An ad has appeared in a number of major business magazines recently (example, Forbes, July 2, 2007), placed by the major firm of Fidelity Investments to solicit human resource and retirement business from major companies. The box at the bottom of the full page ad says "Retirement and HR solutions". The heading of the page says: "CEO and CFO on Leadership". Underneath, in an obvious swanky restaurant, two men in power suits are talking at dinner. The caption under the CFO who appears on the right side says: "His Focus: The Costs". The CEO's caption: "His Focus: Taking his company to the next level at any cost."
Underneath these two corporate mavens in very small print is this Fidelity pitch:
"Leaders are always looking for ways to move their company forward. Fidelity Employer Services offers just that. HR solutions that can help increase employee satisfaction, productivity, and reduce costs. And the most innovative retirement plans out there. With Fidelity, you can move your company into the future of business."
I do not know the full nature of Fidelity's magic solutions. But to me the brunt of the message is very clear: cut costs and bring your company to the top—"AT ANY COST".
And where are costs best cut? The record of outsourcing and layoffs is clear—labor. American citizens laid off in favor of any cheaper employee. Mr. Gates wants more H1-B people from Asia and Hillary Clinton, a proud (Democratic!) member of the Senate Indian Caucus just told her Indian friends there is much need to expand Indian relationships. Would that mean raising campaign money?
As Ed Rollins, former White House aide under Reagan, noted on Lou Dobbs on July 9, "She doesn't have ambassadorships to give away, but she does have more H1-B visas." Clinton suggested raising H1-B visas from 65,000 per year to 115,000—although we know that many of these so-called vitally-needed skills could easily be filled by American citizens.
My question: Among the people in public life who have a chance to be elected President, can anyone succeed who is not willing to prostitute herself (or himself)?
Now to the issue which clearly needs our attention: Immigration Reform—real reform, not the disgusting giveaway offered by S 1639. The immigration issue has festered since 1965 and now hopefully most Americans realize that the cost of open borders equals a real diminution of their lives and that of their kids.
But wait—the situation is even more critical. We have learned from careful research published by The Heritage Foundation that the cost of approving fast-track immigration for the 12 to 20 illegal aliens here now would have been $2.6 trillion.
Yes, trillion. The war in Iraq has already cost us a bundle, but the ultimate cost of amnesty would have been in the trillions. We have had fiscal fiascos before—like the $500 billion savings and loan debacle—but nothing like this.
Fortunately, someone in the Federal Government is willing to speak out. In two broadcasts, one on March 4th and the last on July 8th on CBS' 60 Minutes, we were told the dismal fiscal truth by the "nation's top accountant, the comptroller general of the United States". He's totaled up our government's income, liabilities, and future obligations and concluded that our current standard of living is unsustainable unless some drastic action is taken. And he's not alone. It's been called the "dirty little secret everyone in Washington knows" – a set of financial truths so inconvenient that most elected officials don't even want to talk about them, which is exactly why David Walker does.
According to 60 Minutes,
"David Walker is a prudent man and a highly respected public official. As comptroller general of the United States he runs he Government Accountability Office, the GAO, which audits the government's books and serves as the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress. He has more than 3,000 employees, a budget of a half a billion dollars, and a message he considers urgent.
"'I'm going to show you some numbers…they're all big and they're all bad,' he says.
He is going around the country talking to citizens about
"What's going on right now is we're spending more money than we make…we're charging it to credit cards…and expecting our grandchildren to pay for it. And that's absolutely outrageous," he told the editorial board of the Seattle Post Intelligencer." [U.S. Heading For Financial Trouble?– 60 Minutes, July 8, 2007]
So, on top of this terrible fiscal forecast, our present leaders want to add more "cheap" (i.e. taxpayer-subsidized) labor.
Our elected officials have only one goal, their own personal aggrandizement. They think like our CEOs, as depicted by the Fidelity ad. They want more "AT ANY COST".
Well, folks, the cost may well be the republic for which we used to stand. We are no longer one nation indivisible, since our leaders in government or corporate America, or some of our religious institutions or the ethnic lobbies, are not willing to offer liberty and justice for all—just for their own narrow special interests.
Bush and his cronies seem daily to want to do away with our civil rights and consolidate their power in illegal and unethical ways, while plunging us deeper and deeper into foreign wars, paradoxically empowering enemies who initially had scant followings. Which, of course, allows our flawed leaders to panic us all into further ceding them special powers. George Orwell's 1984 foreshadowed it all.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" said FDR at another dire time in our history. But showing courage and backbone these days frequently gets you nothing but a black eye and an exit from your power seat. Wonder how long Lou Dobbs can keep his?
We need a new New or Square Deal. We must seek strong, new, honest, public -spirited leaders. And I for one don't see them anywhere among our present Presidential candidates or in our Congressional leadership. The reason is obvious: Leaders of that stripe can't get elected. The special interests won't allow it.
Can there be an Abe Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt out there, as yet unidentified? I fervently pray there is, but it will take an aroused citizenship with more willingness to play in this rough contact sport called politics than seems to be there now. Neither party seems able to produce such leaders.
No wonder almost a third of Americans now think of themselves as Independents.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.