Froma Harrop - Must Boomers take the rap?

In the course of human events, many things need fixing. One of them is the cost of Medicare, climbing rapidly as baby boomers enroll in large numbers. We can argue over how to contain this major federal expense, and we should. But assigning blame for the problem on anyone born between 1946 and 1964 seems an absurd way to go about it.

Foes of Medicare and Social Security have long tried to corral resentment against baby boomers to weaken public support for these programs. Some supporters on the left do likewise in an effort to move more resources toward programs serving the young and the poor.

Boomer-bashing may be entertaining, but it's not smart analysis. It's become the fashion nevertheless.

Boomers should "repent," Washington Post writer Jim Tankersley declares with no hint of humor. He charges, "Boomers soaked up a lot of economic opportunity without bothering to preserve much for the generations to come."

Two interesting notions here. That economic opportunity is a fixed quantity that gets used up. That Americans belonging to a set age group act in unison, hold the same political views and are all rolling in dough. Tankersley thus calls on "boomer candidates" to reduce carbon emissions and head off a debt crisis. Is he talking about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush or Bernie Sanders? They're different, you know. And what is our author doing about his fellow Generation Xer Ted "I don't believe in climate change" Cruz? Generation Z may someday demand an explanation.

Let's be mindful that America doesn't control everything that happens on this planet. That makes throwing the book at one of its age groups even odder. "They opened global trade and watched millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs vanish," Tankersley writes. Actually, several million of those lost factory jobs were the boomers'.

Without a doubt, older Americans on average have had an easier time of it economically than members of Generation X and certainly the younger millennials. And there are limits to how much working Americans can pay for programs serving retirees. But let's discuss these issues in a rational way.
The Urban Institute projects that couples retiring in 2011 will draw $200,000 more from Medicare and Social Security than they paid in taxes to support the benefits, Tankersley notes. "And yet almost no one suggests that boomers should share the pain of shoring up those programs."

The Urban Institute should know better than to lump Medicare and Social Security together. That entire $200,000 is tied to Medicare.

Social Security is self-funding. Until 1983, it was strictly pay-as-you-go. Workers were taxed just enough to support current beneficiaries. Recognizing that a surge of retirees would put great pressure on the workers later on, both political parties did ask the boomers to help strengthen the program. Social Security tax rates were raised. So was the age for receiving full benefits. And for the first time, Social Security benefits were taxed for those earning above a certain amount.

Baby boomers have been building up the Social Security trust fund for over 30 years, which is why the program's finances are in fairly good shape.

Medicare is another matter. Much of its funding comes from the Treasury, that is, income taxes. It's been victim to the ridiculously inflated cost of health care in this country plus quite a bit of fraud. The good news is there's lots of low-hanging fruit to be plucked for savings.

Generational names do provide useful shorthand for Americans sharing certain experiences by virtue of their age. But let us judge individuals by the things they do, not the year they were born in.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)


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Michelle Malkin - The myth of H-1B job creation

Every day brings new headlines, ignored by the Washington press corps, of U.S. workers losing their livelihoods to cheap H1-B visa replacements. Just this week, Computerworld reported: "Fury and fear in Ohio as IT jobs go to India."

Yet, it remains an article of faith among Big Business flacks and Beltway hacks that H-1B not only protects American jobs, but also fuels miraculous job growth. The myths are recycled and regurgitated by the likes of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who claims that "foreign-born STEM workers complement the American workforce, they don't take American jobs."

Bill Gates, citing the National Foundation for American Policy, which is run by one-man Beltway advocacy research shop operative Stuart Anderson, testified before Congress that "a recent study shows for every H-1B holder that technology companies hire, five additional jobs are created around that person." Citing another NFAP study by economics professor Madeline Zavodny of Agnes Scott College, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce asserted: "2.62 MORE JOBS are created for U.S.-born workers for each foreign-born worker in the U.S. with a U.S. STEM graduate degree."

