Jewish World Review Jan. 27, 2004 / 4 Shevat, 5764
Who's working for working Americans?
You would think that the first contest of the presidential primary season and the State of the Union address would produce for voters a clear, sharp line of demarcation between the policies of Democrats and Republicans on issues of critical importance to working families in this country. Unfortunately, neither the president nor the Democratic front-runners appear to differ that much on the exploding trade deficit, the exporting of American jobs, the surging federal budget deficit and out-of-control illegal immigration.
Despite complaints from a few Democrats and a few Republicans that the federal budget deficit is reaching catastrophic proportions, the platforms of the Democratic presidential candidates would only add to the problem. A new study conducted by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation found that the platforms of the four leading Democratic candidates would increase spending by anywhere from $199 billion to more than $265 billion per year. And while Bush's State of the Union address contained only about $2 billion in new spending proposals, he has already raised the deficit to record levels and should be reducing spending, not raising it.
"There's no way that this sort of deficit can be sustained and have a stable, growing economy," says Drew Johnson, a policy analyst at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.
Bush also reiterated his idea for a "guest worker" program in Tuesday's address. I can think of no other issue on which the president is further off base.
The president proposes a temporary worker program, providing legal cover to undocumented workers, despite all the evidence that excessive immigration is a detriment to our economy. A CNN-USA Today poll taken after the president's announcement found that a majority of respondents believe immigration hurts the U.S. economy by driving down wages - and they're right. A study completed late last year at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that American workers earned roughly 11 percent less if they worked with recent immigrants.
Unfortunately, the Democratic hopefuls propose measures to address illegal immigration that are even dumber than the president's "guest worker" concept. Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards and Gov. Howard Dean all propose a form of earned legalization. If earned legalization became a reality, the 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens already living here, as well as their families, could be granted a free pass to legal U.S. citizenship, displacing countless American workers and driving down wages even further.
But there is hope: a bipartisan plan to change our immigration laws sponsored by Sen. Tom Daschle and Sen. Chuck Hagel. It is the first proposal that actually makes sense, because it deals with the economic, social and national security concerns that serve Americans, not special interests. The proposal represents true reform. Unfortunately, neither Daschle nor Hagel is running for president.
Even conservatives who have supported the president are baffles by some of his recent decisions. Bush talks about the importance of revitalizing this nation's space program, and doesn't mention it in his State of the Union address. He talks about the lack of job creation, even as this economy grows, but he doesn't address the folly of pursuing free-trade policies rather than balanced, fair trade. And he doesn't mention corporate America's exporting of jobs.
The president has shown he is willing to reverse himself when policies and philosophies aren't working, as when he assured Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin that Canada will now be permitted to bid on Iraqi reconstruction contracts. Bush needs to take a hard look at what he's really doing for, and to, hard-working Americans.
And the Democratic presidential hopefuls need to do the same.
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01/12/04: Bush on the wrong track with immigration idea
01/05/04: Business leaders should resolve to lead by example in 2004
12/29/03: Immigration needs stricter, not looser, controls
12/11/03: Trade deficit with China a big problem
12/09/03: Let our children be children
12/01/03: Broken borders pose a serious health risk
11/25/03: Free trade costs plenty
11/18/03: European Union is playing a dangerous game
11/10/03: This time, it's not the economy
11/04/03: Overseas outsourcing is an alarming trend
10/28/03: Spending so much time 'making a living', we don't live
10/21/03: As population soars, U.S. faces tough choices
10/14/03: Schools need to re-emphasize math and science
10/07/03: It's lonely at the top
09/30/03: Is America over-medicating?
09/23/03: Corporate execs need to stop selling out U.S. workers
09/16/03: The scandals just keep on coming
09/09/03: Let's get real on energy
09/02/03: Is free enterprise the answer to education woes?
08/26/03: Building the road to recovery
08/12/03: War on drugs is still a war worth fighting
08/06/03: An attack on progressive thought
07/29/03: Prosperity begins at home
07/22/03: Real earnings, or really creative earnings?
07/15/03: Flirting with disaster
07/08/03: It's good to be the king
07/01/03: Border disorder
06/24/03: Prairie dogs and mosquito bogs
06/17/03: Bullish on America
06/10/03: Retirement realities: we need new solutions soon
06/03/03: Curing what ails us
05/27/03: America's export problem
05/21/03: Wall Street's new imperative: Integrity
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05/06/03: Optimism is unfashionable, but here's some anyway
04/29/03: Nuclear nightmare
04/22/03: Naysayers ignore signs of economic recovery
04/15/03: Game over--but for whom?
04/08/03: No more fool's games
03/31/03: United States must seriously review foreign economic and political relationships
03/24/03: Delusional Chirac may be a thorn in coalition's side, but new alliances are forming in response to 21st-Century threats without him and UN
03/18/03: Bush critics offer little more than hyperbole
03/11/03: Geopolitical visibility
03/04/03: Freedom: Our best export
02/27/03: Guns, butter and greasing the way
02/18/03: Looking for a silver lining
02/10/03: Space program remains a valuable investment
02/04/03: Hi pal, come back
01/28/03: Bush address a chance to bolster confidence
01/22/03: Here we go again!
01/14/03: Bush's bold bid
01/07/03: The only thing certain is uncertainty
12/30/02: No need to be so negative as new year approaches
12/23/02: NY's AG deserves credit for settlement
12/18/02: Critics of Bush nominees should tone down rhetoric
12/09/02: A lot rides on prez's Treasury pick
12/04/02: A fast fix for corporate credibility?
11/26/02: Urge to merge is hard to resist
11/19/02: Are we really so bad off?
11/12/02: Bush's lucky week bodes well for recovery
11/05/02: Wall Street firms treat investors as fools
10/29/02: Earnings estimates offer some hope
10/22/02: Economy's strength tied to national security
10/17/02: Harvey Pitt, get real!
10/08/02:Are we experiencing the fall before the rise?
10/01/02: Concerns about earnings are justified
09/24/02: Business leaders must abandon stall tactics
09/17/02: Wall Street's reality check
There's no better time for leaders to show resolve
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