President Obama's latest political ploy — granting new "rights" out of thin air, by Executive Order, to illegal immigrants who claim that they were brought into the country when they were children — is all too typical of his short-run approach to the country's long-run problems.
Whatever the merits or demerits of the Obama immigration policy, his Executive Order is good only as long as he remains president, which may be only a matter of months after this year's election.
People cannot plan their lives on the basis of laws that can suddenly appear, and then suddenly disappear, in less than a year. To come forward today and claim the protection of the Obama Executive Order is to declare publicly and officially that your parents entered the country illegally. How that may be viewed by some later administration is anybody's guess.
Employers likewise cannot rely on policies that may be here today and gone tomorrow, whether these are temporary tax rates designed to look good at election time or temporary immigration policies that can backfire later if employers get accused of hiring illegal immigrants.
Why hire someone, and invest time and money in training them, if you may be forced to fire them before a year has passed?
Kicking the can down the road is one of the favorite exercises in Washington. But neither in the economy nor in their personal lives can people make plans and commitments on the basis of government policies that suddenly appear and suddenly disappear.
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Thomas Sowell (photo)