Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Refugee Rule of One

Before you become part of the chorus of altruists chastising Florida Gov. Rick Scott for wanting a pause on Syrian refugees, you should apply Arthur Laffer’s Rule of One.

  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
  • Share

When noted economist Arthur Laffer explains economics and the idiocy of subsidies and corporate welfare, he says the easiest way to understand the economics of subsidies is to apply the Rule of One.

Here is Laffer’s Rule of One test on whether a subsidy makes economic sense: 

Let’s say the CEO of an out-of-state corporation knocks on your front door. He says: “I want to move my company to Florida. Would you be willing to pay higher taxes so I can have lower taxes than I otherwise would without your subsidy and move my company here?”

Or how about this one: A wealthy Florida sugar farmer knocks on your door and says: “Dominican Republic sugar farmers want to sell their sugar to you. Their sugar costs less than mine. Are you OK with putting a tax on their sugar to make it more expensive than mine and paying me more for my sugar so I can stay in business? That would help me a lot.”

Of course you would say “no” and slam the door in both instances. Why would you want to pay more in taxes and more for products to help someone else prosper at your expense?

Now extrapolate that to all corporate relocation and expansion subsidies and to all farm subsidies. If the Laffer Rule of One shows the inequity and fallacy of a subsidy for one, the same applies in greater numbers.

Now recast Laffer’s Rule of One to Syrian refugees.

As we all know by now, the always petulant Barack Obama and Florida’s collectivist leftist daily newspaper editorialists went gonzo over Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other governors saying the federal government should take a pause before admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country.

 “Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,” said Obama in his cutting, condescending tone. “To bar the door against Syrian refugees in their states represents a shameful, knee-jerk reaction to the immigration and terrorism crises in Europe,” said the Miami Herald. “This is a time for reason and altruism to carry the day, not the politics of bigotry or fear,” said the Tampa Bay Times.

Knee-jerk? Bigotry? 

Fear? You bet. 

Refugee of One Rule

You saw almost in real time the terror that occurred in Paris and the subsequent news reports that identified at least one of the terrorists as a Syrian — one with a Syrian passport. 

You saw the guns-loaded alarm and lockdown that swept over the city of Brussels. And over the past several months, you have seen the television news reports showing crowds of Syrian refugees — many of them males in their 20s, 30s, 40s — flooding into Europe. Common sense made you wonder how many are terrorists pretending to be refugees.

Now for the Refugee Rule of One: 

Say a male Syrian refugee in his early 30s knocks on your front door seeking shelter in your home. What would you do?

You would want to know who this person is, his background, his story — every detail. And you would be suspicious of taking his word. You would want evidence and corroboration, second and third trusted sources to verify that this man is who he says he is.

You wouldn’t be hasty or impulsively trust this person on first meeting. You would want as much definitive assurance as possible.

And what is wrong with that? It’s common sense and for your own protection. 

If that’s what you would do with one refugee — the Refugee Rule of One — then common sense says the same should be applied to 10,000.  

Governors ask for a pause

And that’s why Gov. Scott and other Republican governors asked the president to halt temporarily the Syrian refugee program. They wanted assurances and reassurances.

After all, their top responsibility is to protect their states’ citizens from harm. If just one Syrian refugee enters their state and commits terrorism, the hounding would be merciless. Fingers pointing, raging flames of blame.

So given the events in Paris and the governors’ responsibilities, if you were governor, surely you would want assurances and would want to know the details of how the vetting process works. The buck stops with you.

But when Scott asked the president to take a pause with Syrian refugees in a conference call with Republican governors, the president declined to be transparent.

As Scott told Fox News the day after the call: “They’re not going to pause. They couldn’t explain to me how the U.S. vetting process is any better than the French vetting process … They’re not going to give me or any of our law enforcement in Florida the background checks … That’s why what I ask is: Let’s take a pause.”

On Nov. 20, 27 Republican governors formally requested in a letter the president suspend the Syrian refugee program until the president could assure them of the vetting process.

On Monday, the White House finally acquiesced. Secretary of State John Kerry and Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, issued a five-page letter detailing the federal government’s refugee vetting process. 

The governors were not being bigots or knee-jerks. What they wanted was transparency and reassurance. The common sense of the Rule of One.         


Latest News