Category: Viewpoints

The Myth of the ‘Criminal Immigrant’

Even as researchers find that the foreign-born commit fewer crimes than their native-born peers, the perception that immigrants are uniquely crime prone permeates public and political discourse. Of course the warnings and anxiety about “criminal immigrants” are nothing new. At the turn of the 20th century, nativists worried that the large numbers of Polish, Italians and Irish migrating to the United States would taint the bloodstream. Though the countries of origin of today’s migrant groups have shifted, a similar concern reverberates: Are immigrants bringing with them tendencies to offend, victimize and profit from the hard work of U.S. citizens? The findings exonerating the foreign-born are equally consistent. A sizable body of scientific research conducted by criminologists, sociologists and economists indicates that: Neighborhoods with more immigrants have lower rates of crime; an influx of immigrants has been shown to decrease crime; and that foreign-born individuals commit less crime than their U.S.-born peers. These patterns hold not just for minor offenses, but also for serious violent crimes. Some have suggested that immigrants may actually revitalize communities and lessen crime. Yet there may be a problem with the scientific record: Many of these studies rely on self-reported survey data. These surveys ask individuals to respond to questions such as how often they have stolen goods, sold drugs or severely hurt someone in the last year. One major criticism of the research on immigration and crime is that...

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Preparing to Become a Caregiver

Becoming a caregiver for an aging relative is a profound expression of love. You may find that you will begin to take on many of the responsibilities they might have had while raising you. Like raising a family, being a caretaker can be physically, emotionally and financially challenging but it is also extremely rewarding. It’s a responsibility that millions of people take on each year out of love for their families. Whether you are preparing to care for a parent or another relative, understanding and preparing for the financial implications can help you provide the best care possible. Start the discussion with your family whether you think you’ll provide direct care, decide to hire a caregiver, or both, you can work with your family members, including the relative in question, to create a plan. Starting the conversation early can help you all reach conclusions without pressure to make a quick decision. You may want to cover the types of care that are available and learn which your parent prefers. For example, does he or she want to stay at home for as long as possible or prefer to live in an assisted-living home or elderly community? You should discuss who’ll be responsible for managing personal, financial and medical affairs if your parent can’t handle those responsibilities anymore. Beyond making a verbal agreement, a parent can give someone legal authority...

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Investors Confront Tesla’s Energy Fantasy

  Recently, SolarCity, Elon Musk’s rooftop solar company, inched closer to bankruptcy. So it shocked investors everywhere when Musk’s other brainchild, Tesla Motors, itself struggling, announced plans to acquire the panel maker and installer. “Tesla Talks Big, Falls Short,” read a Wall Street Journal headline. The subtitle: “Car maker has failed to meet more than 20 of Musk’s projections in the past five years.” Entrepreneurship is normally punished by losses. But taxpayer subsidies allow Musk’s bad show to continue — and expand. Musk has received almost $5 billion in government assistance. Nevada recently handed Tesla $1.3 billion for a battery facility near Reno. Tesla receives $7,500 in tax credits for each car sold. And California allows additional rebates. Even the President is throwing cash Musk’s way through $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicle entrepreneurs. Tesla redefines “too big to fail” as “politically correct, so bail.” Musk retorts that he receives fewer subsidies than oil and gas companies. But Tesla’s cronyism exceeds what the oil and gas industries combined receive annually ($4 billion). Tesla subsidies and rebates reach 15 percent of the consumer price. Gas and oil subsidies are only .33 percent. Oil and gas never needed subsidies to survive. Moreover, electric vehicles (EVs) are a political solution to a nonproblem. Gasoline and diesel fuels are affordable and exceedingly reliable. Last year, Americans drove a record-setting 3.1 trillion...

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It Seems to Me: Be Careful How You Walk

Ephesians 5 begins by telling us to be imitators of God.  We are told of the contrast between darkness and light; also we are told not to walk in darkness.  Furthermore, we are reminded that light is found in nothing in the world but rather in the Person of Christ. Ephesians 5:15-17 builds on this discussion of light,  “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,  making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (NASU) This passage connects with the previous passage by using the word “therefore”.  Is there a bigger fool than a person whom Christ has dawned His Light upon and yet continues to walk in darkness?  Is there a more unwise person than one who claims to know God and yet does not walk with Him?  We are commanded to walk as wise men rather than unwise.   Those who are wise, go on with the Lord, walking with Him in His Light. Those who are unwise remain as infants, babes in Christ, walking in darkness.  It is a sad, tragic fact that many who claim to be Christians never invest the time or effort to even reach a bare minimum of Biblical knowledge. They continue to walk in darkness because they refuse the...

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‘Dark Store’ Lawsuits Hit County Appraiser

A chain of big-box stores in Texas is suing for big property tax markdowns, asserting that its buildings are comparable to empty stores. The “Dark Store Theory,” litigated successfully in several Midwestern states, has landed in the Lone Star State. Lowe’s wants Bexar County to reduce the appraisals at its 10 San Antonio area stores, currently set at $82 per square foot. Lawsuits are pending or threatened in Houston and other jurisdictions, seeking to cut valuations by half. “If we lose, where does it stop?” asked Bexar County Chief Appraiser Mike Amezquita. “All big box stores will do the same thing. Then it will be apartment buildings, hotels and offices — all the dominoes will fall.” Big-box storeowners maintain their properties are so specific and unique that if they moved out, the structures would go vacant (“dark”). Using the state’s “equal and uniform” property value guidance, Lowe’s rival Home Depot recently settled for $65 per square foot — less than appraisal districts’ median “market value.” Unofficially, Lowe’s indicated it would be accept a median value of around $50 per square foot. “Even as local governments across the country continue to bend over backwards to attract and accommodate big-box development, these stores are consistently a terrible deal for the towns and cities where they locate,” argues Olivia LaVecchia, researcher at the nonpartisan Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Lowe’s legal representatives did...

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