Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Immigration and the Border

Watching the local congressional candidates on TV highlights the issues of living near the Mexican border. Here's a couple of reactions that I have taken away from the politicians ads. We spend $10 billion a year trying to control the border and there are 13 million illegal aliens living in the US.

Let's get real and let the marketplace regulate the order. Right now, smugglers can command $1500 per person for everyone they can get across the border. You get a van of 5-6 people across the border and you can imagine there is a high economic incentive to get illegals into the US. Like anything else the government prohibits, the laws create a huge black market that enriches lawbreakers.

Two things shape my view on immigration. We are a country that was built by immigrants, typically the most educated or industrious people are the most likely to leave their home and travel thousands of miles to make a new life in a different country. The second thing is that my social security check is going to be paid by younger workers and that the Boomer generation hasn't done a good enough job creating offspring to finance the future pensions and health care costs of the US. We need immigrants and we need young strong workers to keep our economy growing.

Let's get the politicians in the mode of selling citizenships. We can start with all the guest workers, illegal or otherwise and really ramp up a plan to generate some revenue. Add a million new citizens and that generates lots of demand for homes, cars, food, jobs, etc. The citizenship fee should be enough to pay deportation costs if one of the new citizens gets into trouble before their citizenship is vested - say 5-10 years.

I would be in favor of giving discounts to the Canadians and Mexicans as a good neighbor policy. It's cheaper to put them on a bus and send them back.

Now I just hope that none of those idiots in Congress pass laws that will increase the amounts that smugglers can charge to bring in illegals. But then, smugglers are probably making political contributions to pass more stringent laws...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

How times have changed

A couple of recent birthdays have dramatically illustrated how much things have changed since I was growing up in Syracuse, NY in the 50's and 60's. My son celebrated his 18th birthday in February and my daughter celebrated her 22nd birthday today. When they were asked where they wanted to eat for their birthdays, they both chose sushi. Can't remember having sushi growing up and maybe the difference is that my kids are being raised in California while my childhood was more like Leave it to Beaver. This is just another reminder that things are in a constant state of transition. If you expect things to stay the same, you will be disappointed. Keep an open mind. And be flexible. And if you are not familiar with sushi, check out Station Sushi in Solona Beach, California if you are in the neighborhood.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Personal Property Rights

I haven't been posting too many blogs in 2006, as I have been busy with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I been traveling a bit and have picked up a few new clients who I have contributed to helping them achieve their goals.

I am proud to be an American and delighted that we have a set of values that are embodied in documents like the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. I do have concerns with our various government bodies trampling on personal property rights and politicians taking advantage of their positions. Our San Diego area representative, Randy Cunningham, was sentenced to 8 years and four months of jail for taking bribes. Incidents like that help reinforce my faith in the system, while imperfect; it is better than other governments around the world. I've been thinking about how corruption in China is going to cause their government to implode and be replaced with one that will largely be controlled by factory owners. That will be the subject for another blog.

Back here in the US, Randy Cunningham took bribes and essentially embezzled money from American taxpayers. While I have concerns about how the US government is spending our tax dollars and about the huge expenditure of dollars and lives in Iraq, I am proud that our nation has sent a message that we can't just sand by while the Sadaam's of the world trample on the personal property rights of their citizens. Excessive taxation, imprisonment, abductions, executions, fear on the streets and corruption are all violations of personal property rights. Free people should stand up for those around the world who are oppressed and I am proud that America has liberated Iraq.

People who live in countries ruled by monarchs, dictators or even countries with nationalized industries are all having personal property rights violated. Why should a person of "royal" blood have more rights than anyone else? I believe that the financial markets around the world should recognize that countries with monarchs or dictators are inherently unstable and that there should be a risk premium for doing business with them. If you lend money to a country ruled by a monarchy - you should charge 1-2% premium or you get downgraded by Standard & Poors and the like. If you loan money to a country ruled by a dictator - it's a 3% risk premium. If you borrow money to do business with companies domiciled in those countries, the same premiums should apply.

Institutions like the UN have been created to promote world peace. In reality, just about any country can join and it is hard to say if membership modifies the behavior of some of those membership nations. I am in favor of developing a new international organization call the UDS - Union of Democratic States. Membership would only be available to nations that could prove that they had free elections and that protected the personal property rights of their citizens. No unlawful imprisonment, no taking of their personal property and no tolerance for government corruption.

This is a subject that bears more discussion. Another day though as I got thinks to do. I'm having a life, and all things considered, a pretty good one!