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Friday, April 13, 2007

Has the Florida Legislature Lost Their MINDS?

From today's St. Pete Times article:

"State Rep. Don Brown thought he was being "cute." His fellow Republicans in the Florida House had another word for it: racist.

Brown, a DeFuniak Springs Republican, apologized Thursday for sending an e-mail to his colleagues that noted the April 17 federal income tax deadline.

"Don't forget to pay your taxes -- 12-million illegal aliens are depending on you!" Brown wrote in a message to his colleagues on a state-issued email account.

What Brown meant as a joke wasn't interpreted that way. The strongest criticism came from his fellow Republicans -- Hispanics with large immigrant constituencies in South Florida."


The article goes on to name the legislators who had decided to complain about the email: House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Miami; Rep. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah; Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas.

Now Brown is actually apologizing!!! For WHAT?! Telling the truth? Dear God, has it come to that? Must we apologize for the unpleasant truth?

Look, I know that Florida Republicans love illegal immigrants. They're what keep our resort and restaurant owners happy, and what's good for them is great for tourism! You can hire 2 illegal immigrants for the price of one legal one.

However, isn't this going to extremes? Brown had made it perfectly clear that he was talking about ILLEGAL immigrants, and it's true that we spend massive tax dollars on them. They may be good for BUSINESS, but they're eating us alive in healthcare, social security costs, and other taxes. WE are paying for their free ride.

This has to stop! The responses that Rubio, Garcia, and Planas have had are reprehensible! Isn't anyone else in the legislature going to stand up to them?

Don Brown: Get a backbone! Stand up for what you believe! With any luck, you may have some influence in Tallahassee, where they're supposed to be representing the LEGAL residents of Florida.

Readers: Now it's YOUR turn. Do something about this! Write to the Florida House of Representatives today!

NOTE:

This letter was sent to EVERYONE in the Florida House. Of all the recipients, the ONLY one who took the time to read it and have a staff member discuss it with me was Rep. Michael J. Grant of District 71. A special thanks to him, and Maureen Garrard, his Senior Legislative Aide.

Maureen says, "Rep. Grant doesn't believe in canned responses- he actually reads the comments from citizens, too. What can I say- he understands what a republic is!" Apparently, he does. We need more politicians like Rep. Grant.

16 comments:

Cranky Yankee said...

Well, I think his problem, if there is one, is that he used a professional communications system in an unprofessional manner. His statement is neither true nor false. He does not mention Hispanics. Although one could argue that it is implied. It was just a stupid meaningless and mean spirited thing to say. He and those objecting are playing to a constituency, immigrants and Hispanics on one hand and xenophobes and racists on the other.

Anyone who thinks we have a blanket freedom of speech in this country needs to get a reality check. All speech is governed one way or another by the entity that owns the medium. In this case it is the people of Florida, via their representatives, who decide what speech is permitted by their politicians via government email systems. Politicians know they don’t have any freedom of speech at all in any medium.

If you want to talk about undocumented workers, the problem could be fixed with the stroke of a pen. Make them legal. Document them and tax them like everyone else. Force their employers to pay them minimum wage. Problem solved. If we are at 4.4 percent unemployment we are fully employed. If there were no jobs for immigrants they would not come. It really is that simple.

Hans said...

I would warn you to be very careful about throwing out the standard rhetoric regarding illegal immigrants. Many illegal immigrants do pay taxes and social security albeit on fake social security numbers. The numbers I’ve read are somewhere in the vicinity of $7 billion per year while using about $10 billion in services. So there is still a delta but we also have to consider the economic benefits of the cheap labor on are everyday lives. How would it affect the cost of agriculture? How would it affect the cost of construction? In addition they add to the economy by spending some of money that they make here.

They come in search of jobs and a better life. The same reason our ancestors presumably came here. We need to have a guest worker program that makes sense for everyone. The reason a blind eye is turned to the problem is how much they benefit the system. I submit that they are exploited far more for our benefit than they exploit our system.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Hans, baloney! According to statistics, you have little to argue over. They may pay taxes, but studies show that ANYone who is making minimum wage or less is getting $3 of benefits for every $1 they put into taxes. And most illegals ARE making less.

