Volume 90 12-01-01 @ 1:26 PM(cst)
Plus -- The Conservative Quote of the Day
Immigration worries everyone now
|It is interesting to see the furious energy displayed by the Bush administration and Congress to tighten immigration. None other than Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) is leading a drive to give closer scrutiny to the intake process. Everybody is worried about immigration now. |
The reason, of course, is the tragedy of Sept. 11. Some of the 19 terrorists who participated in the suicide hijackings that killed almost 5,000 entered the United States legally or were staying here on expired visas. The Immigration and Naturalization Service has acknowledged that more than 250,000 illegal immigrants it ordered deported remain in the United States!
The anti-terrorism bill forces the attorney general to hold illegal immigrants suspected of terrorism investigation for seven days while the government seeks to establish grounds for action. There are civil liberties complaints, but even Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), the most liberal member of the Senate, acknowledges that immigration must be severely curtailed in the name of security. It wasn't long ago that Bush was negotiating with Mexican President Vicente Fox to liberalize immigration laws to allow Mexican illegal immigrants to gain legal status. Now it appears the goal is to tighten immigration all around.
Where have these guardians of internal security been before now? Peter Brimelow, an immigrant himself, in Alien Nation: Common Sense about America's Immigration Disaster (Random House, 1995), alleged that ''our nation is being engulfed by the greatest wave of immigration it has ever faced.'' Brimelow, a former British subject, charged ''these newcomers are less educated, less skilled, prone to trouble with the law, less inclined to share American culture and values, and altogether less likely to become American in name or spirit.'' He was called a bigot, but he won an eloquent defender in Eugene McCarthy, no conservative he. Comparing Brimelow to an earlier immigrant, Tom Paine, McCarthy said, ''As Paine gave us Common Sense on declaring our independence, so Brimelow provides us with much common sense in declaring our independence from the mounting migration pressures coming to bear on our nation.''
The fact is, all-but-unchecked immigration has been carried on by Democrats and Republicans for years with a wink and a nod. The Republican Party, often too observant to the needs of industry, has welcomed a flood of unskilled laborers who will work cheap--no matter how they are exploited. The Democratic Party has seen the tide of unskilled laborers as a great boon their party. David Schippers, the Chicago lawyer who prosecuted President Bill Clinton's impeachment, in his book Sell Out: The Inside Story of President Clinton's Impeachment (Regnery, 2000), tells of the blatant politicalization of the INS during the 1996 ''Citizenship USA'' program. ''To ensure maximum impact, the INS concentrated on aliens in key states--California, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Texas--that hold a combined 181 electoral votes, just 89 short of the total to win an election,'' he wrote.
Schippers' book detailed wholesale immigration fraud. ''Our sources inside the INS revealed that in preparation for the 2000 elections, INS agents in the district offices were directed to relax the testing for English, complete every interview within 20 minutes and ensure that all applicants pass the civics test by continuing to ask questions until an applicant got a sufficient number right. Sometimes it was necessary to ask 20 or 25 questions before four or five were answered correctly,'' he wrote.
This has not just allowed unqualified people to enter the nation, it possibly compromised U.S. security. These tactics demean the citizenship of ordinary individuals with much to contribute who enter our country the right way.
The war waged against our nation demands a total re-examination of our immigration policies. The question must be asked: Do we want individuals to enter our country because they truly want to be Americans--or those who want to be foreign citizens in exile and even worse?
President Bush’s Agenda for Economic Growth & Job Creation
|President Bush has asked the Senate to pass a responsible economic stimulus package. The President told the Senate, "The American people expect progress. And I do, too." Vice President Cheney followed-up on the President's call in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and urged Congress to pass the right kind of stimulus plan to help America's economy to recover. |
Retail sales figures for October showed a strong 7.1% increase, primarily due to car sales. However, non-motor vehicle retail sales remained relatively low, and cars sold in October came from existing inventory -- not from new, job-creating production.
To help spur economic growth, America needs Congress to pass the right economic stimulus plan now. The President's approach will increase consumer and business confidence through effective tax relief that helps to restore the rate of job creation and revives business investment.
The President's Plan for Economic Growth & Worker Relief
The President proposed a Back to Work Relief Package on October 4 to provide help to those workers hardest hit by the economic impact of the attacks. This package would:
Extend unemployment benefits by 13 weeks for Americans who lost their jobs as a direct result of the terrorist attacks;
Make $11 billion available to states to help low-income workers obtain health insurance;
Provide $3 billion in special National Emergency Grants to help displaced workers maintain health coverage, supplement their income and receive job training;
Encourage affected workers to take advantage of more than $6 billion in existing federal job search, training and placement programs.
