AWCheney’s Forum On Immigration

A REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY?

By way of introduction, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a statesman, and I aspire to be neither; I am an average American citizen who grew up on a Kansas farm, managed to get through college and retired as an Air Force Officer. Seventeen years later, I retired again, this time from a major Defense Contractor here in the Washington DC area. So, with that, it’s clear – I have no special credentials, I’m just the typical American citizen. However, I am convinced that our government is failing us and we must act, and we must act now.

As citizens and voters in a representative democracy, we have a responsibility to become informed of issues which face our country. Rarely will we find a candidate who represents our every view, and thus we must make compromises, and when the time comes, we have the responsibility to vote for those candidates whom we believe will best represent our views in the conduct of official government business. One hundred Senators, 435 Representatives, one President and nine Supreme Court Justices. Those 545 human beings represent you and they represent me. But do they really? Do they truly represent us or do they rely upon an ego-based infusion of super-human intelligence resulting from victory on election day to represent this country?

Some of us send our Congressmen E-Mails, letters, and even call them on the phone to express our views, but when was the last time that a seated politician came to your door, called you on the phone, or sent you a survey to ascertain your view on a particular issue pending in the House or the Senate? Their campaign workers call, asking for money, but to ask for your opinion and advice on issues? Rarely. I always thought our politicians were supposed to work for us and by that, I mean, represent us, ascertain and represent the major opinion. I don’t need them to wave as convertible-chauffered celebrities during the 4th of July parade nor do I need them to show up at a community improvement work-day for a glad-hand photo-op in a business suit. No, I don’t want them to be reclusive either, but I see them as workers, not as movie star or the athlete-like celebrities. The ego trip associated with political success often leads to the conviction that by virtue of being theirs, their vote on issues is automatically the best for us commoners. If they do not know the view of their constituents, how can they represent their constituents? They don’t, they represent their own view.

There is no single issue facing our country where the failure of politicians to learn and represent is more glaring than in the area of immigration and the enforcement of our federal immigration laws. Continue reading

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July 31, 2008 6:29 pm Posted by | Op-Ed | , , , , | 19 Comments

Social Security Totalization Treaty With Mexico

[UPDATE:  This posting has continued to attract attention, with commenters providing some excellent updated information.  For this reason I have decided to move it to the top of the blog, with my thanks to those individuals who have given it continued relevancy.]

Well, better late than never. I got my computer back from the shop a bit later than I anticipated, but I finally have my act together and am ready to get this out, as promised. I’m afraid that there are no videos this time, but there is volumes of research that I had to wade through to put this post together…and I hope you will all find it at least somewhat enlightening.

Most of you have probably not heard much about the Social Security Totalization Treaty with Mexico or, if you have, most likely you are not fully aware of the nature of it…nor its consequences. In fact, Social Security Totalization Treaties have been around since 1977 and have already been signed with 21 other nations:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/international/

The presumption in these bilateral treaties is that they are mutually beneficial to the workers of both nations, however, that particular benefit is rather questionable in the case of Totalization with Mexico:

http://www.solidaritycenter.org/files/WorkingMexicoChapter10.pdf

“The social security problems in Mexico can be listed briefly: limited coverage in terms of the working population and in relation to the total population in spite of the existence of a law and an institution close to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary. The public systems of social security currently include 50% of the total population and 30% of the economically active population. A historic deficit of health care and maternity insurance hovered over the work risk insurance and retirement funds for almost 50 years. It is on this deficit that the government based part of its argument to justify the privatization of the pension scheme.”

In addition, Mexican Visa and Immigration laws are far more strict than they are in this country, making it highly unlikely that a comparable number of American citizens would be participating in the system, and wages are, of course, considerably lower for the average worker. The alleged “savings” for the “American worker and employer” are also unclear, as I was unable to find the actual text of the Agreement. I suspect that it leans a little heavier on the side of the employer.

The Social Security Trust Fund of the United States has also been the subject of debate for many years because of the dwindling funds available, to the point that benefits have, on occasion, been cut rather than increased to address inflationary factors, much less accruing cost of living increases. Many of our retirees in this country are faced with the monthly choice of whether to buy food or their necessary medical prescriptions. As a matter of fact, estimated dates of trust fund exhaustion change often…and seldom for the better. Now we have another “fly in the ointment.”

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July 11, 2008 11:42 pm Posted by | Mexico | , , , , | 31 Comments