Geithner; Economic Expert?



Geithner Apologizes for Not Paying Taxes

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

There  are conventions, customs, and words, thought to be complementary.  Consider; Fat and jolly.  Short and sweet.  Tax-and-spend-liberal.  These words, while often far from tantamount, are in the minds of many, inexorably tied.  

I was fat.  However, I did not feel jolly during those days, months, and years.  I am short.  Sweet?  I am not especially so; nor am I sour.  Balanced might better describe me, which takes me to the next paired, or triad of adjectives.  I like my taxes progressive, my spending minimal, and I am a liberal.  

However, I do not support the oft-titled tax-and-spend-liberal Democratic President’s appointment, Timothy F. Geithner.  Perhaps, some would say, I do not appreciate the need for an economic expert.  This duo of descriptive qualifiers, I believe, can be an oxymoron, just as the others might be.  It seems those farthest “Left” on the political aisle may concur.

Russell Feingold [Wisconsin Democrat], Thomas Harkin [Iowa Democrat,] and Democratic Socialist, Bernard Sanders [Vermont Independent] voted nay when asked to approve Timothy Geithner for Secretary of Treasury.

The case of Timothy F. Geithner and his confirmation may enlighten Americans and alter conventions associated with language.  

The new Treasury Secretary, his history, and who approved his appointment might help Americans understand that conjoined words provide a contrary perspective.

Timothy F. Geithner has a troublesome history of unpaid taxes.  While he apologetically addressed this serious concern in Senate hearings, he could not negate the fact that he, an “economic expert” made more than a slight error.  A man who works with ledgers, looked past his own numbers.  For four years, he left levees unpaid.  Only an Internal Revenue audit, supposedly, helped him to realize his records were wrong.

The most Progressive Senators thought this tale difficult to swallow.  Legislators frequently labeled as the more extreme liberals, Feingold, Harkin, and Sanders pondered economic ethics.  For these few an awareness for dollars due is required if one is to serve as Secretary of the Treasury.  Hence, these Democrats decided the President’s selection for the Cabinet position was not a suitable choice.  

From their vote, it might be assumed, the three thought morals must be considered in the definition of monetary expert.  Perchance the Senators mused; if a fiscal guru is not immediately responsive to his or her own legal responsibilities, liabilities, how could that person be put in charge of the nation’s currency.

As one who is frequently characterized as a tax-and-spend-liberal, I know that moral values, and a code of consciousness concern me, especially when I consider Timothy Geithner as an economic expert..

I am exceedingly conservative, especially with money.  I may not be an expert; nevertheless, I believe legal liabilities must be paid.  Currency cannot be spent frivolously.  Coins, I believe are meant to be saved.  These pieces of eight add up.  

This tax-and-spend-liberal, me, thinks people, no matter their rank or royalties paid to them must be responsible for what they owe society.  The radical rationale I embrace dictates that as a part of the populace I must pay my fair share.

I think it vital that I, as a citizen, contribute to the greater good.  Unlike Timothy F. Geithner, President and Chief Executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York since November 2003, and as of moments ago, Secretary of the Treasury., I would never withhold my taxes.  The idea of it troubles me as it does my fellow so-called tax-and-spend-liberals, Russ Feingold, Tom Harkin, and Bernie Sanders.  

An economic expert, I will never be.  Yet, I trust a levee, thoughtfully used, can strengthen the community.  Admittedly, I observe that in America, much money is spent with reckless disregard.  Witness, the credit crisis, and how a financial sage such as Timothy F. Geithner, does not sparingly dole out dollars.

That said, I remain secure in the knowledge that when we, the people, pool our resources, we can ensure that adequate educational facilities exist for all.  Fire and police protection can be provided for everyone.  When we pay the levees, libraries can be constructed, a supply of clean and fresh water flows, and waste is managed.  A cultured and civilized community can thrive.  

Tariffs afford us safety, sanity, and a sanitary environment.  With the help of fellow citizens, the good life that taxes allow for is possible, even for Mister Geithner, who pays his duties selectively.

The monetary expert who played a prominent role in the management of the financial crisis that has engulfed Wall Street, failed to pay federal taxes for Social Security and Medicare from 2001 through 2004.  

The fiscal sage had the funds.  The current Secretary Geithner was a gainfully employed Senior Official at the International Monetary Fund,

In 2006, after the Internal Revenue Service audited the esteemed economic guru, Timothy F. Geithner paid his taxes for 2003.  He presented a partial compensation for 2004.  Secretary Geithner was able to avoid recompense for 2001 and 2002.  The statute of limitations for these liabilities, fortuitously for the fiscal wizard, had expired.  Hence, he was able to retain the gains that might have helped pay for schools, streets, libraries, water and waste management.

