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28 June 2009

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alnval

Col. Lang:

Aztlan redux? Why not. Unfortunately, I don't think there's enough WD-40 in the world to grease the machinery that would be necessary to make it work.

Regardless, some kind of offer of expedited (dual?) citizenship based on skills, training and experience that would extend as well to the immediate family? This would be more than just a work permit and would eventually lead to a legal amalgamation of the two countries. This is what we're doing now only illegally. Long term this would mean that we would finally have to accept that our own Aztlan myth of a shining city on a hill will never be realized. A tough sell indeed!

Rider

What can be done about the illegals problem? Legalize them ASAP. Do a criminal background check like we do at gun shows and issue them photo ID's and a brochure on how to become a citizen. The vast majority are extremely hard working family people. If you've ever hired any, their work ethic puts us to shame. Legalize them and hope your daughter marries someone as hard-working as these guys. We need them. They create a revenue surplus at the federal level. Their costs at the state level in most states is around 1% of Gross State Product, yet they create jobs and bring in millions. Yes, legalize them and hope they stay.

Dave of Maryland

A unified government is grasping at straws, but then, so was Mr. Bickerstaff, who died insane, if memory serves. If we don't like Mexicans in our country now, erase the border & see how much we like 20 million more of them.

Empowering local authorities might be a solution. The states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona & California can probably do a better job at the border than Washington. Let them enter into direct relationships with the governors of the central/southern Mexican states where most of the immigrants seem to come from. How can Texas help entrepreneurs in Chiapas create jobs, raise the standard of living & keep people at home? I'd much rather work at home than run a nasty border & risk my life.

Long term, there needs to be a solution to the problem of the Mexican elite, which runs the country for its own benefit. It is entirely in the hands of descendants of Spanish colonists. Look at a picture of the current president, Felipe Calderón. Does he look "Mexican" to you? (Ever been to Spain?)

Now look at Amlo - Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He, like Hugo Chavez, is native. In Mexico, in Central & South America, natives outnumber colonists - I don't know - by something like ten to one. There needs to be a peaceful transition to majority rule, but so long as Washington is calling Chavez dirty names (to say nothing of what we're still doing against Cuba), we're just not going to be a good neighbor & the problems will go on.

As I think of it, solving the Cuba problem might solve a lot of the others. They're itching to play a bigger role in the hemisphere. We could cut our losses & let them.

FDChief

While interesting on its face, the idea that an increasingly dysfunctional U.S. government (or perhaps I should say "political system") mired in partisan incompetence and sold to the highest bidder can somehow "improve" Mexico, whose social and political problems go back to Cortez, is like suggesting that the best way to solve the issues of the tweakers next door is to marry the methhead mama and let her get her name on all your credit cards.

Mexico is increasingly likely to slide into failed statehood, and I doubt that all the U.S. horses and all the Heritage Foundation's men can change that.

Rather, I'd suggest that we accept the reality that Mexico is going to be an increasing problem and bring our military and political resources back from their pointless fiddling in southwest Asia to deal with the soon-to-be critical problems along our southern border.

Nancy K

Col Lang, I agree with you completely but I don't think it is going to fly. I live in Southern Ca and it is not a stretch to see this happening.
The problem with Mexico is it's drug cartels and that will soon became our major problem here also.
I think legalizing marijuana and then taxing it heavily would not just take away some of the cartels power but also provide much needed tax revenue. Somehow I don't think this is going to happen either.
I love your website. Thank you.

Fabius Maximus

It would be interesting to see some analysis of how this would play out, esp why our institutions would not fracture -- probably shatter -- under the stress of this combination, giving us all the thrill of living in a Mexican-type state.

Are there any examples of successful states with such a wide internal range of income/wealth, and such radically different social and political cultures?

Turned around, are there any historical precedents of such an experiement working? Or does this propose that we are to yet again be lab rats in someone's grand social science experiment?

Patrick Lang

alnval

This is not just for the Mexicans. If they get our goodies, then I want theirs.

rider

Yes. Yes.
I luv'em too, but what are you going to do about the next 20 million and the twenty million after them?

Dave of Maryland

What do you think? Should we invade them again to right these wrongs?

FD Chief

OK War it will be! I can do that, or could have.

Nancy K

Why is it that you think that the FBI and DEA in their new forms could not deal with the cartels with no border in the way?

FM

Why would our institutions "crack" and not theirs? Are we so weak? pl

Rider

Dave of Maryland

What about the next 20 million and the 20 after that? Market forces will eventually stem the flow. The same basic law of economics apply north and south of the border: supply and demand. When supply exceeds demand, the flow north will reverse. Basic capitalism: jobs are available (but going unfilled) for people who want to put in an honest days work for a decent wage. Let it be. Far better to import the labor supply than to export the jobs.

Fabius Maximus

Lang: "If they get our goodies, then I want theirs."

That raises another vital point: Mexico's oil production is rapidly falling. They will be an oil importer in the short- to medium- term. Oil is not only a key element of Mexico's economy, it provides the largest share of the government's income (from memory, roughly 60%).

More broadly, a take-over, on any terms, of Mexico would be an act of hubris for America -- imagining that we have the resources and wisdom to solve the problems of another large nation. A fitting coda for our regime, after decades of dysfunction.

David

I heard on the radio a few months ago an interesting interview with some people who have studied the issue of Mexican migration in the US. One interesting thing that they pointed out was that the remittances from Mexicans working outside Mexico was a substantial part of their economy and that this money has made it possible to avoid making the political and economic changes that are really needed. They said it was analogous to a country that relied too much on some natural resource to the detriment to other parts of the economy like manufacturing. Interesting idea. Colonel, I suspect your "modest proposal" would also not be popular with the Mexican elite.

As an aside, have you read George Friedman's book on the next 100 years ? He believes that the relationship with Mexico may well be the number one foreign policy issue for the US in this century.

Ian

Well, so long as you're not thinking about gobbling up Canada as well. 54°40' or fight!

"Are there any examples of successful states with such a wide internal range of income/wealth, and such radically different social and political cultures?"

India?

(yes, they couldn't keep Pakistan, but it's not as though India now is homogeneous)

Patrick Lang

David

In re friedman's book - Why do you think I posted this piece? pl

FM

You appear to assume that Mexican culture (political or other) does not have anything that we would benefit from in a synthesis. I would not agree.

I am proposing a synthesis not an acquisition for precisely that reason.

you lack confidence in the vitality of the US. I do not. pl

charlottemom

Col. Lang,

Think you're on to something. There is a great book that discusses this possiblity.

From Wikipedia:
The Nine Nations of North America is a book written in 1981 by Joel Garreau. In it, Garreau argues that North America can be divided into nine regions, or "nations", which have distinctive economic and cultural features. He argues that conventional national and state borders are largely artificial and irrelevant, and that his "nations" provide a more accurate way of understanding the true nature of North American society.

Mexamerica — the southern and Central Valley portions of California as well as southern Arizona, the portion of Texas bordering on the Rio Grande, most of New Mexico and all of Mexico, centered on either Los Angeles or Mexico City (depending on whom you ask), which are significantly Spanish-speaking. Garreau's original book did not place all of Mexico within Mexamerica, but only Northern Mexico and the Baja California peninsula. Capital: Los Angeles.

A useful by-product of this new mexamerica construct would be the break-up of CA - part "Empty Quarter" part "Ecotopia" and part "Mexamerica"

CA is a big bankrupt state captured by special interests, but will continue to be bailed out (ala insolvent banks). When something is too big to fail, then break it into smaller pieces!

Trent

Think of the benefits for our national soccer team. Can we get this through before the 2010 World Cup?

charlottemom

To add:

Alas, the Mexamerica construct would involve "giving up" portions of Texas. Although Texas doesn't have the financial problems of CA, they certainly have the cultural issues. I think their governor has expressed interest in some sort of secession! But a unification with Mexico ...ha!ha! Not sure that's what he had in mind!

Cold War Zoomie

Chuckle. "West" Germany had quite a job trying to bring East Germany back into the fold. Multiply the problems they encountered by a thousand if we tried to meld our two countries. As I posted last time, we Americans can already enjoy what Mexico offers without merging the two countries - greenbacks do a lot of talking in Latin America.

The solution here is to bring those who are already here illegally into the system, and get them paying taxes. Since they broke the law coming here, include a fine in the process - they pay a substantial fine either up front or spread over many months. Try to get a percentage of back taxes for the wages they have alredy earned. But these punitive actions would need to be balanced out to ensure people don't just burrow deeper underground.

I think most immigrants when given the opportunity to pay some realistic penalties as part of the path to citizenship would be willing to do so.

Another part of my plan would include two programs. One program leads to citizenship while the other is a guest worker program. Many immigrants have no plans to stay here indefinitely, so allow them to work between one and five years and then head back home to enjoy their remittances. They would pay payroll taxes with the understanding that that is the cost of working here. Of course, there should be an opportunity to move from the guest worker program to the citizenship path after a certain number of years working here. Something like three consecutive years of legal employment.

Finally, to solve the problems on the border, open up the quotas, especially for a guest worker program.

rjj
Long term, there needs to be a solution to the problem of the Mexican elite, which runs the country for its own benefit.

The short term and more urgent elite problem is the one that will turn US into Mexico.

Tyler

Now I see why you get annoyed, Colonel, when people weigh in on moonbrained schemes involving the military.

Not that what you're saying is off the wall, but most of the responses here are of the entire "poor undocumented immigrant looking for work" meme that illegal immigrant activists have been successful in pushing.

As someone who works in enforcing the laws on the southwest border for the Patrol, I can tell you that you get a lot of dirtbags mixed in with the people who are coming in for work. Too many people with DUIs, agg felonies, and assaults on police over here.

Sorry, but I have no sympathy for people trying to cross here to "make a better a life", especially when you consider the stuff Mexico does to defend its southern border, and how its one of the top ten richest nations in the world. If Mexicans are so interested in making a better life, they should do it in their own country, instead of being abbetted by those interested in exploiting them for labor or political purposes.

Re: Dave of Maryland

Here in Arizona, whenever a local PD starts trying to apply immigration laws the illegal migrants right's groups start making a muck about human rights violations and how the police will be profiling hispanics and filing lawsuit after lawsuit in court until they find a friendly judge to rule for them.

patrick

"... (decent) folk who make an important contribution to the work force in many jobs that US born Americans no longer want."

I agree with this statement as would my cousin, a RC priest who ministers to Spanish speakers in our Archdiocese. But priests and Federal pensioners do not have to compete in a depressed job market with these low wage earners. As a college drop-out that finishes concrete for a living, I know first-hand that illegal immigrants drive down wages.

Building contractors love low pay and hate safety regulations. Migrant workers solve these problems.

For an uneducated man, the building industry is the one of the last places left to earn a decent wage and raise a family because we no longer manufacture anything in America.

Regarding "doing jobs Americans no longer want", will these migrant folks continue to perform these jobs for low wages once they receive citizenship?

Hell no! Once they become legitimate, they will want higher wages which will result in importing a new tribe of people to pluck the chickens, slaughter the pigs, and landscape the yard. Who's next? Afghanis? Cambodians?

My grandparents came here from Ireland in the 1910's. America needed strong backs that would work for low pay back then. Subways and canals needed digging, ships were unloaded by hand by stevedores, and assembly lines needed to be staffed.

We no longer unload ships by hand and there are very few assembly lines left. We no longer need mass quantities of foreign workers. Although Max Boot would find a place for them.

Babak Makkinejad

This formulation is neither possible nor viable.

The cultures are too distinct. Consider one major example: in US Death does not exist in the public space - it is entrenched in public space in Mexico.

What is viable is a North American Union with a common central bank and a common currency - NACU - North American Currency Unit - which include US, Mexico, and Canada. The citizens of each state can live and work in any of the 3 states. Children born will assume the citizenship of the jurisdication of birth and that of their parents. The tax laws have to be harmonized a Court of North American Settlement has to be setup.

US needs Mexico (and Canda) to compete against China, Brazil and others were labor and cost of living is lower.

William R. Cumming

An Amazing post and one with which I agree wholeheartedly. What is needed is that we treat Mexico completely seperate from other problems and analysis. We are in fact one people although many Americans do not realize that. The real reason for the separation of Texas into its own Republic and then STATE was the driving necessity of expanding the world of slavery as more and more Northern states entered the UNION with full rights. That history makes dubious the current effort to argue that TEXAS has rights to succeed from the UNION which of course it does not. That issue is settled for good at Appamatox (sic). First things first, and upgrade relationships by creating an Assistant Secretary of STATE for Mexican Affairs. The same in DOD and DHS. Promote long-term understanding and knowledge by creating more higher ed programs in US/Mexican History and other disciplines, including special demographic and geographic learning. Personally I believe that the Mexican Revolution of the last Century was a deeper and more radical one than our own and the fervor of that Revolution could erupt again. Then the number of Mexicans looking for safety, jobs, and a future could very well be dramatic. Let's help Mexico with broader foreign aid packages because after all they are US.