But even the reliably pro-immigration expansionist Wall Street Journal had to call out Bill Gates on his misleading testimony to Congress regarding oft-cited NFAP job-creation figures. First off, the data set was confined to S&P 500 technology companies, which "excludes the leading users" of H-1B visas — offshore outsourcing companies from India such as Infosys, Wipro and Tata.

Moreover, Carl Bialik, the newspaper's "Numbers Guy," reported that the study Gates cited to claim amazing H-1B job generation "shows nothing of the kind. Instead, it finds a positive correlation between these visas and job growth. These visas could be an indicator of broader hiring at the company, rather than the cause."

University of California, Davis professor Norm Matloff explained that Gates' false conclusion is a common analytical error known as Simpson's Paradox, "in which the relation between two variables is very misleading, due to their mutual relation to a third variable."

NFAP's Zavodny study was published by the American Enterprise Institute, sponsored by open-borders billionaire Michael Bloomberg's Partnership for a New American Economy and touted by the open-borders U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the pro-H-1B

Zavodny's study initially examined data from the years 2000 to 2010. She hypothesized that states with more foreign-born workers would have higher rates of employment among native-born Americans. Initially, she was unable to find a significant effect of foreign-born workers on U.S. jobs.
So what changed? In correspondence with John Miano, co-author of our new book "Sold Out" on the foreign guest-worker racket, and I, Zavodny revealed that when she showed her initial results to the study sponsor, the backers came up with the idea of discarding the last three years of data — ostensibly to eliminate the effects of the economic recession — and trying again.

Voila! After re-crunching the numbers at the sponsor's request, Zavodny found the effect the study sponsor was hoping to find.

Standard research practice is to formulate a research hypothesis and specify a study sample before the analysis has been completed. The practice of "data dredging" — that is, tweaking the sample data until one gets rid of "anomalous results" — is frowned upon.

To her credit, Zavodny provided her data to a curious software developer in Silicon Valley who was interested in immigration policy. The blogger, R. Davis, discovered a number of serious methodological deficiencies in Zavodny's work.

Most importantly, he documented that Zavodny's results are highly sensitive to the date range selected. When she studied the years 2000-2007, she found 100 foreign-born workers in STEM fields with advanced degrees from U.S. universities were associated with 262 additional jobs for native-born Americans. But change the date range a little bit to 2002-2008, and the exact same regression model shows the destruction of 110 jobs for natives, according to the independent researcher.

Also, Zavodny's "262 additional jobs" factoid deals not with H-1B visa holders but with foreign-born workers in so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) who have advanced degrees (that is, a master's or doctorate) from U.S. universities. About 45 percent of H-1B visa holders do not have advanced degrees (as noted above), let alone advanced degrees from U.S. universities.

According to public policy professor Ron Hira of Howard University, only 1 in 206 of H-1B workers at offshore outsourcing giant Infosys holds an advanced degree from a U.S. university. Even fewer of Tata Consultancy Services H-1B workers do — just 1 in 222. So there is almost no overlap between the highly educated workers in Zavodny's "262 additional jobs" analysis and the mostly entry-level workers who actually come to the U.S. on H-1B visas.

While industry lobbyists have to employ dubious and convoluted means to show H-1B creates jobs, it is brutally simple to show that H-1B workers take American jobs. Just ask the folks who trained their H-1B replacements at Disney, Southern California Edison, Toys R Us, Fossil and countless other companies across the nation.

This column is adapted from Malkin and Miano's new book, How High-Tech Billionaires & Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America's Best & Brightest Workers (Mercury Ink/Simon & Schuster).

(Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin is the daughter of Filipino Immigrants. She was born in Philadelphia, raised in southern New Jersey and now lives with her husband and daughter in Colorado. Her weekly column is carried by more than 100 newspapers.)