Likely, this respected representative of the people spent the money on personal pleasures.  Now, with the authority vested in freeloader Timothy F. Geithner, he will have the ability to spend more of the tax dollars.  Money, the most liberal among us,  do not wish to squander.

The three tax-and-spend-liberal Senators, in practice, honored the adage, a book cannot be defined by it cover.  People must peruse the pages carefully if we are to comprehend the content.  The Democrats who did not approve of the appointment extrapolated and said, before we determine who is an economic expert, we must consider the ethical way in which that individual spends cash.  A Treasury Secretary must, at least, consistently attend to accounts payable.

Russ Feingold, Tom Harkin, Bernie Sanders, and I would say, perchance, it is time to examine conventions, customs, and words, thought to be complementary.  Perhaps, Americans could better define tax-and-spend-liberals and economic experts.  It would seem countless of those whose politics are more progressive pay taxes and do not wish to spend.  Those who think it fine to avoid the fees that contribute to the greater good of society, fritter the funds.  They are not more liberal, just more liable.  

Sources for spending . . .

Change

(I am honored and privileged to present this thoughtful tome by Jerome Grossman.  

If only change were more than a word, or a missive.  Might we consider change, as it applies to equality and tranquility, our mission. – promoted by Betsy L. Angert
)

copyright © 2007 Jerome Grossman Relentless Liberal

It is hard to say what this political campaign is really about except that ambition has propelled some admirable and some not so admirable people to run for president. And, as though they all drank the same magical elixir simultaneously, to begin to utter the mystical word, “change.”

As a verb, change is transitive, must have an object; for most speakers it is America, but one candidate said, “We can change America, then we can change the world.” Where have I heard that before?

Change has become a cliché, somehow signifying that we are on the right track. It sounds dynamic without committing to anything in particular. Candidates and voters can give it any meaning they wish: to the right, to the left, or simply to install new people to pursue the same old policies.

The presidential candidates of real, serious change are Democrat Dennis Kucinich and Republican Ron Paul, not taken seriously by their fellow candidates or many voters. In the ABC television Republican debate in New Hampshire on January 5, the GOP candidates were actually laughing at Ron Paul’s exposition of a needed change in U.S. foreign and military policy. No discussion, no rebuttal, simply disrespect. And Kucinich wasn’t even invited to the Democratic debate.

On issue after issue the candidates of both parties give the problems a little tweak or a few new words and call it change. But the exercise makes everyone feel good. Mission accomplished. We have talked about change. Do Americans really want their politicians to change public affairs significantly?

The average American, like people everywhere, are accustomed to the status quo and will not accept change until forced by events and we are far from that point. Social Security and Medicare, for example, are far from perfect, but politicians had better keep their hands off if they wish to stay in power. Furthermore, only about 50% of eligible voters actually go to polls and they are usually richer and older, heavily representative of the most satisfied, therefore the least likely to vote for change.

Besides, significant change never comes from voting. Almost always, it is the result of deep and difficult organizing in the community of people who are being hurt by current policies, who become angry, who threaten, who don’t put their cause in the hands of politicians.

The most important changes in U. S. history were forced upon our greatest presidents. Abraham Lincoln was pressured to issue the Emancipation Proclamation by the Abolitionists and the need for African – American soldiers in the civil war. Franklin Delano Roosevelt expanded the humanitarian role of the federal government in response to the threats of organized labor and the unemployed.

Real change is forced on the politicians, always has been, always will be.

To view the original treatise, please seek Change

The Yellow Brick Road, The Campaign Trail, And Us

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Americans, mired in debt, desperate for adequate Health Care, fearful of foreclosures, and worried about a protracted war, cry out for change.  Compatriots wish for a wizard, one who will work for the common folk, and not solely for self, a Commander-In-Chief who will acknowledge the current crises, and lead us into a Land like Oz.  We want America to be the perfect country.  We wish to be known as benevolent, caring, compassionate super power.  We yearn to say aloud with conviction, “There is no place like home!”  

Throughout the nation, citizens are thankful we have an opportunity to transform this country.  Americans have the right to vote their conscience.  In the land of the free and home of the brave, we can and will advocate for the values that made this country great. Citizens will walk through snow, sleet, ice, and rain to cast a ballot for the man or woman we think right for the homeland.

