Wednesday, January 31, 2007


American Preference for "Band-Aid" Fixes

We Americans pride ourselves on being practical and pragmatic, not ideological. I read once an article in which the writer declared that Americans have not done any original thinking about political science since 1787. We have a constitution which creates the system of government that existed in England in the days of the Tudor Monarchy. We have a strong executive (substitute king) and a legislature that has only the power to appropriate money and propose laws to the executive. The executive has control of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

Theodore Roosevelt was a strong monarch. He once sent the American Navy around the world to display our power. Someone pointed out to him that the money appropriated by Congress for the Navy would take it only half way around. Mr. Roosevelt responded that he would send the Navy anyway. If Congress wanted to leave it on the other side of the world, it could do so.

The Tudor monarchy worked well for England. The Tudors - Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in particular - were skillful politicians and knew that they had to have public support for any risky venture they might want to undertake. Their dynasty was followed by the Stuarts, a bunch of rather stiff-necked Scotchmen. James I was the first Stuart king. He believed in and advocated the "divine right of kings" to govern as they saw fit. No pandering to public opinion for him or his successors. The existence of stubborn, unpopular kings showed a great flaw in the English system of government. The only way to get rid of a stubborn, incompetent, unpopular monarch was to execute him or to conduct a successful armed uprising against him.

Our founding fathers knew that they had to deal with the King Charles problem. Their solution was to have the king (i.e., President) elected for a four-year term of office. Even if he turned out to be stubborn, evil, and incompetent, the country would have to put up with him for only four years. In addition, the Congress could impeach and try him; if convicted, he would be expelled from office. Impeachment hasn't worked out very well. Three Presidents have been impeached. Two were tried and exonerated. One resigned.

Impeachment has turned out to be a "band-aid" fix that hasn't had much success. The Northerners couldn't get rid of Andrew Johnson; the Republicans couldn't get rid of Bill Clinton. In my view, Andrew Johnson was a misfit who should never have become President. Bill Clinton was a capabale President who should never have been impeached.

Our method of electing a President is both archaic and quaint. We do not elect Presidents by direct popular vote, like we do every other elected official in the nation, from Senators down to city aldermen. Instead, we elect "electors" who propose names of able men who they believe will be good Presidents. If the electors don't agree on a single person by majority vote, the House of Representatives, voting by States, chooses the President. This method hasn't worked as well as intended.

Some Americans are backing a "band-aid" approach. The scheme is to get a few of the most populous States (such as California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois) to pass a law directing their electors to vote for whoever wins a majority of the popular vote in a Presidential Election. The combined electoral votes of these States would have to be a majority of the total. They argue that it is easier to get legislatures in half a dozen States to pass such a law than to amend the constitution to get rid of the electoral college. One problem is - and it may not be a serious problem - that it is just as easy for a State legislature to rescind the law as it is to enact it.

Governor Schwarzenegger has vetoed such a law here in California.

Another popular "band-aid" fix is the plan adopted in Massachusetts and supported by Governor Schwarzenegger to provide health insurance to all by simply making it a legal requirement and providing necessary subsidies for poor people. This plan does nothing to get rid of one of the big obstacles to good medical care for all: the health insurance industry. The insurance industry is backing this "band-aid" to stave off a universal single-payer plan.

Perhaps you, dear reader, can cite other popular band-aid approaches that Americans like.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


President Bush's Health Care Plan

Before writing this post I looked at Daily Kos to see whether someone had written a critique of the President's plan for helping the health uninsured. It may be there, hidden in the hundreds of comments, but most of the space on DK this morning dealt with the War in Iraq. So, at the risk of writing something that someone has written elsewhere and better, let me begin my rant.

Mr. Bush proposes jiggering with the tax code to reduce the income tax on individuals who do not have employment-sponsored heath insurance and increasing the tax on those who do have it. The subsidy that an employer provides toward health insurance for an employee would be counted as part of taxable income.

My opinion: a typical response of a rich, country-club Republican to a serious problem shared by people much farther down the economic ladder. Rich country-club Republicans have always obsessed about their taxes. They vote for other rich country-club Republicans who promise, if elected, to let them keep more of their money. Fiddling with the tax code isn't going to make it easier for a poor man or woman to afford health insurance. They're not poor because of their taxes. Of course, reducing their tax burden even a little can be justified as an act of mercy. (I haven't taken the time yet to figure how much in taxes a person earning $30,000 a year would save.) The revenue loss to the Treasury is to be made up by taxing the health insurance benefit that workers get from their employers. That can also be justified, sort of, by claiming that the benefit is a form of "income" to the worker and should be taxed.

