For a man who holds no elected office, Mitt Romney was in the thick of things this week.
In fundamental ways, Romney was at the heart of the two U.S. Supreme Court cases that either horrified or overjoyed much of the U.S. population.
First came the court decision ruling that most of Arizona’s immigration law — a slightly less hostile version of the one Alabama passed in 2011 — was unconstitutional. The Constitution delegates the power to regulate immigration to the federal government, the court ruled, and states have limited authority to interfere.
Romney strongly endorsed the Arizona law, even naming Kris Kobach as his immigration advisor. Kobach helped draft both the Arizona and Alabama laws. Romney supports the concept of self-deportation, which requires — as eloquently explained by our own legislator — the passage of a law that “attacks every aspect of an illegal immigrant’s life.”
Romney’s position on immigration, while extreme, is not what put him in the center of the controversy.
U.S. employers want cheap labor. Two of the ways they fill this need are through the hiring of undocumented immigrants and the opening of plants in countries with large supplies of starving workers.
Blocking immigrants from America increases the pressure on U.S. employers to move production to foreign labor markets.
Romney, it turns out, was instrumental in assisting companies in their efforts to increase profit margins through outsourcing. Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that specialized in sending jobs to facilities in low-wage countries.
Romney profited from the unmet labor needs created by U.S. immigration restrictions. He did so by moving commerce and employment from America to other countries.
It was a clever solution. The job creators must have been giving him high fives.
Romney’s role in the other Supreme Court decision was even more dramatic.
The court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, a law that — if not repealed — will give 30 million uninsured Americans access to health care. The mechanism that makes possible such a dramatic improvement in the quality of so many lives is the individual mandate.
The law was modeled after one that Romney shepherded through the Massachusetts legislature when he was governor.
In her concurring opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave Romney all the credit. She explained that numerous states had tried to provide insurance for those who could not obtain affordable coverage due to pre-existing conditions. They did so simplistically, by requiring insurance companies to provide affordable coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
“The results were disastrous,” Ginsburg wrote, because people had no incentive to buy insurance until they were sick. “Adverse selection” was the result, meaning that the only people buying insurance were those who needed immediate medical care. Insurance companies had to either raise premiums to untenable levels or exit the market.
“Massachusetts, Congress was told, cracked the adverse selection problem,” Ginsburg wrote. “By requiring most residents to obtain insurance, the Commonwealth ensured that insurers would not be left with only the sick as customers. As a result, federal lawmakers observed, Massachusetts succeeded where other states failed. … Congress followed Massachusetts’ lead.”
Romney should be doing a victory dance. Through outsourcing, he helped satisfy the demand for cheap labor that would otherwise be met by employing undocumented immigrants in this country. Through innovative legislation, he implemented the individual mandate that made Obamacare possible.
No wonder his poll numbers are looking good.
Contact Eric Fleischauer at http://www.mile304.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.