To the populist right, it’s the final step in Barack Obama’s scheme to destroy our once-great nation.

 

The president’s plan for immigration reform would grant “undocumented immigrants a legal way to earn citizenship that will encourage them to come out of the shadows so they can pay their taxes and play by the same rules as everyone else.”

 

Immigration restrictionists believe that placing millions of mostly Mexican illegal aliens on “a pathway to citizenship” will buy votes for the Democratic Party and accelerate America’s lurch toward European-style Unlimited Government.

 

Charge No. 1 is debatable. Charge No. 2 is downright dodgy.

 

First, a quick question for tea partiers of all stripes: What’s the value in shielding the Republican Party from ballot-box threats? Conservatism has little to show for its investment in the GOP. Ronald Reagan couldn’t eliminate a single cabinet-level bureaucracy, Newt Gingrich’s “revolution” imploded, and George W. Bush tried to match LBJ’s feverish expansion of the federal “public” sector. (Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a former fiscal warrior in Washington, recently invoked “Saint Peter” in his defense of expanding Medicaid: “He’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor. You’d better have a good answer.”)

 

Notwithstanding pesky political realities, let’s go with the notion that Latinos are good for the Democratic Party. It’s tough to refute, if scanned through the prism of presidential elections. In the modern era, Republican nominees have crested 40 percent of the Latino vote just once. But the party has fielded some appallingly unappealing candidates — e.g., George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney — in recent decades. Shouldn’t the nominees bear much of the blame?

 

On Capitol Hill, the story isn’t so simple. The ratio of Democrats to Republicans for Latino congressmen is 27:8. It’s 1:2 in the Senate, and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are top-tier contenders for the GOP’s presidential nod in 2016. At the state level, the premise that a “browner” America spells electoral doom for Republicans almost disintegrates. Texas has nearly doubled its share of Latinos in the last 30 years, while the Lone Star State has grown redder. The nation’s two Latino governors are Republicans. (In New Mexico, Susana Martinez’s ethnicity is nearly the majority. Latinos comprise more than a quarter of the population in Brian Sandoval’s Nevada.) Last November, Chris Christie won 51 percent of New Jersey’s Latino vote. Univision viewership, it’s worth noting, can be quite thin in moonbat states. Vermont, Minnesota, Hawaii and Maine are deep blue, with infinitesimal numbers of Latinos.

 

Politics matters, of course, but culture has far more impact. Dissect the habits and principles of America’s Latinos, and talk-radio gabbers’ stereotypes begin to shatter. Welfare is a good place to start. “No amnesty!” activists frequently claim that taxpayers bear an intolerable burden for loose borders. Last year, the Cato Institute examined the data, and concluded that “low-income non-citizen immigrants are less likely to receive public benefits than low-income native-born citizens and…the value of benefits received per recipient is less for the immigrant groups.”

 

Looking at all residents, legal and otherwise, by race/ethnicity and gender, Latino men post the highest workforce-participation rate. At 78.1 percent, the cohort significantly surpasses the rates for black (64.2 percent) and white (71.3 percent) males. Latino women are not job-seeking superstars, but that’s because many refuse to contract out the raising of their children. Solid family and community bonds contribute to the “Latino paradox.” As newer arrivals, residents who trace their origins to Central and South America have below-average incomes and subpar school-completion rates. Yet their health is as good as, if not superior, to both whites and blacks, in metrics including heart disease, cancer, stroke and infant mortality.

 

Hardworking men, women who care for their children, healthy social capital. Who do these Latinos think they are, Luis and Sofia Cleaver?

 

Many in the liberty movement realize that putting America’s second-largest racial/ethnic group in the crosshairs isn’t helpful. Others wallow in baseless — and frankly, bigoted — shibboleths of welfare dependency and resistance to assimilation. But demagoguery doesn’t invalidate the truth that Latinos played no role in the New Deal, aren’t responsible for the Great Society, and made only a small contribution to the Bush-Obama fiscal and economic catastrophes.

 

Serious responses are needed, now, to the twin crises of family fragmentation and government insolvency. Instead of spreading myths, hurling accusations, and slamming gates, it’s time to ask Latinos how they can help.

 

D. Dowd Muska (dowdmuska.com) of Broad Brook writes about government, economics and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.

 

 The nation’s least business-friendly state is about to get even more hostile to the private sector.

Mere months after legislation was enacted raising the state’s minimum wage to $9 an hour over two years, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is once again looking to increase the hourly pay rate, this time to $10.10 by the year 2017 (see story, page 1).

Like the minimum wage that took effect January 1 of this year, this latest proposal, SB 32, would be  incremental. It changes last year’s law by establishing a $9.15 per hour minimum wage beginning January 1, 2015, raising it to $9.60 the following year, and to $10.10 on January 1, 2017.

One can only observe that the solons in Hartford who support this measure have never managed a business or met a payroll. What is more troubling is that apparently Malloy and his Democrat allies in the General Assembly have never talked to those who manage companies and meet payrolls in Connecticut to ask for their input.

If they had, here’s what they would have heard: Hiking the minimum wage yet again is a job-killer and a body blow to the state’s woeful “recovery” from the 2008-09 recession.

It’s not hard to see why: Faced with a mandate to pay workers more than their labor is worth on the open market, employers simply won’t do it. They will compensate by cutting workers’ hours and benefits, curtail employee training and raises prices on the goods and services they sell.

Supporters of the measure argue that raising the minimum wage provides workers more money to buy things. Actually, the opposite is true: SB 32 would in fact deal a double dose of economic poison to those it is intended to help. Jobs for teens and low-skilled workers would evaporate, making them less able to afford to buy goods and services made more expensive by the minimum-wage mandate.

In its February government affairs report, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association observed that “Since the last minimum wage increase passed, little has changed in Connecticut’s economic health: Employers are still struggling with the high costs of doing business in the state, and some perceptions persist that Connecticut is not a good place to locate, or expand businesses.”

There is a pernicious presumption at work here: That workers somehow are forced to toil in low-paying jobs at, say, fast-food restaurants or retail stores. But they’re not indentured servants; workers are free to sell their labor for the highest wages they can get. If they deem that compensation too low, there are myriad avenues to enhance the value of their labor through education, training and the like.

That’s only if trusts the wisdom of free markets to strike an equitable balance between what companies can afford to pay for labor and what employees can sell their labor for. But increasingly, the politicians who control the commanding heights of Connecticut’s economy do not trust the marketplace.

The political narrative of the left, unquestioned by a pliant “mainstream” media, goes something like this: Most working Americans are naïve sheep, easily fooled into selling their labor for less than its actual (read: government-mandated) value by rapacious business owners. Only shining-armor progressives — politicians, lawyers, ”community organizers” — can save workers from themselves.

Until this predominating narrative changes, Connecticut’s economy will never improve, and companies will continue to look for greener pastures elsewhere.