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Governor Maggie Hassan - Why we need a special session on substance abuse

Across our state, people are dying from the heroin and opioid crisis — at least 258 of our family, friends and neighbors already this year. Hundreds more have overdosed, their lives saved only by the quick action of first responders, medical providers and their family and friends. There are few people who I meet in our great state who haven't had their lives touched by this epidemic.

We must act now to save lives and to reverse the tide of addiction. We must act now with comprehensive action to help those addicted recover, to help prevent new addictions, and to help first responders and others fighting on the front lines of this crisis.

That's why over the last several months, I have been working closely with legislative leaders from both parties and people across the state on a comprehensive package of legislation to save lives and give patients, providers, parents and law enforcement better tools to combat this epidemic.

I was hopeful that legislative leaders would call themselves into a special session or, at the very least, outline a plan for an expedited bill to reach my desk for signature by the end of January. But they did not.

In the face of this crisis, our citizens and our communities can't wait for the Legislature to send a bill to my desk in April or May. This epidemic deserves the full and swift attention of the legislature, not just being one thing considered along with the nearly 1,000 other bills the legislature will take up next year.

That is why I have called the legislature back into a special session on November 18 and asked them to consider comprehensive legislation to address our opioid crisis, allowing for a full public process.

There is strong bipartisan support for many of the measures we are proposing, such as cracking down on fentanyl, which has been the major cause of overdose death in 2015, and bringing the laws and penalties for the distribution and sale of fentanyl in line with those for heroin.

We agree that we need to develop a statewide drug court plan to expand existing drug courts and establish new ones across the state, including in Manchester.

We know that we need to strengthen our prescription drug monitoring program, mandating greater use by prescribers and upgrading technology to ensure that more prescribers can use it in a timely fashion.

We need to provide additional law enforcement support to our hardest-hit communities — similar to the grant-funded effort underway in Manchester — and to continue to address backlog in the State Police Forensic Laboratory.

We know that many heroin addictions begin with prescription drug addictions. We must require all of our medical boards to update prescribing practices to help stem the tide of new addictions.

We must streamline access to treatment by requiring all insurance companies to use the same evaluation criteria and removing prior authorization requirements in certain cases.

And we need to strengthen our support for community-based treatment, prevention and recovery efforts through the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.

To those who say we can't afford to invest in these steps, I say that we can't afford not to. Every month, we lose dozens of our fellow citizens. We can't afford to lose more lives. We can't afford the devastation to our families losing their loved ones to this crisis. We must act now.

This legislation builds on steps we have already taken to combat the most pressing public health and safety crisis facing our state.

We have increased the safe and effective use of Narcan by first responders and police officers to immediately save lives, and now families and loved ones of those at the risk of an overdose can also access this life-saving treatment.

We launched our prescription drug monitoring program in October 2014.

We are bringing a nationally recognized provider training program to New Hampshire later this month, and we are strengthening youth prevention and education efforts at our schools and in our communities.

And thanks to our bipartisan health care expansion program, thousands of Granite Staters have accessed substance abuse and mental health services since coverage began last August.

But we know that is not enough, and that in order to stem — and reverse — the tide, we must fight together every single day to strengthen our efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis and save lives.

Combating the substance abuse crisis and saving lives transcends politics, as the Executive Council demonstrated with its strong bipartisan approval of my call for a special legislative session.

There is significant support from both parties for many of the items in the proposal that I have put forward. And there is absolutely no reason to wait on taking these steps now to save lives.

(Democrat Maggie Hassan is currently serving her second term as governor of New Hampshire.)

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Sanborn — Winni waterfront sales report, October 2015

October was a pretty good month for waterfront sales on Winnipesaukee, with 15 transactions at an average price of $1,279,667. There were 6 sales over $1 million with the highest coming in at $4.35 million. The median price point on the lake for the month was $895,000. That brings us to a total of 143 sales on Winni so far this year with an average price of $1,102,119 or a 32 percent increase in sales compared to the 108 posted in the first ten months of 2014. Not too shabby...

