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April 27, 2010

Congress and White House "Premature and Irresponsible"?

Say it isn't so!

Within days after President Obama signed the law on March 23, companies filed reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying the tax change would have a material adverse effect on their earnings.

The White House suggested that companies were exaggerating the effects of the tax change. The commerce secretary, Gary F. Locke, said the companies were being “premature and irresponsible” in taking such write-downs.

Representative Henry A. Waxman of California and Bart Stupak of Michigan, both Democrats, opened an investigation and demanded that four companies — AT&T, Caterpillar, Deere and Verizon — supply documents analyzing the “impact of health care reform,” together with an explanation of their accounting methods.

The documents — hundreds of pages of e-mail messages and financial worksheets — include large amounts of data that substantiate the companies’ concerns. They have reignited a battle over the law in Congress.

Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, “From a financial standpoint, from a purely economic standpoint, many companies would be better off discontinuing health care as a fringe benefit, paying the penalty and pocketing the savings.”

In a memorandum summarizing its investigation, the Democratic staff of the committee said, “The companies acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards in submitting filings to the S.E.C. in March and April.”

Moreover, it said, “these one-time charges were required by applicable accounting rules.” The committee staff said this view was confirmed by independent experts at the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the American Academy of Actuaries.

Oops:

Posted by Cassandra at April 27, 2010 09:06 PM

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Comments

That's too bad. I was really looking forward to the testimony at the promised hearings. :)

Posted by: Grim at April 27, 2010 09:50 PM

Who is to say that Ol' "Short Round" Henry Waxman is premature in his sputtering off? Only an irresponsible person would suggest that.

Posted by: Mike Myers at April 27, 2010 09:53 PM

My reactions aren't proper for here. When the garbage truck comes by tomorrow I'll shout inside.

Posted by: htom at April 27, 2010 11:07 PM

It wasn't like *all* of that wasn't included in the denate about HellCare for months before the Dems stuck us with it.

And, for your heightened schadenfreude, the probable reason Waxman backed off on the inquisiti -- uhhhhh -- *hearings* was because someone reminded him that he had voted *for* the law requiring the documentation in the first place.

Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 12:15 AM

They're doing a "bang up" (or is it a banged up?) job...

Posted by: camojack at April 28, 2010 01:39 AM

"Bang" is one of the euphemisms for it, yes.

Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 06:05 AM

Employers whining about how much healthcare costs for their "most valable assets".

Gee, I never heard that one before.

I won't shed any tears for them because they lost their double-dipping tax break.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 07:00 AM

Speaking of "Premature and Irresponsible":


"Arizona agency seeks federal help on immigration law"

link:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-04-26-arizona-immigration_N.htm

It seems the state of Arizona failed to factor in all of the Federal cabbage they needed to launch their shiny new "papers, please" initiative before they signed it into law.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 08:16 AM

No one asked you to shed any tears, Craig.

What you might try doing is admitting that both the Commerce Secretary and Congressional Dems were wrong to bash corporations for following generally accepted accounting principles which exist to ensure that corporations don't deceive their shareholders... you know, people like you and me.

Or you might try admitting that when the federal government forces American businesses to offer benefits that exceed what their competitors in other countries have to offer, that makes American goods and services uncompetitive in the global market.

Or you might try admitting that it is the federal government's job to secure the borders, that it has utterly failed to do that job, and that their failure affects not only Arizona but the other 56 states.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 08:30 AM

I don't think saying "companies were exaggerating the effects of the tax change" is really "bashing".

Also, they have been deceiving their shareholders for the last 7 years by artificially inflating their bottom lines with a double-dipping tax break. The closing of the loophole makes their books MORE honest.

Ending a tax break they have enjoyed since 2003 isn't going to hurt the Big's very much. It's noncash, which means it doesn't effect operating income.

If it makes you feel better, I'm sure they will use it to maximum effect during their next round of contract negotiations with their union employees.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 08:56 AM

As far as the federal government "forcing" employers to offer employees benefits goes, doesn't the alternative = socialism?