Even if the President's assumptions are correct, his tax change would allow only a trivial fraction of the uninsured to have enough extra income to buy some kind of health insurance policy, one with huge deductables and co-payments. Essentially his proposal is a non-solution to the problem of the forty million or so uninsured Americans.

No Republican, not even a progressive one like Schwarzenegger or Romney, is willing to state that good health care should be the right of every American. If we believe in that right, as I do, we must change our system of health care so that every American, every resident even, no matter how poor, can obtain necessary and adequate health and medical care regardless of ability to pay. Mr. Bush's tax fiddling does not advance us one inch toward that goal.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Constitutional Defect

We have a President who seems to have a fanatical attachment to the war in Iraq. Wise men and women of all political persuasions, from Sam Brownback to Barbara Boxer, agree that our policy in Iraq is a failure and the best course to follow is to save what we can and withdraw as gracefully as we can. Instead, our President persists in more of the same. Our military force of 150,000 troops has not pacified Iraq. The elections that we sponsored have not led to an effective democratic government. Iraq is descending into a bitter, bloody religious civil war. Figuratively speaking, we've dug ourselved into a deep hole. Our President's response is to keep digging, perhaps with a different shovel. Wise men have counseled him to stop digging and start climbing. He is like the English king Ethelred the Unready. Unready meant "unadvised" or headstrong.

I am, of course, preaching to the choir. You all know about our stubborn President. Many of you hope that the new majorities in Congress can put a stop to our President's "unreadyness" and persuade or force him to adopt a different policy. But our Congress is just as powerless to rein in a headstrong and wrong-headed President as were the corresponding institutions a thousand years ago in Anglo-Saxon England to rein in King Ethelred. We do not have a parliamentary system. A vote of "no confidence" has no influence on a determined President. Short of impeachment or death we have no choice but to follow the President's lead.

We are experiencing the greatest weakness of the Presidential system of government. We have no legal way of removing a stubborn President from power except by an overwhelming supermajority vote in the upper house of our national legislature. As long as 34 Senators remain loyal to Mr. Bush, we are condemned to follow his ruinous policy. Our neighbors to the south in this hemisphere have developed their own way of getting rid of an unpopular, stubborn, and incompetent President. They demonstrate in public. They make a racket by beating on cooking pots with spoons and clubs. They carry out a general strike. The Army stages a coup d'etat and replaces the President with a general. After a while there is an election and another President is elected and all is well again.

I wonder why I bother to write this little essay. I have strong feelings, but no practical or realistic suggestions about changing the situation. Our constitution is defective, but I don't know how to fix it.

How about you, the reader? Any suggestions short of assassination?

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Anger and Despair about Iraq

I’m angry about Iraq. I’m angry at George Bush and his neocon advisors who got this country into Iraq. I’m angry that all that Mr. Bush and his advisors can think of is “winning.” I’m sure we could win if the American Public were willing to support a much larger military presence in Iraq. A general advised the administration at the time that the attack on Iraq was planned that an army of at least half a million men would be needed to occupy and control the country. That general was sacked. We know see that he was correct.

Mr. Bush has decided that we should put more troops in Iraq on a temporarily or “surge” basis. We have about 150,000 there now; he will increase that number by a paltry 20,000. If we believe the sacked general’s estimate, the increase should be at least 350,000, or more than tripling the number of troops we now have in Iraq. By now the number required to occupy and control the country may be even more than the half million that was proposed in 2002.

Why, instead of toying with a mere 20,000 additional troops, doesn’t the President come clean and admit that the original assessment was utterly wrong and that we now need close to 400,000 additional troops and not a “surge” but a permanent enlargement of our armed forces? The answer is obvious: the American Public wouldn’t stand for it. The public doesn’t like sending an additional 20,000 men there, but that number is small enough that the President can do it by merely reassigning troops that are at present stationed elsewhere or by lengthening tours of duty and shortening periods of rest and repair between tours.

