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Monday, January 26, 2009

An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama:

Recently, you said that you're willing to consider any idea that has a chance of improving the country and fixing the economy. Wonderful! I'm taking you at your word.
Let me list a few easy steps to take to fix this country. They are the only steps that would have a long-term shot at success. They're things we've long needed to do, but simply haven't gotten around to implementing.

The Economy:
1. Pass a Fair Trade Bill. This bill would set up a committee to determine the tariffs that our trading partners impose on our goods, and match them. We would impose no tariff on any country's goods unless it was one they imposed on us. Considering just the tariffs imposed by China and Japan, we could pay off the foreign-owned portion of the national debt within a month or two. Another year or two and we'd have the whole thing paid off. Every year the committee would submit a new report to Congress, and Congress would then have to vote to change the tariffs. (There would be no "let it lapse" clause.) As nations reduced their tariffs on our goods, we would do the same. This would level the playing field for our companies, who currently must fight against a raging tide of international protectionism. Some of our trading partners have warned against such an action; this would have a lot more weight if they were not already laying burdensome duties against our products. We would be fools not to reciprocate. Correction: We are fools for not having done so already. A comprehensive tariff policy would tariff the value of goods originating outside of the United States, regardless of whether the company in question was American or foreign. This would discourage outsourcing, and keep more jobs at home.

2. Enforce immigration laws. I used to work as a medical courier in a warehouse. I was paid eight dollars an hour with medical benefits. Most of my coworkers were Mexican immigrants, which was the norm for California. I thought nothing of this situation until, returning to work on a Monday, I noticed that half of the staff at work was gone. I asked my supervisor what happened, and she informed me that we had been raided by the INS, which had discovered that a large number of my coworkers did not have work visas. I was also informed that I would be receiving a raise of one dollar an hour because we'd have to hire legally from now on. This event taught me a valuable lesson about labor. Immigration really does affect salary. This should be obvious to anyone with even the most minimal education in economics. Labor is an asset. The more scarce an asset, the more people will pay for it. The reverse is also true. In times like these, when unemployment is so high, we can't afford to let foreigners steal jobs from hard-working Americans. Enforcing immigration laws would have a huge effect on the economy. It would raise wages, increase benefits, and reduce unemployment. It would help the poor more than the rich since the jobs most illegals take are of the low-end variety. We must ask ourselves to whom we owe the most loyalty: Ought we to be more loyal to our own citizens than to citizens of other nations? I say yes.

Foreign Policy:
1. Make the Border Patrol a military branch. The Border Patrol needs the authority to return fire, and the autonomy to do so without being thrown in jail. Ramos and Campeon are in jail for doing their job, after all. A drug dealer turns and fires at them while fleeing. They return fire, hitting him in the side of the buttocks, at an angle which would be demonstrably impossible had he not been turned toward them. Somehow, this drug dealer is given standing in our courts to sue for damages, and is awarded millions. We have a problem! The Border Patrol needs more authority. Why can we go into Pakistan looking for terrorists, but we can't go into Mexico when we know exactly where the criminals are? This is a ridiculous situation, and must be remedied. We should promote the Border Patrol to a branch of the military, making any attack on them an act of war. Then, we should use the next attack from a drug cartel in Mexico as justification to use our military, including units from any and all branches, to take them all out.

2. Build a wall. Congress has already approved the money for this project, so why isn't it done? In truth, an executive order would be all the approval necessary. After all, it would be a step toward making immigration laws enforceable, which falls within the domain of the executive branch. We need a real concrete wall, at least twelve feet high, running the length of the Mexican border. If we can put up hundreds of miles of such walls along our freeways just to block the noise of our cars, we can do the same on our borders. It can even be attractive, if designed properly. Private contractors could be hired, thus stimulating the economy. As someone from a border state, I have first-hand knowledge that this would be the only way to establish lasting control over immigration. Unless we can control who comes into our country and who does not, we have no sovereignty.

President Obama, please consider these ideas. We all know they would work, and that they'd be the only real way to fix the problems they address. Be man enough to ignore the screeching voices of the idiots among us and do the right thing! We need that kind of president now. Be that man.

Christian London Palmer

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