Memo to Rats: Gnaw Your Own Feet

Remember the scene toward the end of the novel (and movie) Ironweed, where a group of local, baseball-bat wielding “reformers” take it upon themselves to drive all the bums out of Albany? Given the stark, albeit twisted, humanity of protagonist Francis Phelan to that point, the bat swingers come off as astoundingly ignorant as they are brutal.

Those chilling examples of human nature came back to me after I came across this:

After a fallout last year over Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s failed plan to allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses, more than 1,000 immigrants rallied on the steps of the Capitol on Monday to demand a new initiative from Spitzer: a $100 million citizenship program to fund education and legal services to help immigrants assimilate more easily.

The crowd was made up of a diverse mix of immigrants — from Russia, Mexico, Africa, Korea, Haiti and other countries — that now call the state home.

The $100 million citizenship initiative would fund English-learning classes for children and adults, provide legal assistance to help eligible immigrants through the citizenship application process and protect immigrants from abusive employers and scams, according to the coalition.

So what’s wrong with this story? The public comments, that’s what. Here they are.

MY A**!! – I’ll gladly contribute to a TRANSPORTATION FUND sending them BACK to their “Mother Land” –

Posted by: Pepe Ed on Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:39 am

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 stop letting the poor f@#%ers in our country we have enough problems with the economy and damn budgets now. let em rally in thier own country. its hard to be american if we are rubbin elbows with immigrants. i agree w/pokey the got bread and low pay jobs. these people now want the world on a platter

Posted by: truth_be_told on Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:42 am

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 WAH, WAH, WAH!!!!!!!!!

GIVE ME, GIVE ME, GIVE ME!!!!!!!!

What did immigrants get 100 years ago?

Posted by: Hokey_Pokey on Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:00 am

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 Is the world coming to an end? It would be logical to think that there are programs already in place to assist people in New York who come from other countries of the world. I’ve heard that New York has a HUGE amount of social programs already in place which contributes to the high State and local tax rates. Do we really need another log on the fire? I’m sure there are programs already in place, maybe they just want everything handed to them on a silver platter?

Posted by: relief on Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:58 am

I’m wondering whether Pepe Ed’s, truth_be_told’s, Hokey_Pokey’s, and relief’s ancestors came here before the current immigration infrastructure was in place. Doesn’t matter. Meteors probably could be showering onto homes in their neighborhood, and they’d gripe if their precious taxes were being used to help repair their neighbor’s roofs.

Consider this bit of economic news:

A closely watched study shows U.S. home prices falling 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. That marks the largest drop in the index’s 20-year history and a full year of declining values.

and this:

Inflation at the wholesale level soared in January, pushed higher by rising costs for food, energy and medicine. The monthly increase carried the annual inflation rate to its fastest jump in a quarter century.
 
The Labor Department said Tuesday that wholesale prices rose 1 percent last month, more than double the 0.4 percent increase that economists had been expecting.

The January surge left wholesale prices rising by 7.5 percent over the past 12 months, the fastest pace in more than 26 years, since prices had risen at a 7.5 percent pace in the 12 months ending in October 1981.

So the dollar is shrinking in our pockets, just as the value of the biggest investments of our lives is shrinking. Not a sign of rosy times to come. We could band together, citizens! We could. However,

In Massachusetts, MassHousing, a quasi-state agency, began a loan refinance program last summer that relies on bond revenue. After its initial public relations effort, the agency had to make clear “that this is not taxpayer-funded,” said Tom Farmer, an agency spokesman.

“The talk radio was all up in arms: ‘Why should we be helping these people out?’ ” Mr. Farmer said. “ ‘They should have known what they were doing.’ ”

The goal of these programs is not just to keep people from losing their homes, but also to limit broader economic fallout, including plummeting property tax revenues and widespread declines in home values. Still, they pit what some government officials say are practical economic solutions for the common good against individual ideals of fairness and personal responsibility.

“Individual ideals?”

There’s nothing idealistic to “It’s all about meeeeeeeeeeee!!!” Self-righteous, yeah. But nothing righteous.

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