Democrats and Republicans alike hope to improve this nation and their station.  The difference may be in degrees.  For now, those most desirous of a Progressive revolution are the downtrodden.  Democrats yearn for an event that will take away from the daily grind.  Those on the Left hope for a gust of wind that will place them in the Emerald City where life is Green and clean, and where average people are the priority.  Thus, Democrats participate in the process; they are intimately informed.

Iowa Caucuses, New Hampshire primaries, and the polls.  Do we have a consensus?  Is there a crisis on the campaign front? Might the race be too close to call, or is it all merely a manufactured media myth.  We are told Hillary is ahead, or she was.  Perhaps Edwards has the lead.  Barack Obama is closing in, or was with the help of Oprah, maybe.  Some skeptics say the throngs of fans want to touch a celebrity.  The Obama/Oprah ogling will not necessarily equate to votes.  Bill Clinton can do what no other has.  Certainly, he will boost the New York Senator’s numbers.  However, the charismatic Clinton may not be enough; or perchance he is or has too much, too much power, influence, and baggage.  No one is ever certain what the other Clinton will say or do when he publicly steps onto the stage.  John Edwards might be the come from behind kid.  This man and his family have seen and experienced hardships.  After the pain of his son’s death he, and wife Elizabeth have been on a shared mission.

This synopsis is Democratic politics in America, or is it?  There are whispers of Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson in the halls of Iowa and New Hampshire hotels.  The media mentions these notables may wish to accept another position.   On the hill, the same is said.  Each is considered experienced.  Any of the three would be an ideal Vice President or Secretary of State, or so we are told.  What we do not hear is what Americans would think if they were not told what to believe.

We read the research.  A survey can be slanted to produce the desired results.  Apparently, the polls are designed to deliver the information that the candidates, the campaigns, the columnist think our countrymen must know.  Americans have head the rumors, the rhetoric, and the railed against such surveys.  Intellectually, we understand that studies are skewed.  Yet, we, the people repeat what we are told.  He cannot win; he is too short.  She will polarize the electorate. He is too Black, or is not enough of an Afro-American.  He understands how divided the country is, and he will work to change the system.  He has his place; it is just not in the White House.  He would make an excellent Secretary of State, an Ambassador, or perhaps he serves us best in Congress.

Even the most articulate and educated cannot resist reiterations.  Knowledgeable learned scholars, just as everyday students of the issues succumb to the standards.  Perhaps, since few of us have the opportunity to validate what we trust is likely true, we surrender to the situation as it is reported.  Thankfully, there are moments that allow us perspective.

On the eve of the New Year word spread far and wide.  In electronic communiqués, reality and reason were evident.  New Hampshire voters shared their experience, their distress, and disgust.  Citizens in the land of the free, and home of the brave, are afforded only select choices.  One candidate is dismissed before the electorate can cast a ballot.  Yet, a few spoke out in dissent.  

New Hampshire resident, Helen distressed and distraught wrote to her friends after she received a telephone call.

I just received a political phone call asking if I was going to vote in the primary.  Then she asked if I was voting for a Democrat would it be Hillary, Biden, Obama, Edwards and a couple of others, and I told her she left the best one out – Dennis Kucinich. And she asked, “Is he a Democrat?”  It turned out that she is working for the Clinton campaign.  If she’s representing the Clinton campaign, that’s another reason not to vote for Hillary. The young lady did thank me for the information!

Imagine, within the Clinton Camp an campaigner, a spokesperson for the presumed future President knows nothing of another Presidential hopeful.  A vibrant voice of the people is muffled so succinctly.  The sounds Dennis Kucinich makes are silenced before those that live in the cloudy skies of politics-as-is can hear them.  Fortunately, among the electorate and the friends of Helen there are those who like to label themselves ‘”enlightened” and proud of it.’

A few more-than-typically-well-informed voters care enough to look behind the golden curtain.  Some in Iowa and New Hampshire understand they do not live in the Land of Oz. These compatriots comprehend, even if they themselves are prosperous, others are not.  As good citizens these individual believe to their core they must act in accordance with the Constitution and consider all people are created equal.  Helen cares for the common folk.  See recognizes that Dennis Kucinich lived in dreadful poverty.  He will do more than express false or fragile piety; Kucinich will relate and react to a circumstance that is real for him.  This voter longs for a President who does more than posture and profess.  For this compassionate soul, it is time for true change.  