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 08:59 AM

No, the alternative is doing what my parents and grandparents did in their day. BUYING YOUR OWN DAMNED INSURANCE.

Posted by: MikeD at April 28, 2010 09:38 AM

I don't think saying "companies were exaggerating the effects of the tax change" is really "bashing".

It is when:

1. They weren't exaggerating.
2. You call them "irresponsible" for doing what they're required to do under SEC regs and GAAP.
3. You call them "disingenuous" (a fancy way of calling someone a liar) as the Sec. of Commerce did in a WSJ editorial. Especially when the facts turn out that they were telling the truth.
4. You suggest that the writedowns were politically motivated when the truth is that the write downs are MANDATED BY LAW.

They were wrong. End of story.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 09:54 AM

As far as the federal government "forcing" employers to offer employees benefits goes, doesn't the alternative = socialism?

Huh???

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 09:55 AM

I guess Nixon shouldn't have pushed for that there Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973.

Too late now.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 09:56 AM

The writedowns weren't politically motivated, but the whining about is.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 10:00 AM

Also, companies complaining about the ending of a tax break they should never have gotten in the first place is "disingenuous" in my book.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 10:03 AM

What does that have to do with your bizarre assertion that if the federal government DOESN'T force employers to offer employee benefits, that's socialism?

Oh, and by the way the HMO Act did NOT force employers to offer health insurance.

What it did was to say that IF they offered health insurance, they had to offer federally certified HMOs that were non-profits as well.

So that really has nothing to do with this.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 10:04 AM

companies complaining about the ending of a tax break they should never have gotten in the first place is "disingenuous" in my book.

Well Craig, if the "disingenuous" comment had been directed at complaining (vs. OBEYING THE LAW by reporting anticipated reductions to earnings), you might have a point.

But it wasn't.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 10:06 AM

The writedowns weren't politically motivated, but the whining about is.

Gee, you're right Craig. Because there can be only one reason that corporations that exist to make a profit might "whine" about changes to the law that reduce profit: partisanship.

*rolling eyes*

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 10:07 AM

Yes, Cassandra, Republicans gave them the loophole in 2003 and Democrats took it away in 2010.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 10:22 AM

Re: 1973:

HMO's were dying on the vine because the "saving money by denying care" model wasn't working in the "free" market. Until the '73 act was passed, that is, which gave HMO's access to the employer-based market and provided grants and loans to start up new HMO's.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 10:27 AM

Craig, you're a typical leftist. Having been caught with your factual pants down, you are now trying like hell to change the subject.

FACT: the companies are required to take non-cash charges on the elimination of the tax breaks, under SEC rules and Sarb-Ox.

FACT: the companies must state the most reasonably pessimistic estimates, under SEC rules and established court precedents. Failure to do so constitutes an open invitation to shareholder lawsuits. If the eventual losses are not as bad as stated, that's gravy, but if they are worse, the companies *will* be sued, and they could also be charged by the SEC with engaging in fraudulent accounting.

FACT, and this is the part you conveniently omitted from your little rant: The tax breaks were subsidies to companies for agreeing to keep retired workers on their prescription drug plans. Why? Because it costs the government less money that way! With the tax breaks expiring, those people will now get dumped into Medicare Part D, which on a per-beneficiary basis costs more than the company plans, not to mention providing worse service. So this will actually wind up costing the taxpayer more, while simultaneously cutting into company profits! For leftists like yourself, Craig, that's a win-win, isn't it?

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 28, 2010 10:31 AM

It seems the state of Arizona failed to factor in all of the Federal cabbage they needed to launch their shiny new "papers, please" initiative before they signed it into law.

The Congressional Dems did even worse.

You *do* know that Federal Law now requires you to carry proof of health care insurance *and present it* whenever the IRS -- the agency responsible for insuring compliance -- asks to see it, right? And since Obie wants 15,000 *additional* IRS agents on the job, it means he's got plans for them to do just that.

Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 10:34 AM

Yes, Cassandra, Republicans gave them the loophole in 2003 and Democrats took it away in 2010.

