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Friday, July 21, 2006

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

The real question they ought
to ask about illegal immigration

Ever watch a television talking head interview a Senator or Representative and think, “Dang, I wish I was asking the questions.”

I do. I think the same thing as I read Associated Press articles and listen to radio news.

The real question seems obvious - but the national “journalist” crowd cannot seem to think to ask it. Instead they pitch softball after softball and then congratulate Mr. Politician for his great hitting.

For instance - take our current debate, if you can call it a debate, over illegal immigration.

So far, every, and I mean every, politician I have heard speak on this issue, always says the following: “These illegal immigrants are doing jobs that Americans will not do. Without these illegal immigrants, the American economy will fail.”

So far, that statement does has not sparked what I consider a very obvious question.

Here is the follow-up question I would like to ask:

“Mr. Senator, are you saying that there are jobs available, and that if not for illegal immigrants, those jobs would be left undone?”

“Why yes,” he would say.

Then I would ask the $100 question. “But, Mr. Senator, why do we spend billions and billions of dollars in social programs, all created because there is no opportunity in America, if there really are jobs out there?”

I would then ask: “Mr. Senator, why won’t out-of-work American’s take these jobs?”

I wonder if you could find a politician who would be honest and say, “Because sitting at home watching Oprah and collecting a check is more fun than sweating your fanny off in the hot sun.”

I doubt it.

Then I would ask: “Mr. Senator, why doesn’t it make sense to just end all these social programs so that Americans would be willing to do these jobs? Then we would not need illegal immigrant labor, and, we could all lower our tax bill. Why is that a bad idea?”

Of course, the real answer is, “Because I traded your tax money to the welfare crowd for their vote. If I voted for a plan like you suggest, they might have to move, and they would have to go to work and do these jobs they aren’t willing to do, and they would probably be mad. In the next election they would elect my opponent when he promised to reinstate the handouts and import a bunch of illegal aliens to do these jobs.”

But, nobody ever asks the question, and so we never get to hear the answer, or at least a bunch of really fast crawdading on the part of a really spooked politician.

Now, nobody knows what the total number of people is that receive federal assistance - not really.

What the government tracks is how many people receive assistance in each program - AFDC, Food Stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies, Earned Income Tax Credit (which is not earned, nor is it a refund, it is just another form of wealth redistribution).

As of last year there were over 80 federal benefit programs with tens of millions of Americans enrolled in them.

For instance, in 2005, approximately 23 million people received food stamps.

In other programs, the numbers run from just a few million to way past 23 million.

In any case, it sure looks like at least 20 million Americans are feeding at the public trough, while jobs are not done because nobody is “willing” to do them.

Last I heard, the estimate of illegal aliens working in our economy was in the 10-20 million range.

I wonder if there is a reason these numbers seem to match?

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