May 2006 (vol. 22, #4)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716
c 2006 Physicians for Civil Defense
It would be better to export a solution than to import–or continue–policies that will transform the United States into a chaotic and impoverished nation like the ones people now flee.
The glib explanation for the attractiveness of the U.S. is that we're rich and offer opportunities unavailable south of the border. But why is that so?
The difference between Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, or between San Diego and Tijuana, is not an abrupt change in natural resources at the political border. Nor does the genome or talent of a person change with citizenship.
“Why does the U.S. create millions of jobs every year and Mexico create refugees?” asks Tom Bethell (American Spectator, May 2006). He notes that most people prefer working in their native country. Why do they brave a trek through the desert to work in a field or scullery in a land where they don't even speak the language? Journalists are not asking that question.
Peruvian researcher Hernando de Soto has delved into that issue more profoundly than anyone else, Bethell writes. The source of wealth is not just labor, capital, and land (“natural resources”). The mathematical labors of economists seeking just the right combination have been sheer folly. De Soto points to the essential legal infrastructure, the “hidden architecture of capitalism”–buried in thousands of pieces of legislation.
“Property law is what makes the market economy work,” de Soto writes. The majority of the world's people have no way to access existing property law and are forced to operate outside the law, in the “informal” or underground economy.
In Mexico, only 6% of enterprises are legal. To get a business legalized requires 4 years with no guarantee of the result. Without a way to enforce contracts legally, an enterprise cannot hope to rise above a subsistence level.
De Soto cannot just go into a country and advocate property rights–they have long been demonized. Officers of international development banks and aid agencies can't see beyond their skyscrapers. And Washington also sees wealth as something that is only transferred, not created, Bethell says.
President Bush, of course, speaks of exporting “democracy” and the economic system that enabled the West to prosper. But if democracy means that the majority can simply vote to oppress and confiscate the property of the minority, it is a prescription for civil war. And if the people vote for socialism, they'll end up with economies like those in socialist South America, sub-Saharan Africa, or the old Soviet Union.
Instead of trying to export the architecture of capitalism, the U.S. is more likely to prop up corrupt authoritarian and socialist regimes with foreign aid. Indeed, Mexico's safety valve of exporting labor to the U.S.–and bringing in a huge flow of repatriated dollars–has a similar effect.
Roughly 10% of Mexico's population of 107 million, and 15% of its labor force, now lives in the U.S. Entire rural communities are bereft of men of working age. Last year, Mexico received $20 billion in remittances from migrant workers–equal to Mexico's 2004 revenues from oil exports and dwarfing income from tourism (SF Chronicle 5/21/06).
It is often said that Mexicans are just doing jobs that Americans won't do. The fact is that Mexicans will work for wages that Americans can't live on. They also depress wages at the low end. At the height of his power, César Chávez, head of the United Farm Workers during its heyday, was a fervid opponent of illegal immigration (eco logic Powerhouse, April 15, 2006).
A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that the surge of immigration in the 1980s and 1990s depressed wages of American high-school dropouts by 8.2%.
Immigrants, legal and illegal, receive far more than wages these days. According to the National Research Council, an immigrant without a high-school diploma consumes $89,000 more in taxpayer-funded services than he pays in taxes over his lifetime. Illegals cannot be denied education for their children or emergency medical treatment. California alone pays $10 billion per year for education, medical care, and incarceration of illegals (Bethell, TAS Live 2/28/05).
Partly as a result of the unfunded federal mandate called EMTALA, Los Angeles County lost 6 emergency rooms in little more than a year (Chronicles, June 2006). Between 1993 and 2003, 60 California hospitals closed because half their services became unpaid, and another 24 verged on closure (Cosman MJ. J Am Phys Surg 2005;10:6-10, www.jpands.org).
Under currently proposed legislation, 20 million illegals now in the country could also become eligible for Medicaid–which is already breaking state budgets (Phyllis Schlafly Report, May 2006). Our welfare state–along with the political incorrectness of assimilation–means that unrestricted immigration now has much different implications than in the 1890s.
Legal changes can have remarkable effects on migration. It was thought that a new and better version of the Iron Curtain would be needed to keep refugees from Eastern Europe from pouring into the West. But former Communist countries that privatized state companies, cut taxes and regulations, and abolished price controls have twice the economic growth rates of Western Europe. GDP growth rates reached Chinese double-digit levels in the Baltic states (TCSDaily.com 5/18/06). The U.S., however, has apparently learned nothing from this.
The current situation in the U.S. is explosive, as recent Mexican-flag-waving protesters showed. Some espouse the “Reconquista” process to take back the western states allegedly stolen from Mexico (Aztlán) by “foreign Europeans”–with a racist agenda (La Raza) (DeWeese Report, May/June 2006).
It wouldn't be the first time that the more numerous and hungry have-nots plundered the haves (George Melloan, Wall St J 4/11/06). With today's demographics, the aging Western populations that didn't replace themselves have much to fear.
If the U.S. erodes the rule of law, forgets the legacy that brought us wealth, admits people who are not simply impoverished but hostile, and refuses to defend our own civilization, we may soon become aliens in our own land.
The fence design is based on Israeli fences in Gaza and on the West Bank that have cut terrorist attacks by 95% or more.
About 200 volunteers gathered to kick off the effort. A contractor is donating his time. Jim Campbell, a Phoenix homebuilder and U.S. military veteran, gave $100,000 and challenged others to contribute generously. He stated:
“Like countless other aging veterans and `baby boomers,' I see this as a seminal point in American history.... Our government has thus far failed in its fundamental duty to secure our borders–which has caused a national security crisis of the first order.” Instead of waiting for taxpayer funding, Campbell said that through private resources citizens could “help determine that the country we leave behind to our grandchildren is blessed with national security and fiscal solvency.”
Chris Simcox, President of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), said that they hope to keep costs near $150 per foot (www.MinutemanHQ.com).
An analysis by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation notes that during the “great migration” between 1870 and 1920, the percentage of foreign-born persons in the U.S. hovered between 13 and 15% of the population (http://www.heritage.org/research/immigration/wm1076.cfm).
The 66 million would at least double when they bring in their relatives, writes Phyllis Schlafly:
(An error that was not corrected in the printing process is the statement that anthrax is highly contagious.)
Russia will soon commission two nuclear submarines with the first ICBMs developed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Land-based strategic forces will soon get their first unit of mobile Topol-M missiles. Putin states that the new missiles and warheads will be able to change course during flight to evade U.S. defense systems (Wash Times 5/11/06).
By the early 1970s, 230,000 buildings in metropolitan New York had been designated as fallout shelters. By 1979, the city was paying contractors $38 a ton to cart away supplies from the shelters (NY Times 3/26/06).
According to a report by Allied International Development, there are about 9 million opportunities per year for a terrorist to ship a WMD undetected in a container. Only 2 to 4% of containers are inspected (G2 Bulletin 2/24/06). In fact, less than 1% of the 4% that are screened are physically inspected.
“CSI is by the most lenient measures simply a complete farce and a total failure that CBP has wasted huge sums of taxpayer money on,” writes Joseph Pfriender (WND 3/11/06).
None of the ports agreeing to participate in CSI are in countries at high risk from terrorists, Pfriender notes.
Even if a nuclear weapon were detected, there is of course no civil defense system to mobilize.
The Pfriender article contains links to numerous reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).