Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Immigrants and Invidiousness

In today's DMI blog, there is a commentary from Elana Levin on the NY Times story from yesterday about the fact that many illegal immigrants are lining up to pay their taxes. The emphasis in the Times story was on the fact that many of these illegals were looking to document their working presence in this country by paying taxes, in anticipation that any amnesty provision would require the payment of back taxes.

Now we are in the forefront of the defense of immigrant entrepreneurs in NYC, and we've never made any effort to try to ascertain their immigration status, we simply admired their hard work and drive. That being said, Levin would have been on firmer ground if she had given greater emphasis to the self-interest of those lining up to pay.

The reality here is that the immigrants were looking for two things: (1) to legalize their status so they can enjoy the fruits of this country; and (2) get a refund that is in all likelihood badly needed income. To conflate all of this with the underlying patriotism of the group is a bit too much. And the self-interested activity here shouldn't be the final word on the best immigration policy for the country. After all, for all of the great many hard-working illegals, there are too many criminals and freeloaders that aren't doing anything positive in this country.

Therefore, what we need is a policy to better discern the the contributors among those wanting to settle here. This can only be done if we secure the boarders and develop a program to vet those who would like to stay here on a permanent basis.

This is all a legitimate debate, but Levin can't resist trying to create some kind of invidious comparison between the "patriotic" illegals, and those "rich tax dodgers" that are avoiding paying their fair share. Levin ends here post saying: As one immigrant interviewed in today's Times piece said 'I feel it's my responsibility to pay.' If only corporations could be convinced to feel the same."

Whoa! Doesn't Levin realize, even in her obvious envy of the wealthy job-creating class, that it is the corporations, large and small, that are the economic engines that provide the employment opportunities for the illegals that she strives so mightily to romanticize? Doesn't she realize that the corporations, and their wealthy founders, are the reason that all of these illegals aren't clamoring to come in to, let's say, Cuba?

Lost in all of this is the fact that, as the NY Post points out today, that the wealthiest 1% of this country pay over 37% of all the taxes, and the top 40% pays 99,1% of the taxes. As someone in that catagory I guess I can consider myself very patriotic. I'd feel more so, however, if I could keep more of my own money, invest it prudently and watch as it grows, along with the economy that this investment fuels.