Bill Would Allow Reopening Some Pa Businesses With Conditions

Bill Would Allow Reopening Some Pa Businesses With Conditions

By Sen. Doug Mastriano

I introduced legislation this week to get Pennsylvania working again.  Calling it “Pennsylvania Healthy Citizens and Healthy Businesses back to work initiative,” it applies strict health and safety measures on businesses to allow them to resume operations.  The governor should not have the sole and arbitrary power to judge which businesses should survive.  His only answer to this was creating a star-chamber like secret waiver process, which at last count has 25,000 requests pouring in.  The entire process is a well-guarded secret with zero accountability or transparency.  We have no idea if those approved/disapproved are getting political payback, or how decisions are being made.  Is it constitutional that he is wielding so much power, unprecedented in Pennsylvania’s history?  It is not up to Governor Wolf to pick winners and losers and he is indeed doing that.  This was made evident in a recent expose by the Philadelphia Inquirer, which discovered the Wolf Family legacy company to remains open, despite his order to the contrary.

Pennsylvania is indeed confronted by a contagious virus, which has necessitated certain emergency measures to curtail its spread.  This encompasses distancing, sanitary health practices, health conscience behavior, a sanitary workplace, among many other considerations as listed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  These are designed to ameliorate the spread of COVID-19.  Chief among the considerations is the need to avoid the spike in infected people that sadly occurred in other nations, such as in Italy.  This spike overwhelmed their health care facilities and left scores not receiving the help that they required.

The key concern of Governor Tom Wolf in this environment was to reduce the spread of the virus across the state by severely restricting/limiting what he called “non-essential” and later,  “non-life-supporting” business activity.  His order to avoid a spike in cases was triggered by the governor’s 19 March order that initially called for the closure of all businesses across the state deemed non-essential that evening.  Wolf’s unilateral closure order impacted tens of thousands of businesses; millions of jobs and put at stake the very lives and economic well being of our citizens.  His draconian order took no account of CDC or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines on allowing low contagion risk jobs to remain operational, but at the stroke of a pen, unilaterally issued a proclamation that will be calamitous for our state.  Hardest hit among these are; single-parent families, young couples, the independently employed (who still are not eligible for unemployment, despite my engagement with the governor to reverse his position on this), non-profits and small businesses.  There is a real and present danger that Wolf’s cure may be worse than the virus.

And then there is Wolf’s much-vaunted waiver office.  The governor’s waiver process lacks accountability, has no oversight and grants him unilateral power of who can and cannot be open for business.  This is too much power in the hands of one man and as we saw with the Philadelphia Inquirer exposé, it is already being used for political payoff.

My “Pennsylvania Healthy Citizens and Healthy Businesses back to work” legislation will allow businesses to reopen if they agree to abide by CDC mitigation measures to contain the spread of the virus. We need a safe, fair and balanced approach to reopening businesses.  Not the secret and random Wolf waiver process, but rather an approach that takes the incompetence and corruption of Harrisburg bureaucrats out of it.  A process that uses the expert advice of CDC and OSHA to provide direction on how certain businesses can reopen, which will at the same time, protect the health and welfare of our people and our state.

The preponderance of the “non-life sustaining businesses” closed by Governor Wolf are categorized by the Federal Government as low to medium risk at spreading the diseases and that’s without them already implementing the CDC’s health conscience best practices.  Imagine how safe they will be with the implementation of CDC’s guidance.  The way ahead for Pennsylvania is to offer businesses deemed by Gov Wolf as “non-life supporting” to resume operations but under certain conditions.   To reopen, mangers, owners, and staff agree to comply with CDC and OSHA COVID-19 mitigation measures until the state of emergency has ended.  These businesses do not require a waiver, but agree to enforce CDC and OSHA policies during the COVID-19 health crisis and will be responsible for meeting these standards if inspected by the PA Department of Health or local law enforcement.  Timely and full compliance is required to continue operating the business during the crisis.  An appeals process will be established at the Department of Labor to handle any concerns of disagreement with an inspector’s findings and monthly reports will be filed with the relevant committees in the House and Senate (Health, Labor, etc) to provide oversight and transparency.  The House and Senate Labor Committees will adjudicate any appeals or complaints that are challenged by the businesses in disagreement with a Department of Labor’s decisions.

