Thursday, November 29, 2012

Now, Bush’s plan sounds reasonable to the ideologues

I can remember the exact moment when George W. Bush went from being the hero of the conservative ideologues to a guy espousing half-baked ideas that caused them to drop him and his overall favorable rating to plummet.
BUSH: A recycling?

It was the point in which the man who had been raised much of his life in Texas and wasn’t uncomfortable being around Mexican people started talking about ways to incorporate them into our society.

IT WAS IN 2006 that President Bush, the younger, came up with a proposal for a “guest worker” program – by which all those non-citizens living in the United States and working at jobs without a valid visa or work permit could keep the jobs.

They could come out of society’s shadows. They could live openly. They would no longer have to fear the possibility of a stupid, trivial incident (such as a traffic stop) uncovering their status, and resulting in their deportation.

It didn’t offer them anything in the way of citizenship (anybody who got a permit from this program would specifically be prohibited from ever being eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship).

At the time, I wrote a commentary for United Press International saying that if this program could evolve into something more substantial, then it was worthwhile as a first step toward immigration reform.

BUT THE IDEOLOGUES didn’t want to take any steps – unless they were wearing steel-plated combat boots that they could use to stomp all over anybody they wanted to believe “doesn’t belong here.”

Republican officials in Congress crushed Bush’s plan, and like I wrote earlier it was at that point that the Bush favorable ratings began their decline to the record lows in the mid 20s (as in about one of every five people approving of Bush) that he was at when he left the presidency in January 2009.

Since then, Bush’s image has gone up somewhat.

Perhaps that is why the ideologues are now trying to resurrect Bush’s old guest worker program (albeit, under a different label).

THEY’RE CALLING IT the ACHIEVE Act, and the Republicans in Congress who are touting it as immigration reform are trying to claim it is substantial enough to be the immigration reform that our nation desperately needs.

Of course, that old policy only went part way. Which is the point. These ideologues don’t want to take the real steps toward reform. But they’re also tired of having the masses “call them” on their nonsense.

So they’re deluded enough to think they can dredge this up and get the rest of us to pipe down with our objections.

It isn’t going to work that way!

IT’S GOING TO take something that realizes there is no legitimate reason to deny a valid visa to most of the roughly 11 million people suspected of living in this country without proper documentation.

It is the people who are more focused on exclusion who are the problem in our society. Any policy whose primary purpose is to mollify their attitudes is a flawed one.

Which is why we ought to be paying attention to those members of Congress who are Latino and who came up with their own alternative reform package – a nine-point plan that calls for these people to be put through a process to work them into the system.

It even includes having them submit to thorough criminal background checks and have to submit to a thorough review to see if they owe income taxes from all the labor they have done in this country previously.

THERE’S NOTHING WRONG with either of those two goals – although I think anyone who believes all these non-visa’ed people will suddenly be paying significant amounts of cash to the federal government are misguided.

For in many cases, their employers have been withholding taxes and the money has been getting lost in the federal bureaucratic mess.

Auditing the “illegals” might come to the revelation that we owe at least some of them a significant tax refund that they were never able to collect in the past.


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