Thus, an enlargement of 20,000 is possible without public support. An increase of 400,000 is not possible. To justify the 20,000 the President goes on TV to show the public that he, at least, is sincere in his belief that “victory” in Iraq is absolutely necessary for our national security and that he will do whatever is in his power, with or without public support, to keep trying to achieve that victory. He admits that the nation is in a hole. His solution is to keep digging, perhaps with a different shovel.

I can guess his real intent. If this nation has to give up on its crusade to bring democracy and enlightenment to Iraq, Mr. Bush will postpone the moment that giving up is decided until the next President is in office. Losing Iraq will be the fault of the next President. Probably it will be a Democrat. Then the Democrats and the lily-livered liberals can be blamed for losing Iraq and Republicans will be back in favor again and the big oil companies can continue drilling for oil, the big insurance companies can continue bilking Americans out of affordable health care, the big power companies can be exempted from pollution controls, the inheritance tax (“death tax”) can finally be repealed, and taxes on wealthy people can be reduced still further.

I am very angry.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


My response to a “Presidential Agenda Survey”

I receive letters from Senators every week. Some of the letters contain questionnaires to solicit my opinions. I know better than to believe that a U.S. Senator wants my opinion on anything. He has plenty of opinions of his own. What he wants is some of my money. Usually I throw such letters away, often without even opening them.

One of them came the other day from a person who aspires to run for President. I opened the letter and filled out the questionnaire. Then I wondered, what should I do with it? If I send it back, I will have to send a check with it; otherwise, it will be placed in the round file. Having gone to the trouble of filling the thing out, I didn’t feel like “round-filing” it myself. Being rather frugal with money, I didn’t feel like sending money to a potential Presidential candidate that I probably wouldn’t vote for. So, I decided to post at least part of the questionnaire and my responses to my blog, and here it is:


TAXES: Low federal income taxes help grow our nation’s economy, yet the federal tax code has become unwieldy and must be reformed. Please indicate your position on current tax issues.

1. Preserve recent tax cuts Disagree
2. Permanently eliminate the “death tax” Disagree
3. Make the U.S. tax code fairer and simpler Agree
4. Accept a totally new tax system such as a value-added
tax or a flat tax Disagree
5. Make it harder for Congress to raise taxes by
requiring a 2/3 “supermajority” vote Disagree

Other(My written opinion) The notion that low taxes help grow the economy is a fallacy. There is no proof that I’ve seen that there is any correlation between tax rates and the economy. The economy is affected by the world-wide business cycle. There isn’t much that even the U.S. government can do to affect it.

GOVERNMENT SPENDING AND REGULATION: Federal spending is out of control and government continues to become more intrusive in Americans’ daily lives. Please note your opinion on the following suggestions to cut the federal government down to size.

6. Aggressively rein-in government spending Disagree
7. Totally eliminate “pork-barrel” spending No Opinion
8. Cut budgets for overfunded entitlement programs Agree
9. Eliminate corporate welfare where government subsidies
underwrite corporate profits Agree
10. Adopt a Balanced Budget Amendment Disagree
11. Eliminate obsolete federally funded programs Agree
12. Reduce federal deficit Agree
13. Reduce federal regulations on business No Opinion

Other Your questionnaire didn’t list one important option: stop our expensive involvement in Iraq.

CAMPAIGN REFORM AND BETTER GOVERNMENT: Washington, D.C. has seen many scandals in recent years and reform in many areas is long overdue. Please register your opinion on the following options to restore the public’s faith in our political system.

14. Ban all gifts to lawmakers from lobbyists No Opinion
15. Require every contribution to a candidate be posted
on the internet within 24 hours Agree
16. Increase the time between when lawmakers leave office
and can then lobby Congress Agree
17. Ban “527” committees that can raise and spend
unlimited amounts of money to influence
federal election campaigns No Opinion

Other ________________________________________________________________

WAR IN IRAQ AND THE WAR ON TERROR: Our nation faces serious challenges in fighting and winning the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please indicate how you feel about sthe following options.

18. America must stand firm and fight in the Middle East
rather than here at home Disagree
19. America must commit more troops to Iraq Disagree
20. We must set an immediate deadline to bring our troops
home from Iraq and Afghanistan Disagree
21. Americans must invest whatever it takes in dollars
and manpower to win the War on Terror Disagree
22. U.S. must strike at terrorists wherever they are No Opinion
23. The President and Congress must agree on the policies
our nation pursues in waging the War on Terror Agree

Other It is wrong to conflate the war in Iraq with the “War on Terror.” Also, the “War on Terror” is misnamed. Terror can never be eliminated. The best we can do is to destroy the Al Qaeda organization.

