Thursday, August 9, 2007

Government math

I’ve noticed for years that the government doesn’t know how to count. For example, when a state program gets $10 million in 2004, $15 million in 2005, and only $16 million in 2006, that was a “program cut” or a “reduction”.

To a rational person, 2006 was a $1 million increase. In gov-speak it was a cut because it was less money than they got before. And it was less of an increase than the department head got down the hall.

Now, on to your tax bill. You see that city government got $800 of your money last year and $825 this year. Now why is the mayor saying they “lowered” your taxes? Well, the rate went down a bit but your house is theoretically worth more so they get more. And the same is true of all the houses in town and there are more houses being built so even when they “lower” your taxes, they still get more money.

OK, that was a long detour, but there is a point. We are making cultural inroads with the illegal aliens. They have figured out government math.

An AP article today explains that the remittances flowing from the U S to Mexico are declining. (Remittances are the money immigrants send home to the old country to help the family. Javier sneaks into the US and sends money back to his family in Jalisco. It sort of takes money out of circulation in our economy but that doesn’t bother most people.)

Now, here’s the math. In the first six months of 2006 remittances to Mexico were $11.42 billion. In the first six months of 2007 it was $11.5 billion. They call that a decline. I call it a decline in the rate of growth, but it is still more money.

The article also gave the results of a consumer confidence study on illegal aliens. A polling business in Miami (Bendixon) did phone interviews of illegals (about 450 were admitted illegals) and asked where they would be in five years.

In traditional destination states like Texas, California, and (sadly) Illinois, the answer was that 22% would be back in Mexico in five years and 12 percent were undecided.

But in states like Pennsylvania and Georgia where there is some resistance to this new wave of illegals through enforcement efforts, the confidence level was decidedly different. They said that 31% would be back in Mexico in five years and 20% were undecided.

Pushing back does indeed make illegals think twice. We are having an impact. Their confidence in their own future in the US is declining.

Now, for the sympathy quote from Sergio Bendixon, owner of the polling company: “It is the very ugly and sad anti-immigrant sentiment in these new states that we feel is directly responsible for the flattening out of remittances to Mexico.” I’m gonna need a tissue.

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