Like Helen, other people in New Hampshire [and Iowa] do not wish to follow the yellow brick road just because they are told that is the way to the Emerald City.  A few know to trust that promises of fortune, or a solid foundation do not come when, for the most part, the status quo is sustained.  Universal Health Care with Insurers in charge will not cover those who cannot afford the cost at any price.  War will not end if one soldier remains in Iraq to “secure the peace” within a sovereign nation.  

In the Granite State, the constituency can be hard to sway.  A body of voters can challenge the conventions, and they do.  When Aprille received two similar survey calls, she responded with glee, then revulsion.

I have had 2 phone calls just like that one and I did the same thing. The most recent one asked if I was voting for Clinton, Obama, or Edwards. I said….”There are a heck of a lot more candidates running, why aren’t you mentioning them?” She said, “Who are you voting for?” I said…”I’m planning on voting for Kucinich.” She said, “Kucinich?” I said…..”Yes, Kucinich. And if you refuse to include the other candidates, then this is a bogus survey!” As I was hanging up, I heard her say that this survey was paid for by the Hillary campaign! What the bleep!?

Indeed. Might Americans consider what is true.  Contrived, campaign rhetoric, and more importantly push polls [political telemarketing masquerading as a poll], do not give the constituency a choice.  It is all good and well that the people are promised they can take their country back.  However, in truth, as long as the public is told who will win, who is electable, and who is not worth a mere mention, then this election will be just as those we witnessed in 2000 and 2004.  Cast your ballot.  Then, let the courts decide.

America, as long as you vote as the wizards of Wall Street tell you to, if you cast your ballot for the person you believe will win, because that is what the broadcaster say is “spot on,” then this country will not belong to the people on Main Street.  Each time we choose the person defined as a victor, we give up our freedom.  We are but munchkins, ruled by the glorified little man who stands behind the curtain and  pulls the switch.

In fantasylands, citizens may never suffer.  It seems people do not need to settle.  Wizards work wonders.  The people only follow their lead.  In America, if we are all to prosper, life must be  different.  People in pursuit of happiness cannot take jobs just to survive, as they do now.  They must not marry solely for money, food, or shelter.  We can no longer vote for the candidate of “hope and change” while aware of the fact that this person is solidly part of the system that ensures our life is miserable.

In truth, in America, there are no glittery gold pavements, or yellow brick roads, that lead to Emerald Cities.  We, together, the common man, woman, and child, with a leader who fully relates to our plight, must build these communities.  Wizards who can offer us a heart, a brain, or courage do not dwell in the White House or on the campaign trail.  We the people can make magic if we choose to think and act for ourselves.

If life is to be grand, we need to  accept that Presidential hopefuls are humans.  If a leader is to lead well, he or she must be able to relate to what we go through, for they have lived, and continue to live among us.  If a candidate speaks of our carbon footprint, we might ask, what is yours.  When asked of trade agreements, might we muse, Mister or Madame Presidential hopeful, how has such a pact transformed your life.  Talk of deep pockets could prompt a look into the purse that strings an aspirant along.

Americans must be more realistic and less enamored with emeralds that they do not own, if they are to chose someone who will truly represent them.  Just as a small paycheck alone will not secure our future, a political aspirant who speaks for the elite will not help bring us to the bargaining table.  The cash of a spouse who lost his or her job will not bring endless smiles. Nor will our contributions to a campaign that is beholding to corporate influences help cure our ills.

If we wish to live in the Land of Oz, Americans must create it.  We, the people, and a President, who is, as we are, must take our country back.

In our everyday existence, we accept that good looks and charm will not keep us warm at night.  Nor, will the pretty one provide adequate Health Care.  When on the streets, in the office, or at home we acknowledge that a sweet-talker does not have our best interests at heart.  We recognize a colleague who wants only to climb.  A snake-oil salesman smells of no good.  A song and dance does deliver more than a tune.

Common folks flee when they encounter scams during their daily deeds.  Yet, come election season, when Presidential candidates whisper words of all-I-want-to-hear . . . unless we are Helen, Aprille, or perhaps you, and I, citizens will follow the yellow brick road and forget who paints that pavement.

In 2008, and in all the years hence, let us remember that unless and until we recognize the wizard is in each of us, and in a nation united for a just cause, there will be no change.

Words for Wizards, and We, the People . . .

The Center For American Progress Asks, Are You A Progressive?




