I Got Amnesty

A few months ago I was running a tad late one morning, so to save time I hoped in the car pool lane before it was legal to do so. Unfortunately for me, a CHP officer saw it, and nailed me. So instead of saving time now I was quite late and the proud new owner of a new ticket. But, never fear, I subscribe to Malkin-Speak.

You see, I got Amnesty for that ticket. Since it had been well over 18 months since I last went to traffic school I opted for that option. I paid the fine ($349) and I paid the traffic school fee ($30–to the State, the traffic school collected its own fee–another $27). Plus I had to spend 8 hours in a class room. But I was completely pardoned from my crime and didn’t have to pay anything….oh…gee….maybe this Malkin-Speak just isn’t what it is cracked up to be.

See the problem with Malkin-Speak is that she realizes that her financial well being is connected to how much outrage she can generate. So she sets about trying to cast everything as an outrage. Our allies in the Persian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), are buying a company and will take over running several U.S. shipping terminals? Outrage!!!! Never mind that the U.A.E. is a major U.S. ally in the region, that we have supplied them with armaments, nor that they are one of the most liberal Muslim countries in the Middle East. You see, the people in the U.A.E. are Muslims and they are The Enemy. Similarly with the illegal immigrants. Sure they come here, take low paying jobs and also various social services. But guess what, we’ve let them. We’ve passed laws that allow for this, implemented policies that prevent inquiries about people’s immigration status, and so forth. But we have to stop The Enemy (i.e. illegal immigrants) from coming here. Doing things like ending subsidies for having childre . . . well that just isn’t even on the radar. Boring talk about how public schools actually subsidize having children isn’t nearly as headline/attention grabbing as 20 Million Brown People Swarming the Border!

Any discussion of providing a way for the 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants to become citizens is automatically called “Amnesty.” Never mind that so far most plans require some pretty substantial penalties/requirements (back taxes to be paid, learning English, etc.). This is how the fact that I paid out over $500 for a traffic violation is transmogrified into no traffic violation and no out-of-pocket costs!

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. RJN says:

    Sorry, Steve, it won’t wash. The illegal immigration we are seeing is destructive. Our President is contemptuous of our own laws.

  2. I agree with your point, but it is a question of degree. Many moons ago, a Texas legislator came up with the idea of a “pre-paid” traffic ticket. You could buy coupons for $5 which would excuse you for going $5 over the speed limit (or fraction there of). If you got pulled over, you would just hand over an appropriate number of coupons and away you would go. The idea died in committee, but it did have a certain appeal. The appeal was two fold. First, was the simplicity. No time consuming course, no papers to sign and mail, etc. Just tear off enough coupons out of your pre-paid book and you are done. Second was the low price. $1 per 1MPH over the speed limit was a bargain (even if you had to pay in $5 increments). I have no doubt a lot of people would have paid and the state would have raised substantial amounts of money. Of course the cities and towns would have seen a decrease in revenue as the state took the money up front from the sale of the coupon and shared a portion back to the city when they turned in the coupon. The local government would make more on a regular speeding ticket. Of course there was also the question of safety if a driver could drive 50 MPH over the speed limit for at most $50, how many do you think would tend to open it up a bit?

    So the real question is how much it would cost to buy yourself free from the illegal immigration rap. Lets say it was $5000 (which I believe is more than has been quoted, but lets start there). How many legal immigrants would be willing to be jumped to the head of the line by paying a $5000 bounty? I suspect a large portion of them would like to see it. It might even be a bargain vs hiring an immigration attorney, I don’t know. It would be a great bargain. Now lets say it was $50000. You probably have a lot fewer takers, but I have no doubt you would still find people who would prefer it. But you probably wouldn’t find many cutting lawns who could afford it. Heck, the $5000 is going to be a stretch for the guy behind the mower. Your traffic ticket was $500. How many people would pay $500 to be a legal US citizen? We could sell as many of those as we might possibly want.

    So the real question is not if paying a fine can turn a program from an amnesty program into a non-amnesty program (I think we are all agreed a $5 fine would in no way change it to a non-amnesty program), but how much the fine is going to be. In short, the devil is in the details.