Businesses that resume operations during this health crisis agree to abide by the following healthy practices delineated by both the CDC and OSHA:

Businesses that resume operations during this health crisis agree to abide by the following healthy practices delineated by both the CDC and OSHA:

  • Implement a generous sick leave policy, without retribution, for anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath)
  • Employees who develop COVID-19 symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) will immediately be sent home and not return until cleared by a healthcare professional
  • Sick employees must remain at home until their symptoms have passed and/or they receive a clean bill of health from their healthcare provider or state/local health officials
  • Employees with sick family members, or family members at higher risk (elderly, those with a weakened immune system, heart conditions, respiratory disease, chronic medical condition, diabetes, etc), should not work in a public area and all efforts should be made for them to work from home
  • Employers allow as many employees as possible to work from home (telework)
  • Employers must ensure that there is a minimum of six feet between workers, as well as six feet maintained between the employee and the public.
  • Employees at higher risk of suffering severe consequences or death by COVID-19 (elderly, weakened immune system, heart conditions, respiratory disease, chronic medical condition, diabetes, etc), will not be permitted to work in a non-life supporting business until the crisis has passed.
  • Employees with a sick family member will not return to work until that family member is cleared by a professional healthcare worker.

Additionally, the business will agree to:

  • Implement sanitary policies and a regular cleaning schedule to reduce exposure to COVID-19
  • To disinfect workspaces and areas with access to the public in addition to the workspaces and especially the restrooms.
  • Have adequate cleaning supplies available, as well as disposable paper towels, etc. The business will also ensure that tissues, hand sanitizers, gloves, medical masks, and other necessary sanitary products are available on site should an employee need them.
  • Online meetings will be encouraged rather than in-person
  • Employees will not share tools, equipment, phones, desks, computers or electronics.
  • Employers will agree to allow employees to remain home to care for sick relatives if necessary
  • Employers will develop flexible emergency leave policies during this health crisis and have non-punitive measures in place for those that need time off due to health concerns
  • Employers will not require their employees to have a COVID-19 positive test result to take sick leave
  • Employers will suspend non-essential operations and go to “minimal manning” to reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19
  • Employers Adopt “flexible worksites” that allows telework, etc. to reduce the likelihood of exposure
  • Break rooms and cafeterias should be closed
  • Postpone all non-essential meetings.
  • Limit public interaction and use curbside pickup, and online meetings.
  • Seek ways to increase building/office ventilation and circulation,

In closing, I’m reminded of a local florist that is operated by a husband and wife.  They can do all transactions online and deliver the arrangements to the customer.  They will not exchange money, see or meet any people and are at zero risk of spreading the virus.  There is another local business in my area that is operated by a husband, wife and their daughter.  Again, the transactions can be done online and the goods can be left out for pick up or delivery.  They will have no interaction with the public and are at zero risk of spreading the virus.  Having such low-risk businesses shut down at the whim of the governor lacks reason or justification.  He’s doing nothing to limit the health crisis while causing unnecessary pain to the community.   What’s the point of shutting down any activity that has zero to little risk of spreading the virus?  This is simply an example of the heavy hand of big government, needlessly crushing hard-working families and small business owners.

By implementing the above best practices, the spread of the virus will be contained/migrated, while at the same time allowing Pennsylvania to reopen for business.   Many of the businesses shut down by the governor’s unilateral order are considered by CDC and OSHA criteria as low risk of spreading the virus.  Mandating the implementation of these commonsense and life-saving measures, as described by CDC and OSHA, will ensure the safety of our citizens and the survival of our businesses.  Without compromising the health and welfare of our people, this balanced/commonsense approach is in the best interest of Pennsylvania.  Governor Wolf, it’s time to think about the people of Pennsylvania and get “safe businesses” back to work.

Doug Mastriano represents Pennsylvania Senate District 33

Bill Would Allow Reopening Some Pa Businesses With Conditions
Bill Would Allow Reopening Some Pa Businesses With Conditions

California Homeless Coronavirus Concern

California Homeless Coronavirus Concern


By Kevin Lynn

The novel coronavirus that first appeared in China late last year has been finding its way around the world since. Its journey highlights why a nation’s borders serve not only to protect a nation’s security, but the health and welfare of the citizens of a country. Ineffective U.S. border control for decades, as well as only cursory attention paid to internal controls that regulate entries and exits of noncitizens, has left our country vulnerable to a new pandemic.

California Homeless Coronavirus Concern

The agencies and technologies exist to effectively regulate entry, but we choose not to utilize them. Quixotically, cities, counties and even entire states opt to declare themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. The poster child for local governments providing sanctuary is Los Angeles, a city least prepared to deal with a disease outbreak.

Last year, Los Angeles had an outbreak of typhus, a disease characterized by fever, headaches, a purple rash and often delirium that typically spreads by infected mites, lice and fleas. The outbreak would have probably gone largely unreported had it not been for the disease jumping from the city’s homeless population to staff working in City Hall, blocks from Skid Row.

