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Connecticut’s budget fails to solve its long-term problems

At long last, deep-blue Connecticut has adopted a new, bipartisan $41 billion two-year budget, which closes an alarming $5.1 billion deficit. After four months’ operating without a budget, there’s relief across the state and amazement at the bipartisanship.

The relief may be short-lived, since the new budget itself forecasts big future deficits. These deficits should be expected, given sharply escalating public-sector labor costs.

Connecticut Republicans should vote against irresponsible budget

After a four-month battle, Connecticut appears to have a tentative budget — and, of course, more than $1 billion of new taxes to close the deficit in the state’s roughly $40 billion two-year budget. This would be the third round of billion-dollar tax increases under Democratic governor Dannel Malloy.

You may conclude that this is just another round of the usual tax-and-spend policies of Democrats in absolute control of a deep-blue state.

Dreamers may end up staying, but we shouldn’t allow open borders for child immigrants

After announcing earlier this month a phased termination of the "Dreamers" program (aka DACA), President Trump appears to be moving quickly to strike a deal with Congress to put in place legislation to implement this quasi-amnesty program that President Obama launched by executive order in 2012.

Obama's order protected about 700,000 illegal immigrants who arrived as minors between 1991 and 2007 — brought by their parents, as the story line goes.

Since 2007, another wave of foreign minors has been entering the country, this time unaccompanied by parents. Since 2012, they've come in large numbers — they now number more than 250,000. It's hard not to see moral hazard.

To succeed in an era of name-calling and extremism, Trump must become a great communicator

Rather than receding into the past, Charlottesville threatens to become a permanent symbol of President Trump's supposed racism. The president has made several unsuccessful attempts to blunt the racism charge by his political opponents and the mostly anti-Trump media. To succeed, he needs to communicate more effectively in order to reach persuadable citizens who are neither part of his base nor soldiers in "the Resistance."

Build the wall? It’s already been built

Confounding his critics, President Trump has already built his big beautiful border wall. Illegal immigration on the southern border has plummeted. Mexico didn't pay for the wall — nor did U.S. taxpayers.

Trump's new barrier is a virtual wall. Nothing newfangled, yet it is the strongest of all possible barriers. It is a psychological blockade called deterrence — the deterrent effect of actually enforcing immigration law.

Trump’s immigration proposals aren’t mean — they’re reasonable, legal and entirely doable

Last month's Homeland Security policy memos implementing President Trump's executive orders on illegal immigration elicited the inevitable charges that the policy is un-American and that "rounding up millions" is a quixotic impossibility. Both charges are empty.

Trump is enforcing long-standing U.S. law, which is any American president's first duty, and, while reports from around the country confirm that he is ramping up enforcement, he has abandoned his campaign cry that "they all gotta go," all the estimated 11 million or more illegal immigrants.

Trump faces time bomb in college loan program

What does the incoming Trump administration propose to do about
the fast-growing, loss-ridden $1.3 trillion federal student loan system?

Unfortunately,
senators barely touched on this issue at Tuesday’s confirmation hearing for
Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s choice to be education secretary. In particular,
they should have zeroed in on one target, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness
program, a ticking time bomb set to go off this October.

How to make drug prices fair to U.S. consumers

Americans pay far more for branded prescription drugs than people
in any other developed nation, exactly the kind of bad deal that
President-elect Donald Trump decried repeatedly in his campaign. The U.S. was
reminded of this outrage in September when it learned that drugmaker Mylan NV
has been charging Americans more than $600 for its EpiPen two-pack while
selling it for only $69 in the U.K.

Why
does this kind of inequality persist? The main reason is that, by law, Medicare
and Medicaid cannot use their volume purchasing power to negotiate lower
prices, as do health agencies in virtually all other developed nations.

Make colleges pay loans if their graduates can’t

When the U.S. Education Department shut down ITT Technical
Institute at the beginning of the fall semester, some people saw it as just
desserts for the for-profit college. Given ITT’s relatively low graduation
rates, alleged use of deceptive job placement figures in its recruiting
efforts, and high numbers of loan defaults and delinquencies, the government
may have seemed justified in refusing to fund more loans to ITT students.

Yet,
now, 35,000 students are suddenly without a school and 8,000 faculty and staff
are unemployed, and the entire episode shows that the government remains
fixated on problems in the for-profit sector while virtually ignoring that all
of U.S. higher education has long been guilty of what, in another business,
might be called price gouging.

Trump should talk about legal immigration

Since releasing his policy brief on immigration in mid-2015, Donald Trump has said repeatedly “build the wall” and “they all gotta go,” simplistic renditions of his border security and deportation policies. Recently, he has been shifting all over the map on illegal immigration, and this week he's attempting to set everything straight in a Phoenix speech.

What Trump really needs to talk about is the third principle set forth in his policy brief, the one addressing legal immigration: “Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.”

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