Additionally, the government catches illegal SSNs within 6 months on average (trust me, I KNOW this fact) and so the illegal immigrant must resubmit a new one. This does NOT go on indefinately. That means that m ost illegals are paid under the table: End of story. That means, virtually NO taxes except taxes on goods. And most of them live very frugally, sending their monies back to family in Mexico, so there are little taxes to collect.

However, they are happy to go to hospitals on OUR dollar and not pay up (ask fellow blogger Michelle, who is an expert on this). They also collect social security whether or NOT they've paid into it, and the list goes on. WE are the ones being exploited!

Cranky, true, we could legalize them all... but should we reward illegal behavior? How about sending them all back and forcing them to go through the process that every LEGAL immigrant goes through? Are we truly foolish enough to believe that this is the ONLY illegal act they make?

And yes, he used a government email, but what's the harm in mentioning the problem of illegal immigrants in a government email?!

Ed Abbey said...

First Imus and now Brown. Political correctness is getting out of hand. When was the last time you heard of a group of whites complaining about things said to them by hispanics or blacks?

If I were Brown, I wouldn't apologize because he said nothing wrong.

Having personal experience in going through the immigration system legally, I'm all for throwing those bums who don't out of the country and forcing them to go through the proper channels. If they don't and we catch them, they are thrown out with a permanent red flag in their records.

Matt said...

They fail to make a distinction between legal and illegal immigration b/c of the ethnic lobby. Such a double standard! I'm a big fan of Lou Dobbs, whom I do not for one second believe to be a racist.

The only solution is for people of the white ethnic group of the Caucasion race (excluding those of Middle Eastern or North African heritage) to commit group suicide. Sadly, that's the only way we're going to resolve this.

Cranky Yankee said...

We could never process enough immigrants through the current legal "process" to meet the labor demand. Until the labor demand is not there all of your important sounding argument is moot. The Florida citrus industry would collapse if it were not for undocumented workers. My kids like orange juice! Wht should I have to pay more for it because some people are afraid of people who are not like them.

I for one am glad they are here. I like salads and corporate exploitation of undocumented workers allows me to have it whenever I want for a relatively low cost. /snark

One stroke of the pen would solve this problem. Rewarding illegal behavior is a childish argument. This is the real world. There are jobs that need to be done and we need to make sure the labor is there to do it. We have a surplus of low skill work that some one needs to do. Until that surplus goes away all the xenophobic talk is much ado about nothing.

Hans said...

Saur- Based on a brief Google search of the Ecomonic Impact of Illegal Aliens the results are far from conclusive on either a positive or negative impact. They cost the economy in services but pay back in working cheaper there by allowing lower labor cost and subsequently lower prices. Clearly a complicated issue.

I'm not going to denigrate them for wanting a better life for themselves and there families. We have to come up with a fair and equitable solution to get these people on the books legally. What exactly that should be I don't know but smarter and better informed people than us are working on the problem.

Dave said...

Illegal aliens shouldn't be here whether or not they pay any taxes. They have broken the law and should be deported.

Every legitimate study indicates that illegal aliens cost more than they benefit the US economy.

Illegal aliens do pay some sales taxes and some do pay some income taxes whether by fraudulent social security number or the pseudo social security number ITIN. However, everyone knows that many do not pay income taxes because they earn their income in cash. Further, much of of their wages are sent back to their home country and not reinvested in USA.

A Washington Times article states:
"The remaining 45 percent are not paying those taxes because their employers, who are not filing income taxes, are paying the illegals under the table, he said." Further the article states: "Illegal aliens that year created a net fiscal deficit of $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal alien household."
The article is at: http://www.alipac.us/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=1283

The Bear Sterns report which is available at www.illegalaliens.us states:

*On the revenue side, the United States may be foregoing $35 billion a year in income tax collections because of the number of jobs that are now off the books."

*"We estimate that approximately 5 million illegal workers are collecting wages on a cash basis and are avoiding income taxes."

For more information on the illegal invasion crisis in Florida see www.flimen.org.

Anonymous said...

Well, I want to start killing people to control the population, I think the world would be better with less people so even though it is illegal I think I should be able to do it because it will benefit the economy and this country. Sound good to everyone? They are breaking the law, it's pretty simple.

Ange

The Lazy Iguana said...

I have a better way to deal with illegal immigrants.

Nothing.

