The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

True Lies ?

04/25/2019

Most Republicans will agree that the President has a different standard of truth, chuckling as they say “Trump’s just being Trump.” I understand that and normally chuckle myself. The problem is that many Americans, not just Democrats, assume everything the President says is untrue, which is not true. That was the case when he said there is a crisis on the southern border. Automatically, I didn’t believe him. I was wrong. There is indeed a crisis on the southern border. Not the stereotypical crisis of young men looking for work, but families, needy families! As a taxpayer, I’m not happy to build prisons for single men nor welfare camps for families. As an economist, I want to believe that some of the immigrants will fill the 6.7 million open jobs in this country, but I know they don’t have the skill level to fill those jobs. As a human being, I cannot turn my back on families. Maybe, this is just another case of “white man’s burden” or the burden of developed countries to care for the most vulnerable of undeveloped countries. We are following the trail recently blazed by France, Germany, and Italy — much smaller countries who accepted hundreds of thousands of poor. The biggest mistake we can make is to allow families to come into America and create ghettos. France did not assimilate the Arab refugees from the Algerian crisis sufficiently, concentrated them into ghettos, creating a tumor in the body politic of France. While it is still unclear if Germany will do any better job of assimilating Arab refugees from the Syrian tragedy, there is scant reason for hope. Surprisingly, Italy seems to be doing a better job assimilating the Africans floating across the Mediterranean. The lesson that Italy seems to have learned is the importance of spreading out the refugees quickly – too quickly to form ghettos. Churches have been very helpful in Italy. Language training is being provided. Hopefully, job training will be provided. There is talk of giving tax credits to businesses that hire immigrants. In our case, every state could receive an allotment of needy families to help, in whatever manner makes sense to that state, but they cannot concentrate them. Unfortunately, state governments will not have time to debate it initially. Still, the Feds must have the ability to bus, say, 100 thousand people, to every state capital immediately. Some states will object vehemently. Other states will accept their humanitarian duties. It will be a fight — everything about immigration involves a fight. I don’t know what will work in America, but I do know the status quo will not. I wish that I had believed the President on this earlier, and I’ll try to remember that he does tell the truth, sometimes. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know which untruths are true.

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