Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Illegals May Get Stimulus Checks

The Obama sponsored Economic Stimulus Package appears to be less than it seems (or perhaps more) when it comes to illegal aliens. The $800 billion deal could direct some of our taxpayer based money to illegal immigrants. How you ask? The legislation, which would direct a tax credit of $500 per worker, or $1000 per couple, would, on the face of it disqualify illegals since you must have a social security to get a check. But here’s the rub.

A House passed version would allow anyone with an individual taxpayer ID number to qualify for a stimulus check. Those who support this measure point out the illegal aliens should be “entitled” to receive a stimulus check since they can file tax returns using the same individual taxpayer ID number. So, illegal or not, since they (theoretically) pay income tax they argue, they should get a check just like everyone else. Opponents argue that illegal immigrants may or may not report all of their income and therefore should not be allowed to participate. Furthermore, they ask what part of “illegal” does Congress fail to understand? The previous stimulus check initially allowed illegal aliens to use their individual taxpayer ID numbers; however, a revolt lead by House Republicans forced the Democrats to modify legislation to require social security numbers only. The current legislation does not. Please contact your Congressman and Senator and ask that any stimulus package be restricted to US citizens only.

Union Yes!

Good news for unions and union supporters (and yes, that would include yours truly). According to the latest numbers, union membership is up for the second straight year. According to the US Department of Labor, union membership increased to 12.4%, which was up from 12.1% in 2007 (the level in 2006 was 12.0%). In terms of actual numbers, union member increased by 428,000, bringing the total to 16.1 million union brothers and sisters! Union membership peaked toward the end of the 1950’s when just over a quarter (26%) of the workforce carried a union card. The majority of workers at that time were in manufacturing and the defense industry.

To quote AFL-CIO President, John Sweeny, "Today's numbers confirm what many working people already know - that if given the chance, American workers are choosing to join unions in larger numbers”. President Obama is expected to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which would reverse a 2007 Supreme Court decision making it more difficult to initiate legal action over pay discrimination.

Government workers represent the largest group unionized. Average weekly wages among union employees was $881.00 compared to $691.00 among non-union workers. In addition, union workers had better working conditions, benefit and retirement plans compared to their non-union counterparts. And don’t think unions are for blue collar workers only. The fastest growing segment of new union members are in traditionally white collar jobs, especially education, training, and library workers with 38.7% unionized. Office workers and middle managers are also starting to seriously look at unionizing as companies continue to cut back, overwork, and outsource jobs.

So where do unions go from here? The next big battle will be a repeat of the Employee Free Choice Act which went down in defeat recently. Unions plan on a rematch with Big Business, but expect a very different outcome given the current political and economic climate. The EFCA would allow employees to form unions by majority vote without any interference by management or organized labor.

North Carolina Losing 1.2 Billion Dollars to Illegal Immigration

Below is an interesting article I recently received from FAIR---Federation for American Immigration Reform. According to the article, illegal immigration is costing North Carolina, a relatively poor Southern state, a whooping 1.2 billion dollars annually:

A report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) finds that illegal immigration costs North Carolina more than $1.2 billion a year. An additional $1.2 billion earned in the state is denied to the North Carolina economy by illegal aliens who sent remittances abroad. The report, The Costs of Illegal Immigration to North Carolinians looks at just three essential state services and programs: education, public health, and incarceration of criminal illegal aliens. Those impacts are:

K-12 Education. The estimated 120,000 children of illegal aliens in public schools cost taxpayers more than $1 billion annually.

Health care. Uncompensated health care for illegal aliens costs North Carolina an estimated $130 million a year.

Incarceration. Besides the human and economic costs of crimes by criminal illegal aliens, incarcerating the perpetrators carries a $49 million annual price tag.

According the report, tax collection from North Carolina’s illegal alien population amounts to about $225 million annually. However, if those jobs currently held by illegal aliens were filled by legal workers, often at higher wages, those taxes – and probably additional taxes – would be collected anyway.

The release of The Costs of Illegal Immigration to North Carolinians coincides with worsening fiscal news for the state. While the state spends more than $1.2 billion on services for illegal aliens, North Carolina is faced with a budget shortfall of $3 billion – about 10 percent of the total budget.

“The staggering $1.2 billion price tag for North Carolinians demonstrates the extent to which illegal immigration has become a nationwide phenomenon and a burden on American taxpayers in every region of the country,” noted Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “It is a burden that is especially onerous given the impact that the current economic crisis has already imposed on millions of American families and the havoc it is playing with state and local budgets.”

After years of ignoring North Carolina’s growing illegal immigration problem, the state now has more local police trained to identify and detain illegal aliens than all but one state, and has ended the practice of granting driver’s licenses to people who cannot prove they are legal residents. “As has been demonstrated in other states, consistent state-based policies can reverse the flow of illegal migration. North Carolina’s new governor, Bev Perdue, can ease the burdens on North Carolina taxpayers and reduce the state’s budget shortfall by continuing and strengthening state efforts to discourage illegal immigration,” Stein concluded.

About FAIR

Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country’s largest and oldest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced. The full report is available at www.fairus.org.

Poll Results

We asked in our last poll is you were worried about losing your job. 41% of you said you were while 35% of you were not worried. 23% of you said you already lost your job (I'm sorry to see that). There is no doubt about it; we are living in historical times.

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