America At Its Best: That’s Progressive

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

What does it mean to be a Progressive?  A long time ago, those in America who thought it best to work for the greater good, defined themselves as Liberals.  However, in the late 1980s that term was given a negative connotation.  Liberals lost their way.  Then, they [we] progressed.  The tem Liberal went through a metamorphosis.  Now, those who actively express their concern for society as a whole identify themselves as Progressive.  

Progressives are part of a Party.  They advocate social, economic, or political reform gradually.  The conventional wisdom is, unlike the Liberal, generous, freethinking, broadminded persons, a Progressive will not pursue change solely for change sake.  A Progressive will plot and plan and perhaps, not move much at all.  Indeed, may Americans now believe those on the Left are identical to those on the right.  The pendulum no longer swings; nor are we left standing at the pinnacle as a Buddhist might muse.  We, no matter our political, social, or economic bent we stand still and stagnate.  One merely needs to look at the newer Congress to realize Americans are unsure what it means to be a Progressive.

The distortions, degradation of the term, and the traits, have a history.  To Progress we must understand.

Liberal a bad word?

In the French sense, it became so

Michael Munger

Special to the News & Observer

I did a Google search on “liberal” and “dirty word.” They occur together more than 220,000 times.

So is liberalism a politically viable viewpoint in the United States today?

Origins tell us something. The oldest sense is “liberal arts,” intellectual pursuits without practical purpose, suited for free citizens with free minds. The first uses of “liberal” in English described someone who was generous in bestowing wealth or gifts. Nothing dirty so far, right?

It was with the twin revolutions at the end of the 18th century in America and France that the word developed two senses, and they were often in tension.

In Britain and America, to be liberal meant to be tolerant of other points of view, to be free from prejudice. The clearest exponent of this view, still a hero of the libertarian right, was John Stuart Mill.

The French liberal, however, implied not forbearance but action. For proponents, liberal simply meant an advocate for freedom and democracy, including economic equality. But to many American conservatives, liberal meant a pursuit of lawlessness, a French-inspired disrespect for tradition and a desire for radical leveling of wealth and status.

By the end of the 19th century in the United States, the meanings of liberal and liberal had been absorbed by a powerful political force: progressivism. Progressives believed in the evolution of human affairs. They advocated women’s suffrage, the temperance movement, anti-trust regulation and the creation of a professional Civil Service.

But embracing these progressive ideas got liberals into trouble and changed what they stood for.

The turning point in ideas about government was the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. It changed our character, it ended for many people the sense of optimistic self-sufficiency they had been brought up with and it turned us back from progressivism toward liberalism. Liberalism came to mean that concern for the poor is not just a sentiment, but a motivation for policy. Liberals fought for reforms that built a wall of government resources around those who were least well-off, a dam holding back a tide of poverty, ignorance, starvation and disease.

Imagine to stave off callowness, hunger, and sickness might be a bad thing. How could that be?

Currently, Conservatives wish to explain they are compassionate.  They claim Conventionalists can care for people, money, and attend to policy cautiously. Hence, we might extrapolate; tradition and thoughtfulness can co-exist within one Party or a single person.

More recently, however, liberalism has stopped working. Many of the core beliefs of liberals are still present in American thought and culture, but for a politician to call herself a “liberal” is suicide in most jurisdictions. The reason is that the French sense won the war of meaning, and Americans rejected that view of political life. Doctrinaire ideologues, insisting on a particular conception of equality at the expense of liberty and on a narrow secular interpretation of the rhetorical space of public discourse, hijacked liberalism.

It was a Pyrrhic victory: In winning control of the Democratic party, they lost the confidence of voters. Liberalism was reduced to an interest group code phrase: “Vote for me, and I’ll give you other people’s money.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. Thousands of Americans are struggling to return liberal ideas to our public discourse. These views may seem rusty and in need of some oil. But their essential power is unchanged, and their appeal is timeless. A celebration of individual liberties, a tolerance for all points of view, an openness to change and a fundamental belief in the promise of human cooperation live still at the core of American liberalism.

Today, those on the Left are still forward thinking, open-minded, and tolerant.  However, they may be guarded to their detriment.  Liberals, uncertain of how to describe their beliefs search for a way to communicate what it means to be a modern-day Progressive, one who does not act with reckless disregard, is aware, and observant of consequences.  Liberals, Progressives are attentive and wish to make their intentions known.

The Center For American Progress invites our assistance.  They request that together, we tell our story and illustrate what America means to us.  Progressives, those that lean Left, and are Liberal must make known what we stand for, not just what we stand against.

Four videos are presented for your review.  Please view each and vote for the one that you believe best communicates what it means to be a Progressive.  I offer two of these productions for your pleasure.

