Publisher's Note: An unfair cost
Some in the Statehouse are trying to get legislation passed that would require local police to enforce federal immigration law by arresting those who donít have proof of citizenship. Similar laws have passed in various states.
Though this legislation, Senate Bill 353 and to some extent House Bill 1614, doesnít have much of a chance of passing, it should be noted that itís a poor idea. We donít want our local police enforcing national immigration laws for the very basic reason that enforcing those laws would be a huge unfunded mandate, costing our local governments millions of dollars. Budgets are tight enough ó are we going to forgo local enforcement so we can arrest illegal immigrants?
I understand some are frustrated that the federal government has failed to enforce its immigration laws and that seems unlikely to change, but the solution is not to shift the burden to our local town governments. Police already have their hands full.
Free cash, bad idea
President George W. Bush and Democratic Congressional leadership have agreed to return $150 billion to taxpayers as part of an emergency stimulus package. Though Iíll gladly take back any of my money from the federal government, the package is a bad idea.
In a recent Republican debate former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee offered a better alternative. He proposed using $150 billion to improve roads and bridges across the country. That $150 billion would help the economy by being used to pay construction wages and buy American construction material. Our roads and bridges need the work. Huckabeeís plan would kill two birds with one stone, while the Bush-Democrat plan might only help us buy more Chinese goods ó and that only helps the Chinese economy.
Rebuilding our crummy roads seems a much better idea.
Living within our means
It shouldnít come as much of a surprise that the federal government is almost $10 trillion in debt. The federal government hasnít been living within its means ó just like many of us. The candidates running for president (minus U.S. Rep. Ron Paul) continue to offer us a fairy tale. On the Democratic side, itís more programs (thatís a cost) without new taxes (thatís revenue). The Republicans are proposing lower taxes (thatís less revenue) without any cuts (thatís the same costs). How is any of this going to stop our debt from growing at a rate of more than $1 billion a day?
The problem is that we as a country spend more than we make and instead of getting a second job to pay down our debt, we sit on the couch watching CSI reruns. Itís an epidemic. Americans have racked up huge debts just as the federal government has and for the same reason. We want it now and will pay for it later. At some point, the interest costs are going to going to force cuts to Medicare and Social Security ó the federal governmentís biggest costs ó or require huge tax increases in the future. Either way our debt today means a worse tomorrow..