NY Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants & Forrest Gump Rule

On September 21st Governor Spitzer announced that immigrants would be able to get New York State driver’s licenses.

Well, either it’s been a slow summer or the Governor has apparently proposed the most reckless thing ever. The biomass is indeed encountering the cooling system.

Assembly Minority leader James Tedisco publicly charges that Governor Spitzer is assisting Osama bin Laden. Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat of Manhattan is  comparing a license plan critic to “Bull” Connor, the poster boy for white bigotry in the 1960’s.

Yow! Whoa!! Let’s put the boyz in their corners and hear what they have to say:

THE PLAN: Applicants for driver’s licenses will no longer need a Social Security card or proof of residency to get a driver’s license. Instead, they can show other forms of ID such as a foreign passport.

PRO (Governor Spitzer, labor unions, civil rights groups)

Points —

  • Enables immigrants to earn a living by driving to and from work.
  • Creates public records that police and others can use to ensure true identities.
  • Reduces insurance premiums for all New York drivers by an anticipated $120 million a year because it brings tens of thousands of undocumented, unlicensed and uninsured drivers into the system of insured, identifiable drivers.

CON (Republican lawmakers, Mayor Bloomberg, county clerks, Conservative Party)

Points —

  • Panders to illegal aliens, who then might falsely register to vote.
  • Could pave the way for terrorists to get licenses.
  • Could lead to the state’s licenses not being acceptable proof of identification for air travel.

A basic rule of evaluation is that there is a huge difference between saying “this would” (the PRO arguments) and “this could” (the CON arguments). You can demonstrate “this would” with facts. Otherwise you couldn’t say “this would.” With “this could,” you only need plausible stories, and plausibility is in the ear of the auditor. In short, “this would” is a strong argument if you can back it up; “this could” is weak.

A second rule is the Forrest Gump rule: stupid is as stupid does. Specifically, the CON arguments that the new license policy —

Panders to illegal aliens, who then might falsely register to vote.

If everyone knows driver’s licenses are not proof of citizenship, how does having a driver’s license help anyone pull one over on the Board of Elections?

Could pave the way for terrorists to get licenses. 

Who are we talking about here? Sure, Timothy McVeigh had a license; how else did he rent that truck? Oh, you didn’t mean clean cut home-grown young white men when you said “terrorist?” Just who did you mean, Mr. Tedisco? People of browner hue than you? And what’s the point anyhow? A Starbucks on every corner could pave the way for terrorists to get wired on caffeine. Or do some people just like to say “BOO!! Terrorists!” when they can’t think of anything better?

Could lead to the state’s licenses not being acceptable proof of identification for air travel. 

Well, Mayor Bloomberg, if that’s the case I am sorry we will all be inconvenienced. Maybe we’ll have to bring a copy of our birth certificates along with our licenses.  Ouch. Yet if we can plan ahead enough to get a plane ticket, and can pop a few hundred for airfare, then I guess, if we really really have to, we can pay the county of our origin $10 for a copy of our birth certificates if we misplaced our own. I don’t see why we would, though. If you need, as they said, a valid passport to get a license, wouldn’t that tend to verify the license still being a valid identification? I don’t see why not.

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