New Jersey is, unsurprisingly, very broke. Even at the best of times, the Garden State isn’t known as a model of fiscal continence. These aren’t, as you may perhaps have noticed, the best of times.
New Jersey’s nearly out of money. Its ability to replenish that money is going to be severely tested by the fact that it’s being hit with cataclysmic unemployment and business closures, meaning its tax base — already shrinking thanks to an exodus of residents — is drying up.
An infusion of cash if the Democrats are able to secure their much sought-after bailout for the states won’t help much, considering the fact that it still won’t solve long-term structural issues that existed before all this.
So why, then, is New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy considering paying illegal immigrants $600 a week?
On Thursday, TheBlaze reported, Murphy was asked during a coronavirus media briefing about a report from the immigrant rights group Make the Road NJ.
The report was titled “Essential and Excluded.” Its executive summary noted that “of respondents who lost their jobs and are undocumented, none qualify for federal stimulus payments or state unemployment benefits.”
The report was based on a poll of New Jersey residents, 96.4 percent of whom identified as Hispanic. Fifty-two percent of those identified their immigration status as “estimated undocumented.” You can count me as “estimated unimpressed” with the tortured and tortuous language used by Make the Road NJ to avoid the slightest whiff of offense, but I digress.
I’ll give you the TL;DR version of the report, which shouldn’t surprise you: Illegal immigrants don’t have the same access to economic relief provisions that citizens do and that’s a Very Bad Thing.
I don’t think I need to identify the problem with this line of thinking to you and I don’t think I would convince the folks at Make the Road NJ — fine people all, I’m sure, but not terribly well acquainted with the concept of lawbreaking and its attendant consequences — if I explained it.
Anyhow, Murphy was asked about this and whether or not he would consider giving illegal immigrants in New Jersey “who have lost wages” because of the coronavirus pandemic $600 a week.
While Murphy wasn’t familiar with the report, he said he was “open-minded to the $600-a-week” option.
“It’s not just because I think we’re good guys and gals, but because we’re not going to break the back of this virus unless we bring us all along,” Murphy said.
According to NJ.com, some of the state’s 850,000 unemployed workers are currently receiving an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits during the pandemic crisis. Of course, these people paid into unemployment insurance, as did their employers, but why should that matter? (Aside from the obvious.)
As TheBlaze noted, this would be generous even by the standards of the previous winner of the illegal immigrant giveaway sweepstakes, California. The Golden State gave illegal immigrant adults a one-time payout of $500 with a cap of $1,000 per household.
“California is the most diverse state in the nation. Our diversity makes us stronger and more resilient,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at the time.
Your state’s massive budgetary hole and unfunded liabilities might have something to say about how much stronger and resilient that makes you, Governor Newsom. However, at least that’s not a recurring payment that will, in theory, last until the end of the coronavirus crisis. And that’s to assume it’ll end there. What was it Milton Friedman said about temporary government programs? I can never recall…
And by the way, this is a recurring payment to illegal immigrants in a state that has massive unemployment.
No state doesn’t at the moment, granted. That said, New Jersey has shed 850,000 jobs in the coronavirus era, NJ.com reported. That’s roughly one job for every 10 people in the state.
As it is right now, New Jersey is one of the states most vigorously clamoring for a federal bailout, with Murphy saying the state is “many billions” short of what it needs.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported that “New Jersey faces an immense shortfall, leading the state official to predict it could run out of cash at the current rate in about four to six weeks, perhaps leaving the state no choice but to consider huge cuts and layoffs, including those targeting education and teachers.”
Yet Murphy is considering paying illegal immigrants $600 a week for lost wages while his state faces massive unemployment.
Let me state the obvious, which needs restating because we tend to hide behind deliberately evasive language like “undocumented workers”: Illegal immigrants are in the country illegally. Yes, as we’ve been told, they “take jobs we don’t want to do,” which is to say they take jobs employers would prefer not to pay full market price for.
We’re now told that, because they no longer take those jobs and aren’t eligible for relief that’s meant for citizens or unemployed workers, we should give them a taxpayer-funded package — essentially rewarding illegal behavior with taxpayer money.
New Jersey is a deep-blue state that occasionally elects a Republican governor. Those who, unlike me, haven’t lived in the land of the Turnpike, Springsteen, Kevin Smith movies, “What Exit?” and the pork roll often wonder how that happens.
This is how: An out-of-touch liberal does something so jaw-droppingly appalling that the kind of people who would normally sport “Nevertheless, She Persisted,” “Coexist” and “Eve Was Framed” bumper stickers on the back of their Priuses would hold their noses and vote for a Christine Todd Whitman or a Chris Christie.
Murphy is only considering this preposterous idea right now, judging by his answer. Perhaps he was only trying to placate his liberal supporters and this will blessedly only remain an idea.
If not, I would urge New Jersey Republicans to ready their paperwork for the 2021 election now. Once Gov. Murphy empties the state’s coffers, you, too, could be our next Chris Christie — although, given coronavirus’ tendency to attack the overweight, you’ll hopefully be a few hundred pounds lighter.