The Center for American Progress is a progressive think-tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action.

We are creating a long-term, progressive vision for America-a vision that policy makers, thought-leaders and activists can use to shape the national debate and pass laws that make a difference.

As progressives, we believe that America should be a country of boundless opportunity-where all people can better themselves through education, hard work, and the freedom to pursue their dreams.  We believe this will only be achieved with an open and effective government that champions the common good over narrow self-interest, harnesses the strength of our diversity, and secures the rights and safety of its people.

Hmmmm?  What do you think?  For me, the decision was not an easy one.  I thought the compilation placed in the introduction of this treatise was well done.  I also enjoyed another creation.  Please consider another audio-visual opus.  Interesting?

Progress is American – The Center for American Progress

This composition connects us with a classic presentation.  That may be its appeal or perhaps the reason you personally do not relate.  I know not.  I share the creators’ statement for your consideration.

The Center for American Progress, in conjunction with the Glaser Progress Foundation, recently launched a multiyear effort to increase public understanding of what it means to be a progressive given our nation’s history and the challenges we face today.

Which of these public announcements helps you to understand what it means to be a Progressive?  Perchance the two not shown would be more to your liking.  Please explore, vote, and contribute, if you choose.  Tell those lost in the space of ten, thirty, and sixty-second sound bites what it really means to be Left, Liberal, and in pursuit of shared liberty.

References, Resources, Progress . . .

  • The Center for American Progress,
  • Liberal a bad word? In the French sense, it became so..  By Michael Munger.  Special to the News & Observer.
  • Four videos
  • Immigration. Why Wail For A Wall or Agitate About Amnesty? ©

    Al Podgorski, Photographer. Sun-Times

    On Monday, May 01, 2006, another May Day will come and go.  However, for those in the United States this international holiday that honors laborers will be different. This one will live in the memories of Americans forever.  In this country, citizens, and non, will speak out on the issue of immigration.  For, it is the newest immigrants that makeup a large portion of our labor force.  These persons are planning not to go to work today; nor will their supporters.  They and their allies will stand up for themselves, their beliefs, and their desire for freedom.

    Other will also venture out.  They will take to the streets, the blogs, the bars, and airwaves.  They will wail for walls.  Some will agitate over the issue of amnesty. Whether they themselves are residing in this country legally or not, people will demonstrate.  They will express their opinions loudly and openly.

    The undocumented workers here in the USA are not loved; they are loathed by a vast majority of the populace.  Numerous liberals, those that usually support the downtrodden have turned their backs on this population.  They see them as law-breakers, union busters, and less than those born in this country.

    On this day, people from any and many political parties will be heard denigrating the status of those that migrated to America recently without proper papers.  They will call them “illegals,” as though they are less legitimate human beings than the rest of us.

    Americans, whose ancestors came from abroad, will chastise those that are now doing as their families had done decades earlier.  Citizens living in this country, those who can rarely produce the papers that brought their relatives here will shun those that arrived in the States in this century without authorization.

    Our countrymen will claim to be compassionate and they are, when their livelihood is at stake.  George W. and his buds welcome entrance of the undocumented.  They are willing to promote the idea of  “guest workers.”  They embrace cheap labor; however, only if, how, or when, it serves them well.

    Yet, other Americans find this plan or any agenda that offers opportunities to undocumented distasteful.  Many Americans are singularly focused.  For them, it is my family, my familiars, and me first.  These US citizens are clannish.  They are often heard to utter words such as these, ??We were here first and those that wish to follow are forbidden or must be filtered through [our subjective] system.’

    However, some recognize their dependency. Thus, they reluctantly offer official pardons to those that have helped them survive.  They have housekeepers, landscapers, chauffeurs, and nannies.  The faces of these employees have become real.  They feel as “family.”  American homeowners that pay these people can relate to their plight. Therefore, they are willing to offer them amnesty.

    However, even these immigrants must prove themselves pure in the empty eyes of the native born.  There must be fines.  People need to be punished for intentionally placing themselves in a land not their own.  These laborers too, must pay a price.  Everyone knows, there is no free lunch, no free ride, and migrants must set their pride aside.

    Have they not?  Is it not true that many immigrants are bending over crops in order to collect a pittance of the pay that professionals do.  They clean toilets, wash windows, and work hard for their earnings.  They pay and contribute to society daily; they always have.  I offer these findings from the Pew Charitable Trust Research Center.  This may assist some in understanding the impact immigrants have on America’s labor force. Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S. Estimates Based on the March 2005 Current Population Survey.

