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Letters to the Editor

Question of the Day

What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

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A fiscal disaster In response to my letter to the editor, "Fiscal timebombs" (Wednesday), Amelia Pierson questioned the politicians' intentions behind the proposed immigration bill ("Illegals and Social Security," Letters, Friday). She wondered if the immediate infusion of taxes paid by 12 million to 20 million new taxpayers would put off a failing Social Security to a much later date. The answer to that is no, it will do just the opposite. A large immediate infusion of taxes would only increase the annual Social Security surplus, the out-of-control spending of Congress and add millions of workers entitled to future Social Security benefits. Social Security in its present form will be running a cash income surplus for about the next 10 years. The surplus cash income is put into the general funds and spent annually by our spendthrift Congress. There is no mechanism to save the annual Social Security cash income surplus for the future .

The proposed immigration bill would accelerate the destruction of the Social Security system as we now know it. Stephen Dinan's article "Social Security liability foreseen" (Nation, March 29) quotes a report that says legalizing illegal aliens would bankrupt the system. The more interesting information in that article was the claim that in 2004 uncredited Social Security earnings, those earnings that can't be matched to valid Social Security numbers, totaled $65 billion. Government officials say that illegal aliens are probably the "chief cause" of uncredited earnings. This says that illegal aliens are now contributing to Social Security without having any claims to future benefits. Legalizing illegal aliens would subject the present terminally ill Social Security system to an early demise.

JOHN T. McVICKAR

Vienna

The immigration bill

It is imperative that the momentum to stop illegal immigration not be lost ("Immigration bill quashed," Page 1, Friday). The enthusiasm must not be allowed to dissipate. The iron is hot and the juices are flowing and the amnesty-open borders crowd is on the run.

A strong "enforcement-only" bill must be introduced in the Senate. Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, is introducing one in the House. All of us who sent thousands of e-mails, snail mail and faxes — and made an equal number of phone calls — stand ready to do the same thing to get an enforcement-only bill through the Senate.

The momentum is there and we are poised to drive the point home that we want: The border secured by any means necessary, fines on employers raised to a level where it will cost them the business if they hire illegals, and the border and interior-enforcement-agent numbers increased by a significant number to combat illegal border crossings and the hiring of illegal aliens.

JOSEPH R. FARRELL

Alexandria

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In reference to the article, "Immigration bill quashed," President Bush stated: "A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn't find a common ground. It didn't work."

That was exactly why it went down to defeat — the only people who wanted the bill to pass don't understand that the American people were not fooled into thinking that this was a sincere attempt to solve the immigration problem. The legislation was written by a handful of senators who refused to allow an open debate of the details, many of which were seriously flawed.

While many senators stated that there were "triggers" that provided border enforcement before illegals could receive legal permission to remain, they only allowed 24 hours to check records, which would have left gang members, criminals and those absconders free to escape.

There were many more flaws that could have been corrected if there had been a full and open debate, yet the leadership refused to allow a number of its colleagues to be heard. This is not the way a democratic government should operate, and the American people let their representatives know how they felt.

While the Senate failed to enact their immigration reform, the people won. They demanded that a sensible and fair approach should be taken, with border and workplace enforcement first.

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

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The Senate vote against illegal-alien amnesty on Thursday was a great victory for the American people, national sovereignty and the rule of law ("Immigration bill quashed,"). What a pity, though, that citizens had to crash the congressional phone system to get the attention of the arrogant clique of senators.

The worse pity is that the president remains too stubborn even now to grasp that the people want their borders secured and their immigration laws enforced.

Furthermore, the Constitution requires that the government protect the nation from invasion. And when 10 million to 20 million citizens of a hostile foreign power (Mexico) have entered unlawfully, the invader characterization is not overstated — particularly so when 58 percent of Mexicans believe the U.S. Southwest belongs to them (according to a 2002 Zogby poll).

The symptoms of the nation being torn apart are everywhere, from increasing numbers of ethnic college graduation ceremonies to the growing prevalence of "Press one for English." America is in serious danger of becoming culturally shattered by the excessive diversity inherent in unwise immigration policy.

Theodore Roosevelt warned that the one way to destroy the country "would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities."

It's not too late to save America, but citizens who care must stand resolute against the elites with a different agenda.

BRENDA WALKER

Berkeley, Calif.

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The defeat of the most recent immigration bill marked one of the few occasions when our elected representatives actually listened to those who elected them ("Immigration bill quashed,"). The American people knew this was bad legislation and that it would only add to the problems caused by illegal aliens. How could anything touched by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and constructed in secret actually result in anything good for America?

I agree that the entire bill should be scrapped and we should go back to the basics. Just as one builds a house from the ground up, good legislation is built one plank at a time. We need to enforce the laws already on the books and punish those organizations that persist in hiring illegal aliens. We should support the federal workers assigned to secure the borders and stop putting them in jail for doing their jobs. Trying to push through any kind of "comprehensive" program will just result in legislation that is bloated, expensive and ineffective.

Through his repeated failure to listen to the citizens, President Bush continues to be a major disappointment to America and the Republican Party. His failures to control spending and follow the will of the people were a large factor in the Republican losses in the last election. I voted for him in both presidential elections, but it was only because the opposition candidates were even more detached from reality. But the crown jewel in his dunce cap has to be this immigration proposal, which would have been a bad deal for everyone except illegal aliens and special-interest groups. Maybe this latest defeat will finally get that message through to him, but I'm not holding my breath.

Much credit for defeating this amnesty bill has been given to some of our junior senators, who have not been afraid to defy the old dogs and hold to their principles. This makes me think that perhaps we need more junior senators and fewer old dogs. Can anyone say "term limits?"

CLARK KIDD

Potomac Falls, Va.

The free-market solution

The article "Remote control" by Cal Thomas (Commentary, Wednesday) was well written and made some good points about the need for a remote control if someone in Washington is ultimately deciding what we watch. As a former worker in the broadcasting industry and member of the subscription TV world, I have some additional information that supports the ideas Mr. Thomas writes about.

Washington-dictated "a la carte" programming is actually not just an issue that would take away "the privileges and responsibilities of individuals to make decisions," but is clearly a free-market issue. Few subscription channels are owned as individual channels. Virtually every channel is grouped with others according to ownership. The private companies that own these groups of channels exercise their capitalistic rights to sell these channels together. When the government comes in and mandates a la carte, it not only squelches the privilege of the individual to choose what to watch or not watch (with the associated responsibility), but stomps on a company's right to do business as it sees fit.

JEFF WRIGHT

Centreville

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