Pittsburgh City Council’s double fail

Pittsburgh City Council’s double fail

Surely Pittsburgh City Council has more pressing business than to promote illegal immigration and illegal aliens’ unfettered access to public services.

A few dozen activists urged the council last week to formally declare Pittsburgh a “sanctuary city,” pay no attention to whether immigrants are legal or illegal and bar the city from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

It’s rank lawlessness.

Most striking was Councilman Dan Gilman’s fealty for nose-thumbing at the rule of law. After the session, he insisted to a reporter that “Nobody is illegal. … We are all legal human beings, and the term illegal is offensive and inhumane.”

No, no, no and no, Councilor.

Neither does he like the term “sanctuary city.” He says “We need to get away from a term and get down to what people need to live in peace and security and tranquility.”
Gilman envisions measures to ensure city services are delivered regardless of immigration status, including translation services. “He urged advocates to suggest any improvements,” the Post-Gazette reported.

Abiding by the rule of law would be good start.

Another Pittsburgh city councilman is proposing a brand new proverbial “free lunch” for some residents.

In a “will of council resolution,” Councilman Corey O’Connor wants “the state” – that would be taxpayers – to wipe out part of the college student loan debt for those who want to purchase a home in the City of Pittsburgh.

“Basically, if you own a home or purchase a home in the state of Pennsylvania, while you’re paying your mortgage as well as your taxes, that number that you pay on your student loan would be wiped off,” he told WTAE.

As the station reported it, “O’Connor believes it would be investing in the future by helping (people) who are buying homes have more disposable income when they are committing to living, spending and paying taxes in the region.”

As iconic columnist George F. Will might put it – “Well.”

O’Connor’s proposal is fraught with peril — economic, constitutional and moral.
First, the moral. How is it acceptable to offload anyone’s debt onto others in order to incur more debt? It is not.

Second, the constitutional. Picking the pockets of Jane and John Q. Public to pay the debt of Bob and Bev Q. Public should be considered an unconstitutional taking.

Third, the economic. O’Connor’s proposal calls for, as the resolution states, “a program wherein the commonwealth repays a portion of an individual’s outstanding federal student loan debt when an individual finances a home mortgage through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and commits to live in the home as their primary residence for a set amount of time.”

“I think you have to look at it that this (college loan) debt is probably never going to be paid off,” the councilman says. The forgiveness program could make up for that by stimulating the economy, O’Connor posits.

By throwing yet another government-originated loan after an unpaid (by the borrower) government-originated loan?

Who thinks up this kind of routine? The Marx Brothers?

Any banking institution’s loan officer would be wary of any prospective borrower who reduced his/her debt-to-income ratio by offloading it in such a free-rider fashion. It calls into question the prospective borrower’s true financial wherewithal, if not that borrower’s ability to manage debt.

So, how is this somehow acceptable when the government is running the show?

Colin McNickle is a senior fellow and media specialist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).