- The Washington Times - Friday, November 28, 2003

Wal-Mart and illegal hires

In the continuing saga of Wal-Mart’s woes associated with hiring illegal immigrants, Steve Miller reports, now the workers are suing the chain for hiring them (“Wal-Mart lawsuit seen as trend for U.S. employers,” Nation, Monday). Divine justice, I say. The plaintiffs’ attorney believes this could be a trend because illegals from Third World nations can strike it rich if they win.

Checking the legal status of applicants can stop this assault on the bottom line. If employers will not check for the right reason — stopping illegality — then let them stop for the wrong reasons.

A bill approved by Congress awaits President Bush’s signature. This bill allows employers to quickly and easily determine if job applicants are legal or illegal. Employers should encourage the president to sign.

LINDA H. THOM

Coupeville, Wash.

Gun ownership laws

In the article, “Town orders guns in all homes” (Nation, Tuesday), the reporter failed to do her homework when she wrote that Geuda Springs, Kan., was the second town in America to enact a progressive law regarding mandatory gun ownership by qualified heads of households.

For those who are keeping track, the first town was Kennesaw, Ga. (March 1982). The second was Virgin, Utah (June 2000). And now, Geuda Springs is No. 3 on the list.

DOUGLAS SHARAFANOWICH

Milford, Conn.

The Dean factor

Presidentialcandidate Howard Dean is not “too liberal” for the South, as columnist Donald Lambro mistakenly argued in his Monday Commentary article, “Dean’s rep goes South.” In fact, the former Vermont governor is not liberal at all.

As Vermont Democratic state Rep. Ann Seibert recently recalled in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “He sure wasn’t liberal. I’m liberal. I fought him on a yearly basis.” In fact, Mr. Dean’s opponents in the Democratic primary often conveniently overlook the former governor’s conservative stances on gun control and state spending (A+ on the National Rifle Association’s scorecard).

While Dean may not be liberal, he certainly is a Washington outsider, a fact that should boost his record, not damage it, among Southerners. The last person Southerners want to elect is another fast-talking career politician from Washington. I should know. I grew up in Tennessee, and I love Howard Dean. I also vividly remember the 2000 elections, in which moderate Al Gore, a native of Tennessee and a Washington career politician, couldn’t even carry his own state.

Mr. Dean will unite a divided Democratic Party. His outspoken opposition to the Iraq war appeals to disenfranchised liberals, while at the same time, his centrist stances on issues such as gun control and government spending appeal to moderates and conservatives alike.

FOREST FISHER

Franklin, Tenn.

In praise of Sullivan

While I appreciate reading all the fine journalists published in your pages, I just wanted to thank you for your exceptional good taste and judgment in having Andrew Sullivan aboard.

While I may not agree with Mr. Sullivan down the line on every issue, he has blazed a clear and enduring trail of common sense, wry wit and well-honed wisdom.

BUD HOVELL

Vancouver, Wash.

The American dream?

I read the remarks of Czech President Vaclav Klaus in your article “Czech warns Europe of ‘dream world’ woes” (Page 1, Tuesday) saying Europeans live in a “dream world” of welfare and long vacations. He is probably correct that Europeans are overdoing the social benefits a bit. He has a point that Americans ought to consider the European experience.

In a modern technological world, the work of a single person may produce all of an item or service that 1 million people use. This trend is accelerating. Unfortunately, our economic discussions present an inadequate representation of reality. Every day they become more and more of a caricature of some absurd, unreal world.

We in the United States see getting two weeks of vacation a year as almost an extravagance. We accept the argument that our ratio of workers to retirees is somehow going to crush our economy, while at the same time we see per-worker productivity rising at about 10 percent a year and accelerating. We accept that our economy is in trouble because our productivity is so high that we endanger our market. The Medicare bill had as a major justification the fact that we were unable to afford our elderly, and shortly might not have any such programs at all. Most young Americans have accepted the “fact” that they will have no Social Security when they retire. They also have accepted the looting of their 401(k) plans and the end of any defined-benefit retirement plans.

The reality is that the U.S. economy is well able to support the extension of vacations above the level of the Europeans. The reality is that by doing so we would assure our markets and protect our jobs and, by extension, our national tax base. In doing so, we would also protect our families, enjoy ourselves and take care of the elderly. The absurdity of accepting any other point of view is almost comically insane.

The problem Mr. Klaus is talking about is one of free markets. If the Europeans open their markets to unfettered competition, they will be unable to support their families. It is a fact. The United States is running into trouble with this. Simply stated, if any person supports the elderly, he will always have difficulty competing against those who do not support them. Nations like India and China are very young in their population, having an average age of about 18.5 years. The United States and most of Europe have an average age of about 35. Our load is 30 times that of India and China if we care for the elderly.

If we open our borders to the free traders we will never be able to support the elderly. It doesn’t matter by what means. We will not be able to support them unless we protect our markets. This really is a case of understanding why we run a nation and have an economy. We do not do so to enrich our CEOs or political leaders. We do so to enrich our families and support the elderly. How did we ever get so rich that we cannot afford time with or means to support our families?

PAUL NOEL

Harvest, Ala.


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