  3. RA says:

    The only way to stop this invasion is to convince employers they will go to jail and/or be bankrupted if they hire illegals. Bush is unwilling to do this. As long as employers can flaunt the law the invasion will continue. Fancy ID cards will not stop it because the government will not punish the lawbreaking employers.

    The speech was window dressing to fool the simple and placate those who want all Mexicans to be able to vote in our elections (read liberal socialist Democrats). The American public is stupid!

  4. Don Surber says:

    Good post. Anger (even feigned) is addictive, as are most toxins

    Fortunately, we have a president who ignores the loony right as well as the loony left

  5. Steve Verdon says:

    RJN,

    The problem isn’t the immigration as the dopey policies we have put in place. Nobody talks about changing them. Why? Because supsidizing white people is okay, but not the brown ones?

    YAJ,

    So the real question is how much it would cost to buy yourself free from the illegal immigration rap. Lets say it was $5000 (which I believe is more than has been quoted, but lets start there). How many legal immigrants would be willing to be jumped to the head of the line by paying a $5000 bounty?

    My understanding is that they’d go to the end of the line, not the front.

    RA,

    The only way to stop this invasion is to convince employers they will go to jail and/or be bankrupted if they hire illegals. Bush is unwilling to do this.

    So you are anti-business and that means anti-American! See how easy it is to engage in this nonsense rhetoric. Wow, I like it.

    As long as employers can flaunt the law the invasion will continue. Fancy ID cards will not stop it because the government will not punish the lawbreaking employers.

    Well, the way it will have to work is that the laws will have to be applied vigorously against those who remain illegal or come in illegally.

    The speech was window dressing to fool the simple and placate those who want all Mexicans to be able to vote in our elections (read liberal socialist Democrats). The American public is stupid!

    Well we sure can’t let the American Public vote then can we. Hey, getting rid of elections gets rid of the “Mexico voting in America’s elections” thingy too. Say, that is the ticket, just outlaw elections. Thanks for your support of totalitarianism RA!

  6. Herb says:

    You broke the law Steve, but you got away Scot free because of where you live. One thing Midwesterners know is, “that if there is a goofy Law, it will be in California”. Your “good luck is not an excuse and you should have had to pay up from your own pocket. If this country is a “Nation of Laws” then you, me and everyone else must respect and obey the law if we are to remain a free country. If you for one minute think that there should be exceptions to breaking the law, then you are definitely “Anti American” by your thought processes.

    Also, sounds like you need to take another course in “Traffic School” or lesson to get up a little earlier or learn to plan your day a little better so you won’t be a “Tad Late”.

    The “border violators” are breaking our laws and there is no excuse invented yet that will or should be made for their indiscretion for breaking our law.

  7. bains says:

    Now I’m confused…

    Should one manufacture outrage over the original topic, manufacture outrage at Malkins manufactured outrage, or manufacture outrage over your manufactured outrage over Malkins manufactured outrage? /snark.

    I’ve several family members and friends (Swedes and Swiss) that have gone through the naturalization process. They feel that irrespective of the hoops an illegal would have to to through for citizenship, the fact that they are here illegally must be part of the consideration. One suggested that in addition to a substantial fine – e.g. several thousand per year of illegality – a mandatory probationary period during which certain crimes carry a mandatory deportation sentence. Without tangible punishment, or threat of punishment, and more than what they see in Bush’s proposed immigration reform, they think of it as amnesty.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    You broke the law Steve, but you got away Scot free because of where you live.

    Uhhmmm, what part of over $400+ and 8 hours in a boring classroom is “scot free”?

    One thing Midwesterners know is, â??that if there is a goofy Law, it will be in Californiaâ??. Your â??good luck is not an excuse and you should have had to pay up from your own pocket.

    Uhhh…what? I did pay out of my own pocket. I paid the fine, the fee, and the class fee, so what part did I “not pay”?

    If you for one minute think that there should be exceptions to breaking the law, then you are definitely â??Anti Americanâ?? by your thought processes.

    My God, you’re right Herb! Down with America! Shoot all traffic violators NOW!!!

