Time to pause the Syrian refugee program?


Steve Forbes:   It’s a no brainer, and that’s why the House passed it with overwhelmingly with Democratic support this week.  A bill that will have a pause, have Homeland Security and the FBI become more involved before letting people in.  Those are just basic measures.  In terms of the refugee crisis, we wouldn’t have it if Obama had been open to establishing a sanctuary inside Syria, which he rejected two years ago.  It lead to the policies and disaster in Libya.  He’s the prime cause for it, and now of course he tries to throw it on Republicans.

Mark Tatge:  I’m all for screening, I’m all for controls, but the bottom line is, we’re not admitting terrorists into this country.  Most of these people are not potential members who want to commit jihad and want to upset and destroy the United States.  They’re fleeing terrorism.  They’re fleeing basically people who are trying to kill them.  10,000 is a drop in the bucket.

Elizabeth MacDonald:  The State Department in 2011 stopped the war refugee program coming out of Iraq for 6 months because they found out they may have been letting in dozens of Iraqi terrorists as war refugees.  In fact, 2 terrorists were discovered in Kentucky, refugees who had killed American soldiers with bombs in sniper fire.  Their fingerprints came up clean with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.  This is a country that has open arms.  We welcome refugees.  This bill will not defund the refugee program.  There’s no religious test.  It’s just saying common sense should prevail.  Take a pause and just vet them.

John Tamny:  It’s certainly not free.  I suppose one way to look at it is it’s cheaper than some of the wars.  I don’t want to minimize what happened last week, but I think it would be a real tragedy if the American people gave up a lot of freedoms to the political class in response.  I think it would be a shame if the U.S. was not the beacon of hope for oppressed peoples around the world.  Keeping out refugees is not tantamount to keeping out terrorists.  I think there’s a big difference.  If they want to get in, they’re going to get in.

Rich Karlgaard:  Pause is exactly the right word.  We don’t have an emergency yet, so let’s use this time to figure this out.  A pause is exactly appropriate, that’s why over 30 governors are advocating this pause.  That’s why 47 Democrats joined the house Republicans for this pause.  I must say, if you ever had any doubts about President Obama’s commitment to fighting ISIS, the last shreds of those went out this week when we saw his very cool and peevish response.

Mike Ozanian:  You have to look at the big picture here.  This is all a part of the president’s plan to transform America.  He detests what this country has stood for so many years.  Whether you look at how he’s gutting the military, letting illegal immigrants south of the border to come into this country.  This refugee program is part of it.  He wants to remake this country into his image.  This is all part of the same plan.  Safety be damned.


Steve Forbes:  It’s certainly going to compromise the economy, because people are already skittish about going to airports after what’s happened in Paris, and they’re going to be more so if they think there’s going to be labor problems at the airports.  So you’re going to see less travel, that’s going to hurt the economy.  Also in terms of security, it’s hard enough with a large airport, but if you have a large labor strife there, that’s going to make the job even more difficult.

Rich Karlgaard: I agree with Steve, but I also support the FCIU’s right to do this.  It’s called leverage.  It’s what businesses do.  It’s either going to work for them or it’s going to blow up in their face and destroy the union.

Elizabeth MacDonald:  At such a high intense holiday travel time of the year.  It undercuts sympathy for the unions.  You may have said that they do deserve to get better pay but using travelers who are already scared as a bargaining chip to get better pay?  I think that’s problematic.

Mark Tatge:  These aren’t security workers and I think this is an easy problem to solve.  Pay the workers what they want.  15 bucks an hour.  It’s not a lot of money.

Mike Ozanian:  I think this is going to blow up in the union’s face.  Imagine a bunch of really angry passengers crammed up into these terminals having to deal with all this stuff.  I think they’re going to find out what’s behind it.  As far as 15 dollars an hour is concerned, let’s face it.  When you throw in the gratuities that most of these workers get, you already get $15 an hour.

John Tamny: I think it’s obnoxious but it’s also an opportunity.  Unemployment is still relatively high so here’s a chance to break the unions like Ronald Reagan in 1981 and let other people take these jobs.  No better time than the present.


Mike Ozanian: This shows exactly why we do not want the government to pick winners and losers in business.  There’s absolutely no reason why season long fantasy sports should be considered not gambling, and daily fantasy sports should be considered gambling.  It makes no sense at all.

Rich Karlgaard:  It’s gambling plain and simple.  You’re not playing against the house.  You’re playing against other players exactly as you do in poker and at the horse track.  I don’t think it should be illegal, but it should be regulated for sure.

John Tamny:  Who are these angels in government that are going to protect us in terms of regulation from these awful gambling sites?  I’d like to be protected from men’s cologne.  I despise the scent, but I don’t want laws created to do that.  People gamble responsibly, they eat responsibly, they drink responsibly.  Let people alone and leave government out of it.

Mark Tatge: We created this problem when we put through exceptions.  This is gambling, this is not gambling.  Either it’s against the law, or it’s not.  If it’s against the law, then it should be enforced.  That’s the big problem.  What is gambling anymore?

Steve Forbes:  It just goes to show hypocrisy.  New York promotes a lottery where the payout is stingy by Las Vegas and casino standards.  As long as their pockets are lined, they don’t like others doing the same thing.

Elizabeth MacDonald:  I am always skeptical of government infallibility here.  What bureaucrat is going to write the rules that everyone is going to have to follow.  This could be quickly politicized.  They could create monopolies and lock into place two players, companies, and that’s it.  No little guy can get it.


Elizabeth MacDonald: Apple Inc.   (AAPL)

Mike Ozanian: Mednax, Inc.  (MD)