AMERICA’S MILITARY: America’s military presence in the Middle east and its role in fighting the War on Terror is putting strenuous demands on our national defense operations. Please share your opinion on how we can best strengthen the readiness of our military.

24. Continue to provide American troops with
state-of-the-art weapons Agree
25. Greatly increase strength of National Guard No Opinion
26. Reinstate the military draft Agree
27. Reorganize our intelligence capabilities and
military structure No Opinion
28. Fund advanced hi-tech weaponry to minimize
exposure of troops in battle No Opinion
29. Provide maximum funding for veterans’ programs Agree
30. Increase incentives for individuals interested in
military service Agree

Other _______________________________________________________________

DIPLOMACY AND AMERICA ABROAD: As the world’s lone “superpower” America cannot dictate world policies but must work with other nations in solving global problems. Indicate below how you feel our nation should address certain issues.

31. U.S. must take a firm stance on keeping Iran and
North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons No Opinion
32. Work more closely with traditional allies to solve
world problems Agree
33. Keep building increased economic relationships with
China and Russia Agree
34. Use the forum of the United Nations more often to
pre-empt emerging crises Agree
35. Encourage more U.S. investment and trade in Mexico
and Central America to help create jobs and
lessen pressure for illegal immigrants to
come to the U.S. Agree

Other It appears that North Korea already has nuclear weapons; our “firm stance” hasn’t stopped them. Also, much of the investment and trade in Mexico and Central America has benefited American corporations, but has not benefited farmers and workers in Mexico and Central America. We should not, for example, sell grain to those countries at prices that are so low that they put the formers in those countries out of business. Many of those dispossessed farmers then try to come to the U.S. for jobs.

HEALTH CARE/SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE: In confronting the looming crises in Social Security and Medicare, Americans are presented with many options. Indicate below your feelings on solutions under debate.

36. Reorganize the Social Security Trust Fund to
guarantee its viability beyond 2018 Agree
37. Work to cut waste and ensure the financial stability
of Medicare Agree
38. Permit voluntary participation in Social Security Disagree
39. Allow individuals to privately invest a set percentage
of Social Security in personal accounts Disagree
40. Ensure that every American has access to quality
health care Agree
41. Rein-in excessive lawsuits that are driving up
health care costs. No Opinion

Other It is my understanding that the Social Security Trust Fund has assets in the form of U.S. Treasury bonds to continue paying full benefits until 2040 or thereabouts. The “crisis” in 2018 is that the payroll tax will not be sufficient to pay full benefits and money will have to be provided to pay off the Trust Fund bonds to make up the difference. Taxes will have to be raised to buy back the bonds. At 2040, when the bonds are used up, the same taxes can then continue to fund Social Security. So, what’s the problem?

ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: America’s appetite for more energy will continue for decades to come and our nation must meet these needs while also protecting our environment. Please share your views on current energy and environment issues.

42. Subsidize research into alternative energy sources
to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Agree
43. Permit more drilling for gas and oil in Alaska No Opinion
44. Build more nuclear power plants No Opinion
45. Allow oil and gas drilling closer to the coastline in
both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans No Opinion
46. Open more federal lands to oil and gas exploration No Opinion
47. Encourage use of more vehicles that run on cleaner,
less polluting fuel Agree
48. Push for more stringent gas mileage requirements
for SUV’s, cars and trucks Agree
49. Address global climate change Agree
50. U.S. should sign the Kyoto Treaty that commits
nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases Agree

Other ______________________________________________________________

ECONOMY: Republican policies in the past few years have kept America’s economy strong and prosperous. Please indicate below how you feel about current economic issues.

51. Too many U.S. jobs are being moved out of our country Agree
52. The federal minimum wage should be increased. Agree
53. The increasing federal deficit is a threat to America’s
economic health Agree
54. Corporate profits in many sectors are too excessive Agree
55. Too many government regulations thwart free enterprise
and small business growth No Opinion

Other Republican policies have not had any effect on the economy. The economy depends on the international business cycle. There is little that a Republican or Democratic administration can do to influence the economy. What government can do is to alleviate some of the consequences of a business downturn on workers who lose their jobs and businessmen who lose their businesses. My father lost his business during the depression that began in 1929.

