Do Not Go Gentle into the Post-American Era

When the U.S. was a developing nation, we expended our efforts and capital in developing the infrastructure for industry. Our government provided incentives for the development and extraction of natural resources to be used as raw materials to build, not just products, but a thriving national economy. — And that’s exactly what China and other developing nations are doing today.

But, today, the U.S. is doing the opposite. Increasingly, over the past several decades, our government has been restricting the extraction of natural resources and dismantling the infrastructure for industry. Overregulation, combined with exorbitant and ever-increasing union demands, has succeeded in driving much of our industry offshore. If we want to recover our economy, we need to reverse that trend.

The recently published White House Plan to Revitalize Manufacturing, which focuses on federal funding for “green” technology R&D, is not likely to have a significant impact on our national productivity. This administration is thoroughly beholden to the unions and environmental lobbies. In true Chicago style, this administration has used the stimulus package to pay off political debts and, from every indication, will continue the trend of dismantling the economy in favor of political correctness and payback.

Every nation has a historical trajectory. This nation has apparently passed its apogee, and is now in decline. We no longer have the drive to overcome. We’ve become complacent and, instead of striving for ever greater industrial innovation and economic strength, we are focused myopically on the niceties that developing nations cannot afford to consider.

The problem is, there’s no such thing as stasis. A nation, a corporation, a species, an individual, must either advance or decline. That’s nature. And, as we sink into complacency, whining effetely about our declining economy, there will be others advancing to take our place as the dominant world power, industrially, economically, and (eventually) militarily. That’s a historical inevitability. The same pattern can be observed throughout nature and the history of civilizations. The only question is when.

At this point, we could still reverse that trend by, once again, becoming a developing nation ourselves — one can always develop further, if one is motivated to keep striving — but we, as a nation, lack that motivation. We’re apparently content to rest on our laurels as we sink into national senescence while other countries, like China, rise up on the international horizon. The world is always changing. It’s the nature of all things. The only question is, will we, as a nation, go gentle into that good night? Or will we rage, rage against the dying of the light?   (Apologies to Dylan Thomas.)

Unfortunately, I believe I know the answer to that rhetorical question. History is being written even as we go about our daily lives. You can see it in our relations with other nations, as we make concessions that cede our sovereignty in so many minor ways. Stepping back and observing from a historical perspective, we see a once-great nation, that no longer has the will to sustain its rank as the leader of the free world, stepping aside and leaving the field open to whoever will step up and take its place. Sadly, there’s no way to choose our successor. Once we step aside, we can only watch and hope for the best. And if we don’t like the way the world is shaping up in the post-American era, we will just have to suffer the consequences.

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A Free Market Approach to Illegal Immigration

I applaud the work ethic of anybody who comes here seeking to do honest labor because there isn’t enough work to support their families in their own country. But I do not support amnesty, nor do I welcome with open arms all who wander across the border for whatever reason.

From a free market perspective it’s clear that, if the marketplace is providing jobs for illegal immigrants, there’s a need that they’re filling. Employers hire them because they’re willing to provide a service at a fair market price that Americans either will not provide at an equivalent price because it’s easier to collect welfare, or cannot provide at an equivalent price because labor laws and unions require greater compensation and benefits than the market will bear.

Some insist that it’s not a “fair market price” because it doesn’t satisfy U.S. labor laws, but labor laws are not what determines a fair market price. A fair market price is the price at which both parties are willing to freely engage in a transaction. If the workers were not better off accepting these jobs at the wages and conditions offered than they would be if they remained in their own country, they would not be so eager to come here and take these jobs. By eliminating the jobs, we hurt the workers as well as the employers. How is that more fair?

By hurting the employers, we also hurt the economy. The significantly higher labor costs would have to be passed on to the consumer and food prices would rise dramatically, driving up the cost of living across the nation. Food being, literally, at the bottom of the food chain, when food prices go up, people at the lower end of the economic ladder need to get pay increases (or apply for public assistance) to feed their families. This necessarily sets off a chain reaction up the economic ladder leading to overall inflation.

Nevertheless, I don’t support amnesty. One reason is because granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is unfair to all the law abiding immigrants who have gone through the long and arduous process of obtaining citizenship legally. The other reason is because I don’t believe it will solve the problem. In fact, I believe it will make it worse.

As soon as the illegal immigrants become legal, they lose their competitive advantage. As citizens, they’d have to make at least minimum wage, and the employers would have to provide benefits and pay employment taxes. Once the unions get involved, the stakes become even higher. The reason agribusiness employs illegal immigrants is to avoid those costs. So, once the workers gain legal status, what’s to stop the employers from dropping them and bringing in more illegal labor from across the border?

Then we’d have a bunch of new citizens with no jobs, tossed into the already overloaded social services system, and we’d still have a problem with illegal immigration. Our social welfare programs would suddenly be flooded with hundreds of thousands of poor, unemployed (but legal) immigrants who can’t find work because the only jobs they’re qualified for have been given to a new crop of illegals. It’s a bad idea.

What I do support is a guest worker program that provides temporary permits for people who enter the country to work and leave when the work is finished, deportation of anybody who’s in the country illegally,  starting with the immediate deportation of anyone who commits any kind of crime, and a constitutional amendment to cease granting automatic citizenship to babies born in this country to non-citizen parents. I also support anybody who wants to become a citizen getting in line and going through the citizenship process.

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