Sunday, November 4, 2007

Illegal Immigration & the Middle Class

A lot of talk these days about the question Hillary supposedly flubbed on the debates; driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. The idea is to make the roads safer but that really doesn't track for me. Those who are terrible drivers aren't going to take the test anyway. Perhaps a few might study up so they can pass and thus be safer drivers but I don't think it will really create much of a change.

The better argument is that those with driver's licenses can then get insurance. This makes more sense because it affects all of us to have uninsured drivers out there.

But the bottom line is it's a step toward legitimizing their illegal status. With a DL they can then become a regular part of society and get other things as well like jobs, apartments, credit cards, etc. Is this good or bad? It's a matter of opinion and I think both sides can be justified.

Illegal immigration is a very tricky issue for pubs and dems. For pubs the racists don't want any more brown people here, but the big business pubs want the cheap labor. For dems these are our fellow unfortunate and working class people that need a helping hand, but on the other hand they are surpassing wages for the rest of us. Then there is the issue that it is hugely unfair to those who have gone through the system to get here legally.

After much thought the issue that I think trumps all of them is cheap workers coming in and suppressing wages, and quality of life, for the entire middle class. I think the attacks on the middle class by the rich and the corporations is the most serious problem in America today, democracy requires a strong middle class in order to function. Not to mention the idea that people can work hard all their lives in this country and follow all the rules and still end up in their later years completely broke and unable to afford health insurance. To me this is just wrong, it is not the America I thought I was growing up in and not the America I want to see.

So I am against illegal immigration and against giving them amnesty because we need to protect our middle class which is being attacked at all levels and directions. The claim is that Americans won't do the jobs illegals do but I think that's a total crock. If there were no illegals to be used - and abused - by employers then they would have to pay a decent wage to Americans who would, then, do the jobs. Everyone says that will raise prices everywhere and if that is true then I say that it is the price we will have to pay, hopefully that will be offset by increased wages. But I have my doubts about how true that really is, one figure I heard is that if crop pickers got $15 per hour it would only raise the cost of food by less than 10%. In my opinion the problems with high prices and low wages is the crooks at the top, taking multi-million dollar payoffs and ones not even linked to performance.

For one individual to make $20 mil a year for 5 years then get a $200 million payoff when he leaves, even if the company is in worse shape than it was when he came in, is just obscene. The problem is how to stop that. I think the best thing is enormous taxes on that kind of income, something like 90% on anything over $20 mil in one year, which could pay for health care for everyone. The irony here is that universal health care for all of America would help the corporations enormously because they spend a fortune on health care for their employees. Most corps have huge departments devoted entirely to employee health care. Removing that cost & hassle would benefit the corps to the tune of billions a year.

And the middle class aren't asking to be rich, nor are they asking for there to be no rich people, they just want to not be in desperate poverty at the end of their lives or to spend their entire lives one paycheck away from disaster. I don't think that is too much to expect from this country, nor do I think it will cost the rich a significant reduction in their quality of life.

No comments: