Just a quick note to point out something important I noticed on the news. The Repugs are starting a campaign to link Bush’s plan to give “visitor” status to immigrants as a way to solve the illegal immigrant problem and allow them to work legally with what they are trying to sell as the Social Security “crisis”. Yesterday they were arguing that since the “visitors” would pay taxes and the illegal immigrants don’t, this would help pay for social security.
Don’t let them get away with this. The “visiting” immigrants will have to go back where they came from. They would not be able to become citizens, live here, and eventually collect social security. If they won’t be able to collect social security, they should not have to pay into the social security retirement system.
I fought this same battle in Iowa and then in Michigan years ago. My husband was a graduate student. In both states I worked for the state university and was required to pay into the state retirement fund. At the same time I was not allowed to register to vote because, since my husband was an out-of-state graduate student, I couldn’t be considered a citizen of the state. I argued that they couldn’t have it both ways. Either I was not a citizen of the state and shouldn’t pay into the state retirement system because I’d never be able to collect, or I was a citizen and should be allowed to vote. In Iowa I didn’t have to pay because I wasn’t a citizen of the state, and I couldn’t register to vote. In Michigan I did have to pay and could register to vote. The Repugs are setting up exactly the same problem if they pass their “visiting” immigrants bill. Don’t let them have it both ways.
This morning I watched Greenspan being questioned by Congress. One of the topics brought up was the question of whether reforming the immigration laws to allow more immigrants to enter and hold low-paying jobs wouldn’t “help save Social Security.” It was not made clear whether the question was about immigration in general or Bush’s special visitor’s plan, but by the way it was presented I’m assuming it was the Bush plan. Sure, if immigrants are working, paying taxes, and will be able to become citizens who will eventually be able to receive Social Security benefits, they should make payments into Social Security. If not, that’s another matter entirely. You really have to pin these guys against the wall to be sure you know what they’re talking about.