Conservative estimates place the number of Los Angeles County’s homeless population at 59,000. Imagine if coronavirus hits that population. Unlike typhus, which is a bacterial infection, the coronavirus can spread much more easily. The virus, which results in the disease COVID-19 in humans, can spread between people who come as close as six feet, via respiratory droplets and by exposure to infected surfaces. The Center for Disease Control states, “The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in communities.”

It is hard to walk back decades of neglect and disinterest in what should be a commonsense approach to regulating who may enter the country. But the special interests that want an inexpensive as well as pliable labor force and politicians looking to feather their nests have undermined our ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus.

The countries of Singapore and Mongolia have been shining examples of how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The number of new cases in both countries is falling off dramatically. In the case of Mongolia, cases have plateaued. Singapore responded immediately to the crisis. Its top-notch healthcare system allowed it to do localized testing which helped not only in early identification, but also effective tracing of potential carriers. Moreover, it was able to take the restrictive measures necessary with a citizenry that was prepared to sacrifice for the common good.

Contrast this to what is now a very balkanized California. Even with its large vulnerable populations (150,000 homeless) and recent examples of disease outbreaks, California has no localized disease testing. California’s politicians are almost giddy with delight when flouting the nation’s immigration laws, but tepid when it comes to measures that actually improve the safety, health and security of its citizens.

Likely California will handle COVID-19 in much the way it responds to everything else that requires an effective response. It will launch into delusional thinking that will have its political leaders assigning blame to everyone but themselves. The question is: How long will the citizenry put up with this?


Kevin Lynn is the Executive Director of Progressives for Immigration Reform. Contact him at klynn@pfirdc.org.

California Homeless Coronavirus Concern

Enrollment Plummets At Pennsylvania State Universities

Enrollment Plummets At Pennsylvania State Universities

By Lowman S. Henry 

Governor Tom Wolf’s address to a joint session of the General Assembly in early February marked the official beginning of the annual state budget process. Higher education, specifically the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), became a dominant issue.

Enrollment Plummets At Pennsylvania State Universities

Unfettered by economic reality, the costs of higher education have skyrocketed. The result is massive student debt and never-ending calls for more taxpayer dollars to subsidize our education institutions. This despite declining enrollment and an economy more in need of individuals trained for technical jobs or skilled in the trades.

Adding fuel to the fire, the governor proposed diverting more than $200 million from subsidies to the state’s horse racing industry to pay for scholarships or to help reduce the debt burden for students attending state-run colleges. Most of the money to pay for the scholarship program would be diverted from the Horse Racing Development Fund.

Revenue to supply that fund is generated by taxes from the slot machines that now dot the commonwealth’s landscape. That is ironic because casino gambling in the state began as a plan to place slots at race tracks in an effort to save the then floundering horse racing industry. What gaming has become is a subject for another day, but taking away that revenue stream resulted in predictable howls of protest from those in the equine community.

Governor Wolf’s solution to every problem is to spend more taxpayer money. He is especially fond of throwing more dollars at education, without ever demanding those dollars be spent prudently and with no means of measuring quality. Likewise, as predictable as Punxsutawney Phil emerging from his burrow, the reigning chancellor of PASSHE every February petitions the legislature for more money.

In so doing they have turned a blind eye to market forces. This is because most in the higher education community don’t view education as a product. While there is merit to valuing education for the sake of adding to the societal pool of knowledge or even for personal edification, the main reason for obtaining a higher education is to equip oneself to earn money – presumably at a higher level than one would have earned without a degree.

To that end, state system schools have become the retail equivalent of shopping malls – overbuilt behemoths with a rapidly declining customer base. According to the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy in Pittsburgh, enrollment at the 14-university system peaked in 2010 at 119,513 students. By the fall of 2019 enrollment had dropped by 20 percent to 95,494 students. Mansfield University saw an enrollment decline of 51 percent, while Cheney’s enrollment fell by 61 percent.

With a declining customer base, the schools have not only failed to contain costs but have actually increased both annual spending and debt. The schools’ combined financial liability has increased from $2.07 billion in 2010 to $5.46 billion in 2019. Pension liabilities are up 53 percent.

The decline in enrollment can be attributed to several factors. First, Pennsylvania’s high schools are graduating fewer students, thus the “customer base” is shrinking. Second, state-related universities such as Penn State and the nation’s private universities are doing a better job of attracting students.