Patrick Lang

patrick and tyler

I hear you. pl

Jose

Col., good idea, but as you can see few people have the long-term vision to correct the problem.

Short-sided because your idea will eventually happen, only on terms not favorable to America.

In Mexico, the call it "La Reconquista" which means the reconquest of the lands taken from them.

Nothing can stop unless we enact some real controls over the illegals such as Pat Buchanan's fining employers:

1st offense = 100k per illegal

2nd offense = 250k

3rd offense = 1,000k per

Spanish is already America's 2nd language, google which stations win the ratings wars for the 6 P.M. news or which is the most popular language in America's school.

This problem is beyond fixing since Reagan granted amnesty to illegals which only served as a magnet to others.

New Mexico is gone, soon California or Arizona, and let see how long Texas last before it falls.

Would it bankrupt America, or are we already bankrupt?

Just my 2 cents and I'm not a Mexi...

Bobo

Why stop at Mexico lets include North America. Arctic Ocean to the Pan Canal and all in between. Personally I believe that will happen in the next 100 years or so but not in my lifetime.

On the other hand, next time you pay that guy under the table for some yard work keep in mind that if the IRS could tax the underground economy our medicare/medicaid/social security upcoming problems would look rosy today.

As to those worrying about cultural problems remember the bulk of North America was settled by Europeans. So they all come from where our forefathers came.

Oh, as to the work ethic. I have never met an immigrant who did not have a fantastic work ethic as they are striving to get ahead in this country. Its the second and third generations who turn into what we are use to.

Appreciate the sounding board!!

curious

Hell no! Once they become legitimate, they will want higher wages which will result in importing a new tribe of people to pluck the chickens, slaughter the pigs, and landscape the yard. Who's next? Afghanis? Cambodians?
Posted by: patrick | 28 June 2009 at 05:09 PM

meh.

That's a bit like a politician from 1885(US population ~80m) saying that US would certainly implode in deep starvation and poverty if we have 300m citizen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States

True that the national economy is not infinitely elastic and can't absorpt unlimited amount of worker in given time period. But The north america population density, and land carrying capacity is far from saturated.

What limit employment is lack of social imagination, usually manifested in politics, media, habit, culture, etc.

Let's put it this way,

from all supersize free trade area. NAFTA is the smallest and will soon be the weakest. For 90 yrs, US power comes from its unchallenged economic size, large natural resource and big population base, with that ability to maintain big military. That's not true anymore. Soon, when central bank in china or EU change interest rate policy, or economic tuning. We will be gasping for air. (think of Japan-US relationship in the 90's where US change interest rate policy kill Japan economy. That was 2:1 size ratio.)


Greater china (hongkong, macau, taiwan, mekong delta) will be about 1:1 ratio compared to US economy by 2020. You think Geithner begging for chinese to not stop buying treasury is pathetic at 1:.3 economic ratio. Or that chinese central bank announces study of reserve diversification can sink dollar 1%.

at 1:1 ratio, a new chinese banking law will kill job in middle america en masse. A gang of Shanghai banksters can sink USD value without sweating. (Soro short pound with $10B and killed it forever while making $1B in 92) The chinese changing labor law, shop in US will start closing. Wanna talk about the price of industrial feed and oil?

3 of top 10 biggest banks in the world are chinese already. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China is currently the biggest bank in the world.

And china GDP/cap is only ~$3000. From other asian tiger experience, they will coast all the way till $10K in very short period of time before it's political structure can't handle the high growth. At $10K, Entire NAFTA still won't be as big as greater china.

Tight economic integration of north american economy is a necessity, less the nation will lost control of a lot of things that previously taken for granted.

Want to change labor or environmental law in 2020? Better check with the chinese first, less they do trade retaliation via WTO that will destroy .02% of GDP.

15 yrs from now, we won't be worrying if brown people are taking over the US. Because everybody will be emigrating to Asia and looking for work there. The brain drain will go eastward. That's where the money and high growth are.

Added bonus, for once, the US soccer team won't be the world laughing stock after integration.

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