Thursday, May 18, 2006

Big Fences Make Bad Neighbors

Don't read Nietzsche. Don't listen to U2. Throw out all of your clothes that were made overseas--yes, that Armani jacket has to go. Don't say "No way, Jose." And blame it on the Bush administration.

In so many words, Congress has done exactly that. Yesterday, the US Senate passed a bill that would put three hundred seventy miles of fencing along the border with Mexico. The House already passed a bill that would make fencing nearly twice that long. All of this is meant to stop would-be "illegal immigrants" from getting into the United States.

We don't build economic or cultural fences, or at least not as many as we used to. Whether you like it or not(and you should) we are living in a global society.If we did, you wouldn't be wearing Armani, or driving a Toyota. The US does almost 2.7 trillion dollars worth of trade with the rest of the world every year. If someone asked you why we "let" foreign goods and services into our country, you'd be flabbergasted. We money from trade, selling food and medicine, among other things, to places that don't have it. And, without trade, we wouldn't have any of the "good stuff" that we can get from overseas. So, why won't we "let" Mexicans into our country?

In his book Naked Economics, Charles Wheelan says that "people are the most important form of capital." Economists call us "human capital." We can work. We have ideas. We can fix cars. We can find a cure for cancer. We are the most valuable part of the economy, and the most valuable thing that can be traded. Why does the US try to stop people from coming into our country, and punish them if they do? Why aren't our borders free and open, like they used to be? Why are we building a wall?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! Apparently the Robert Frost party in Congress has decided that good fences make good neighbors. With insular sentiment like that in the air, a revival of Smoot-Hawley can't be far behind!

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus Amy, you never cease to surprise me. It's not a matter of allowing illegals in your so-called "global society"; it's being aware of what is coming into our own country. That being said I live amongst many Mexicans and I understand their plight. But this is about knowing who is here and making sure that our nation is safe. The government has never punished illegals for being here, hence their presence. Our schools, prisons and medical facilities are in serious financial crisis and this is an issue that must be addressed. Many of these workers are paid under the table and are not ponying up their fare share. There's nothing wrong with being legit. Go back to your Barbies.

2:44 PM  
Blogger fearofblog said...

well said, Amy. As for anonymous #2, it takes two to tango. So for every illegal immigrant who does not pay income taxes, there is an employer who is not paying payroll taxes. Why not crack down on the crooked businessmen who are not ponying up their fair share? Why not round them up like common thugs? Why not accuse them of taking jobs away from Americans? Or is it just easier to pick on the Mexicans

10:17 PM  
Anonymous John Bambenek said...

I don't think any of the reasonable critics thing we need to close the border to all immigration, it's just that we should have some kind of orderly system. All the problems faced by the illegal community find their cause in the fact that they are illegal. We *should* be generous who we let in, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't regulate and keep track of who is here.

Also, Wictory Wednesday has returned. (Yes, that was a shameless plug.)

12:11 PM  
Blogger Bill Baar said...

Did you support CAFTA?

3:35 PM  

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