And while all of the above have made adaptations to accommodate non-traditional students, adult continuing education, and on-line learning, they have failed to adequately respond to the fact the nation’s workforce has less and less need for classically educated individuals and a greater need for those with a technical education or ability to work in the building trades.

Yes, there will always be a need for those equipped with four-year college degrees and higher. But, the failure of the higher education community to contain costs and adapt to market forces has made such an education unaffordable for many potential students. This is especially true when high paying, family-sustaining jobs in manufacturing and the trades are readily available, and for significantly less cost for training.

In the age of Amazon, Governor Wolf and the higher education establishment are stuck in a brick and mortar world. They are over-built, inefficient, and fail to deliver a needed product. Cost containment, consolidation, and a realistic assessment of workforce needs are necessary steps. Simply giving them more taxpayer dollars will only make the problem worse.

Lowman Henry is chairman and CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.

Enrollment Plummets At Pennsylvania State Universities Enrollment Plummets

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration

By Joe Guzzardi  

One Capitol Hill lead pipe certainty: every year Congress will try to pass legislation to import more overseas workers, and an equally strong push to grant an amnesty for the millions of unlawfully present aliens that will include lifetime valid work permits. Annual congressional attempts to pass immigration legislation that will expand the workforce, and greatly increase the nation’s population, are as certain as rain. The strategy, so far unsuccessful, is for a prominent Republican to endorse the proposed bill. With Republicans on board, the media can then label the legislation bipartisan, a helpful tool in selling the bill to unsuspecting, under-informed readers.

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration


See the roll call of prominent Republicans who have been all-in on the worst of bad immigration bills over the last 15 years: the 2005 McCain-Kennedy bill; the 2013 Gang of Eight bill that included Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham and John McCain; the former Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch-championed I-Squared Act that would have increased by 110,000 the H-1B visa cap, and the 2019 Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Actthat would eliminate the per-country numerical cap for employment-based immigrants which Utah’s Mike Lee heartily backs. The Senate is indifferent to the cruel reality that endless numbers of H-1B visa holders have displaced, and continue to displace, U.S. tech workers since the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1990.

Invariably, the Republicans joined with the most pro-immigration Democrats to support the expansive immigration bills. The Democrats were in 2005, Ted Kennedy; in 2013, Richard Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet, and in 2019, Kamala Harris.

This year, the most prominent and loudest cheerleader for more immigration is former South Carolina U.S. representative and current Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Before a private UK audience, Mulvaney said: “We are desperate – desperate – for more people. We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”

Today’s specific amnesty agenda calls for the Senate, in a push that current Senate Judiciary Chair Graham is spearheading, to adopt an upper chamber version of Zoe Lofgren’s (D-Calif.) agriculture amnesty, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a cheap labor, indentured servitude bill that would allow an estimated 1.5 million aliens access to Green Cards in exchange for their labor for a fixed period, between four to ten years.

The federal government has not given the slightest indication that it can properly manage any immigration bills, let alone a farm worker amnesty. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act included the Special Agricultural Workers (SAW) provision. SAW was a disaster, so bad that The New York Times wrote that it was “one of the most extensive immigration frauds ever perpetrated against the United States government.”

Mulvaney’s comment that the country is in dire need of more people is a complete lie. Ask commuters driving to work if the nation needs more people. More to the point on employment, despite the rosy reporting on jobs, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that millions of prime working-age people including minorities continue to be unemployed or under-employed. Nevertheless, every year more than 1 million legal immigrants get work permits, and about 750,000 guest workers receive employment-based visas. Then, there are the tens of thousands of workers who come unlawfully.

The unasked and therefore unanswered question in the Mulvaney mystery is whether President Trump encouraged his chief of staff to promote immigration. President Trump has made several references to his expansive immigration vision including his State of the Union bombshell that he wants the “highest [immigration] numbers ever.” For months, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been touting an immigration bill that would, among its other anti-American worker features, increase high-skilled labor or so-called “merit-based” immigration – a terrible outcome for U.S. tech workers that would flood the market with cheap labor.

If President Trump wins re-election, in his second term he’d be unencumbered by his campaign pledge to “hire American” that helped put him in the White House. Depending on whether President Trump decides to defend American workers or cave to demands from big business for low-cost labor, the next four years could signal an immigration apocalypse.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org

Mulvaney Wants More Immigration Mulvaney Wants More Immigration

Wyndmoor Going Upscale

Wyndmoor Going Upscale

By Dr. John W. Gilmore

My little town of Wyndmoor, Pa. nuzzled against Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill is changing at Traymore and Willowgrove avenues.   New shops and buildings are popping up while others, old stores, small business, and gas stations that served the neighborhood well, are disappearing under the shovel and hammer of progress.  The most recent change is a large condo unit replacing our gas station, our small but convenient hardware store, and a few houses and small businesses. Some of the condos cost as much as $400,000.  Rumor has it they have already been sold.

