Sunday, March 20, 2016

What You Don't Know About Immigration

Trumplicans (I think I just coined a new phrase!!) are being convinced that the number one threat to our economy and future are immigrants.

And I won't lie. Our immigration policies are terrible. But not terrible in the way you think, or for the reasons you believe. I suppose this is why we can get so easily distracted by the utterly harmless Syrian refugees (people react to what happens in the moment) and not see the larger picture.

Most Americans (and indeed some of my friends) don't dig deep enough, or think hard enough. It's time for another soapbox session! Listen up!!

Immigration (the legal kind) is a perfect storm of two terrible ideologies that agree with one another for entirely different reasons.

Democrats in Congress want more immigrants, because they typically vote Democrat. And most legal immigrants put less of a burden on our social welfare systems than natural born citizens do. That's just a fact. It is still a burden because of the growth, but not per-capita. The #1 drain on social programs is white americans in the south. Yup! (remember minorites...are minorites...because their are less of them....math people! :P)

Republicans in Congress want more immigrants (though they claim not to) because the H1B Visa program allows us to import skilled engineers, doctors, scientists.....that, because they come from countries that typically have wide income inequality, can be paid less....because they are not accustomed to things American's used to take for granted. Like pensions, extended benefits, etc...

On the liberal side it's a mix of bleeding hearts and hunger for votes. On the conservative side it's more cynical. It gets business highly skilled cheaper labor...and gives their conservative base something easy to get angry about (that their Republican politicians helped create), thereby stupidly giving them carte-blanc to continue dismantling what little labor protections we have left (it's the gubmints less gubmit.....this equals less rights for you and me too...duh)

Democrats and Republicans have flip flopped their roles in this a bit the last 40 years, I won't deny that. But right now it's conservative Republicans driving the legislative bus, and they're all over this like a hobo on a ham sandwich...regardless of what they say in speeches.

Politically it thus becomes a scramble between who's strategy works best from a purely political standpoint. It's all about votes, election cycles, lobbying, and that cushy job after congress.

Why? Because our political process is bought and sold by the wealthy. If you haven't realized this by now..........well....

George Carlin said it best. "The Rich make all the money, pay almost none of the taxes. The middle class make almost none of the money, pay all the taxes.....The poor? Exist to scare the shit out of the middle class. Keep em showin up at those jobs!"

Immigration isn't the actual problem. The numbers are a problem (the projected numbers going forward are clearly unsustainable), but a deliberately created one....

The actual problem with immigrants is twofold.

1). Why are H1B Visa programs bringing in skilled workers? Because even if we did invest in trade & technical education (something we desperately need), American's would demand fair compensation. Foreigners will settle for less....because it's freakin America!!! Who wouldn't want to come to the land of the free, when yesterday you lived in a warzone? And no...not every H1B Visa holder came from a war zone. Only some did. But most come from far less progressive countries. You don't see mass immigration from Sweden! :P

But did you know that foreign looking doctor at Doctors Care, with the imprecise English (apart from having as credible a medical education....and apart from likely being Hindi or Muslim ..yeah about 10% of all doctors in the U.S. currently are Muslim) makes little more than what I do running a grocery store? I sell potatoes....They manage your health....I dropped out of college...They have doctorate degrees. Wrap your mind around that! Hospitals LOVE THEM. They're cheaper than some nurses!!

2). Illegal immigrants come here because there are jobs for them. And it's not "jobs that Americans's wont do". That's a stupid argument. The more correct argument is that it's "jobs employers would get in a lot of trouble over if their employees weren't illegal". Citizens have rights. Illegals have almost none. So they are EXPLOITABLE. Most illegal immigrants pay taxes, because it's easy to avoid E-Verify (Dept Of Homeland Security citizenship or legal status checks) if you're a small time contractor with under 50 employees (you're not legally required to)....but good luck dodging the IRS. So illegals (who cannot claim welfare benefits though their natural born chidren can) get to pay taxes into a society and reap almost none of the benefits. You think mexicans are born carpenters??!??!?!? No....but most construction of that type is small, under 50 employee operations....ON PURPOSE.

Immigrants aren't the problem. Two faced politics (mostly by Republicans, but Democrats share blame) designed to keep businesses happy, and keep citizens focused on something to be angry about, while your labor rights (rights your parents and grandparents built their lives on) get whittled away...are the problem.

And it goes deeper.

It's a good strategy if you want to EXTRACT wealth from an economy, and protect that same economy from inflation...thereby allowing you to KEEP DOING IT for far longer.

That's what 35 years worth of Reaganomics have done. Less people than shop in my store on a slow Tuesday (400) now own the combined wealth equivalent to the bottom half of the American population. Immigrants (and terrible trade policy that encourages moving jobs overseas) allow all this money to silently move to the top tenth of a percent of Americans, because it helps keep things CHEAP, so we can avoid the inflation that ....every other country in the world has had to cope with.

Without the immigrant "solution" we'd have seen pitchforks by now.


This reality is why I support Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton (and her husband) have earned many millions from large financial institutions in public speaking fees, not to mention the shedloads of money poured into her campaign. Do you really want someone like that, who makes a living speaking to the very institutions that tanked our economy and led to the loss of trillions in actual wealth?

Trump? He survives on favorable tax incentives and favorable bankruptcy protection, and foreign investors. He's not beholden to the Republican party, but he is beholden to the underlying system that kept him rich...and got us here. He's a master manipulator, not a business expert.

The rest? Well Cruz is actually a bit more frightening than Trump, but in general all the rest are bankrolled by Wall Street and the system that got us here. Trust them at your peril, unless you like how things are.

Bernie isn't a Presidential candidate, at least not in the way we typically think of one. He's a movement. Even if you do not agree with all of his politics...hell even if you barely agree with any of it, he is beholden to NONE of the system that got us to this point.

He is forcing a change in the way we view this entire conversation, and it is both good and long overdue.

Back to the main point here.....even if I think this segue was necessary.

We should openly accept Syrian refugees...any refugees....they are REFUGEES. To not accept them is morally reprehensible. That is a SEPERATE ARGUMENT from the problems with immigration. :)

/soapbox mode off

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