GOP Can't Make Up Its Mind About Mandates

E-verify is just as invasive as Obamacare.


When the White House announced last week that it was delaying Obamacare's employer insurance mandate by a year, Republicans pounced. For the past four years they have argued the mandate is a disaster waiting to happen, and last week they took the delay as proof they had been right all along.

 "The president's health care law is already raising costs and costing jobs," said House Speaker John Boehner. Sen. Orrin Hatch denounced "this job-killing requirement on employers." Virginia's Eric Cantor warned that "the added costs  and regulations to businesses across our nation mean less jobs and less economic growth," so nothing less than full repeal would suffice.

Critics have been making the same points since before the law was passed. In their Jan. 2011 report calling Obamacare "A Budget-Busting, Job-Killing Health-Care Law," House Republicans cited a 2009 study by the National Federation of Independent Business to warn that "an employer mandate alone could lead to the elimination of 1.6 million jobs . . . with 66 percent of those coming from small businesses."

And since the law took effect, Republicans have gleefully drawn attention to one of its unintended consequences. Because they employer mandate applies only to full-time workers, many companies are shifting to part-time help. So "Americans are seeing their hours cut and their paychecks reduced as a result of the employer mandate," said Indiana Rep Todd Young earlier this month.

Clearly, Republicans hate imposing federal mandates on job-creating American businesses, right?

Wrong. In fact, many insist on a federal employer mandate with just as much passion – as soon as the subject turns to immigration, the subject of a closed-door meeting among House Republicans today.

The immigration bill passed by the Senate would require nearly all U.S. employers to check job applicants against an electronic eligibility verification system known as E-Verify. The use of E-Verify is one of the hard triggers Republicans insist must be pulled before unlawful resident aliens can apply for provisional status. Late last month the House Judiciary Committee approved, along partisan lines, a similar proposal. Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte says the measure "balances the need of the American people regarding immigration enforcement with the need of the business community regarding a fair and workable … verification system."

Tell that to employers like Davis Boris. Boris runs a catering business; his payroll of 25 workers more than triples during busy periods, which means a lot of paperwork even if everything goes right. Yet there's a good chance that under E-Verify everything wouldn't. A Homeland Security report predicts a national E-Verify system would create a bureaucratic nightmare so bad "almost 770,000 genuinely legal workers would lose their jobs." Many more would have to jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops to demonstrate they are who they claim to be. Businesses such as his, Boris told The New York Times, "don't have the resources to be catching up with bureaucratic snafus."

What's more, this employer mandate is, equally, an individual mandate. The employer has to verify that you have the government's permission to work. But if any questions come up, the burden of proof falls on you.

Conservatives might respond that once the kinks are worked out, E-Verify will not prove terribly arduous. Setting aside this argument's touching faith in federal efficiency, it raises other questions: Does that mean their objection to Obamacare's insurance mandate is strictly utilitarian? Would they accept it gladly if it cost a little less? Do they believe the government can impose as many mandates as it chooses, so long as none of them is too onerous by itself?

Of course not. Republican orthodoxy holds that government should not endlessly dictate the terms by which private enterprise goes about its business, even when those dictates ostensibly serve "the common good." It doesn't matter how many people might benefit from a mandate forcing Cathy's Cupcakes to provide health insurance; whether to provide it should be up to Cathy. Business decisions are best left to those who have the most knowledge and the most right to make them: Business owners.

By the same reasoning, it doesn't matter how many people might benefit from a mandate telling Cathy whom she can hire; if she would prefer Juan over John, that that ought to be her business and nobody else's. And yet the 2012 GOP platform declared that Republicans "insist upon [immigration] enforcement at the workplace through verification systems . . . Use of the E-Verify system . . . must be made mandatory nationwide." Why? Because "Americans need jobs."

Well, yes. They do. They also need health insurance. But someone's needing something does not give government legitimate grounds to make somebody else provide it.

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. I had to do E-Verify for my current job.

    That’s when I learned that I wasn’t a real person. The state had made a type-O on my recently changed drivers license(new state) and I didn’t even notice it. So, they told me, you aren’t a real person. So I had to go to the MVA(what sort of crime deserves such a cruel and unusual punishment?) and have them to fix it. Now I’m a real person again. I’m not really sure if that’s a good thing, or not.