So, right to the big sale first at $4.35 million. This property is located at 90 Keewaydin Road in Wolfeboro in desirable Winter Harbor. This 6,650 square foot lake home was built in 1919 and has five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, spacious living and family rooms, a wonderful kitchen, formal dining room and den. It features two fieldstone fireplaces, custom woodwork, hard wood floors, and lots of glass to bring in the spectacular sunset views. There are decks and patios for entertaining, a great lawn, tennis court, and 315 feet of frontage, a sandy beach and covered dock round out the package. But it was likely the 12.39 acres and four lots of record that stirred the imagination and interest of the buyer. Will it be developed? Will there be a few more residences built there or does the buyer want privacy? Time will tell. This property was originally listed in 2011 at $5.85 million and then at $5.35 million in 2012 for a total of 538 days. It remained off the market until a buyer was brought to the property this year. This property is currently assessed at $2,572,600.

The median price point representative is at 14 Gateway Road in Wolfeboro, which is also in the Winter Harbor area of town. This property features a nicely maintained 1950s vintage ranch style log cabin with 1,040 square feet of rustic living space, three bedrooms, and one bath. The interior is pretty much as you would expect; a large 14' x 27' living room with brick fireplace, a cozy kitchen and a dining room with the tongue and grooved pine boards and exposed log walls. There's also a great front porch to sit on and enjoy the fabulous southwest exposure and sunsets. It sits on a very private 2 acre lot with 200 feet of frontage and a u-shaped cover dock with a boat lift. This property was listed at $1.1 million and went under agreement in just 30 days for $895,000. It is assessed at $865,000.

The entry level sale on Winni was at 10 Camp Island in Gilford. This 1,268 square foot cottage was built in 1967. It has three bedrooms, an open concept living/dining/kitchen area, a 10 feet by 29 feet screened porch, and a bunk house out back. This place might be is a tad more rustic than a lot of buyers would have wanted as there is no electricity, the heat is a wood stove, and you'll find yourself out yonder in the outhouse when nature calls. Gas lights and gas appliances and lake water round out the premium amenities. But this place is really about getting away to nature on the 1 acre lot with 150 feet of sandy frontage, the 42 foot dock, and broad lake and mountain views. Obviously, those features won out over the lack of modern creature comforts as a buyer was found after 73 days on the market. This property was listed at $338,000 and sold for $315,000 which is slightly over the $307,400 assessed value.

Over on Winnisquam there were three sales for the month. A 1,520 square foot three bedroom built in 2010 at 76 Mallard landing Road in Belmont sold for $275,000 in just 43 days. Also in Belmont, at 30 Bayview Drive, a 70s vintage renovated two bedroom cottage with 711 square feet of living space on a .12 acre lot with 100 feet of frontage sold for $325,000. This one took a little longer to sell as it was originally offered at $399,000 and then $395,000 back in 2011. It was listed this year at $339,000. The largest sale on the lake was at 208 Leighton Ave North, Laconia. This 972 square foot three bedroom cottage was right at the water's edge and was totally rebuilt a few years ago. There's also a two car garage with sleeping loft for when Cousin Eddie comes unexpectedly. The lot is about a half acre, toward the north end of the lake and has 107 feet of frontage and sunset views. It was offered at $614,900 and sold for $590,000 after just 104 days on the market. These three sales bring the total number of transactions on the lake so far this year to eighteen compared to fourteen for the same period last year.

P​ease feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 11/12/15. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.

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Pat Buchanan - Let Europe be Europe

"A modern day mass migration is taking place ... that could change the face of Europe's civilization," warned Hungarian President Viktor Orban. "If that happens, that is irreversible. ... There is no way back from a multicultural Europe," said Orban. "If we make a mistake now, it will be forever."

