assets, because those assets had become the main source of the value and profits which large companies generate.

This shift to intangible assets is not confined to popularly-recognized “idea-based” industries such as information technologies and biotechnology. A 2011 analysis by Kevin Hassett and myself found that by 2009, intellectual property, strictly defined, accounted for at least half of the market value of not only the software, telecom and pharmaceutical sectors, but also such disparate industries as food, beverages and tobacco, media, healthcare, professional services, household and personal products, consumer services, and autos. And when we expand the category to all intangible assets, broadly defined, those idea-based assets accounted for at least 80 percent of the market value of all of the industries just mentioned, plus capital goods, materials, transportation, and consumer durables and apparel. That covers every major industry except retail, real estate, banking, energy, and utilities.

Now that the official accounts for the American economy finally treat the R&D that leads to most patents and innovations as economic investments, we can also better track and compare their value. For instance, we now know that U.S. businesses have spent less on R&D in recent years than they did in the 1990s — and that nevertheless, the United States spends more on R&D than all of Asia and Europe combined.

U.S. companies and individuals hold about 25 percent of the world’s patents, a share close to America’s 22 percent share of worldwide GDP. America’s real advantage in this area, however, probably lies in its outsized willingness to fund the young enterprises that often develop new, patented advances. So, while the United States claims 25 percent of all patents, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that we also account for roughly half of all worldwide venture capital investment.

America’s shift to an idea-based economy inevitably will shape much of our economic future. The information and Internet technologies so integral to creating and managing ideas have spread across every economic sector. Within each industry, those firms most adept at applying those technologies to their operations will, on balance, be the ones most likely to succeed. That has already become gauge for investors to use and watch. More important, a widening gap has opened between the incomes of most Americans and the incomes of the top 20 percent of workers who are already adept at creating and managing ideas or at least operating in workplaces dense with information and Internet technologies. Finding new ways to enable most Americans to prosper in an idea-based economy is now the most pressing economic challenge facing Washington policymakers.

This post was originally published in Dr. Shapiro's blog

Invite: Today, Sept 17th- A Bi-Partisan Look at Imm Reform's Prospects

Immigration advocates have been active around the country during August recess, as more House GOP Representatives have joined with business and faith leaders in expressing their support. However, Congress has a very full fall agenda. Please join us for lunch with immigration reform leaders Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, Tamar Jacoby of ImmigrationWorks USA, and NDN’s Simon Rosenberg to discuss the continued prospects of immigration reform, its challenges, and why they are still optimistic that Congress can pass meaningful commonsense legislation.

When: Tuesday, September 17th, 12pm-1:15pm
             *Lunch will be served at 12noon, the panel will begin at 12:15pm followed by Q&A

Where: NDN & New Policy Institute Event Space
              729 15th St NW, 1st Floor

Please RSVP here

If you cannot attend in person, you can view the event livestreaming here or the recording on ndn.org after the event.

For more information on immigration reform, visit our Daily Immigration Reform Backgrounder of news and NDN/NPI resources. Also see our Border and Immigration Presentation and Simon's recent Huffington Post op-ed, "Immigration Reform Is Very Much Alive."

Brad Bosserman on World Brief Discussing Syria Policy

NDN's Brad Bosserman appeared on World Brief this week to discuss a potential U.S. attack on Syria. He was joined by Joshua Foust and the host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin. You can watch the video on HuffPostLive.

While the chemical weapons attack in Syira was terrible, it is regional strategy, rather than chemical weapons use, that should drive the level and nature of American involvement in the Syrian conflict. Brad has written previously about why chemical weapons are the wrong Red Line, a point that remains true today. Before we begin striking targets inside Syria, we need to have an earnest conversation about core U.S. interests in the Middle East and how we can best promote them. If Assad’s ouster is our policy goal, than we should be pursuing actions designed to bring that about. The strikes being currently discussed won’t accomplish that end, however. Similarly, if our goal is narrowly to defend the international norms against using chemical weapons, it’s unclear that it would be a useful precedent to establish that the response to chemical weapons use is a handful of perfunctory military strikes explicitly not designed to dole out existential costs upon the culpable government.

In the coming days we will have more analysis on the need to view our engagement strategically rather than tactically. Stay tuned.

Washington – Or Its Accountants -- Finally Accept the Idea-Based Economy

By Dr. Robert Shapiro, July 31st, 2013.

Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will put in place a set of critical changes in how it measures America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).   The most important change reclassifies what businesses spend on research and development, which now will be counted as economic investments rather than ordinary business expenses.  By so doing, the country’s official national accounts finally recognize that ideas play the same role in prosperity and income growth as new factories and equipment.  More important, the change signals that Washington – or at least its accountants –accepts that the United States has an idea-based economy.

I was present at the creation of these changes.  In the late 1990s, while overseeing the BEA as Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, I helped them set up the first tests of how to approach R&D as an investment.  Then as now, this shift was a no-brainer.  Those of us who study what makes economies grow all learned as students that innovations drive growth even more than new capital investments.  Based on the strict patent protections which the United States has embraced since the time of the Constitution, Americans have always known this intuitively.  So for more than 200 years, the world’s most market-based economy has granted temporary monopoly rights to anyone who comes up with a new invention.

            Investors clearly believe in the value of patents and the inventions they animate.  A new study covering more than eight decades of U.S. patents (1926-2010) has found that when a company receives a new patent, its stock market value increases on average by $19.2 million (measured in 2013 dollars).  Even setting side such blockbuster patents as the core innovations from Apple or Google, the researchers found that the median bump in a firm’s stock market valuation after receiving a patent was $5.9 million.

            In fact, intellectual property and, more broadly, intangible assets now dominate American business.  Since the mid-1990s, American firms have invested more in new, intangible assets – databases, brands, worker training and competencies, as well as R&D and patents – than they have in new physical assets.  That tells us that businesses now expect to earn more from ideas in their various forms than from their plant and equipment. 

            Here, too, investors agree.  In 1984, the “book value” of the 150 largest U.S. corporations – what their physical assets would bring on the open market – was equal to about three-quarters of their stock market value.  So, nearly 30 years ago, large American businesses were worth about one-quarter more than the plant, equipment and real estate which generated their profits.  By 2005, the book value of America’s 150 largest companies equaled just 35 percent of their stock market value.  By that time, about two-thirds of their value came from their intangible assets, because those assets had become the main source of the value and profits which large companies generate.

            This shift to intangible assets is not confined to popularly-recognized “idea-based” industries such as information technologies and biotechnology.  A 2011 analysis by Kevin Hassett and myself found that by 2009, intellectual property strictly defined accounted for at least half of the market value of not only the software, telecom and pharmaceutical sectors, but also such disparate industries as food, beverages and tobacco, media, healthcare, professional services, household and personal products, consumer services, and autos.  And when we expanded the category to all intangible assets, broadly defined, those idea-based assets accounted for at least 80 percent of the market value of all of the industries just mentioned, plus capital goods, materials, transportation, and consumer durables and apparel. That covers every major industry except retail, real estate, banking, energy, and utilities.

Now that the official accounts for the American economy finally treat the R&D that leads to most patents and innovations as economic investments, we can also better track and compare their value.  For instance, we now know that U.S. businesses have spent less on R&D in recent years than they did in the 1990s – and that nevertheless, the United States spends more on R&D than all of Asia and Europe combined.

Turning to the results, we find that about 25 percent of the world’s patents are held by U.S. companies and individuals, a share close to America’s 22 percent share of worldwide GDP.   America’s real advantage, however, probably lies in its outsized willingness to fund the young enterprises that often develop new, patented advances.  So, while the United States claims 25 percent of all patents, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)  reports that we also account for roughly half of all worldwide venture capital investment.

America’s shift to an idea-based economy will shape much of our economic future.  The information and Internet technologies so integral to creating and managing ideas have spread across every economic sector. Within each industry, those firms most adept at applying those technologies to their operations will, on balance, be the ones most likely to succeed.  That has already become a gauge for investors to use and watch.  More important, a widening gap has opened between the incomes of most Americans and the incomes of roughly the top 20 percent of workers who are already adept at creating and managing ideas, or at least operating in workplaces dense with information and Internet technologies.  Finding news way to enable most Americans to prosper in an idea-based economy will be the most pressing economic challenge facing Washington policymakers over the next decade.

Invite: Thur, Aug 8th - "A Border and Immigration Reform Seminar"

Now that the debate over immigration reform has moved from the Senate to the House, Simon will be offering weekly seminar-style presentations of an updated version of a PowerPoint we’ve been giving around town these last few months: “The Border Is Safer, The Immigration System Is Better, and Mexico Is Modernizing and Growing.” This fact-filled presentation showing how successful the Obama Administration has been in managing the complex US-Mexico border and improving our immigration system is increasingly important as the border emerges as the center of the whole immigration debate.

We've conducted three of these briefings in the past few weeks, and have one left - Thur, August 8th, noon.  Please RSVP here. Lunch will be served at 12noon, the presentation will begin promptly at 12:15. The half hour presentation will be followed by a half hour Q&A session.

At its core this presentation is a refutation of the border hysteria far too common in our politics today, a hysteria that has been largely abandoned, for example, by the Republican Party of Arizona, the state perhaps most responsible for exporting this politics to the rest of the country.  Among the statistics we will cover in the presentation tomorrow: 

  • In recent years spending on border security has tripled, the number of border patrol agents has doubled.
  • The net flow of unauthorized immigrations to the United States is now ZERO.
  • Crime on the US side of the border has plummeted, and is violent crime rates in the 2 largest border cities, San Diego and El Paso are one third of what they were a decade ago.
  • Apprehension rates in 2 of the 5 high traffic corridors are already over the Senate goal of 90%, and 2 are over 80%.
  • Due to the drop in flow and huge increase in border patrol, the apprehension rate per border patrol agent has dropped from 327 in 1993 to 19 last year, or one every two to three weeks.  
  • Meanwhile, trade with Mexico across this very same fortified border has exploded, growing from $300b in 2009 to $536n in 2012.  Mexico is now the US’s third largest trading partner, and second largest export market.  

For more of our analysis about the border and immigration reform, visit this page on our site, which includes a link to an earlier version of this presentation and related materials.  Also see Simon’s op-ed in The Hill, "On the Border, DHS Has Earned Congress' Trust," arguing that the Republican party must acknowledge the positive work done by the Department of Homeland Security at the border in order set realistic and achievable goals for immigration legislation.

We hope you can join us for this timely and informative discussion.  And please don’t be shy about forwarding this information, which is so important to the current debate, to others you think might be interested.

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