It isn't a loophole at all, it was a tax incentive to make it more attractive for employers to include employee participation in MediCare D, a *government* program. The subsidy sweetened the pot by reducing the company's costs in doing that.

And the Dems didn't take the subsidy away -- they merely reduced it.

Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 10:46 AM

I know they didn't take the subsidy away.

I said they closed the loophole that let the companies write-off the subsidy.

Also, your bogus IRS claim:

http://www.factcheck.org/2010/03/irs-expansion/

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 10:53 AM

Craig:

You have neither refuted anything I said nor explained how NOT requiring companies to provide health insurance is socialism.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 11:01 AM

Craig, you can call it a "subsidy", you can call it a "bribe", you can call it "double dipping".

But when the varnish is off, what's left is this.
Congress passed--and I agree Bush pushed--a costly benefit for seniors--Medicare drug coverage. It's been a few weeks since I looked at the figures, but the estimated annual cost per Medicare recipient was about $1,100. Many, but not all, of those Medicare recipients also had retiree health insurance benefits which paid for those same drugs.

So your (Craig's view) average evil bastard greedy corporation would be tempted to drop prescription drug coverage for their retired employees. "It's okay, we don't need to cover you, go get it from the gubmint." Which would cost the gubmint something like $1,100.

So a deal was cut to have those evil bastard greedy corporations (EBGC Corp) keep on providing prescription drug coverage in their retiree health plans. The "deal" was a "subsidy" or a "double dip" or a "bribe" or a "tax loophole", that resulted in (a) EBCG Corp continuing to pay for prescription drug coverage for their retirees instead of shuffling them off to gubmint coverage; and (b) getting a tax loophole which cost the gubmint ~$600 per retiree kept off Medicare drug coverage; and (c) the gubmint thereby saving ~$500 per year per retiree that did not get transferred to Medicare Part D.


Now somebody worried about his fellow taxpayers, as opposed to somebody who is worried about a "tax loophole" for EBGC Corp might think that was a good deal for the taxpayer. But as always where ideology is concerned, your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Mike Myers at April 28, 2010 11:13 AM

Whatever you think of it, one of the funnier aspects of Bush's prescription drug bill is that it is the ONLY entitlement that - rather than exceeding original cost estimates many times over - has actually cost far less than estimated.

How inconveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenient :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 11:25 AM

That is inconvenient since as of February 2009, the projected net cost of the program over the 2006 to 2015 period was $549.2 billion.

link:

http://www.cms.gov/ReportsTrustFunds/downloads/tr2009.pdf

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 12:07 PM

Mike Meyers,

Nobody was worried about taxpayers in 2003 when MMR passed.

Here's bleeding-heart liberal Ron Paul's take:

"The new Medicare drug plan enriches pharmaceutical companies, fleeces taxpayers, and forces millions of older Americans to accept inferior drug coverage – while doing nothing to address the real reasons prescription drugs cost so much."

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 12:13 PM

If you think the writers of this bill were unaware that it would discourage private companies from providing insurance benefits, you are mistaken. The purpose of the law, from several standpoints, is to discourage private insurance in favor of a government benefit. Philosophically, that's exactly what the Democrats wanted. "Single payor" means government benefit, only, no private sector.

The Republican approach, which by the way BO endorsed as an improvement of Hillary Clinton's platform, would have been to use incremental changes to our laws to encourage multiple sources for insurance to individuals at lower cost, so that more people could afford it.

Posted by: valerie at April 28, 2010 12:15 PM

Uh, you do realize this isn't exactly a haven of Paulbots, right?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 28, 2010 12:17 PM

The terms of the Medicare Part D deal changed under the new law, various companies filed what that meant to the bottom line for this year. My comment: yeah, so, what did anyone expect?

The interesting aspect of it is, that Waxman, Stupak, and Locke had no earthly idea what was going on. They didn't even have the first clue that the new law had made changes in that part of the Medicare system.

Posted by: Allen at April 28, 2010 12:20 PM

Try again, Craig:

In a rare bit of good news for taxpayers, the cost of the Medicare prescription drug program fell $6 billion this year — savings driven by the widespread use of low-cost generic drugs.

