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Plain Talk – 4.27.10

Plain Talk – 4.27.10

Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2010 4:36 pm
By: Nicolle Crist, Guest Columnist

“Divide and conquer”
I hope future generations of Americans will look back at our time and recognize “divide and conquer” as the root cause of our troubles and learn not to repeat past mistakes.
Wall Street investment firm and mega bank, Goldman Sachs, sifted through mounds of data and found groups of people who were the least likely to be able to afford a mortgage and offered them one.
They didn’t offer them mortgages for homes in historically under-served areas in the hopes that the dream and pride of home ownership would help revitalize those communities.
Instead, they offered them new homes – the kind of homes they only saw on classic TV sitcoms. Goldman Sachs then assembled these mortgages in pretty little packages and sold them as sound, A+ rated investments.
They sold them to American investors and throughout the world – to China, Russia, India and to Islamic Sovereign Wealth funds in the Middle East and to our allies in Canada and Europe.
And then, just to put icing on the cake, they bet against the American people. They bet that the mortgages they targeted to people who they knew couldn’t afford to pay would default.
They ripped off poor Americans who were just trying to catch a break. They ripped off middle class Americans who were being responsible and saving for retirement. They ripped off our allies and countries who we aren’t so sure about, yet.
They ripped off everyone they could find regardless of race, nationality or income. They didn’t care if you were an individual investor saving for a modest retirement or an entire European town trying to build new community center.
And here we are, the American people, targeting Hispanics for police-state action in Arizona. There is no doubt in my mind that we are divided and we are being conquered.
The Arizona law passed both chambers of the legislature and was signed by the governor late last week.
The controversy stems from the authority given to local law enforcement who are now obligated to stop anyone at anytime and demand proof of citizenship.
Naturally, the legal Hispanic population of Arizona is upset by constitutionally mandated police verification and believes that law enforcement will focus its efforts on people of Hispanic descent.
The police are allowed to treat an entire legal segment of the population as suspected criminals.
The law gained momentum after a white rancher along the border was killed. So what does this law really mean?
Considering that 30 percent of the population of Arizona is Latino, it means there is a significant portion of Arizona’s population that will be subject to police search and seizure.
Two men from Crockett County have pleaded guilty to plotting to assassinate then candidate Obama and African Americans in Memphis and to shooting out the windows of two churches. This doesn’t mean that every young, white male in a rural Tennessee is a criminal.
However, the passage of this law doesn’t mean that the people of Arizona are on the same path as the Germans in 1933, either. It means the people are fed up. Corporate politicians, for the past 20 years, have done an abysmal job managing immigration, and the state of Arizona decided to try to take matters into their own hands.
The last time we faced this issue, President Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to approximately 3 million illegal immigrants in 1986. Like so many things before and since, the Immigration Reform and Control Act pitted the tax-payers against industry. It came down to cost.
The concept was pretty simple. If jobs are more difficult to get, illegal immigration will naturally decline. There’s no reason to cross the border if you can’t make a living.
Corporations, including Big Ag and the Chamber of Commerce, didn’t really want the jobs to be that hard to get, though. They lobbied against stiff penalties for employers and to put the burden of the cost for collecting and storing accurate immigration information on the taxpayer, not the corporation.
We ended up with Amnesty and poorly funded resources to track and monitor illegal immigration and even worse enforcement of fines and penalties against employers. 
We can argue for months about immigration policy and it boils down to the cost of labor.
One side argues that immigrants do the jobs that Americans don’t want.
The other side argues that immigrants steal American jobs and lower the living wage.
Both sides have a point. The problem is that we keep focusing on the individual immigrant and not the big corporations who are manipulating the labor market. Why is that?
Imagine what it would cost to track down, document, and keep tabs on 10 million people scattered throughout the country. What would that take?
How many hundreds of thousands of people would be needed to keep track of who is legal and who is not? Talk about “big government.”
It would be an enormous cost to the taxpayers to maintain a federal agency whose sole job is to seek out illegals. Is that really how we want to spend our money? But once again, business won.
They benefit from the low-cost of illegal labor in the first place. The American people end up footing the bill for an ineffective effort to “keep tabs on them,” while also paying the price of living in a diluted labor pool.
Why are so many people willing to attack the individual trying to make a better life, rather than trying to raise the minimum standards of employment so all American workers benefit?
Because we’re divided and being conquered by our own fear of each other.
Send your comments to nicolle.crist@gmail.com.
WCP 4.27.10

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