This is a comment to a blog that is updated once a week, Clusterfuck Nation, by James Howard Kunstler. This blog (from last Monday, the 5th of July) was about what Mr.Kunstler's "tea party" would look like. I'd be aboard his tea party, which is more in tune with reality than the current tea party movement. Anyway, among other things, it covered two problems in our American society today, the lack of reliable public transportation in this country (especially rail) and the continuing influx of illegal immigrants. One poster to the blog, "Diogen", has a creative solution for both problems, that could be beneficial to the nation. Of course, it being a "creative solution", it'd be a loser right out of the gate, as our leaders are hell-bent on sustaining the unsustainable for as long as they possibly can. Anyway, I was impressed by it.
OK, I'm switching my attention to the problems of Mexican immigrants. Two problems:
1. Securing the border
2. What to do with the illegals currently here
#1 is easy, bring home the Iraq and Afghanistan contingents, close down most of the military bases and reallocate their budgets to the border protection. Done. Deficit neutral.
#2 is trickier. Amnesty? Ship 'em back? Each choice is problematic, either politically or logistically. Amnesty is rewarding people for breaking our laws, and providing an incentive for more illegals (no apologies for the word illegals, this is what they are). Deportation is even more problematic, because of:
a: Humanitarian disaster
b: Politically not feasable
c: Economic disaster for our neighbor Mexico (this is bad for us)
d: Economic disaster for the U.S. Let's say there are 10 million illegals. If we deport all of them, this will remove 10 mill people from the economy: millions of abandoned apartments, homes, loss of revenue for thousands of businesses, removal of millions of workers from farms and factories, etc.
This would drastically depress housing prices, drive whole apartment complexes out of business, create new slums, etc.
But wait, perhaps the illegals aren't a problem, but an opportunity! Here's my idea: in the spirit of the good ole CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) create a new organization: CTC (Civilian Transportation Core). Here's how it works. The illegals will be given a choice: go back to Mexico, or join the CTC and serve for 3 years, after which you will be granted a legal permanent residency. CTC will use the low-cost labor to build a public transport infrastructure across the U.S. -- sidewalks in all cities and towns, light rail lines, bus/tram shelters and benches, subway lines in cities, and so on. Also, they will provide a low-cost labor pool for General Electric and others to build most advanced electric locomotives, hybrid buses, trans and trolleys. As a part of the CTC service, they will be required to take classes in English and pass the proficiency tests prior to the perm. res. eligibility.
We can't have the modern public transport system in the U.S. because we're broke, we can't pay for it. But if the cost of labor were to be drastically reduced by employing the 10 million illegals who would be glad to serve their chosen nation, this hurdle would be overcome. Perhaps we can't afford subways if we have to employ labor at $20/hr, but we could afford it at $5/hr??? Or $3/hr plus food stamps and rent vouchers? Many of them are getting the foodstamps and section 8 vouchers anyway... Wage would probably say "EXPLOITATION". Well, they are exploited now anyway, but with my idea they will be earning the future for themselves and their children...
I know, there are many practical problems with this idea, but there are problems anyway with the status quo as well. At least the CTC idea will offer a way to solve the biggest problem of them all, PO (Peak Oil) and it's impact on transportation.
If this isn't done, the 10 million illegals will stay here anyway, burden our social services, never learn English, etc. etc. etc.