The prescription drug program for seniors has cost about one-third less — about $50 billion — than originally estimated since it started in January 2006.

BETTER LIFE: More on senior health care

Medicare prescription drug spending dropped by 12% to $44 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

When the program started, the Congressional Budget Office had predicted it would cost $74 billion a year by 2008. Medicare actuaries predicted even higher costs. Seniors have seen savings, too. The monthly premium for basic drug coverage was $26.70 in 2008 — a third less than forecast.

"The program's been a success," says David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP, a senior advocacy group that offers Medicare drug plans. "After the initial confusion at the launch, it started delivering many benefits people need."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-10-30-medicare_N.htm

Of course, Congress has "fixed" a good part of what made it actually do what Obama keeps promising to do (and everyone admits it doesn't): control spending.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 12:22 PM

Since the $400,000,000,000 MMR estimate was raised 33% to $534,000,000,000 one month after it was passed, any reduction in the newer number is pretty good news I guess.

But your 2008 article states that:

"Medicare drug costs are expected to start rising again next year as early savings fade and the first of 79 million Baby Boomers start entering the program in 2011."

So I think the 2009 HHS number I stated is still valid.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 12:44 PM

Yu-Ain,

I am not a Paulbot by any stretch of the imagination, either.

But in his 2003 article, "Republican Socialism", he said private companies, such as AT&T, lobbied strongly for the 2003 MMR because they knew they would be able to dump their employees onto taxpayers and cash in on doing so.

Posted by: Craig at April 28, 2010 01:07 PM

My point Craig was that making an argument of "Ron Paul says this..." isn't persuasive here. Paul is a nutjob.

As for the substance, that largely depends on what you mean by "dumping their employees onto taxpayers". If the tax break had not been included the companies don't "cash in", but they punt their employees onto the .fedgov (i.e. the dumping them onto the taxpayers). With the taxbreak included, the companies do "cash in", but they must keep the employees in their own benefit programs (i.e. not dumping them on the taxpayer).

The only way they both "cash in" and "dump their employees onto the taxpayer" is if you count the tax break as "onto the taxpayer". But if you do that then dumping them onto the taxpayer was not a choice. That was going to happen either way. The only question, then, is which is cheaper for the taxpayer. Hurting yourself in order to hurt a company (by not wanting them to "cash in") is a classic lose-lose proposition.

If my only choices are to pay $1000 to the .fedgov or $600 to a corporation for the same service, I'll choose letting the corporation "cash in" all day long.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 28, 2010 01:38 PM

And so, like on so many issues, Paul is an idiot.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 28, 2010 01:41 PM

Arizona did the right thing in taking responsibility for their borders...because the federal government sure hasn't. The Arizona law is a repeat of the federal laws on the books, but makes it enforceable at the state level.

Traffic between AZ and Mexico is a little slower today, I am sure.

Next, having lived in AZ, the papers being asked for are already asked for by law by employers in AZ.

Craig is so fussed.

Posted by: Cricket at April 28, 2010 01:53 PM

The irony of corporate welfare being a tax cut is too rich. Especially in light of how many have had to borrow to pay for benefits mandated by union contracts.

Or the fact that corporations are taxed at 45% of their revenue...

Posted by: Cricket at April 28, 2010 01:59 PM

I said they closed the loophole that let the companies write-off the subsidy.

No, you said "Republicans gave them the loophole in 2003 and Democrats took it away in 2010."

It wasn't a loophole, it was specifically a part of the subsidy -- in other words, it was part of the agreement, not an exception to it.

Also, your bogus IRS claim:
http://www.factcheck.org/2010/03/irs-expansion/

Well, about your bogus factcheck-dot-org link -- let's go right to the law itself and see what it says. Sec. 5000A (C) (3) (B) of H.R. 3590 stipulates that the IRS will be the enforcing agency, and further stipulates that it will be done via the individual's annual federal tax return.

