Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Two Scandals

Two scandals, both alike in corpulence,
In America, where we find our scene,
Ancient pattern breaks to new betrayal,
Illegal acts make civil hands unclean.
Discovering the horrid acts of men
A pair of star-cross'd writers take their pens;
In a futile attempt to overthrow
The mendacity of corporations

At this point I'd like to make two points. One, I know it doesn't rhyme. That would take extra work. Two, there's a pretty good chance I'm taking poetry month too seriously.

On to the scandals. Terrence Jeffrey writes about the fact that companies are paying the social security wages to workers who do not have social security numbers (and are, apparently, illegal aliens). He paints a picture that these illegal aliens coming from Mexico might very well be terrorists based on the theory that Al-Qaeda might want to come into the country illegally.

I don't doubt there might be some advantage to coming into the country illegally, but I question why they would pick Mexico as the appropriate location to enter. Consider the Canadian border. About the same distance from the Middle East. And much less guarded. At any rate, he eventually returns to his point, which is that the Government needs to clamp down on corporations hiring illegal aliens. Which I agree with. I also have some concern for the people that these corporations are exploiting, but don't think that Mr. Jeffry shares that concern.

On the other hand Molly Ivins writes about another scandal involving our banking industry.
Which brings us back to the howling over the plan to give government access to possibly hundreds of millions of international banking records in order to track and deter terrorism. As a good civil libertarian, I'm concerned about the privacy issues here myself. But money laundering, whether for terrorist purposes or tax evasion, is a crime.
I'm curious about the mental calculus that goes on in the Bush Administration to make this call. "Well it would stop terrorists but it would make it harder for the very wealthy to avoid paying taxes. What to do, what to do."

I also think its stunning that in two obvious areas, international financing of terrorists and making our borders more secure, the Bush administration shows little to no interest in solving the problems. I mean think what they might accomplish if they put in the type of effort they have put into passing tax cuts.

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