Chris Kipfer: Appealing to fear
October 24, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Richard Rickerson's appeal to fear and anger ("Immigration and the ballot initiatives," Oct. 20 Steamboat Today) is emblematic of this political season in America, and reminiscent of the 1930s. In Germany, a different minority was identified as the cause of all woes. In this country, we had Father Coughlin and his anti-Semitic followers. If you want to spend some time researching the cost of illegal immigration, you can find statistics that range from Rickerson's extreme to those of a number of respected economists who assert that there is a net economic gain from illegal immigration based on the payroll, income and sales taxes that are paid by them.
Of course, nonpartisan studies by the National Academy of Science, the Public Policy Institute, The University of California-Davis, etc., are easily dismissed if superstars like Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs don't endorse them. Fear mongering about immigration, terrorism and Islam becomes an easy sell to frustrated, unhappy citizens.
The fact is that immigrants had no more to do with the worldwide financial crisis now than the Jews had to do with the crisis of the 1930s. In both cases, it was caused by too little government attention and regulation of the financial markets.
Having survived the earlier crisis with the massive intervention of government and the largest deficit in percentage of GDP that we have ever had leading to years of prosperity, I can only hope that this country still has the grit and good sense to tune out these purveyors of fear whose real agenda still is unknown.