In other words, prove you have health insurance, or lose your tax refund. But don't take my word for it -- let's see what the Tax Czar Himself said:

Individuals who don’t purchase health insurance may lose their tax refunds according to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. After acknowledging the recently passed health-care bill limits the agency’s options for enforcing the individual mandate, Shulman told reporters that the most likely way to penalize individuals that don’t comply is by reducing or confiscating their tax refunds.

http://dailycaller.com/2010/04/05/irs-chief-buy-health-insurance-or-lose-your-tax-refund/

Still believe that benign factcheck blurb?

Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 02:00 PM

But I *was* wrong about the IRS hiring 15,000 new agents.

The correct figure is 16,500.

My bad.

Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 02:05 PM

Craig:

their shiny new "papers, please" initiative before they signed it into law.

Nobody is being asked for any identification that they would not ordinarily be asked for. The object of the law is that when the cops stop you for speeding or because you have committed some offense and they ask you for ID - which they always do anyway - they now must check your immigration status if they have reason to suspect it. No one is going to be stopped and asked to present ID under any conditions that they would not otherwise have been asked to do so. If you dispute that, please cite that part of the text of the law that contradicts me.

But if, when you are stopped, you have no ID or hand over fake ID, you're going to now get checked. As you should be. And this time no local "sanctuary law" will override this. As it should be. And the people have the right to force enforcement of the law. As they should.

This whole scenario of "They're going to grab brown people at random just because they look Hispanic" is pure bull$hit. It's not an attempt to point out Constitutional flaws in the law or to prevent abuse of its enforcement. It's an attempt to ensure that people who are abusing the law by violating it don't suffer for their actions. It's an attempt to lie to people who don't go to the trouble of reading the law so that they are misled on what the law says and what its intent is. It's based on the idea that the reason people enter the U.S. illegally is the U.S.'s fault, that the U.S. has done harm to those people and that in order to make up for that harm the U.S. should not ban anyone from coming to America. It's an attempt to overcome immigration law not by the honest means of pointing out what they think are problems with the law and asking for changes to it; it's an attempt to overcome it by helping people break the law.

Posted by: RonF at April 28, 2010 04:14 PM

I have to weigh in here b/c I can't stand it.

If we pass a law, will there be *some* cop, *somewhere* who abuses his authority or uses it inappropriately to harass an innocent citizen?

Sure, because cops (last time I checked) are people. They do boneheaded things sometimes.

But what is more frequent with cops is that if we make it too hard for them to do their jobs or they know that person they took the time to chase down and arrest will be let off in court, they are not going to try very hard and who can blame them?

If we didn't have literally MILLIONS of folks pouring across the borders, citizenship papers would not even be an issue.

It's not that we have "brown people" amongst us that is the problem - it's that we have passed immigration laws designed to limit the number of folks who can come here and those laws are being flouted.

Now I suppose we could pull a TSA and start asking 90 year old blue eyed little old ladies for their papers just to "prove" we're not profiling. But that wastes everyone's time and money while doing precisely nothing to solve the problem of illegal immigration.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 04:33 PM

And since Utah and Texas (thus far) are starting to consider similar legislation, it seems at the very least that this "status check" bill has had one salutory effect - it has drawn attention to the "wee" problem of armed criminals and others streaming over the southern border. Which may also have something to do with Madame Speaker's new resolution that would allow statehood for Puerto Rico without the Puerto Ricans requesting or really voting on it - more voters, fast.

As far as Waxman's hearings, the fear of ridicule from his associates as corporate CFOs say under oath "Your financial regulatory bill requires that we describe the effects of your healthcare bill on our bottom line . . ." might have had a wee, teensy bit to do with it.

But I could be wrong, given as how Mr. Waxman is such a modest and retiring soul.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at April 28, 2010 04:43 PM

Oh, and in interests of full disclosure, I am probably going to have to dedicate between 1/3 and 1/4 of my income to taxes and health insurance this year, because I have a high-deductible individual policy and will be penalized for it. I am not an especially happy camper about that.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at April 28, 2010 04:47 PM

I am probably going to have to dedicate between 1/3 and 1/4 of my income to taxes and health insurance this year, because I have a high-deductible individual policy and will be penalized for it.

