- The Washington Times - Friday, December 7, 2001

AFL-CIO and amnesty for illegals

President Bush should reject any proposal from the AFL-CIO that would grant blanket legal status to millions of foreign nationals who have broken the law and have entered or remained in the United States illegally ("Amnesty for aliens on agenda of AFL-CIO," Dec. 3).
Whether amnesty is bestowed for "snitching" or simply to boost the membership of a heavyweight trade association such as the AFL-CIO, a shortsighted policy decision like this will evoke animosity among those who are obeying the law and are waiting in line to immigrate legally.
Millions of immigrants like me waited their turn, filled out all the appropriate paperwork and complied fully with the law to become part of this great country. Granting blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants sends the message that you can jump the line by breaking the law. It is reckless, irresponsible and self-serving.
Rather than looking for a quick fix by rewarding illegal immigrants, Mr. Bush should work with Congress to implement long-term solutions that will protect Americans from further terrorist attacks, boost the U.S. economy and assist the millions of American families impacted by the events of September 11.
Many American immigrants sacrificed a great deal to come here properly and lawfully. Rewarding those who break the law will ultimately encourage more, not less, illegal immigration and punish those who obey our immigration laws.
Instead of granting blanket amnesty, we must address the needs of our legal immigrants to help them assimilate and realize the American dream. Census data continue to show that their needs are largely unmet. The high school dropout numbers for immigrants are devastating, and many adults are consigned to a low-wage ghetto because they have not learned elementary work-force survival skills, such as the ability to speak our common language English.
It's time that Mr. Bush and Congress put U.S. citizens first and the selfish manipulations of AFL-CIO membership directors last. To do less would defy the justice we so treasure in this country.

Chairman and chief executive officer

Clinton tax hike responsible for 90s prosperity

Commentary columnist Daniel J. Mitchell asserts that "Ronald Reagan's across-the-board tax rate reductions triggered a record economic expansion." This record for economic expansion was surpassed by the expansion that our country enjoyed throughout the 1990s and that just recently ended. Like it or not, this expansion was triggered by President Clinton's "soak-the-rich" tax increase of 1993 passed despite Republican objections and solidified by spending restraint imposed by the Republican-controlled Congress in the following years.
How could a tax increase work such wonders? The tax increase was necessary to restore federal finances, after presidents Reagan and Bush transformed the United States into the largest debtor nation the world has ever seen. The decrease in government borrowing following the tax increase reduced long-term interest rates, encouraging firms to invest in capital and thereby raising worker productivity. Worker productivity posted significant gains in the 1990s, after decades of stagnation in the 1970s and 1980s. The increase in productivity allowed our economy to expand (without fear of inflation, thanks to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan) and a greater number of Americans to share in the expansion.
Mr. Mitchell poses a false choice between "permanent" supply-side tax cuts and temporary Keynesian tax cuts. In addition, further tax cuts are not commensurate with current government spending. Mr. Mitchell advocates, in effect, returning to the twin deficit era of Reagan and Bush, crowding out private investment and raising long-term rates again. Read my lips: all tax cuts passed in this effort will be temporary, as federal spending obligations (especially to the military and the elderly) will once again require a bitter decade of budget-balancing.


Comment in story about American Taliban fighter needs clarification

I am quoted in your Dec. 5 article on treason charges that might be brought against John Phillip Walker Lindh, an American captured with the Taliban forces in Afghanistan ("U.S. mulling treason charges"). The article did an excellent job in describing the constitutional and legal issues related to any treason trial. However, I want to clarify one of my statements, which may have left a misimpression. The article quotes me as saying, "I don't think [two witnesses] are going to be necessary" in a trial. As I have stated previously to the media, two witnesses are required by Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution. However, as I stated in the interview, the two-witness requirement is only unnecessary when a defendant confesses in open court. Such a confession would be a real possibility as part of a plea bargain for a lesser sentence than death.
As an academic, I felt the ambiguity left by the statement should be clarified for your readers.

Shapiro professor of pubic interest law
George Washington University Law School

PETA writes, Times rolls over

A free press is a wonderful thing. Also wondrous is our individual freedom of speech to comment on activities in our society. However, your steady and continuous publication of letters to the editor from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is worthy of note.
You most recently published a PETA diatribe that argued that zoos and circuses should be eliminated ("Elephants unhappy behind bars," Dec. 6). Previously, PETA used your Letters section to interpret the pope's instructions to Roman Catholics regarding keeping goldfish as pets ("Blasting animals, collecting goldfish trinkets show lack of respect for life," Nov. 20). PETA's agenda and your role in that agenda should give all U.S. citizens pause for reflection.
In a free society such as ours, an individual has the right to boycott circuses and zoos. Each of us is free to avoid fur and leather products and to abstain from fish or meat in our diets. In dictatorships or socialist regimes, government decides what each of us can or cannot do.
PETA and its sister organizations intend to use government fiats to eliminate fishing, hunting, animal husbandry, pets, farms, suburbs, rural lifestyles and a long list of other American traditions and freedoms. Your role in this campaign is curious, given your editorial page's espousal of traditional constitutional principles, and it is repugnant to those millions targeted by the animal rights campaign, which endeavors to give legal rights to animals and, ultimately, to treat U.S. citizens as pets of the state.


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