    About 7.2 million unauthorized migrants were employed in March 2005, accounting for about 4.9% of the civilian labor force. They made up a large share of all workers in a few more detailed occupational categories, including 24% of all workers employed in farming occupations, 17% in cleaning, 14% in construction and 12% in food preparation.

    Nevertheless, according to that native born and some naturalized, the nascent émigrés must fit-in better.  They must speak English only.  “They” must immerse themselves in our culture; they must forget their roots, at least when they are in front of us, US citizens.

    If they do not assimilate with the authority of official papers, we will deport them.  At least that is what the House of Representatives declared.  People of the United States protest and postulate; it is those Mexicans that are the problem.  Minutemen and more express their desires; ??Let us build a wall between the States and the nation south of the border.’

    Though geographically these two countries exist side by side, both being part of North America, people in this sanctioned land see themselves as separate and unequal.  They profess, America is better, and America is the best.  Are we?

    Is an egocentric superpower better even when they attempt to maintain an ethnically clean country?  I think not.  For me, being the best does not merely equate to being the wealthiest or the place where people living in poverty wish to flea.  I think there must be more.

    For some there is; the problem is more than Mexico.  A few of our fellow citizens state, ??We must also wall off the borders with Canada.’  These naysayers consider themselves objective, not xenophobic for they acknowledge that Latinos, Hispanics, or those of Spanish descent are not the only trouble.  However, these more “liberal” lefties still deny what is.  We live in a world of disparate conditions, opportunities, and circumstances.

    Walls will not solve the crisis; they never have fully.  Thinking that the calamity is a calling will end what now exists.

    I believe the disaster is not whether those in Mexico cross or whether those in Canada pass through the poles that separate the two countries.  It is not the fact that immigrants come from throughout the world, though they do.

    ?¢ Please review the local statistics from the Chicago Sun Times.  It won’t just be Latinos marching.

    Read of the 120,000 Filipinos in the Chicago area alone or of the 250,000 nationwide that have lengthened their once legal visits.  Cogitate on the five to seven thousand Irish immigrants dwelling in Chicago and out lying areas.  Reflect upon the seventy thousand Polish migrants milling about in America’s heartland or the one hundred and ninety thousand throughout the United States.

    Consider there are Rumanians, Russians, and those from Ukraine.  European émigrés are a plenty.  There are Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, and more migrants living here as well.  People come from many nations.  Not all immigrants are Mexican or South American.  As in one my earlier exposés, I offer outdated government statistics, those collected during the 2000 census.  A reader may ask, how many were never counted, never found, and never presumed to be here legally or not.

    Yet, for me, the issue is not immigration at all.

    Most of the migrants in the USA have adopted this land as their own.  Registered citizens or not, those from afar think of themselves as our newly arrived family members once did; they are Americans.  A large number of settlers do as our forbearers did; they prosper.  I refer you dear reader to a recent Pew Charitable Trust report.  Please peruse . . .

    According to the Pew Charitable Trust, Pew Hispanic Center and the Urban Institute  . . .

    “Nearly 80 percent [of Mexican immigrants] live above the poverty line, and 68 percent of those who have lived here for 30 years or more own their own homes.”

    While this revelation is not as expected, there is a stereotype that seems likely true.  The Latin culture advocates hard work.  Those born into it endeavor to do their best. Their well learned beliefs and practices have empowered them.  Therefore, many Mexican migrants have “pulled themselves up” and out of poverty; they have done well.  These emigreés are as our parents, grand, and great were; they are melting into, and becoming a meaningful part of the American middle and working classes.

    Some strive to do even better.  They want to become entrepreneurs, and they too succeed.  “Census figures show Hispanic firms growing three times faster than average,” By Scott Miller, Washington File Staff Writer

    Washington — Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States are growing three times faster than the national average for all firms and generating more than $200 billion in annual revenue, according to a new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

    The bureau’s March 21 Survey of Business Owners: Hispanic-Owned Firms: 2002 indicated that the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States grew 31 percent between 1997 and 2002 to nearly 1.6 million. Those firms generated about $222 billion in revenue in 2002 — the most recent year for which data are available.

    Yes, there are other reports that might support the cynics view and a few of these are also from the Pew Charitable Trust. You might wish to assess ,“Unauthorized Migrants, Numbers and Characteristics,” By Jeffrey S. Passel.  You will notice that aspects of this study conflict with the accepted and other aspects strengthen the impression, immigration by the undocumented is awful.

