The problem is not that illegal immigration can’t be solved but that legislators are just vying for political and election advantages–as usual. There is a good solution but Washington doesn’t want to hear it.
We all know that a primary responsibility of our government is to protect and secure our borders. But neither Democratic posturing to pick up Hispanic votes nor Republican posturing to pick up votes will solve the central problem of people here illegally using our tax dollars paid out for schools, hospitals and law enforcement.
The concern by the public in Arizona and elsewhere over crime and costs is legitimate but, as usual, the response from Washington is anything but.
The real problem, studiously avoided by most of our leaders, is economic, not legal. Our border with Mexico has the singular distinction of dividing the greatest economic disparity between nations in the world. Nowhere else in the world do people earn so much less than those in a neighboring country. The powerful northward magnet this reality creates here will never be solved alone with fences or guns or the usual solution–a massive new amnesty every 25 years.
To address the economic forces that pull mostly good, hard working people as well as criminals across our borders we must talk not just about either fences or amnesty but about money. It’s not that most immigrants are bad people, the fact is we can’t afford to have so many even good people illegally benefiting from our generous public services infrastructure. The fact is, our national tax system–which already needs fixing for a hundred reasons unrelated to illegal immigration–could do more to protect our borders, if fixed, than any other solution.
The FairTax is a simple national retail consumption tax to replace all federal taxes on income. It comes with a monthly “prebate” check which offsets the new 23% tax on retail spending. Millions of illegal immigrants become taxpayers, overnight, under the FairTax–as consumers–but won’t get the monthly prebate. You have to have a valid Social Security number to get the prebate. That means that if you come here illegally you can expect to spend 23% more than anyone else for everything from a soda pop to a bar of soap. For an American family of four the prebate allows more than $29,000 a year of federal tax free spending (reducing the average annual federal tax bill to somewhere around 11%) but illegal immigrants get no such break under the FairTax.
How long would our illegal population stay in the United States if, overnight, being here cost a “surcharge” of 23% on every retail purchases of new goods and services? Not long.
To solve illegal immigration, bring trillions of dollars of foreign investment into the nation (getting Americans back to work) and end the lucrative corruption of the tax code by lobbyists and Members of Congress, the political class in Washington, D.C. would have to give up that corruption. That, along with the prospect of losing potential voters on either side of the national debate over immigration does not profit the political class directly so Washington has little interest in a fundamentally reformed tax code no matter how much it benefits the nation.
This is yet another example of the best interests of those in politics trumping the best interests of our citizens. Instead, we get politicians inflaming and mesmerizing voters with sleights-of-hand not designed to solve the issue but to pit us against each other to turn out voters.
To make illegal immigration to the United States far less desirable and far more costly Congress should enact the FairTax. To date, they won’t take it seriously although the legislation has millions of supporters, solid economic research and more Congressional co-sponsors (but far from enough) than any other tax reform ever proposed. Only the American people acting together and demanding enactment are powerful enough to trump Washington insiders who are fiddling their own dance tune while the nation burns.
The self-serving American aristocracy that now populates our political system at the expense of the average people the nation was originally designed to faithfully serve must be brought to heel or illegal immigration, a corrupted tax system and growing and unsolvable national debt will doom the United States to a second-rate future and a dark legacy for our children.
As a teen farm laborer Hoagland was one of the first recruited by Cesar Chavez into the United Farm Workers. He later did extensive policy work on the US/Mexico border for a former Governor of Texas. Hoagland is now chairman of Restore America’s Voice and authored, “The FairTax Solution”.