We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This is a re-post from May 17, 2006, following Bush's speech on immigration:
Robert Samuelson's op-ed in today's Washington Post, almost alone among the commentary I have seen in recent days, takes a sober, rhetoric-free look at the long-term economic and social consequences of our nation's unwillingness to control how many and what sort of foreigners we choose to allow into the United States.
President Bush's immigration speech mostly missed the true nature of the problem. We face two interconnected population issues. One is aging; the other is immigration. We aren't dealing sensibly with either, and as a result we face a future of unnecessarily heightened political and economic conflict. On the one side will be older baby boomers demanding all their federal retirement benefits. On the other will be an expanding population of younger and poorer Hispanics -- immigrants, their children and grandchildren -- increasingly resentful of their rising taxes that subsidize often-wealthier and unrelated baby boomers.
Does this look like a harmonious future?
Such big-picture analysis of the demographic future of our country - which, unlike the price of oil, the value of the dollar, or the cost of buying a home, can be predicted with a reasonable degree of certainty - is virtually unknown among policymakers or journalists. Continuing, Samuelson argues that in focusing exclusively on illegal immigration, we have missed the forest for the trees:
The central problem is not illegal immigration. It is undesirably high levels of poor and low-skilled immigrants, whether legal or illegal, most of whom are Hispanic. Immigrants are not all the same. An engineer making $75,000 annually contributes more to the American economy and society than a $20,000 laborer. On average, the engineer will assimilate more easily.
This ought to be common sense, but such things are rarely if ever discussed honestly or forthrightly. The obsessive desire on the part of Bush and the Senate to flood this country with poor, uneducated, non-English speaking workers will have incalculable consequences down the road for virtually every area of American society, and Samuelson deserves credit for sounding the alarm.
Our society has been basking, by and large, in prosperous economic times since the end of World War II. We have had some recessions that caused the usual amount of panic among the sky-is-falling manicured crowd; and some very real hardship among those who suffered the actual loss of employment. But even that pretty much ended in the 1970s.
Now, times being what they are, if one mows one's own grass as I do (lawn being presumptuous for my yard), we are odd balls. Everyone, it seems, has a "landscape" crew come in to maintain the outer property, and maid service for the interior. The providers of these services are mainly recent immigrants. Not to mention dog walkers, nannies, dog poo removers, etc., etc.
The point being that even our luxurious times are bound, sooner or later, to end. And a fairly deep recession will flood the ranks of the unemployed to over the limit. We cannot simply maintain an vast army of marginally skilled unemployed workers, who are mainly limited-English speaking, and often barely literate in Spanish. And where in Mexico or Latin America would they return to--given the utter incompetence of the Mexican and Latin American governments?
What we are asking for in the long run is civil unrest unlike that of the 19th Century--as there is no frontier left to conquer and no industrial revolution under way. Those who promote illegal immigration in the name of compassion will cause horrendous suffering later from their blindness.
The Autumn 2006 issue of City Journal contains "Hispanic Family Values?" by Heather Mac Donald - http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_4_hispanic_family_values.html
It describes a new runaway illegitimacy and familial disintegration among recent Hispanic immigrants similar to what plagues urban blacks, likely with similar results - replacement of the traditional Latin work ethic by a ghetto criminal culture of absent fathers, gangs, drugs, and petty crime.
Latin America is a large and complex place. It contains many hundreds of thousands of educated professionals and small businesspeople who want to work and bring their largely traditional families to America, as have the Cubans and others. We should be encouraging them, instead of encouraging the formation of a new underclass.
Yes, in the abstract, it would be in their best interests and ours for them to stay home in order to pull their own societies out of the mud. Now, if their own societies were not throttled by socialism and if they observed niceties like contract law and if the cop on the beat were not corrupt, it would be more profitable for them to stay home.
But these problems appear systemic and intractable. In fact, we are now seeing an exodus of professionals from socialist, multi-culti Europe - the Dutch emigrating and French Jews moving to Florida. Assuming it will occur anyway, we need to snag as many highly educated and upwardly mobile people as we can. We must do it for two reasons. In the short term, we aren't producing enough of them ourselves and soon we will feel the global pinch. Second, these people can help act as our eyes on the rest of the world, a job that we, as an insular and monolingual nation, often have trouble doing. Loyal, educated, and successful new Americans are global proof that our system works.
Skookumchuk, your educated professionals would not fit in well with the requirements of the Democratic Party that one be a card carrying victim of some sort or another in order to garner attention. The unions would not so easily be able to bilk even more low-income people out of initiation fees and dues for shoddy benefits and the eternal support of corrupt leadership. Sorry, your recommendation just makes too much sense for the touch-feely crowd.