Go after the people that hire them. You know when you are giving a job to an illegal. A big clue is that they are willing to work for less than minimum wage. Fake SSN numbers are not a big deal, because the employer just pays them with cash and that is the end of it.

But if the government passed a law making it a felony to hire an illegal immigrant, and then went after some high profile targets (start with the executives of a well known company that hires illegals) you would see a total lack of jobs for them overnight.

The feds could simply raid a dozen or so Wal-Mart stores, find one illegal employee in each store, throw the managers of that store in jail along with anyone in Corporate Human Resources that knew about it, fine the company a million or so bucks per illegal employee, and maybe even attempt to send the top level executives to jail.

The illegals would simply be let go. Nobody would dare hire them. The shock wave would travel through the business world at the speed of light.

And then when businesses could not find dish washers willing to work for minimum wage, they would have to offer more pay for unskilled shit jobs. Prices would go up, or a lot of places would close shop.

The Cubans in Miami are only Republican because they are still pissed off at Kennedy (and the democrats) for "botching" the Bay Of Pigs invasion.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, excellent and neat solution, I grant you. But a two-edged attack takes care of it all. Fine AND deport.

Ange, A little extreme, but your point is taken. ;o)

Everyone, I think the key here is the term ILLEGAL aliens. And if they're going to be bold enough to do something as illegal as cross into another country and CONTINUE to break our laws by not declaring themselves, not paying taxes (or only paying partial taxes), and not paying incurred hospital and other bills... Do we really think they'll be sterling citizens?

Dave, brilliant! Thank you!

Hans, please understand when we disagree there is no animosity on my part (I'm pretty sure you know that already). Anyway, check Dave's response. I can't do better than that.

Cranky, cuz making the illegal immigrants legal in the 80s was such a great idea, huh? It certainly didn't stop the problem. In fact, it made it worse. People realized that if they hung in there long enough, they'd be made legal. That's like saying "If you steal that car, and hang onto it long enough, we'll finally give you a title to it." Do we really think that will stop future car thieves?

Matt, sad... and perhaps somewhat true.

Ed, so true. And, as for Imus, I have to say I wouldn't have wished him to lose his job... even though I can't stand him... because it's more a free speech issue. Sure, he shouldn't have said what he did. But doesn't Chris Rock, rappers, and most comedians say MUCH worse, with impunity?

Cranky Yankee said...

The Amnesty law under the Reagan administration didn't go far enough. It was incredibly short sighted. He should have put in place a guest worker program. The goal was never to stop the flow of cheap labor into the U.S. it was to quiet the debate and nothing more.

Here are the questions; How do we go about deporting the 12 million undocumented immigrants? Who pays for it? Who will replace the 10 million undocumented workers that are in the work force? According the latest CPS there are only 6.7 million unemployed Americans. Are Americans ready to pay more for just about everything?

Who is going to pick the lettuce? I hear a lot of rhetoric, but no answers.

michelle said...

Man-o-man Saur, I am sure glad we agree on this one. What a load of crap. I was perfecty happy to read the email. I hope, no I pray, he does have a back bone and admits he didn't really mean to say he is sorry. I would love to read more emails that "Say it like it is!"

Hans said...

Saur- I know. I just like to argue. I really don't know exactly how I feel about this issue.

In regards to Dave's comments. Clearly from websites that have an agenda. Not what I would call legitimate studies. "Off the books wages" doesn't necessarily mean from illegal imigrants. Lots of legal people make money off the books.

"There are places in the United States where illegal immigration has big effects (both positive and negative). But economists generally believe that when averaged over the whole economy, the effect is a small net positive. Harvard's George Borjas says the average American's wealth is increased by less than 1 percent because of illegal immigration." from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5312900

Senor Caiman said...

Saur,

The homies, wetbacks and liberals now rule the country and are systematically destroying it.

The Lord was so brillant to limit our time on this planet.

I wish there were some nice places in the US left where I could live out my golden years in peace.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Deport? With no jobs around, the illegals would deport themselves.

Then once all businesses are scared shitless of hiring an illegal worker, institute a guest worker program. This way there would be a lot less illegals and a lot more people here with valid work visas and SSNs. They would pay all applicable taxes, and what the hell - be able to draw Social Security just like any other worker. Fair is fair after all.