But you'll receive actual *care* if you need it -- unlike the poor souls who will be paying now but eligible for *nothing* until 2013.

Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 05:02 PM

This whole scenario of "They're going to grab brown people at random just because they look Hispanic" is pure bull$hit.

As the risk of wading into a cesspool of invective, how will a law-abiding AZ officer identify someone suspected of being illegal?

As the risk of wading into a cesspool of invective, how would YOU prove your citizenship if you were stopped and asked to prove it? Do you carry a certified copy of your birth certificate / passport with you at all times? Even when running to the store to get milk because you've run out and you forgot to get some the night before? What about when you take out the trash cans on trash day?

Just wondering ...

Posted by: I Call BS at April 28, 2010 05:18 PM

If she looks ANYTHING like the hottie applying lipstick and showing some skin at the top of this page, what about the Blog Princess's would encourage or discourage a law-abiding AZ law enforcer to/from asking her about her citizenship status?

Posted by: I Call BS at April 28, 2010 05:21 PM

As the risk of wading into a cesspool of invective, how would YOU prove your citizenship if you were stopped and asked to prove it?

Military ID card and a copy of my DD-214. I'm *required* to carry them.

Got a Social Security Card? You're supposed to carry it -- even though nobody does. Got a *valid* driver's license?

Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 05:35 PM

As the risk of wading into a cesspool of invective, how will a law-abiding AZ officer identify someone suspected of being illegal?

Well, when the cop pulls over a driver for speeding and the driver says they don't have a driver's license, they don't have insurance, the car belongs to their cousin and isn't registered (you know, those things demanded of *everyone*) that might be, what we maybe, possibly, call a clue.

I mean, maybe, they're some kind of wacky far out libertarian type who believes it's an unconsionable abuse of power for the gov't to require those things and so doesn't obey them, but that's probably not the way to bet.

As for how to prove it "on demand" that's something of a red-herring. In the absence of reasonable suspicion you simply accept the arrest and then sue the pants off the city for unlawful arrest, Constitutional violation and deprivation of rights under color of law. If there is reasonable suspicion, you're probably going to be arrested anyway for breaking the law that caused the "police contact" anyway (if you are caught speeding w/o a license w/o insurance, and in an unregistered car you might just get arrested anyway). At which point, "on-demand" is no longer really an issue.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 28, 2010 05:48 PM

... how would YOU prove your citizenship if you were stopped and asked to prove it? Do you carry a certified copy of your birth certificate / passport with you at all times?

By showing the nice officer my Illinois Driver's License. I had to prove my right to reside in the U.S. to the Illinois Secretary of State to get it. Similarly, residents of Arizona have to show their Secretary of State the same manner of proof. If you have a valid drivers' license in almost every state (there are a few exceptions) you have proven to your Secretary of State, generally by showing either your birth certificate, your U.S. Passport, or a Resident Alien registration ("green") card or other immigration document that you have a right to reside in the U.S. Take a look at the requirements to get a drivers' license in your home state and see what you find.

Oh, and read the bill. You are only going to be asked for your ID if you are stopped by the cops for some other reason - and in any such case you're going to be asked for your ID anyway. The only difference is now the cop has to check your immigration status if, and only if, he or she has a reasonable suspicion that your immigration status is questionable. A surname of "Sanchez" will not be a reason to suspect this. A fake drivers' license or a complete lack of one or a State ID card is.

how will a law-abiding AZ officer identify someone suspected of being illegal?

"Reasonable suspicion" is a standard in plenty of laws besides this one. I don't know what standards Arizona law enforcement has for this, but I'm sure they'll develop some pretty quick, they'll get tested in court and refined, and they'll be applied with reasonable uniformity after a short time period. I'd suggest as a start

1. (Fake ID or no ID) AND
((An inability to speak English or speaking it with an accent that indicates you did not learn it in the U.S.) OR (no verifiable US residence))
OR
2. A record of previous immigration violations comes up when the drivers' license is run through their system - every time you're stopped for speeding or a dead headlight or whatever your license is checked for outstanding warrants, etc.

