I called my friend Mike last night to thank him for his thoughtful Christmas gift and to wish him a happy new year.
Mike’s an attorney with a PhD. in economics, who, in addition to being one of the brightest guys I know, will occasionally agree with me, and so, demonstrate he is also smart. Regardless, our telephone conversations, tend to be infrequent, far-ranging, and lengthy.
From Christmas gifts we went on to health care and foreign policy, corruption in high places, the Wall Street bailout, the decline of trade unions, and so by degrees we arrived at the problem of illegal immigration.
You will recall over the past summer, before financial misadventure eclipsed all else from the radar screen, there was quite a lively conversation going on about immigration policy. Being debated were ideas such as temporary worker visas, closing the borders with National Guard troops, our own version of the Berlin Wall along the Tex-Mex border, jail time for U.S. employers who hire illegals, and so on.
While many of us were content to remain uncommitted or confused about the issue, reasoning that if the people paid to worry about this sort of thing couldn’t come up with a coherent approach, what hope did we working stiffs have of figuring it all out, a few bold souls put forward comprehensive plans to resolve it. Mike is nothing if not bold, and so predictably, came up with a plan which he articulated as follows:
- Seal the border down tight
- Come up with a plan to legitimize the 20 million or so undocumented workers and their families already here.
I know what you’re thinking: “This is a plan? How are you gonna accomplish item 1., never mind item 2.?” OK. Reasonable questions, but you gotta start somewhere. I had similar concerns. So, I offered the following items:
- Citizens or not, if they’re working here, assign social security account number’s and collect taxes from their paychecks same as everybody else. Only hitch is, if they don’t get to collect retirement benefits unless and until they achieve full citizenship.
- Stiffen penalties for employers who don’t withhold the taxes and beef up enforcement.
Anyone out there care to comment/improve upon any of the above? I think it ought to be possible to apply program managment methodology to the outline above and make implementation feasible. What do you think?
Mike says most of the liberals he knows are more concerned about global warming than the fate of the illegals or their impact on employment and social services in this country. What’s your take on this?