    But not to worry, if you aren’t a real person, you can still get the welfah, there’s no e-verify for that. The gubmint apparently likes it more when you sit around all day and do nothing, all paid for by other people.

    1. Is that you, Buttle?

      1. It’s Tuttle, with a T…Not Buttle…

        1. “I came into this game for the action, the excitement. Go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out, wherever there’s trouble, a man alone. Now they got the whole country sectioned off, you can’t make a move without a form.”

        2. We can all be comforted by the thought that he’s not really gone, there’s a little Tuttle left in all of us, in fact you might say that all of us together made up Tuttle.

          1. His name is Robert Tuttle. His name is Robert Tuttle! HIS NAME IS ROBERT TUTTLE!

    2. “The gubmint apparently likes it more when you sit around all day and do nothing, all paid for by other people.”

      I just spent 10 minutes at the bus stop listing to a women in her early twenties (white, tatted-up good, perfectly capable of working) bitch on her cell phone what a drag it is to go downtown and apply for state assistance. I mean you have to go downtown, fill out a form, wait for them to call your number and then talk with someone about it. And if that’s not bad enough, after that you have to go upstairs and wait to talk to someone else.

      Getting free money should not have to be so difficult that it takes up part of a day.

      1. I’ve been almost persuaded by the “let the system burn” faction to look into getting a divorce and custody of the kids to get housing, food, educational, and other assistance to supplement my potential-ex’s income.

      2. Getting free money should not have to be so difficult that it takes up part of a day.

        And yet economics is so powerful that even she knows that is the best value use of her time.

  2. That’s obviously different because something something welfare something they vote democrat.

    1. I’d like to see some data on the number of people on government assistance, who vote, compared to people who do not receive any assistance.

      Most of the people that I’ve known who received government assistance (not talking disabled people, but people who imho, scam the system because they are fully able to work, but choose not to), are too fucking lazy to go vote, or do much of anything else that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a TV or other assorted idle activities.

      1. I live in the ghetto. There are more people on government assistance in my neighborhood than in any other in Minneapolis. I saw a 2012 voter turn-out by neighborhood map and it was the lowest in the city – 14%. So yes, too lazy to vote. And that number would be much, much lower were it not for the organizations that bus them to the polls (and give them goodies for going).

        1. I want to visit those Ohio and Florida neighborhoods that had 108% or even higher voter turnouts. It must be really interesting to watch dead people going to the polls. It’s probably like a scene from The Walking Dead, I suppose.

  3. you mean politicians have no principles? Damn….

  4. From what I can see, E-Verify is largely supported by the “moderate” Republicans moreso than the base or the conservative Republicans — i.e., the part of the Republican party that is least likely to have problems with the ACA’s individual mandate.

  5. If the GOP were smart about Obamacare (they’re obviously not smart about much of anything), then they would take a strictly hands off approach to it, point to it and say, it’s yours, Democrats, you own it, we’re not fucking with it. If it’s so great, let’s see.

    1. This. “You passed it, now you get to find what’s in it, and what that’s going to do for your re-election chances.”

    2. They would never do that, because in the back of their minds, they are worried it will work. Even though it flies in the face of economic principles or the way people live and operate.

      1. I would be worried whether it works or not. When is the last time you have seen progressives do away with a government program even if said program was a massive fucking failure?

        At6 this point any “fix” to this turd sandwich will only serve to make things worse.

    3. I don’t agree with the premise that the GOP is against PPACA. Mitt Romney anyone? It’s kinda like assuming the Dems are against torture and the War on Terror. It’s a poor assumption.
      The GOP and Dems are both onboard for National ID cards. They just have different sales strategies.

  6. But those brown people-hating xenophobic nativists are all voting AGAINST the Senate bill which contains E-verify and the border-surge.

    E-verify and the border-surge is supported by perennial reason-man-crush Jeff Flake.

    1. Do you think you can just shoot the president’s only begotten son and not face some consequences?

    2. The amount of money spent was ridiculously small. You can argue that the principle of it matters. But since when have principles matters in the last say…decade?

    3. If this is really true, can we now have a special prosecutor? Seriously, what more does this administration have to do, drone children?

      1. They’ve done that.

    4. This is why I expect there to be riots. The big O needs them to further his agenda. You know, just like fast & furious.

  7. Does that mean their objection to Obamacare’s insurance mandate is strictly utilitarian?

    It could mean that placing requirements on an entity that has chosen to enter a field is different from placing requirements on an entity that hasn’t chosen to enter a field.