HOMELAND SECURITY: Ever since 9/11, America has invested tens of billions of dollars to improve Homeland Security to ensure that our country can prevent another terrorist attack – or better deal with one if it happens. Please share your opinion on the following statements.

56. America is currently spending enough on homeland
security measures No Opinion
57. America must take whatever steps are necessary to
check all cargo that arrives in U.S. seaports
and airports Agree
58. Americans must be willing to tive up some of their
personal freedoms to ensure that our
nation is secure No Opinion
59. Some homeland security measures go too far and
threaten our Constitutional rights Agree
60. Spending on homeland security should be targeted to
those areas most vulnerable to attack rather
than divided up to all areas of the country. Agree
61. Our nation’s borders must be made more secure Agree

Other ________________________________________________________________

ADDITIONAL ISSUES AND CONCERNS: In the coming years our nation will confront and adjust many of our policies. Indicate below how you feel about the topics below.

62. Allow current immigrants already in our country to
register as “guest workers” Agree
63. Employers must be required to only hire legal
guest-workers and not illegal immigrants Agree
64. Permit federal funding of stem cell research Agree
65. Require mandatory testing of teachers in our
nation’s schools No Opinion
66. Fund school vouchers so parents can send children
to school of their choice No Opinion


Reviewing my responses to the questionnaire, I see that I have revealed quite a bit of myself and my opinions. You may not agree with me on some of the items. But, that’s what this blog is all about: Al’s Opinions. I’m Al and these are my opinions.

Labels: , , , ,


A Deficiency in my Education

When I was in High School (1936-1940) every student was required to take a course in Civics. The subject matter of the course was the American government. It included the federal constitution, elections, who is qualified to be a Representative, a Senator, or a President. It included a description of the State government (Michigan, in my case). It was a rather dull, unexciting course. I doubt that many high school graduates remembered much or thought very much about the course in Civics.

I recall that the Civics class did cover some of the difficulties of our federal system. Andrew Johnson was impeached but not convicted. Ulysses Grant was elected as a war hero but his administration was troubled by corruption. Details of the corruption were not included in the course. There was a brief mention of one of the scandals in the administration of Warren Harding. His Secretary of the Interior was sent to prison over some scandal involving oil fields. Again, there were no other details - at least none that I remember. I remember that the offending official's name was Albert Fall.

The coming investigations of the transgressions of the present Bush administration should be a treasure trove for whoever writes the next textbook for high school courses in American government.

Labels: , , , ,


A Deficiency in my Education

When I was in High School (1936-1940) every student was required to take a course in Civics. The subject matter of the course was the American government. It included the federal constitution, elections, who is qualified to be a Representative, a Senator, or a President. It included a description of the State government (Michigan, in my case). It was a rather dull, unexciting course. I doubt that many high school graduates remembered much or thought very much about the course in Civics.

I recall that the Civics class did cover some of the difficulties of our federal system. Andrew Johnson was impeached but not convicted. Ulysses Grant was elected as a war hero but his administration was troubled by corruption. Details of the corruption were not included in the course. There was a brief mention of one of the scandals in the administration of Warren Harding. His Secretary of the Interior was sent to prison over some scandal involving oil fields. Again, there were no other details - at least none that I remember. I remember that the offending official's name was Albert Fall.

The coming investigations of the transgressions of the present Bush administration should be a treasure trove for whoever writes the next textbook for high school courses in American government.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, January 08, 2007


The Sinking of the Tyrannic

This is a fable. I just made it up. It's about California politics, particularly the Governor's plan to provide health insurance for the children. He won't ask for a tax increase, you see, and to pay for the insurance he's going to take some benefits away from people on welfare.

The mighty cruise ship Tyrannic carries 2000 passengers and 20 lifeboats for the passengers. Each lifeboat is big enough to hold 100 adults without capsizing. However, some of the lifeboats are equipped with comfortable seats and wet bars and other amenities for the first class passengers. There are 200 first class passengers and each first class life boat will comfortably accommodate 40 adults. Five of the lifeboats are equipped for the first class passengers; the other 15 are equipped for the second class passengers.

