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Don’t blame illegals for state budget mess

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POSTED June 13, 2009 2:22 a.m.
Are the illegal residents washing dishes in a restaurant or picking fruit the root of all evil when it comes to California’s economic maladies?

A growing number of folks seem to think so as they contend they are costing the state upwards of $5 billion in services and therefore are the cause of our current $24 billion state deficit.

It is just plain wrong and hypocritical to blame illegals for the mess we’re in now. It got to this point for the same reason why illegal immigrant has risen to the level it has – our own self-serving interests. As long as the money was flowing and the politicians were borrowing into the future to placate us by not raising taxes for all the things that we insist the government provide us we were content. We were splurging without having money to cover the tab.

The same is true of our food costs and other products from industries that rely heavily on illegal immigrants. They are the reason our food costs over the course of 30 years – and we’re not talking a fast food meal or a frozen-pop-in-the-microwave creation – has shrunk to a much slower part of our paycheck. Because we don’t do the jobs and their labor is so cheap, we have freed up money to spend on everything else from i-Pods to buying bigger and bigger houses.

Pull every illegal immigrant out of California’s economy today and just see how long it takes for prices to soar and purchasing power to dump. It also wouldn’t take long to hit the California export balance sheet hard as our No. 1 industry is still agriculture.

How many people even in a recession are willing to take menial jobs? The answer is very few and that runs the gamut from someone cleaning crabs in a Maryland processing plant to doing landscaping work in Southern California.

Illegal immigrants also pay taxes when they buy goods. Many pay property taxes as well and there are those who actually pay income taxes. They aren’t exactly getting a free ride.

That doesn’t mean something shouldn’t be done to address illegal immigration and to try to curb it.

Having said that, our state’s No. 1 industry would collapse and we’d having soaring food prices if it wasn’t for the for that illegals are carrying whether it is picking canning, processing or even working at the end of the food chain in restaurants.

Illegals for the most part aren’t afraid of hard work and long days. They are grateful they have a source of income. You can’t make the same statement about a lot of other people who bellyache about working even in the face of 10 percent unemployment statewide.

So should we eliminate all services for illegals to try and bridge the deficit by throwing them out of school, denying them health care and even protection against law breakers whether they are labor contractors or common criminals? It would be fair if you then exempt them from all taxes.

The bottom line is much starker. The only way you can justify doing that is to cease the game that we all or complacent in which is using the sweat of illegal immigrants to keep food prices down. It is their labor that is subsidizing food costs. Round them up and kick them all out. Then you’ll see how many people you can get to go from the unemployment line to working 10 hour days in the fields.

A better way to go if we really want to solve the state’s budget mess is to aggressively go after fraud and fat. Hire more welfare fraud investigators and start slimming down the reams of regulations so we can thin the ranks of overstuffed state bureaucracies.

Argue all you want about how illegal immigrations are destroying our economy, but they are adding to our productivity while pencil-pushing bureaucrats and those committing fraud weaken it and are slowly sucking the lifeblood out of California’s vitality.
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