Wyndmoor Going Upscale
You can tell a town by its coffee shop.A view of Wyndmoor from Locals Coffee & Eatery

On the bottom floor there are new businesses. Captain Andy’s Market where a Tanning Salon used to be; Enza wine and Pizza where a house once stood; Toni’s Pizza (the only neighborhood shop left standing) surrounded by and having to compete with it’s new Pizza selling neighbor; Lash Lounge; Pure Barre (an upscale clothing store); and across the street Skin Smart Dermatology are just a few new shops, and at the very corner of the building Locals Coffee shop.

Locals is a coffee shop with a large open space and polished concrete floors.  The ceiling is painted black with a large fan and silver ducts and pipes running along it giving it a polished, industrial look. Blond wood tables–some large and long with a raw rustic look, but well polished and varnished, others small and square with padded benches provide comfortable seating.  There are four leather chairs seated in front of a small fireplace embedded in the wall below a large screen TV.  The music is pleasing.    

There are various items placed artfully around the room that attract the eye:  old wooden  baskets of fruit, potato chips, various types of food.  A dark metal case with sodas, orange juices, water, and various drinks for those who may want something other than coffee sits close to the counter.  Pastries, sandwiches, and many variations of the  main ingredient–coffee and even tea are sold.

I always thought that one could tell the quality of the town by its coffee shop or lack thereof.  Now we have one we can compare. I sit in a large leather chair next to the fire place.  Is it real fire?  It looks as though it is a fire sealed behind glass and plastic, yet I don’t feel the heat.  The atmosphere is relaxed.  Soft jazz is playing.  It can be crowded sometimes, but due to the openness of the space the voices seem muffled and absorbed. It is good to have a coffee shop so close to my home that I can walk. 

Wyndmoor is changing.  It is the closest town to Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy.  Upscale houses, mansions and estates line the streets directly behind it.  Real estate prices are high in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.  Perhaps this is the next hot spot for gentrification and housing prices will rise.  I really don’t know if that is a good thing.  What has the world come to when even middle class neighborhoods are unsafe from the shovel and hammer? 

Wyndmoor Going Upscale

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals

By Joe Guzzardi

As the old saying goes, half a loaf is better than none. Today’s subject isn’t bread baking but rather the recent and long overdue Homeland Security Investigations’ action against 19 California-based Chinese nationals for birth tourism operations. HSI’s action followed up on its 2015 sweep that uncovered several illicit goings-on that included criminal offenses at maternity hotels that centered on women who paid as much as $80,000 for the privilege of giving birth to a U.S. citizen child.

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals


 By violating immigration laws and committing other crimes involving conspiracy, visa fraud, income tax fraud and money laundering, the unscrupulous birth tourism proprietors raked in tens of millions of dollars over the years. One of the operators, Dongyuan Li, faced the seizure of her $2.1 million Irving, Calif., home, six luxury vehicles and more than $1 million from bank accounts, as well as many gold bars and coins. According to the ICE press release, Li “received $3 million in international wire transfers from China in just two years.”
 
According to the indictments, birth hotel owners advised their clients to lie on their visa applications, a crime, and to hide their pregnancies from airport Customs and Border Protection officials. The end game for the foreign-born mothers is to secure U.S. citizenship for their children through the current misinterpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
 
Although no court has ruled on the 14th Amendment as it applies to U.S.-born children whose mothers are not American citizens, those children born on U.S. soil are granted automatic citizenship, a practice known as jus soli.Constitutionalists argue that since the foreign-born mother isn’t “under the jurisdiction thereof…” (the U.S. government), citizenship should be conferred only on children whose parents are citizens, known as jus sanguinis.
 
Birth tourism hurts Americans in multiple ways. Later in their lives, the newly minted citizens will have unfettered access to jobs, Social Security and other affirmative benefits. The birth tourism industry is big business. Estimates for the annual births related to the tourist scam range between 40,000 and 60,000 annually. Birth tourism spawns population-busting chain migration since the anchor babies, once they turn 21, can sponsor their parents for permanent residency. Then, in turn, the parents will eventually sponsor their non-nuclear family members. In 2016, the U.S. admitted more than 300,000 people through chain migration.
 
