What Would You Do?

If I have heard, “These illegals have ruined our hospital system with free healthcare,” one time, I’ve heard it a thousand times. For the record, I am not one to be caught saying that, although I do understand where it comes from.

Also for the record, I have to say that it’s not like illegal immigrants use it like a doctor’s office. Most of the time it’s for emergency care, just like us good ‘ole taxpayers use it.

Photo courtesy of thehispanic.blogspot.com. Is this how you feel about illegal immigrants? You’re not alone.

But it isn’t just about healthcare. It’s about paying taxes, free education, free lunches, and taking our jobs.





Photo courtesy of twincities.com. A basic run-down of immigration statistics in America.

However, there’s a big caveat here, because the jobs they are taking are the ones that only they would work anyway. The rest of us wouldn’t work for less than the minimum wage even if our very lives depended on it, which is a problem for us, not them.

So, in case you haven’t figured this out by now, I have a lot of sympathy for illegal aliens of any race, although if we’re being honest, the most complaints we have are about those of Latino origin.

Usually I tell people that if I were a mother or father living in Mexico and I had the chance to cross a river to give my kids a better life, I’d swim it quicker than a wink. But they don’t seem to get it. I mean, they can understand it on some level, but they’re more concerned with their financial health than the safety of others. I know it’s not a race thing, because the people I know have friends and family members of differing races.

But it is easy to live our middle-class or upper-middle-class lives with decent jobs, affordable healthcare (meaning we can go to the doctor if we need it), and good food, along with great housing, and condemn others for wanting that chance. For wanting their children to get that chance. To me that is so wrong I don’t even know where to begin. By the way, it might help to remember that we were born into possibly the most privileged country in the WORLD. So many people out there struggling to survive were not.

And spare me, please, the song and dance about churches fulfilling the obligations of the poor and discarded, rather than the government. That is a TERRIFIC idea in theory. In fact, that is what Jesus would had have us do. I believe that with all my heart. But in reality many churchgoers don’t even tithe what they should, much less want to spend their money on giving to the poor!

So what is the solution? I don’t like mentioning a problem without proposing a solution. I don’t think the answer is to send troops or American dollars to Mexico and straighten them out. For crying out loud, we have got to learn to deal with the problems we have here, first, unless there is some extreme loss of life on hand, like genocide. That’s not what’s happening in Mexico, although you might think differently if you lived there with the drug cartels running everything.

Much as I am loathe to admit it, I think President Obama and his recentĀ  immigration rules are spot-on, because let’s face it – we certainly don’t need to use the resources we have hauling all the immigrants across the border. A lot of them were children when they were brought here. They shouldn’t be punished for an illegal decision by their parents. This plan of Obama’s might actually work. The good news is, it keeps serious criminals out. I think it’s a win-win for everyone.

I know we should be concerned about our health care system. I know we should be concerned about jobs in America being overtaken by people who didn’t enter the country legally, although we’d never work those jobs ourselves. Frankly, I’m more concerned about terrorists flying in from all over the world than I am about migrant workers and the like crossing the Rio Grande.

Could Manufacturing Save the U.S. Economy?

This morning I read yet another article on the decline of manufacturing jobs, this time in Spain. I’ll admit that the idea of Spain having a problem with jobs of any sort boggles my mind a bit, mostly because I think of Spain more as a vacation destination than a world leader in the industrial sector.

There is a vast majority of U. S. citizens who believe that if we moved our industrial jobs back to this country, it would be a huge boost in the economy. Not overnight, mind you. I am so sick of reports of monthly woes, as if history is played out one month at a time. It isn’t. It’s over the course of years, hundreds of years, thousands of years. Yet we live in a consumerist society where instant gratification is the goal we seek. I know – you’ve heard all this before.

photo courtesy of zazzle.com

President Obama promised change, and yet his first order of business was to try to save the economy from complete destruction and a second depression in this country that, in my opinion, we could never have survived as a whole. Today’s society is not adept at sacrifice, at survival. Whining, complaining – yes. A country boy can survive, as my dear singer Hank Jr. once sang, but the United States is not the substantially rural country it was back then. There aren’t enough country boys or girls out there to keep it going.

I also think that Obama did a good thing in bailing out the banks. I’m not saying the banks deserved it; they did not. The American people, however, were just as guilty as the banks and other corporations who abused wealth and power; the American people signed their lives away on homes, cars, boats, vacations, credit cards – you name it. Therefore, since the average American could not survive a depression that already crippled this country, Obama did what he had to do to prevent that.

The question is, now what? How do we not only save the economy for the next ten years or so, but how do we build America into what it used to be, as far as industry is concerned?

We do exactly what no politician or businessman in his or her right mind would do – we take back the jobs we send to China and India, Taiwan and the Philippines – we hurt ourselves to save the country from collapse.

We complain about the power China has, both financially and militarily – and yet we gave it to them! Corporations knew the Chinese would work for next to nothing, so they sent jobs there and saved a boatload on their spreadsheets. And if China workers would do it, what about those Indians and small countries? Bring on the big bucks!

So, I decided to do a little research because I’m fully aware I’m not an expert. There’s the government’s take, which, well, you can take with a grain of salt as far as I’m concerned! Something interesting I found is that according to the U.S. Census Bureau it looks like our entire manufacturing exports are based on food and livestock! At least, almost entirely, because there were no other areas mentioned. Wowza.

The Wall Street Journal published a story three days ago about an “uptick” in U.S. manufacturing, but wasn’t pleased with this: “The celebrated revival of U.S. manufacturing employment has been accompanied by a less-lauded fact: Wages for many manufacturing workers aren’t keeping up with inflation.”

Um, duh! How many of you out there in whatever job you have feel that your salaries are keeping up with inflation? Hmmm….none of you? Here’s another tidbit from the article that would have made me chuckle if it wasn’t so ridiculous: “”The U.S. has held manufacturing wages in check while there has been strong wage growth in China and moderate wage growth in Mexico,” says economist Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego, referring to two of the U.S.’s biggest lower-wage competitors.”

China and Mexico could increase their wages and it still wouldn’t compete with what workers were making in the United States just ten years ago. They had better benefits than many of us with a college education, and often higher pay as well. I know kids who worked in a mill near where I went to college because it paid better than any other job in town. They were a lot more well-off than I was, even when I was working two jobs and going to school full-time. So, I’m very sorry, Mr. Hanson, but your reasoning sounds really stupid to me.

Here’s a tip: why don’t we build up manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. and then, over time, as the economy improves, increase wages for workers?