    The â??border violatorsâ?? are breaking our laws and there is no excuse invented yet that will or should be made for their indiscretion for breaking our law.

    Right again Herb, kill them all, God will know his own.

  9. Steve Verdon says:

    Should one manufacture outrage over the original topic, manufacture outrage at Malkins manufactured outrage, or manufacture outrage over your manufactured outrage over Malkins manufactured outrage? /snark.

    It is quite simple bains, just manufacture outrage…over anything. It will get you readers to your blog and that can mean bucks via ad space and maybe even a book deal. So manufacture away my young apprentice.

  10. bains says:

    ITS A TRAVESTY…I’m making too much money! I can pay my fuel bills! My personal info has been for sale for years! What’s wrong with America?

    I DEMAND AN INQUISITION… Oops

    I DEMAND AN INVESTIGATION!

  11. floyd says:

    so we finally found a tradition we like! “this is america, where you can buy your way out of anything!”

  12. bains says:

    Well Floyd, that was my conclusion, irrespective of all other evidence, with the aquittal of OJ last decade.

    Revealing that, not withstanding all the catcalls amongst the proponents of identity politics(usually rather affluent themselves) that a cornucopia of tangentially related issues, including the obvious race, or gender, sexual preference, are actually subserviant to wealth in determining ones ‘place’.

    Yet racist white America wants to slam down all people of color…

  13. Alan says:

    The immigration laws are like speed limits — we know everyone is breaking them and we generally ignore it. That is the way the system was designed–intentionally. Its all politics.

    The “immigration problem” is a political problem, and the solution will be a political solution.

  14. Herb says:

    Steve:

    You are a master at twisting words as well as picking out the part of a comment you answer. You made a second offense and you know as well as I that was what I was referring to. Why don’t you supply an answer to the latest offense where you did get off Scot free and then had the audacity to brag about it.

    Are you sure you are not a politic an in disguise and placing post here to advance you political career. You answer comments like a politican by not answering comments. At any rate, you sure do write like a politican.

  15. Steve Verdon says:

    You are a master at twisting words as well as picking out the part of a comment you answer. You made a second offense and you know as well as I that was what I was referring to.

    Uhhhhmmm no, what second offense would that be? I entered the car pool lane too soon, that was it. I paid all fines, fees, etc. and “did my time”.

    Why don�t you supply an answer to the latest offense where you did get off Scot free and then had the audacity to brag about it.

    Let me see…I paid the fine, fees, and time…nope, I don’t see it as “getting off Scot free”. Or do you mean some other traffic violation. Okay, I admit it, today I made a lane change and didn’t use my blinker. I didn’t get stopped on that one…dang I guess you’re right again Herb. Maybe I should be deported.

    Are you sure you are not a politic an in disguise and placing post here to advance you political career.

    If I ever tried to be a politician said career wouldn’t last as long as a mayfly. I tend to call people idiots when they act like idiots…and given that is the standard for most politicians….

  16. Steve,

    Was the question of them being in the front or back of the line the key point to my comment? I guess so since all the rest was ignored. The question of the fine being $5 or $50000 having an impact on whether you could call it amnesty is meaningless. Any amount would indicate that they have been sufficiently punished to make it not an amnesty.

    As far as line jumping, lets see where we are at. A person who wants to legally immigrate is not allowed into the country to get a job. He must wait until all the paper work is approved, then he can come and work here while further waiting for citizenship. The illegal immigrant gets to be ahead of the legal immigrant for everything until the line forms to be a citizen. Again, how many people would be happy to go with that.

    Imagine how many people from Asia or Africa would love to get a tourist visa, over stay the visa, declare themselves an illegal immigrant, pay a fine and be able to start working here. Much easier than getting a work visa. But by golly, we will punish them by not letting them jump the line at the citizenship counter. I mean, someone who comes here illegally is obviously greatly more motivated by their chances for citizenship than they are for the chance to work in the US.

    p.s. Why does any one want to come to the jobless recovery economy of a theocratic Amerika anyway?

  17. Steve Verdon says:

    p.s. Why does any one want to come to the jobless recovery economy of a theocratic Amerika anyway?

    I’d recommend against the kool-aid in the future John. Sheesh.