As welcome as the HSI action is, the best hope is that it will send a warning shot over the operators’ heads, and possibly deter other global foreign nationals from signing up for birth tourism packages. It would be more effective, however, if the State Department announced that it will no longer issue travel visas to obviously pregnant women. Then, pregnant women who ignore the State Department’s warning should be turned away at their port of entry.
 
Since this is the first federal intervention into the sleazy, criminal birth tourism businesses that’s been thriving for more than a decade, the question is what took so long. The query is especially significant because the preferred destination for many wealthy pregnant Russians is Florida Trump properties. Although the Trump Organization doesn’t profit from the subleased condominiums that the Russians rent at up to $85,000, it’s inconceivable that President Trump, who railed against chain migration, is unaware of birth tourism on his Florida property.
 
Joseph Macias, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Los Angeles, said that “America’s way of life is not for sale,” and promised to aggressively target “those who would make a mockery of our laws and our values to benefit and enrich themselves.” HSI has a long row to hoe. Dozens of birth tourism scams are still thriving, although perhaps less brazenly.
 
 
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Feds Finally Tackle Birth Tourism Criminals
 

World Can Fit In Texas But Don’t Try It

World Can Fit In Texas But Don’t Try It

By Jack McKerrigan

“If every member of the United States lived in an area with the population density of Brooklyn, New York, all 327 million of us could fit into New Hampshire,” wrote Jennifer Wright in a recent article in Harper’s Bazaar. (The current U.S. population actually is 330 million.)

World Can Fit In Texas But Don't Try It

Similar nonsensical pieces have made similar claims – everyone could fit in Texas or the Grand Canyon. These statements are so naïve they leave me practically speechless. Are the authors of these comments, including Bazaar’sWright, who has the seemingly impressive-sounding title of “Political Editor at Large,” so incapable of conceptualizing what actually is required to maintain human life? Besides the physical space that one occupies, vastly larger amounts of space are required to support life! Anyone who believes that the entire U.S. population could live in New Hampshire must never leave New York City and believe everything they eat and use is made by fairies off planet.

According to a 1998 study by Mathis Wackernagel and J. David Yount, of the total space on Earth, 71 percent is ocean, 16 percent is biologically productive land and 13 percent is desert, ice caps and barren land. However, the amount of available biologically productive land would drop dramatically if the availability of energy significantly decreased. Energy is needed to move water to otherwise uninhabitable areas (Los Angeles), pump water from the ground (Ogallala Aquifer) and make the water suitable for human consumption. In addition, energy is required to heat (New Hampshire) and cool (Phoenix) homes and transport food supplies to less temperate climates.

According to the same Wackernagel/Yount study, the space required to support a lifestyle is called an ecological footprint. The ecological footprint (which varies by location) does not include just the space where you are actually living, but includes everything for a steady supply of the basic requirements for life, including energy for warmth and mobility; wood for housing, furniture and paper; materials for clothing and products; food and water, and ecological sinks for waste absorption and other nonconsumptive life support activities. There should also be included in the footprint space for biodiversity preservation. According to this study, the average 1998 U.S. citizen style of life required 21 acres of biological productive space (BPS) per person.

There were only approximately 19 acres of BPS per person available in the U.S., according to the study. That means there was only sufficient space for approximately 91.5 percent of the U.S. population to live the lifestyle of the average U.S. citizen in 1998.

Since 1998 the population of the United States has increased 19.5 percent which means that only approximately 73.7 percent of the current U.S. population can currently live what was previously thought as the average citizen’s style of life in 1998. If every person on Earth in 1998 had the U.S. lifestyle requiring 21 acres of BPS per person, it would have required an area the size of six Earths, and for the current world population, eight Earths.

Since Texas is much larger than New Hampshire (and approximately 25 percent of New Hampshire consists of the White Mountains which are uninhabitable), let’s limit our calculations to how much BPS Texas acreage would be available to each individual on Earth.

To do this, we calculate the number of acres in Texas every person on Earth would receive if we divided the total acres in Texas by current total world population.

This calculation yields .02 acres, or approximately 960 square feet (the size of a small apartment), per every person on Earth. It should be noted that this is total acres, not BPS Texas acres per person. Estimates range that up to half of Texas is uninhabitable, but if we just exclude the 12 percent of Texas which is desert to calculate the Texas BPS acres, it would reduce the space to 844 square feet per person, and this space includes no space for biodiversity. The ecological footprint of the average Japanese, who are some of the most efficient people ecologically in the world, is approximately 441,000 square feet, or approximately 522 times the size of the calculated Texas BPS acres.  

Accordingly, the argument that we could put all families in the world in the state of Texas is true, but as we can see from the footprint needed in Japan all of these people would be dead within a week from starvation, lack of water or poisoned from no waste disposal.

