Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Illegal Immigration: Are we being manipulated?
Carl F. Worden

Like most of my readers, I share their concerns over illegal immigration, and I am on record as having written that if it was up to me, I’d slam the borders shut Soviet-style. Do that, and we not only reduce illegal immigration, but what the illegal immigrants may bring with them, from drugs to shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles to suitcase-sized nukes. In an era when we are supposedly threatened by terror attacks on our soil, it would usually be considered a no-brainer to affect such a security measure, but as we are all aware, nothing of substance has been done.
Normally, when an action or lack thereof doesn’t make sense, I always look for the money angle involved, and I usually find it. In the case of illegal immigration, we are told the big corporations want cheap labor, and that the liberals want cheap votes. Most of us bought into that, but I want you to consider an alternative thought that has been troubling me of late.

Are we being manipulated into assigning blame on illegal immigration rather than the true culprit?

Think back: Before 1994, most of us just winked at illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. to hold jobs most Americans didn’t want, like landscaping, domestic help, meat-packing jobs, etc. Illegal immigration has become a hot-button issue of late, and I had to ask myself, why now and not back then? What changed in the United States to make us care about something so much now, to the extent we have citizens jumping off the couch and volunteering to man the borders?

As I gave more thought to it, I came to realize a very troubling parallel between late 1930’s Germany and what is happening to the United States today. Back then, Hitler boasted that if he didn’t have the Jews to blame for Germany’s financial woes, he might not have come to power. Hitler was able to focus the German people’s rage and resentment on an ethnic group for all their fiscal woes, so let’s jump back to the present to explore that parallel.

What happened to change our attitude and focus it on illegal immigrants? The answer is so-called “Free Trade”. The answer is the adoption of NAFTA/GATT, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs.

Before NAFTA/GATT, a high school dropout could still get a manufacturing job that paid enough to support a family. Those jobs, over four million of them so far and counting, are now gone overseas due to those “free trade” agreements. The only manufacturing jobs left today in the U.S. are those requiring special training, education and skills. The days when a high school graduate or even a dropout, could get a family wage job at the Ford plant or the logging mill have virtually ceased to exist.

Now we have those same former manufacturing employees working two and three service-related jobs like retailing, service and sales, just to make up for the one good job they lost, and on top of that misery, few if any of those service-related jobs offer decent medical insurance.

If you are like me, you can share in the new American wealth through investment in large, multi-national corporations in the form of stocks or mutual fund investments. You can become an entrepreneur by setting up your own outsource-proof business. You can go into commission sales and make a lot of money, depending on the product. You can invest in real estate or even gold and silver, and you can make a lot of money in currency-trading nowadays if you know what you are doing, but as far as the good ol’ days of getting a family-wage-paying job at the plant or the lumber mill with little education or skills, those days are gone.

However, in order to participate in the American dream today, you have to have savings at hand to invest, and the average American has no savings, has high credit card debt and a house that isn’t worth today what they paid for it after acquiring it with an adjustable rate mortgage, and they cannot refinance to a fixed rate mortgage they can afford. To complicate things even more, what equity many Americans did have in their homes has been refinanced out to pay for expensive autos, flat screen TVs and even groceries. In Georgia alone, foreclosures are up 99% over just one year ago, and the trend is frightening nationwide.

With gasoline and diesel prices going off the scale, Americans have been strongly cutting back on eating out, which places many food and drink service jobs in jeopardy. Most food service employees I’ve asked locally are reporting a 20% decrease in business overall.

So what we have emerging is a fiscal crisis in America that is squeezing Americans slowly, but relentlessly, and with no end in sight. I foresee the day coming when millions of people lose their homes to reside in their cars – if they still have one.

Employer-paid medical insurance is being cut back to the point that many of my own clients are now rolling the dice by not paying for their dependent coverage. If things go wrong and they incur high medical costs due to injury or illness, these middle class clients won’t be able to file bankruptcy due to Bush’s Bankruptcy Reform law he got passed to protect his largest political contributors, the credit card companies. If you have any assets like a home, you may be forced into a punitive payment schedule rather than discharge the debt, as you could before the Bankruptcy Bill was passed.

So with all these pressures never felt on such a massive scale in America since the Great Depression, many Americans are being manipulated into believing Illegal Immigrants are largely to blame, much like 1930’s Germans did when Hitler fingered the Jews for all Germany’s fiscal woes.

But what really changed the course of America’s economy had nothing to do with illegal immigrants or the jobs they were taking. Only now are Americans competing for jobs some illegal immigrants are holding, and that is due entirely to the adoption of those free trade agreements our government entered into back in 1993.

Think about it.

Carl F. Worden