Don’t need a wall, need to share nations wealth

Why this big fuss about the border wall? Understanding that starts by asking a different question.

Why do conservatives want Americans to blame immigrants for our current hard times?

Regressive columnist Ann Coulter recently declaimed that border wall advocates are the only people who are actually concerned about the average American citizen. The elites of both the Right and the Left, she said, actually want easy immigration because it creates more profit by lowering wages. No immigrants means a rosy future for our citizens.

Coulter is a mouthpiece of the conservative elite; it’s downright weird when she pretends to attack them and suggests they are antagonistic to the wall. C’mon, they’re rabid against illegal immigrants.

Reasons against the wall abound. It’s an ecological disaster. The majority of immigrants now enter by overstaying visas or at legal points of entry, so a wall can do little to decrease the already attenuated flow of wretched brown people crossing the border hoping to work hard and achieve a better life for their family. Most economists conclude that immigration creates jobs and raises the nation’s standard of living.

So what’s really at the heart of the immigration issue?

The premise of Coulter’s view is that the amount of the nation’s income and wealth allocated to the working class is essentially unchangeable. Then, if you add immigrants, more people implies less for each, by simple arithmetic. This way immigration can be seen as unfair to struggling Americans.

But the real unfairness to average Americans is accepting our nation’s almost feudal (or plantation) income and wealth distribution.

Over 30 percent of American families have no wealth, zero. The top one in a thousand owns as many assets as the entire bottom 90 percent. The wealthiest decile (one in 10) own about three quarters of America’s assets. One family in a hundred owns 40 percent of stocks held by American households.

It’s much the same for income. Our wealthiest 10 percent earn more than half of the nation’s income, so 90 percent of our nation – all the working and middle-class – split the remaining half. The richest 1 percent earn 22 percent of total income, up from 8 percent in the 1970s.

This isn’t universal. The US ranks highest in income inequality among most developed nations. That’s bad, not great.

It’s been getting more unbalanced, which is why making a living is harder now. Our income and wealth inequality is at the highest levels since the robber-baron “Gilded Age” right before the 1930’s Great Depression.

The top decile’s income has risen 60 percent since 1973, while that of the bottom half of our nation went up only 10 percent. The poorest 10 percent saw no increase in income at all! Yet in recent years the top 1 percent’s cumulative increase in income since 1979 has hovered from doubling to tripling, in inflation adjusted after-tax income.

Our current hard times result because a few people are getting a rapacious lion’s share of our nation’s income, including virtually all of the past 40 years’ increase, and because only a small percentage of families hold most of our country’s enormous wealth.

“Damn those uninvited guests for making your piece of the American pie so small.” That’s what the conservatives suggest, with sham sympathy. Ah, but your portion of the pie was already too small to taste, because before offering you any, the wealthiest few ate all but the crumbs.

Coulter’s ilk’s deflection is to have Americans fight over how many families must split the small piece currently allocated to them (while they reduce even that through tax cuts for the rich!), rather than have citizens discuss how to use America’s unprecedented wealth more constructively.

While the nation’s attention is fixated on those horrible immigrants and whether we can keep them out with a wall — with dire prophecies if we don’t – the real cause of our pain escapes remedy.

Extending the benefits of our nation’s wealth to all is possible, through affordable college education, free breakfast and lunch in school, quality public education and preschool, universal health care, childcare for working families, housing stability, increases in Social Security benefits, a criminal justice system whose consequences don’t discriminate by wealth, and universal employment generating a livable income.

Achieving those goals would, beyond easing the hard times for average families, provide a more even playing field to allow talent and hard work to generate success.

Progressive taxes to pay for all this won’t impoverish the rich. It will only lessen the gap between them and us from a Grand Canyon to a Waimea Canyon.

We don’t need a wall. The billions are better used to alleviate the consequences of our economic hardship and remedy the causes.

We don’t need to demonize immigrants. Our country is better served by coming together to plan for a future which achieves our American ideal of equal opportunity.

•••

Jed Somit is a resident of Kapaa.

29 Comments
  1. Steven McMacken February 12, 2019 4:56 am Reply

    A credible argument, Jed. Well done. Of course, you’re aware that by using facts, statistics and logic that you’re bound to confuse many of the “deep” thinkers and hopelessly ignorant on the Right . . . Right?