And in New Hampshire, they’d just be put out of their misery sooner.


Jack McKerrigan spent 10 years with an international consulting firm where he worked with companies on five continents while living on three. His clients were large international companies and local governments. He has held senior finance positions for two Fortune 500 companies and was the CFO for four public companies.

Wolf Expresses Half Right Ideas

Wolf Expresses Half Right Ideas

By Leo Knepper

With all of the chaos of the Iowa Caucuses, the Senate wrapping up its impeachment proceedings, and the State of the Union address, you might have missed Governor Wolf’s budget address last week. The budget address is similar to the State of the Union; it is mostly a piece of political theater.

In the speech, the Governor lays out the administration’s policy vision for the next year. Governor Wolf’s budget addresses have primarily contained the same bad ideas and half-truths every year. This year was no exception. The Governor is still insisting that the natural gas industry isn’t paying their “fair share.” It’s worth noting that the impact fee paid by the natural gas industry will likely generate close to $200 million in 2020, a decrease from 2019’s record-breaking numbers (due to lower natural gas prices). Governor Wolf also wants to reduce school choice options, increase the minimum wage, and increase public assistance in covering the cost of childcare. Ironically, raising minimum wage costs will have a ripple effect and make childcare even more expensive, and that would probably require even higher levels of public assistance.

In the midst of all of the terrible ideas, Governor Wolf did touch on two policy requests that he got at least half-right. First, Wolf suggested that Pennsylvania lower its corporate net income (CNI) tax rate. The Commonwealth has the second-highest CNI in the country, and it is often cited as a reason why businesses don’t locate or expand in Pennsylvania. He paired the tax rate reduction with some complicated changes to the tax code, called combined reporting that will make it more burdensome for businesses to file their taxes and end up increasing their tax bills in the state.

He requested the combined reporting change to make up for “lost revenue” from the lower tax rate. A better way to pay for the reduction in the tax rate is to eliminate the corporate welfare and targeted tax breaks offered by the Commonwealth to politically connected firms. This would create a level playing field and improve the overall business environment. Over time, a better climate would encourage new businesses and business expansion, and that would generate even more revenue for the treasury.

The Governor’s other good idea was tapping into the $250 million Race Horse Development Fund. The fund, replenished annually, is derived from Pennsylvania’s casinos and subsidizes the horse racing industry. One notable beneficiary was the multi-billionaire, Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates. There are quite a few other items that should have priority over subsidizing the sport of kings.

Governor Wolf is proposing to use the funds from the Race Horse Development Fund to create grants for students attending Pennsylvania’s state universities. Decreasing the cost of education is laudable, but a complete overhaul of the state’s universities would accomplish the same goal. And, while we’re at it, the universities should probably look at what percentage of the students’ tuition is going to education versus what is spent on administration and empire-building through the construction of new buildings, etc.

The House and Senate will be conducting budget hearings for the next couple of months. We will be sure to keep our readers informed of any notable developments.

Mr. Knepper is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Wolf Expresses Half Right Ideas
Wolf Expresses Half Right Ideas

Trump Vs Sanctuary State California

Trump Vs Sanctuary State California

By Joe Guzzardi 

In his State of the Union address, President Trump made clear his disgust with sanctuary state California. During the Trump administration’s first three years, the Department of Justice was unable to convert its multiple threats to California and other blatant sanctuary havens to withhold funding. In March 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to Sacramento to address several hundred California law enforcement officers. Sessions defended the White House’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary practices, and correctly noted that federal law is the nation’s “supreme law.” Former Gov. Jerry Brown quickly demonized Sessions, and accused him of waging war against California.

Trump Vs Sanctuary State California

The first round went to California as the state blatantly ignored warnings, and the feds failed to use its full power to force Brown and his equally contemptuous AG Xavier Becerra to comply. Under California’s permissive laws, the state – home to an estimated 2.5 million illegal aliens – protects illegal immigrants by limiting state and municipal cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

For the ensuing two years, California’s illegal sanctuary status continued. ICE only apprehended a fraction of the number of illegals in California versus the number arrested in Texas. For example, the Los Angeles ICE field office averaged only about 35 criminally charged arrests monthly compared to 300 per month for Dallas in non-sanctuary state Texas.

According to Pew, Los Angeles metro has twice as many illegal aliens as the Dallas metro area which means that Los Angeles ICE doesn’t arrest thousands of criminal aliens. Nationwide in 2018, ICE issued detainers for criminal aliens collectively responsible for 2,500 murders, nearly 30 percent of the nation’s 9,049 homicide arrests. More than 3 million aliens with criminal records currently live in the U.S.