  8. Really love, as an employer, doing the government’s work for it. It all totally makes sense if you don’t think about it at all.

  9. My biggest bitch with the delay in implementing the exchanges is the questionable Constitutionality of the president deciding that he can change the language of a piece of legislation. As someone else pointed out, if Romney had been elected and simply decided to delay implementing any part of Obamacare for 4 or 8 years, would that have been ok? I can see Obama going back to Congress and asking for an extension on the law mandating the implementation, but just deciding on his own that the law can be changed – and everybody just accepts it – is not good.


      The implementation of the exchanges hasn’t actually been delayed yet (but it will) – this is in reference to delaying the implementation of the employer mandate.

    2. if Romney had been elected and simply decided to delay implementing any part of Obamacare for 4 or 8 years, would that have been ok?

      If by “ok” you mean “seen far and wide as grounds for impeachment” then, yeah, it would be OK.

      1. I think you are confused about the degree of policy separation between the two men. Yes the press would fire off some harsh editorials because he belongs to the other team, but in the end nothing would happen.

        1. I think you are confused about whether I said anything would happen.

          I doubt it would be limited to the press. I can see Pelosi and Reid in front of the cameras talking about how Romney was thwarting the will of Congress and the American people.

          1. My bad. Wrong reply to this portal.

  10. So if you’re against one form of mandate, you therefore must be against mandates of….. any kind? E-verify is supposed to be a free online program. It’s less onerous than having to actually pay for healthcare for 50 people.

    The American people might be skeptical about the government efficiency, but if anything they do works 99% of the time, they’ll live with it.

    The author assumes that the wrongly rejected will be stuck in some bureaucratic limbo. Maybe he’s right. But if you were wrongly rejected, you have your government issued passport, proof of citizenship, driver’s license, and even records of previous employment. Appealing your e-verify denial should be less subjective than having to prove that you have a disability or your income level.

    Mandatory E-verify seems like a fair trade for granting a path to citizenship for the illegal aliens currently living in the city.

    1. yes, this time the proposed national database will never be misused or make mistakes… and besides, its so convenient!

  11. The problem with your arguement is that E-verify is free and takes no more time that filling out the I-9 form that companies complete now. There is no or little cost. As opposed to Obamacare which is wildly expensive and interferes with the right of contract between two private parties.

    E-verify is an act of sovereignty that is designed to keep out aliens without the authority to enter or remain in the United States and work.

    To claim they are the same is to deny that the nation has the authority to regulate the entry of aliens. You have to argue that national borders should not exist.

    You can’t even claim that you support borders but support free immigration. You claim that once the illegals are here, they may remain and work without consequence. The comparison to Obamacare is clearly ridiculous. You like to pretend that you a “plague on both your houses” in the Republican v. Demoncrat battle, but you really are an enemy of sovereignty.

    1. It would be more than sufficient to give people secure means of proving their citizenship, like an identity card or a passport. That’s the way other countries handle employment verification, and it works. Using modern technologies, it can be implemented in a way that is entirely privacy preserving, off-line, and secure.

      Creating a central database and mandating access to it for employment is completely unnecessary. The fact that Republicans support and promote this intrusion into people’s privacy means that they have ulterior motives that have nothing to do with sovereignty.

      1. Some countries already have “databases” and equivalent for foreigners, especially in racially homogeneous nations where immigrant or foreigners make up 3-5% of the nation, if at that. Some foreigners are legally barred from taking government positions or other work, and that’s in places like Japan.

        If you’re a citizen, aren’t you automatically entered into some sort of database? Whenever I had to work for around children, the employer ran my prints and asked for my TB test.

        E-verify is a free online program. It could very well be intrusive, just not as much as Obamacare.

  12. Seems weird to argue for e-Verify for employment, but against it for Obamacare and guns. All three are equally intrusive.

  13. Ted Cruz for president.

  14. Adam Smith viewed wage employees as slaves. The law even uses the synonym “servant” for “worker.” Regardless, the government should not be interfering in the labor market or regulating people into a situation where they are more likely to work for someone else i.e. license to braid hair. Funny though that liberal what people to show their i.d. when exercising their second amendment rights but not while voting or any other times. Just for the record, I don’t support either flee bag party. Like Ted Cruz though. Does that make me a hipocrate?

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