Monday, March 27, 2006

Recipe for Cooked Goose, Hold The Golden Eggs

Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants - New York Times:

Of course, the issue is divisive. The issue pits compassion against law and order. It pits helping the unfortunate against the means by which to do so.

Surely, any compassionate person would be willing and eager to help the less fortunate, yet if he were to give all that he had in the process, he’d have nothing left with which to help anyone, let alone himself, thereby becoming part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Hence, the fable that warns against cooking the Goose that laid the Golden Egg.

Of course, the issue is immigration. Not just all immigration but rather the breaking of American Immigration law without consequence, mocking those who do respect our laws and keep them. It is about breaking American law at the expense of the American taxpayer to benefit the lawbreaker. This seems to me to be a classic case of cooked goose. Any politician seeking elected office knows he or she would benefit from pronouncing for the public good, a feasible reduction in taxes, the present administration not withstanding. Yet, as in the past, when these promises are made, only to lead to economic burden because of bills beyond the budget, then we recognize that there is a problem which demands correction and we take the measures necessary to correct it. Usually, in the next election we scrutinize closely such claims to reduce costs while increasing benefits and vote accordingly.

Looking objectively at people entering this country by means that thwart the will of the American people, breaking the laws which we enacted through a just and legal process to control the flow of aliens across our borders, we see several questions posed:

Should we have laws which govern the flow at our borders?

Should we enforce the laws of the land governing our borders?

Should we even have borders?

If so, are those borders supposed to control who comes in and out of our country?


Are they for determining which occupants of this country pay taxes to get education and health care and which need not do so?

Surely, we are all aware of the great blessings that we enjoy in this country. Many of us are also aware of the hardships suffered by those in other countries, in particular in Mexico. Many of us give charitably to ease that suffering. Some of us fight for policies and legislation to help us serve as good neighbors to the benefit of those less fortunate. For example, thanks to NAFTA, strawberries are available throughout the year, the winter crop coming from Mexico. They are delicious and welcome reminders of summer's bounty while we wait through winter chill; they are also a bit expensive. The profit from this is expected to go to the Mexican people, though there’s no accounting for the corruption which poses as government in that country. Our ability to pay for them is supposed to be derived from the balance of our economy. Though I am not an expert in economics, logic would suggest that if I have to pay for my expensive health coverage, my school and property taxes as well as pay for those same things for illegal aliens who do not equally contribute, then it is likely I will soon be unable to pay for those delicious winter strawberries from Mexico. Now, do I eat the goose or the egg?

Considering that many, if not most, who have entered this country illegally, have come here with the intention of sending a portion of their earnings back to their home country through money transfers, we recognize that, by so doing, not only are they not maintaining a balance in the economy by paying taxes on the income, but also as we all know, the taxes paid in spending that income as well, are also nullified since those dollars will not be spent here. If each illegal alien sent home to his native country, only one dollar for each day that he was here, $3.3 billion dollars would leave this country annually, on which no tax would ever be collected. (And the left thinks that the wealthy Americans have all the tax breaks!) This of course is not good economics but the faint aroma of cooked goose sure smells good

In an effort that we might gain a better grasp of the situation, it would be to our benefit if there were an obvious notation as we foot the bill. For example, here in Seattle, we pay an outrageous tax to fund the stadiums, owned and built by billionaires that ran into multi-million dollar cost overruns –no, they do not belong to the city! - that serve to accommodate the teams of millionaires that use them to make more millions for themselves. Essentially, millionaires subsidizing the means to make more millions by taxing millions from those who sit in the traffic which events at these stadiums are known to produce, unable to fix the roads on which they sit due to budgetary impairment.

Outrageous, to be sure. But, at least we knew it going in. We voted for it (I say that figuratively, since I didn’t!), we got it and we live with it. Even still, as we pay nearly 10% in sales tax because of it, we are fully aware that our ridiculously high taxes are due to our need/desire/willingness to have these teams of multi-millionaires living at our expense. Every time I make a purchase, pay that tax and cringe, I know why I’m cringing and have no one to blame but myself as a taxpayer for having allowed it to happen.

So to keep ourselves fully aware of what’s really happening, and to protect our politicians from undue fiscal criticism, we should, if we choose to honor those who do not contribute towards carrying the burden, do much the same as we do here in Seattle: impose a tax earmarked to subsidize the hospitals, schools and jails. A special sales tax, set aside to cover the cost of non-citizen patrons who simply don’t pay their own way. Like a secondary welfare system. To qualify you simply need to prove that you don’t qualify. Then you’re covered. Taxpaying American citizens need not apply. By doing this we will always be realistically aware of the financial costs of ignoring the laws we enacted to protect us from, among many things, unaccountable and increasingly unmanageable financial burdens on our health and educational systems. What better way than to impose a financial burden that’s obvious, replacing the hidden one with which we now live. Without going into all the detailed data regarding costs, in many states, these costs are in the billions and growing. And though often times the burden is felt most on the local level, the Tax For Illegal Entry should be shared nationally as it is nationally that we will ultimately pay for it down the road. All of our already unwieldy health care costs are artificially inflated to cover these costs anyway. If we make the cost obvious through a tax that we will experience almost daily, we will never get confused as to why the budgets won’t balance. Dutch treat that covers five for dinner, when only three pay, will ruin the taste of even the most deliciously cooked goose. With or without eggs.