Regardless of the feckless, hallow sanctuary defenses that brazen sanctuary advocates put forward, the aggregate statistics are shocking and indefensible. Earlier this month, Orange County (CA) Sheriff Don Barnes announced that 1,500 illegal aliens with detainers were released in 2019. Of those, 238 were re-arrested for committing new preventable crimes, including assault and battery, rape and robbery. The Immigration Reform website found that the recidivism rate among criminal aliens is 25 percent. Nevertheless, during the last three years, the number of sanctuary cities has doubled.

Individual victims’ stories are heartbreaking. As part of his SOU address, President Trump referenced Junior “Gustavo” Garcia-Ruiz, a repeat illegal alien offender with previous arrests for assault, robbery and drug offenses, who was charged with murdering Tulare County resident Rocky Jones. On December 18, 2018, at a local gas station, Garcia-Ruiz shot Jones in the face several times. Garcia-Ruiz was incarcerated just days before he murdered Jones, and he also committed multiple other crimes within a 24-hour period. Yet despite Garcia-Ruiz’s numerous prior arrests and earlier deportations, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office ignored the ICE detainer. Later during the same month that he murdered Jones, Garcia-Ruiz died during a police chase.

After telling Jones’ story, President Trump urged Congress to pass legislation that would allow sanctuary city victims to sue government officials who violate federal immigration laws. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis promptly introduced S. 2059, the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, that would give local officials immunity for assisting federal immigration officers and would also allow Americans to pursue legal action against sanctuary cities.

S. 2059 is all well and good. But legislation that empowers the federal government to swiftly act against sanctuary cities and their irresponsible leaders is already on the books. 8 USC 1324 states that a person who knowingly “conceals, harbors, or shields from detection” illegal aliens is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

The time to end mollycoddling the more than 564 sanctuary cities and ten sanctuary states is over. Not a single tangible reason exists to tolerate American taxpayers and citizens funding the costly, craven sanctuary city fallout with money and lives.


Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Trump Vs Sanctuary State California

Montco Child Support Case Rigged?

Is Montco Child Support Case Rigged?

By Elaine Mickman

My son’s child support was unlawfully terminated December 2018 when he was a minor public school student. I filed all proper legal recourse, but hearings and due process were denied.

The Domestic Relations Director suggested February 2019 that I file a “New Complaint” for which preliminary proceedings occurred March 2019, April 2019, and May 30, 2019 while my child suffered without support.

Is Montco Child Support Case Rigged?

A Sept. 13, 2019 Order reconvened the Support Master Evidentiary Hearing for Jan. 6, 2020, but my Ex flouted the Rules by prematurely filing for an Exceptions Hearing at the Courthouse without a required Recommended Master Order, without purchasing both Support Master proceeding transcripts, and without the Support Master Hearing concluding so that he could bypass the Support Master Hearing where evidence and testimony are presented to eliminate a Record.

A Montgomery County Court Judge “ordered-away” my Constitutional Due Process Right November 2019 at the request of my Ex, compelling me to file an appeal Dec. 11, 2019.The Court scheduled Ex’s Exceptions proceeding for Jan. 7, 2020 while the Court postponed my Jan. 6, 2020 Child Support Master Hearing to Feb. 7, 2020 at the additional demand of my Ex. Just 3 days prior to the Feb. 7, 2020 Support Master Evidentiary Hearing, the Judge entered a Feb. 4, 2020

Order stating that my Child Support Master Hearing was Stayed because a Dec. 11, 2019 appeal was pending regardless that the Judge conducted my Ex’s Jan. 7, 2020 Exceptions Hearing, applying a “double-standard” to favor my Ex while “starving-out” the UNEMANCIPATED child who has been without support for 14 months and further delaying a hearing for due process. The Judge took my Ex’s Jan. 7, 2020 Exceptions “under advisement”, but “Justice delayed is justice denied”.There is no explanation for the Judge’s actions in which my Ex received “Special Treatment” to bypass the Rules, other than my Ex “buying access to the court” otherwise known as Quid Pro Quo.

Where’s the Judicial fairness and impartiality ?

Why are the County Commissioners “championing” the court rather than exercising Executive branch actionsince Commissioner Arkoosh is a member of the Family Judicial Advisory Board and the Court is funded by the County which is losing Federal funding by my child, and other children, being denied child support?

Is this Montgomery County personnel/elected Official’s “self-interest” over County interest?

Mrs. Mickman is a resident of Lower Merion

Montco Child Support Case Rigged?