I'm sure other reasonable standards will be developed.

Posted by: RonF at April 28, 2010 05:51 PM

And to Bill's point. The main reason conservatives didn't like the plans to give illegal aliens drivers licenses was that it does (except in the case of overstayed Visas) work as proof of legal residence.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 28, 2010 05:54 PM

In fact, Mr. BS, if you had read the law that you are criticizing you could have answered your own question (I did search before making my previous post but I somehow missed it):

Page 1, lines 34 - 43 (and hey, it's their ALL CAPS, not mine)

A PERSON IS PRESUMED TO NOT BE AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES IF THE PERSON PROVIDES TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR AGENCY ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. A VALID ARIZONA DRIVER LICENSE.
2. A VALID ARIZONA NONOPERATING IDENTIFICATION LICENSE.
3. A VALID TRIBAL ENROLLMENT CARD OR OTHER FORM OF TRIBAL IDENTIFICATION.
4. IF THE ENTITY REQUIRES PROOF OF LEGAL PRESENCE IN THE UNITED STATES BEFORE ISSUANCE, ANY VALID UNITED STATES FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ISSUED IDENTIFICATION.

Guidelines for obtaining a valid Arizona Drivers License states that almost all but a handful of other States' DL's qualify under point 4 above. How many legal U.S. residents do you think will not be able to provide one of those 4 types of documents when stopped for some other reason?

Posted by: RonF at April 28, 2010 06:03 PM

Military ID card and a copy of my DD-214. I'm *required* to carry them. ... Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 05:35 PM

Yea; whatever - you don't count. Ha ha ha!

Posted by: I Call BS at April 28, 2010 06:06 PM

how will a law-abiding AZ officer identify someone suspected of being illegal?

Not exactly what you asked, but a point to consider - the Arizona law enforcement official does not, in fact, identify who is an illegal alien. The citation in my previous posting in fact requires them to presume that just about everyone they run into in practice is not. But if the person they're contacted does not qualify, the law does not ask or require the officer to determine if they are an illegal alien. The officer is required to refer the question to another entity authorized under Federal law to make that determination.

Posted by: RonF at April 28, 2010 06:10 PM

Yea; whatever - you don't count.

That's cuz I'm too *tall* to be mistaken for a non-citizen.

Posted by: BillT at April 29, 2010 12:19 AM

I have to carry my ID and driver's license. There are many stores around these here parts that give a 10% military discount.

My ID card is my proof of insurance when I take the CLUs to the ER, or the Engineer....They just love to test the limits of their abilities.

That said, this flies in the face of the liberals who *want* a national ID card versus liberals who think that carding suspected aliens is a violation of their rights.

Or am I mistaken here?

Posted by: Cricket at April 29, 2010 07:54 AM

They may think you to be a Brit, though, if they don't hear you talk, Bill.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 29, 2010 10:35 AM

Coo. Aces, Ymar, ya think I orter belt bloody up, then? Gotta lotta bottle an' the gen, no worry on that score.

Posted by: BillT at April 29, 2010 01:13 PM

I will admit to having some concerns about the Arizona law, although the more I find out about it (such as the material that RonF presented), the more it appears to be pretty reasonable. But don't lose the larger context here: why did Arizona pass this law? Clearly it's an act of desperation. And why are they desperate? Because the Federal government has abdicated its Constitutional duty to secure the nation's borders. *That* is the big issue, not the details of which forms of ID a person has to have.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 29, 2010 02:39 PM

The details do matter. if this law is effective, things are good and there is less chance of people taking arms to do it themselves.

If this crashes due to bad stuff in the law, its enforcement, or because somebody easily sabotaged it, then things are just going to get worse. And not just for people in Arizona.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 29, 2010 04:14 PM

Bill, You got the look. Just need the accent, darou?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 29, 2010 04:14 PM

Well, I can do a darn good "generic RAF pilot" and a decent "Southampton dockyard."

Posted by: BillT at April 30, 2010 05:40 AM

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