President Bush supports practical steps to help restore the economic confidence of our country for consumers and businesses and to help workers who lost jobs as a result of the economic fallout from September 11. The President has outlined an economic growth and job creation agenda that focuses on:
*Tax Relief for Low and Moderate Income Workers: Reduces taxes for low- and moderate-income households beyond relief already approved by Congress, ensuring that the most vulnerable workers will have more money in their pockets.
*Accelerating Marginal Tax Rate Reductions: Gives consumers more to spend and invest, and gives businesses and entrepreneurs more resources to help them retain or create more jobs.
*Partial Expensing: Encourages businesses to invest in new equipment and resources by allowing them to partially expense capital expenditures, allowing them to make purchases they might not otherwise have been able to afford.
*Eliminating the Corporate AMT: Promotes new investment by businesses by eliminating the corporate alternative minimum tax, which imposes job-killing higher taxes on corporations and small businesses.
Who Will Bail Out the American Taxpayer?
U.S. Senator Peter G. Fitzgerald
|The Treasury Department recently began wiring $5 billion to the bank accounts of U.S. airlines. After it completes these up-front cash payments, the Treasury will then be obliged to guarantee up to $10 billion in airline industry loans, all as part of a $15 billion bailout bill passed by Congress. This package is unfair to workers and unfair to taxpayers. It sets a troublesome precedent for how to deal with other industries which have in some way been affected by the events of September 11.|
The airlines claim that a taxpayer-funded bailout was necessary to save the industry and preserve air travel in the United States. Not so. Many of the airlines had sufficient liquidity to weather the storm following the terrorist attacks. Southwest Airlines, for example, had and still has a fortress balance sheet and may even show a profit for the quarter. A few of the airlines are in serious trouble, and remain at risk despite the bailout. But some of their problems long predate September 11, and may have as much to do with ordinary management decisions as with an extraordinary national crisis.
In any event, a case may have legitimately been made to compensate the airlines for the temporary government-ordered shutdown of air travel. Instead, Congress, acting precipitously and with little examination of the airlines’ books, gave them many times the amounts that they lost. According to industry testimony, the shutdown cost $340 million a day in lost revenue. That adds up to $1.36 billion (even assuming a four as opposed to a three-day shutdown). But how much was the bailout? Fifteen billion dollars. Five billion in cash, ten billion in loan guarantees.
And who exactly is the "industry"? How about the airlines’ one million employees? Layoffs are coming fast and furious and what is Congress doing about that? Remarkably, the federal aid package includes no help for flight attendants, baggage handlers, mechanics or pilots. There are no requirements that the airlines – the beneficiaries of the taxpayer magnanimity – in turn treat their employees with care and generosity. Prior to the bailout, one investment adviser was enthusiastically noting the upside of the crisis: the industry could get billions while at the same time blowing out employee contracts by citing events "beyond their control." A twofer. For a fraction of what it cost to save airline industry shareholders, Congress could have greatly reduced the hardship experienced by furloughed workers. Instead, Congress bailed the investors and booted the skycap.
The bailout was as unfair to taxpayers as it was to workers. Evaluating airline stocks before the bailout, a Wall Street analyst observed, "It’s simple. Either the shareholders or the taxpayers will take the hit." Guess who Congress chose? Sure enough, the taxpayers took the hit. The people I represent will have to work awfully hard, for an awfully long time, to recoup a potential $15 billion loss. The fundamental inequities here are extraordinary. The shareholders are, in many instances, sophisticated investors. They may be people familiar with any inherent risks in airline stocks. They will be protected. The people who will pay, on the other hand, are the ordinary Joes – the men and women who go to work every day, feed their families, and may not have two nickles to invest in the market in the first place. It’s a dark irony that these men and women are being called upon to belly up for the sophisticates who’ve seen their stock head south.
Finally, by compensating the airlines for more than their losses during the government shutdown, Congress has created an already haunting precedent. Many other industries have also experienced a general decline in their business since September 11. Airport concessionaires, theme parks, car-rental companies, are claiming that they, too, need a bailout. Hotels and restaurants are hurting; so are cab drivers. Railroads and steel companies are coming in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Having indemnified the airlines for September 11 "related" losses, by what principle do we now deny aid to others?
Congress has created a legislative morass, and many are already crying foul. If Congress had constructed a responsible package, while demanding concessions for the workers and protections for the taxpayers who paid the bill, the effort to assist the airlines in a rough time could have been a legitimate enterprise. But Congress effectively wrote a blank check with no strings attached. It may be poised, now, to do it again and again. At some point, however, someone may ask: who, finally, will bail out the American taxpayer?
Conservative Quote of the Day
|"We cannot know every turn this battle will take. Yet we know our cause is just and our ultimate victory is assured. We will, no doubt, face new challenges. But we have our marching orders: My fellow Americans, let's roll." |
==>George W Bush
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