The recent proposal of our President to normalize the status of millions of "undocumented workers" is neither the end of the world nor a wise policy. On one level it normalizes the present state of affairs, catering to certain business interests and select political lobbies. At the same time, Bush's proposal undermines our nation's present need for sanity and security in light of 9-11.
When there is a shortage of labor, technical innovation - in agriculture and manufacturing - is accelerated. When labor is cheap and plentiful, old, lazy methods can continue as long as the bottom-line results are favorable.
Some type of guest worker program does make sense. But it is a misnomer to say that illegal immigrants are only taking jobs that Americans are unwilling to perform. In logical terms, this is asserting the conclusion as the premise. If millions of immigrants were suddenly removed from the workforce, there would be serious short-term consequences. But the long-term benefits might actually result is a healthier, full-employment world for citizens and legal immigrants.
Education and medical costs would be drastically reduced, ameliorating budget crises in several locations. Able-bodied welfare recipients would have more options. The way would still be open for legal applicants.
The present policy is morally bankrupt, politically expedient and economically short-sighted, not to mention injurious to long-term national sovereignty.
President Bush, we can do better!
Next time: Fiscal Fracas - Making Sense of Your (Public) Money