  2. Steve February 12, 2019 6:48 am Reply

    Jed,

    Immigration is not a left or right issue. I think everyone agrees legal immigration has made America great for centuries. What some folks don’t understand is the annual cost to support illegal immigration regardless of point of entry. The cost is millions if not billions of dollars annually to provide subsidized living, food, health insurance, infrastructure and is some states the ability to go to a four year college. What is unacceptable is to have Americans not receive the same level of financial support your talking about that illegal immigrants receive. Yes every American should be allowed a chance at a four year college funded by each State, every American should be able to have a piece of the American dream to own their own house and raise their own families.

    Why are we / America paying for those that don’t come here legally. The real questions should be why America desires to have laws that provides subsidized food, housing, higher education, cost of medical and of course the cost of housing. The real question should be demanded why does America send billions of dollars in foreign aid to countries before it helps its own citizens. Why is America fighting wars for oil when America has become the largest source of energy in the world. Why is America paying to secure NATO yet the Germans buy their gas from communist Russia.

    Currently there are over 900,000 illegal immigrants being housed so that they can have a immigration hearing, (many who are criminals being detained for immigration hearings), how about we just send them back and take that money to support your ideas on spreading out the wealth. Let’s come together on ideas to help support Americas less fortunate and stop trying to be the worlds police and sanctuary for the whole world to come suck our resources that our grandfathers fought wars to protect.

    Heck Kauai has a problem with high paying tourist that have invaded its shores can you imagine living in a place surrounded by folks sucking up all public resources that don’t pay? Can you imagine a place where your kid does not get accepted into the four year school because a non-citizen took his or her slot.

    Jed, it goes far greater than the Wall. America needs to prioritize its future with American / Kauai children and American/ Kauai families first. The money is there we just need to demand reasonable politicians that are more focused on the quality of life for Americans and less of the quality of life for others around the world. Compassion and caring needs to start with every American that is homeless, child that is hungry and a chance for those that want to work the ability to work at a high paying job and ability to buy their own house. I say lets take our money back from Uncle Sam and demand a voice on how its spent, leave the entrepreneurs who are the life line of our democracy alone to continue to create jobs, innovate the future and allow everyone subsidized education that needs it.

    Its almost scary to see some of these young radical new congressional leaders vision for America, wake up before its to late DT is not the problem but has awoke issues that deserve real solutions by each side. The problems is the left keeps going further left to the point of crazy!


    1. Pete Antonson February 13, 2019 7:06 pm Reply

      Due to Federal Law signed by President Clinton in 1996, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for welfare, HUD housing help, food stamps, ACA health coverage, and SS benefits, etc. and the only ones with access in some States to higher education are enrolled in DACA. Those in DACA do not currently have a secure future.
      Documented immigrants are not eligible for welfare, HUD housing help, food stamps, ACA health coverage, SS benefits, etc., until they have established 5 years of residency.
      Leaving this out could, at best, be attributed to massive ignorance. Leaving the DACA requirement off the higher education part is more like something Joseph Goebbels would high five you for!


  3. Sam February 12, 2019 7:56 am Reply

    Jed you are a very biased individual. Your putting words in people’s mouths. Your condemning a whole diverse group of people(conservatives) while saying they are condemning another group of people. Not every group of people is gonna be the same. There are good and bad in each. Illegal immigration is the issue here. I have never heard a conservative say immigration was bad. Alot of conservatives are immigrants! You talk about coming together to achieve the American ideal of equal opportunity, yet your rant places all the blame on right leaning opinions and glorified the ideal of open boarders and social justice. I would love to come together but people like you wrighting articles like this only create a bigger divide and perpetually put differing opinions in a moral playground. It’s not who is good and bad. It’s what is good for our nation and that is haveing people come into this amazing country from all over the world. The main difference I see between you and I is the way these immigrants come in.


    1. Pete Antonson February 13, 2019 7:09 pm Reply

      No significant political entity or group is advocating “open borders.” Using this phrase is the same as saying: “I am a liar!”