And when we see how well this works we might just decide to establish new taxes to cover the hidden costs of many other crimes, allowing them to be broken to ease the lives of those who break them. That list is much too long for this blog, though another hundred million of our citizens would likely sign up tomorrow for that plank in the campaign platform. You can bet on it.
Hey! There’s one group right there! Illegal gamblers! Wow! I think I’m onto something! (Prostitution, insider trading, pornography, illegal liquor sales…hmmmm…. They’d pay billions to avoid prosecution and be allowed to continue. Think of all the good we could do with that additional revenue! “A stolen car in every garage and a cooked goose in every pot!”
Hey! Pot! That’s right!
Let’s not leave out the drug trade!!
Oh, that’s right…they’re already in on this Mexico thing.

Now I’ve had misgivings on the matter rooted in what I think is my sense of compassion for those who don’t have all that I do (don’t laugh, I do have a few things) and gratitude for all that I do have, the most precious of which is far more than things. It calls me to share what I have with the less fortunate. Surely, my heart says to do so as I try to quell any feelings of guilt that might be misplaced. However, my heart doesn’t have to pay the bills. My pragmatic head does. And my head says that there is a better way to allow for the success of the dictates of my heart.

Housing is expensive, especially for those of us who have not been fortunate enough to own their own. Homelessness is often rooted in this high cost (as well as from Eminent Domain rulings from the lunatic bench). Raising taxes to subsidize those who do not pay taxes only leads to more people in need. We often hear this complaint coming from the left regarding the wealthy in this country, yet never have I heard it used about the resource-draining criminals who enter this country illegally. As the citizens who carry the financial burden of running this country are eventually crushed under the burden of those who don’t, those who are not citizens (those who, by virtue of their citizenship, carry the cost of this great country) are demanding - and getting- all the benefits as if they were. Think an activist bench is bad? Try legislating from the street!

So now comes the question of the morality of bearing the weight of the less fortunate with the resources with which we have been blessed. The question arises, “What is the Christian thing to do?” In response, the first thought that comes to mind is Jesus’ admonition to give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God, that which is God’s. I am by no means a biblical scholar, yet if I am a logical man, I can only deduce that this was guidance to obey the just laws of the country in which you happen to find yourself, even if, in the case at the time, an occupation force, as was Rome. One can only conclude then that if our laws are just they should be obeyed. This does not preclude being a good Christian. However, if they are not just then we should abandon them for better. If our present system of charitable giving and economic support of Mexico through free trade is insufficient to help the people of Mexico, then we need to create taxes, which compensate for the cost of 12 million people who use costly resources, which they don’t replenish through taxation. Forget waiting for the Mexican government to become just, fair, and supportive of its own people. You can’t keep a goose in the oven indefinitely!

Being logical, we must conclude that the math bears out one thing for sure: since those that come here illegally tend to reproduce at almost twice the rate of legal American citizens, it won’t be long before they represent the majority of the work force. Logic also would allow that the majority of anything usually calls the shots. Therefore, we could fix the problem now by instituting new laws or keeping and enforcing those which we already have, succumbing to the pressures of demanding, furiously protesting crowds or we can simply let the problem fix itself through attrition. One day, the majority will have to pick up the tab or end up living in the same poverty from they are fleeing today. If the “furious” demonstrations of this past weekend are any indication, plenty seem to think they have the solutions we need.

Then of course, I must look at the claim that we need illegal Mexicans here to supply our work force with the manual labor that natural born American citizens refuse to do. Well, we might consider this to be Christian charity until we stop to consider that what we are offering is a job, lifestyle and income level that we consider unacceptable. We might offer them our garbage while we’re at it. And the tragedy is that, due to the unbridled corruption in their own country, they have come here willing to accept just that: our garbage. In fact, this principle has been the backbone of Hindu society in India for hundreds of years. A caste system which reserves for the “untouchables” that which the self-respecting would never do. Is this really Christian or merely guilt-assuaging, self-satisfying contrivance to justify greed. When we willingly invite Mexican criminals (that’s what people are who break the law) to reside within our communities as next-door neighbors, then we will know that we are willing to live up to the standards that we preach. But facts will reveal that those who enter our country illegally live in conclaves that detect and warn of law enforcement so as to avoid deportation, in housing that few of us would consider livable. But landlords collect rent on them and the contractors employ them so that we can bargain down the price of everything that we buy here at home, demanding that American companies compete with companies in the countries from which these criminals are fleeing and to which we outsource. Only greed, not Christian charity, can cause such blindness.

Concurrent with the political methods which have served the left for so long, we see a clamor of condemnation of America as an evil giant who crushes the poor man (ignoring the fact that he was never invited and essentially broke in) and demand through implication of guilt of some kind, that our government change its rules to nullify their illegality. This is equivalent to the maid that cleans the toilets in your home, a job you don’t care to do, breaking into your home, using your checkbook to cover her medical and educational expenses, then demanding “furiously” that you ignore the rules that say your home is your sovereign domain and change them to allow for this criminal act to become acceptable. It’s preposterous and outrageous and no one in his or her right mind would consider it. Yet we consider the very same logic from demonstrating crowds and the churches that back them.

According to this then I need to believe, as a Christian, that the instruction we were given 2000 years ago was to take from Caesar that which is Caesar’s and demand that he grant us the privilege of doing so because it is our right, even though we're not citizens and, therefore, within that country have no rights.

And the meek shall inherit the earth. Somehow I never saw this as meaning that the meek would storm the governments of the countries which they invaded and demand control. Live and learn.

Surely that Goose is cooked by now! Let’s eat! (Who needed silly golden eggs anyway?)

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