Heritage names loose borders advocate Stephen Moore as chief economist

Potentially bad news for the upcoming fight against amnesty: the Heritage Foundation has named Stephen Moore as their chief economist.

Moore previously worked at the Wall Street Journal, the Club for Growth, and the CATO Institute.

As could be imagined from that line up and the entries on his name's page, he's a fiscal conservative and supports something just short of open borders.

The announcement from Heritage [1] contains the following:

Last year in a Wall Street Journal column, Moore took issue with Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint’s characterization of the late Milton Friedman’s view of immigration. Moore said he discussed the issue with DeMint recently.

Now, with immigration reform likely to be debated in Congress again this year, Moore said he welcomed the opportunity to work on the issue at Heritage.

That's followed by this quote from Moore:

Jim DeMint and I may not agree on everything about immigration, but what Jim wants me and others to do is develop a pro-growth immigration policy for the country. I don’t want Heritage to be viewed as anti-immigration. We all know immigration is vitally important to our economy. Our goal will be to develop an immigration policy that’s in the best interest of America, our economy, and allows the United States to get the best and brightest people to come here.

The WSJ column referenced above [2] includes this:

Republicans and conservatives might want to coalesce around a position of tight welfare and generous immigration rules. That is something Milton Friedman would no doubt regard as the ideal outcome.

Add all that together with Heritage's weak, politically-correct response to the pushback garnered by the May 2013 Robert Rector report and the fact that since then they've spent far more time opposing Obamacare than amnesty, and things don't look too good.

Due to Moore's involvement, they may decide to largely sit out or to present only nominal opposition to future GOP immigration proposals. They may even publish "studies" attempting to show the benefits of mass immigration and a mass legalization of illegal aliens. They might use tough-sounding features as a selling point to their supporters, such as crack downs on welfare for the newly-legalized. Needless to say, the day after an amnesty passed with those tough provisions, the usual suspects would work to undercut or just not enforce those tough provisions.

Want to do something about this? Here are three things you can do:

1. Work to discredit Moore. He isn't currently on Twitter (the account with his name is questionable), but when he writes an opinion piece or appears on a TV show and discusses immigration, point out how he's wrong. Search for those mentioning what he said, and work to undercut him to them. Contact the show's hosts and undercut him to them. In certain cases, work to discredit the show's hosts for failing to ask him questions that would have shown how wrong he is.

2. Tweet @JimDeMint to let him know that you oppose any form of mass legalization. Don't use the word "amnesty" to avoid getting involved in the word games that mass legalization supporters use. Search for those who tweet approvingly to @JimDeMint and urge them to do the same.

3. If Heritage goes wobbly on immigration work to turn or discredit anyone who supports them. For instance, if they begin promoting any sort of mass legalization plan, do a Twitter search for those who promote their efforts. Then, depending on the situation, work to change that person's mind or decide to discredit them. If the latter is more appropriate, look up who they talk to and then make the point to *them* that the Heritage promoter isn't credible. Tie that promoter to the flaws in the Heritage report.

UPDATE: Those giving Moore high marks include Benjy Sarlin of MSNBC and Dylan Scott of TalkingPointsMemo: whether you want to say his immigration position is close to theirs, theirs is close to his, or his position simply serves the goals of the Democratic Party, none of them end up looking very good.

Others cheering Moore's selection include Alex Nowrasteh of the CATO Institute and Randel Johnson of the US Chamber of Commerce:

[Nowrasteh], who has called the Senate-passed immigration bill "a solid improvement over the current immigration system," told TPM that Moore's presence "bodes very well for an ideological policy shift" at Heritage. He compared the move to House Speaker John Boehner hiring the top immigration analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center to his staff in December, which reform advocates also viewed as a potential turning of the tide on the issue... "It absolutely portends a change over there at the Heritage Foundation," he said. "Talk in D.C. is very cheap, but when people start shifting their staffs that shows they're aligning with a different position, that actually means something."... "Steve Moore going to Heritage reflects a return to normality."

Moore's hiring also earned the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is a key component of the tenuous business-labor alliance that was the lynchpin for the bipartisan support for the Senate-passed immigration reform bill. The Chamber has been actively urging conservatives in the House to move on the bill... “I’ve known Steve for a long time. He is a smart guy and Heritage is lucky to have him," Randy Johnson, senior vice president of labor, immigration, and employee benefits at the Chamber, said in a statement to TPM.

More support for the hiring comes from Frank Sharry of America's Voice (see that link). He told MSNBC:

“I’ve known Stephen Moore for 20 years and during that time he’s been an unwavering supporter of generous legal immigration levels and common sense immigration reforms... Knowing his commitment to the issue, I predict that he will have much more impact on Heritage’s approach to immigration policy than they will have on his.”

[1] blog.heritage . org/2014/01/21/stephen-moore-join-heritage-chief-economist
[2] online.wsj . com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323728204578513151809466978