    Immigrants in general, but especially the unauthorized are considerably more likely than natives to have very low levels of education.  For example, less than 2% of natives have less than a 9thgrade education, but 15% of legal immigrants and 32% of unauthorized migrants have this little education.  (Note that education in Mexico is currently compulsory only through the 8thgrade, so finding this many with this little education is not surprising.  Further, the level of compulsory school attendance was recently raised from 6thgrade.)

    At the upper end, legal immigrants are slightly more likely to have a college degree than natives (32% versus 30%).  This difference is particularly noteworthy given the high percentage of legal immigrants with very little education.  Even the unauthorized population has some at the upper end of the educational spectrum, with 15% having at least a college degree and another 10% having some college.  Not all of the unauthorized population fits the stereotype of a poorly educated manual laborer.

    Nevertheless, for me, the issue is still not one of immigration into the United States of America. What for me is the topic for a truer discussion is, America as part of a whole.  We are citizens on a continent, one of many on this planet.  We must assess our attitudes and expectations, and realize that they are egocentric.

    I believe we must evaluate our place in this universe.  We are not here alone; nor are our priorities and preferences the only reasonable ones worth considering.

    Whether we refer to statistics that strengthen the argument for or against immigration, the true subject is the same.  We as a nation are engaged in what might be a possible evolution.  If we choose to embrace it, we will learn from our history, our errors, and our misperceptions.  If we seize the opportunity and avoid shortsighted solutions such as walls or amnesty, neither of which has ever completely resolved similar issues, then we can grow greater, together.

    We could as a nation and as part of a globe recognize that we are as the wave in the story that Morrie Schwartz shared.  We are part of the ocean.  If we act as one, think as a whole, we can and will progress beyond.
    “I heard a nice little story the other day,” Morrie says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.
    “Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air — until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore. “
    “‘My God, this is terrible,’ the wave says ‘Look what’s going to happen to me!'”
    “Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, ‘Why do you look so sad?’ “
    “The first wave says, ‘You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?’ “
    “The second wave says, ‘No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.’ “
    I smile. Morrie closes his eyes again.
    “Part of the ocean,” he says. “Part of the ocean.” I watch him breathe, in and out, in and out.

    – Tuesdays with Morrie, page 179

    Once we acknowledge that America is not an island and our concerns cannot be ours alone, then we can create a world in which all people, men, women, and children are genuinely created equal.

    Let us unite, not as states, or as a continent.  Let us join, together, and help each other.  After all, we are all people and have similar needs, wants, and wishes.  As long as Mexico, South America, Korea, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Japan, and other nations work separately, we will bicker, belittle, and belie what is true.  This Earth is our global village.

    References for your Review . . .

  • Immigrants Stage Protests Across U.S., By Maria Newman, New York Times. May 1, 2006
  • Employers Gird for Immigrant Boycott Today, By Monica Davey. New York Times. May 1, 2006
  • Amnesty or wall? Issue splits U.S., By Eric Herman, Chicago Sun Times. April 30, 2006
  • “Unauthorized Migrants, Numbers and Characteristics,” By Jeffrey S. Passel. Pew Hispanic Center
  • It won’t just be Latinos marching, Chicago Sun Times. April 30, 2006
  • Bush pushes immigration bill; Bipartisan Senate delegation backs him. Chicago Tribune. Apr 26, 2006
  • Cheap labor? It just looks that way Illegal workers fuel a ‘gray’ market and demand rights – and we all pay the hidden costs, By Warren Strugatch
  • Homeowners say the day laborer system works USA Today April 29, 2006
  • “Census figures show Hispanic firms growing three times faster than average,” By Scott Miller, Washington File Staff Writer
  • 2002 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) U.S. Census Bureau
  • Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S. Estimates Based on the March 2005 Current Population Survey. By Jeffrey S. Passel, Senior Research Associate, Pew Hispanic Center
  • What makes U.S. great? Hint: not intolerance, By Neil Steinberg. Chicago Sun Times. April 30, 2006
  • Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: 1990 to 2000 U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • Land of Opportunity, By Mortimer B. Zuckerman. US News and World Report. June 20, 2005
  • Global Village. Wikipedia
  • THE NATION; He’s the Stickler of the House; Rep. Sensenbrenner, holding the line as he sees it, stands in Bush’s way on immigration. By Mary Curtius. Los Angeles Times.  February 13, 2005
  • Immigrants To America, People With or Without Papers © By Betsy L. Angert. Be-Think