Online Opinion Outpost: Nov. 18, 2014


The Online Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources.

Millenial savings

Catherine Rampell, The Washington Post

A new analysis of savings rates — calculated by Moody’s Analytics, and based on Federal Reserve data — has gotten a lot of attention for the sharp division it shows between the financial habits of Kids Today and those of everyone else. Older and wiser Americans are prudently building up their nest eggs.
Financially profligate 34-and-under types exhibit no such provident penny-pinching.
Maybe immature whippersnappers -haven’t yet learned to make tough, self-denying decisions. Also consider, though, that they’re in the early years of their careers — about two decades ahead of their peak earning years — yet are reaching huge, expensive life milestones such as having kids and buying their first homes.
The unfortunate synchronicity of these two factors (entry-level pay, costly life milestones) suggests that young people will almost always have lower savings rates than their elders, even before you consider other factors such as student loan debt and exotic bachelorette parties. If youth is wasted on the young, perhaps positive cash flow is wasted on the -middle-aged. In any case, if you believe that people make spending decisions based on how much they expect to earn over the course of their lives — one of the landmark concepts that won Milton Friedman his Nobel Prize — it’s not so troubling that Americans have low to negative savings rates when they’re young.


Obama’s bold immigration move

The New York Times

President Obama is apparently ready to go big, as he promised, to fix immigration on his own — to use his law-enforcement discretion to spare perhaps five million unauthorized immigrants from deportation. Aides speaking anonymously have told The Times that Mr. Obama is considering some options for executive action that would give parents of children who are citizens or legal residents, as well as people who were brought here illegally as children, temporary legal status and permission to work.
Details are lacking, and praise for presidential action will have to wait until it becomes clear whether the often-too-cautious Mr. Obama goes through with it, and how comprehensive his order is — whether it includes those who have been living here five years, for example, or 10 years and what other hurdles applicants may have to meet to qualify.
Our view on executive action is: the sooner the better, and the bigger the better, because so many have been waiting so long for the unjust immigration system to be repaired, while vast resources have been wasted on deporting needed workers and breaking up families instead of pursuing violent criminals and other security threats.
The president cannot rewrite immigration law. But he does control the enforcement apparatus; no Republicans have complained about his using executive authority to deport more people more quickly than all his predecessors. Using his discretion to focus on deporting violent criminals, terrorists and other threats is not lawlessness. It is his job.


Rep. Diane Black, The Washington Examiner

Obama now wants to put our country’s immigration system through the same kind of legal turmoil that he has done with our healthcare system. Any orders he gives that circumvent Congress will undoubtedly be met with legal challenges that bring his authority into question. That will potentially place millions more in legal limbo, just as he has done with those now receiving Obamacare subsidies.
Instead of disregarding the American electorate and ignoring our nation’s immigration laws, President Obama should heed the warning the Supreme Court just gave him on Obamacare and work within the framework of our Constitution on immigration.

Mexico’s protest

Jose Carreño Figueras, CNN

Mexico has seen a cascade of political scandals that have shaken the country the last few months, most notably the now well-publicized bloody incident in which 43 teaching students were “delivered” by the Iguala city police to a drug trafficking group, who murdered them under the belief that they were sent by a rival gang.
Mexico’s people are no longer willing to tolerate the current state of affairs. Some have suggested that the government will fall, and others have said Mexico is a failed state.
The Mexican government does not appear ready to fall, not even close. But it seems to be in a defensive situation, maybe waiting for the tempest to wane so that it can regain the political initiative.
The authorities do not appear to be able to control the violent gangs that have plagued the country for the last 10 or 15 years even if they claim that a big part of the violence has been the result of the breakdown of the major drug cartels.
But then again, they do not appear to be able to contain the more or less contrived violence present in some of the protests, in the last few years. Yes, the seemingly small thievery, small vandalism in some demonstrations — even the attempt to burn a gate to the National Palace — pale in comparison to the drug violence that have caused more than 60,000 deaths in the last 10 years.

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