Orban acted on his beliefs. He erected a 110-mile fence on the Serb border, redirecting hundreds of thousands of migrants away from Hungary to Croatia, thence to Austria and Germany.

Sunday, after a third of a million had passed through, Croatia replaced a center-left with a rightist party. A fortnight ago, the right-wing eurosceptic Law and Justice Party won a landslide victory in Poland.

Support for Angela Merkel, who has opened Germany to a million migrants, is plummeting. Bavaria's CSU, sister party of Merkel's CDU, is in rebellion. Bavaria has been the main port of entry for the hundreds of thousands of arriving migrants.

Europe is undergoing the greatest mass migration since World War II, when 14 million Germans were driven out of Prussia and eastern Germany and Central and Eastern Europe. That mass migration halted after two years. But no end is in sight to the migrations from Africa and the Middle East. As long as Europe's borders remain open, they will come. And the people who wish to come number not just in the millions but the tens and scores of millions. And they know how to get there.

The routes — through Turkey to the Balkans on land, or across a few miles of the Med to the Greek islands, or from Libya to Lampedusa and Sicily, or into the Spanish enclaves on the Moroccan coast, or out to the Canary Islands — are arduous but not impossible.

Why should they not come? Why should Arabs and Africans not flee the tyranny, terror, poverty and war that are their lot to come to Europe, live the good life, and have life's necessities provided for their families by the munificent welfare states of northern Europe? And what is to stop them?

Jean Raspail's "The Camp of the Saints" is proving more prophetic than Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" or Orwell's "1984."

Considering the crises facing Europe, the question is no longer: Will the EU survive? It is Orban's question: Will European civilization survive the century?

This year, the EU monetary union, the eurozone, avoided breaking apart because Athens capitulated and accepted austerity, and the hard-bargaining Germans agreed to a bailout. How long will Greeks and Club Med members of the EU accept austerity? How long will Germans bail out nations whose people like to work fewer hours while enjoying superior social benefits?

Under the Schengen Agreement, there are to be no barriers to trade and travel, to the movement of goods and people inside the EU. Yet, across Europe, fences are going up, borders are being re-established, anti-immigrant and anti-EU parties like the National Front of France's Marine Le Pen, are gaining converts. If the mass migrations are not halted, the rise of nationalist regimes at the expense of Europe's liberals and leftists is inevitable.

With birth rates in this smallest and least populated of continents below replacement levels for decades, Europe is aging, shrinking and dying, as it is being invaded and altered forever.

Optimists point to how America absorbed the 15 million that arrived in the Great Wave of immigration from 1890 to 1920. But they ignore the differences. America's immigrants were Europeans from Christian nations coming to a country with a history of assimilation. And the Great Wave stopped in 1924, for 40 years.

Unlike America, Europe has never known mass immigration. And those pouring into Europe are Arab, African and Muslim, not European Christians or Jews. They come from other civilizations and cultures. And they are not all assimilating but rather creating enclaves in Europe that replicate the lands whence they came.

Last year, the Swiss voted to cut back on immigration. This year, with the UK Independence Party growing in popularity, Prime Minister David Cameron is demanding reforms in the EU charter, before the British vote on whether to leave the EU altogether. With migrants in the thousands milling around Calais and the entrance to the tunnel to Dover, Brits must be wondering whether it was wise to dig that tunnel beneath the Channel to their island home.

The threats raised by the mass migration into Europe rise to the level of the existential. Can a civilization survive the replacement of the people who created it by people of other races, religions, and civilizations? Ask the Native Americans.

Will Europe remain Europe if she is repopulated by Arabs, Muslims, Asians and Africans? What will hold Europe together? Free trade? In 1981, when Solidarity was crushed by the Warsaw regime on the orders of Moscow, Americans took up the cry — "Let Poland be Poland." One day soon, a voice will arise across the Atlantic calling for an end to this invasion, by force if necessary, and declare: "Let Europe be Europe!"

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

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