However, the scandals of the present moment are not distinct from immigration reform. As Mark Krikorian noted the other day, the Gang of Eight bill as it currently stands is an endorsement of centralized bureaucratic powers. As the IRS and other scandals raise some concerns about centralized government agencies, the bill’s various provisions – from its guest-worker plan to its “trust us” approach to enforcement – are a vote of great confidence in big bureaucracy.
Furthermore, if it is true that these current scandals represent significant overreach by the executive or incompetence on his watch, it is rather hard to see the case for rewarding that executive with perhaps the top item on his legislative wish-list. Washington kabuki aside, the Obama administration would very likely be ecstatic if the current incarnation of the Gang of Eight’s bill became law. The bill achieves two key progressive goals: It empowers centralized authority figures and it increases the ability of federal bureaucrats to manage the U.S.’s labor market.