  4. gordon oswald February 12, 2019 9:15 am Reply

    Here we go again. A pathetic attempt to appear to be intelligent and benevolent by writing an idiotic letter about something that takes an ounce of common sense to understand it’s folly. By one who obviously has none. The author has two points: What’s wrong with ILLEGAL immigrants so leave them alone, and, make the rich pay because I’m too lame to make it in a competitive society. Well, here’s the common sense missing from this poster child of Socialism for all, Illegal immigrants are ILLEGAL, and anyone who breaks our laws is a CRIMINAL on one level or another! They take jobs AND SUPPRESS WAGES from the lowest wrung of our labor force, put legal citizens out of work, have problems assimilating into our culture so they stick together speaking their native language with no real incentive or intelligence to learn ours, some (too many) bring in Mumps, Measles, Diphtheria, sex and a myriad of other diseases, drugs, and violent crimes in a situation where even one citizen murdered by an illegal alien is too many, they overrun our schools, food stamp programs, welfare rolls, and medical resources, and they suck huge amounts of money out of our Country to send back to their mommy’s and daddy’s in their real Country at our expense! Those from Mexico alone stole over $69 BILLION dollars last year from our Country by sending it to their real Country! That would pay for a wall around the damn world! All of this happening just after our inept President Obama left us with over $20 TRILLION in debt our children will have to absorb! The naïve dolt spent and printed more money than every President in the History of the United States COMBINED!! Oh, and this “let’s tax the rich” child says “The richest 1 percent earn 22 percent of total income”. Well, did he know that the richest 1 percent already pay over 90 PERCENT OF ALL TAXES COLLECTED, and have been rewarded for creating the jobs that fuel the most incredible and effective economy in the history of the world? Give us a break and go back to grade school Jed. You missed a lot!! Walls work, we need them, and Mexico has already paid for the wall by bending to President Trump’s negotiated trade deal that will give the United States multiple Billions of dollars over the next 16 years! Enough to pay for the wall 50 times over!! Build the damn wall, NOW!


    1. Pete Antonson February 13, 2019 7:17 pm Reply

      Blah Blah Blah Hatred Blah Blah Blah misinformation Blah Blah Blah bigotry Blah Blah Blah more hatred Blah Blah Blah stupidity Blah Blah Blah more bigotry Blah Blah Blah.


      1. gordon oswald February 14, 2019 4:33 pm Reply

        Nothing changes in the land of those who choose to live as if they had accomplished something in life, but alas, are relegated to only a feeling of relevance based on a significant loss of common sense being vomited all over everyone in the comment section of a small newspaper on an Island they don’t even live on, or have relevance to. Blah Blah


        1. Pete Antonson February 14, 2019 11:50 pm Reply

          Here is what you’ve accomplished: You are a “hater;” an aging white male hating change and all who are different than you. You’ve also wasted a good deal of your time as a corporate cog in something much larger than you and within which you didn’t particularly matter!
          Congrats on both; loser!


  5. manawai February 12, 2019 9:27 am Reply

    Same old socialist brainlessness. Their thinking boils down to one thing. “You have more money than me which is unfair so I’m going to take it away so we’ll both have the same.” Ultimately, as with Russia, the socialists want people to get paid for minimal productivity or simply choosing not to work. Guess how that worked out for Russia and all the other socialist countries? They are economic disasters with a populace struggling to obtain the most basic needs of survival. Why else do the populations of socialist countries flee their homelands for other countries? Don’t be stupid. Capitalism has given America the highest standard of living in the world and even our poor are wealthy in comparison to socialist countries.


    1. james February 13, 2019 7:07 am Reply

      Do you even know the difference between a Social Democracy (or Social Republic) and Communism? Maybe read a little bit before posting. No one is proposing an end to capitalism or democracy in our Republic (yes, we are a Republic, not a Democracy.} We already have lots of socialistic elements in our Republic. Why not use Norway, England, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, etc. as examples of the types of societies that have successfully incorporated socialistic elements into their governments instead of formerly communist countries like Russia? The USA is moving backwards under Trump.


      1. manawai February 14, 2019 10:05 am Reply

        Another Green New Deal bozo.


    2. Pete Antonson February 13, 2019 7:19 pm Reply

      No, he doesn’t know the difference.