The Tyrannic has struck an iceberg and is sinking. The Captain, Arnulf Svartberg, directs the first class passengers to the first class lifeboats and directs his first mate, Hans Gjarneman, to direct the second class passengers, all 1800 of them, to the second class lifeboats. Hans points out that there are only 15 boats for 1800 people. In order to accommodate everyone, he will have to put 120 people in each lifeboat. He states that the extra weight will almost certainly capsize the lifeboats.

He suggests that 1500 passengers be assigned to the 15 available lifeboats and that the other 300 be assigned to the five first class lifeboats. It would be necessary to remove the wet bars and some of the comfortable seats to make room for the extra occupants, but the result would be that each of the 20 lifeboats would contain one hundred individuals and all of them would then float and all passengers would be saved. Another ship was on the way but would not arrive for several hours.

Captain Gjarneman demurs. He says that it would be very bad business for the cruise line to crowd the extra passengers in among the first class passengers. If word of such a thing got out, wealthy people would no longer book cruises on the line but would travel on other ships. His solution is to assign just the women and children to the 15 lifeboats. The persons left out would all be men. They would be given life jackets so that they would float and not drown immediately in the cold water.

The captain's word is law at sea. 300 men are given life jackets. The other 1500 second class passengers are directed into lifeboats. The 20 lifeboats are lowered to the sea. The 300 men with life jackets jump into the water. The ship sinks. The water is cold, one degree above freezing. By the time the rescue ship arrives, the 300 men in life jackets are still floating, but they've all died from hypothermia.

To relate this fable to our Governor's proposed fix to the health care crisis, the first class passengers on the Tyrannic correspond to the millionaires and wealthy businessmen of California who, the Governor fears, will close their businesses and leave the State if they are asked to pay a bit more in income tax. The uninsured children and the people on welfare correspond to the 1500 second class passengers. The Governor decides which group of residents is the least influential, either politically or economically, and lets them swim or freeze on their own. Children command a bigger voting constituency than families on welfare. In any case, he refuses to disturb the first-class residents.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Let's Beat the Pots and Pans

In some South American countries it is the custom, when people are fed up with the President and his failed policies, to take out cooking pots and pans and beat them with wooden spoons and other suitable objects. The result is a din heard all over the nation. There follow demonstrations of disapproval of the President and all his works. Eventually the hapless fellow is obliged to leave office. The office may be taken over by a military junta, or it may be filled by a special election. In any case, the custom of the nation allows for removing an unpopular and incompetent President, even if the Constitution doesn't.

We need such a device in our country. Our President is about to embark, in our name, on an escalation of a failed policy in Iraq. Rather than cut our losses and withdraw, we are to send additional troops in the fond hope that just a little bit more effort and we can "win." It is clear that in the recent Congressional election, the public voted to end our military involvement in Iraq. If our government operated on democratic principles, the Administration would be planning a strategic withdrawal and using the advice of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group as cover. Instead, the Administration seems to be planning an escalation - a "surge" in our troop strength to accomplish - what?

Ladies, get out the cooking pots and pans and start beating them. Men, plan demonstrations of our disapproval of our President's plans to send still more troops to Iraq. The Congress we elected doesn't have the power or the stomach to oppose the Commander in Chief. Our work is cut out for us. Let us begin.

Labels: , ,

Friday, January 05, 2007


Ruminations about Undocumented Immigrants

I don't pretend to have a solution to the problem posed by undocumented or "illegal" immigrants. I know that there is a lot of anger and frustration about the presence of undocumented immigrants, especially those from Mexico and other parts of Central America. Responding to this anger, our political leaders have done or tried to do some rather foolish and impractical things, such as:

There is lots of anger and resentment. It strikes me that the anger is associated with the visible presence of these workers, who are willing to take on jobs with low wages that native Americans are not interested in doing. I emphasize the phrase visible presence. It seems that most of us are happy to have these immigrants taking care of our lawns, serving us food in restaurants, making our beds in hotels, and other necessary but menial tasks. What we don't like is to be reminded of the presence of the people who do these things by finding them congregating in parking lots at Costco, Home Depot, and the like, waiting for contractors to come along and offer them jobs for the day. We believe in a society of equals and we don't like to be reminded that there are some members of our society who are less equal than others.

Labels: , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?