    3. gordon oswald February 15, 2019 11:11 am Reply

      Ha Ha it seems like I’ve touched a nerve? The fact you are insignificant is not our fault Pete. It’s the curse you live with! Of course, you found your significance in a third world Country after failing to make it here, but hey no one blames you for that. Congratulations on finding a place where you can “feel” like a big man! And feel free to spout your Socialist BS all you want – in the third world! Petey, you don’t play well here in the successful world. Reality is a little different here. Your denigrating remark about the “Corporate” world is laughable! Those Corporations have created the greatest country on earth in the History of the world by a long shot. Sorry you didn’t have the intelligence, work ethic, or talent to make it here in America. You should start spreading your Political foolishness in, say, the Philippines newspapers! If it doesn’t work there either, you could try Bangladesh? You could comment in their newspapers because you wouldn’t be viewed as an insane intruder! Just the ugly American intruder.


      1. Pete Antonson February 16, 2019 1:12 pm Reply

        After more than one successful career in America brought me waterfront living on Kauai for several years, I retired and got my own piece of paradise that I don’t have to share with aging white xenophobic males who think they haven’t been wrong since they turned 55. I haven’t had to attend a Board meeting or do the work of a servant for 8 years now. I relish daily the fact that your mind is so closed to the opportunity I seized, that you will never, ever, have what I enjoy!


        1. manawai February 28, 2019 9:05 am Reply

          We only have your words for that.


          1. Pete Antonson February 28, 2019 2:29 pm

            No, you have something else as well. You have the hate filled spew it responds to which you are apparently supporting. That’s just part of the overall level of dignity and respect EVERY orange blob supporter I know resorts to in an argument that is supposed to be about political issues. You also have what his former attorney Michael Cohen called “a racist, con man, and a cheat” during his opening statement before the House Oversight Committee. He’s ALL YOURS, baby! It will get worse. Enjoy him all you can in the days he has left!


  6. rk669 February 12, 2019 11:56 am Reply

    Research Much do You? There is more Tax Revenues from Middle Class than all of the Wealthy Combined!
    The Simple Believe Anything!


  7. Roy Matsuyama February 12, 2019 12:08 pm Reply

    No problem in immigrants coming to the United States, but come here legally!! The wall is stop illegal entry, drugs, and sex trafficking. The money you save on blocking these problems is a whole lot more than building the wall.


  8. bobmikk February 12, 2019 1:15 pm Reply

    Again, let the wealthy pay. you said hard work and talent will make one rich. Why is that to be scorned?


  9. douglas henry February 12, 2019 2:05 pm Reply

    Socialism doesn’t work, period. And the illegal aliens are scamming the system.


    1. james February 13, 2019 6:55 am Reply

      How do you define “socialism’? Do you like Social Security? Do you like Medicare? We already have elements of socialism through FDR’s New Deal and many other laws whether you know it or not. Most 1st world countries have socialized medicine and other socialistic programs and seems to work out fine. If you have a point to make, be specific; don’t just make stupid unsupported statements. No one will take you seriously.


      1. Jake February 16, 2019 5:27 am Reply

        Social Security? Give me a break! It’s a pyramid scheme. You get less than 1% return for an entire lifetime of working…..and……wait for it…….if you die 1 day before collecting?…….all your hundreds of thousands of dollars goes back to the GOVERNMENT!

        Medicare was created under the same pretenses…..that humans are incapable of sacrificing and saving for when they get old. The GOVERNMENT also steals money from every paycheck so you have subsidized healthcare when you are too old to work!

        “I have never understood why it is greed to want to keep the money you have EARNED, but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.” – Guess who said that.

        With Socialism, only the tope 1/100 have the money, and they are all politicians!! SMH. Stop the madness!!!!!!!!


  10. Z February 12, 2019 6:25 pm Reply

    We need something .it would be nice to let all in but who takes care of those sadly to say look at how many of are own are homelessness in dire need of help.charity starts at home . We can’t cre for our own homeless especially our vets living in the gutter our own families that don’t have jobs to afford a roof over there heads n there children let’s worry about our own before anything else if we can’t care for our own you honestly think we can care for all from the outside .wake up Pelosi.


    1. Jake February 16, 2019 5:09 am Reply

      “Charity begins at home” is one of those obnoxious phrases that people use to alleviate their guilt about never actually being charitable. But they are, of course, using the word “charity” in the sense that it’s most commonly used today — giving money or aid to poor people. When the phrase “charity begins at home” was first coined, the definition of “charity” was a little different. From Roman times up until recently, “charity” wasn’t necessarily about giving alms. It was more of a state of mind, a mentality of kindness and benevolence. You know this if you’ve read a Bible, by the way — the word for “charity” and the more general “love” are both translated from the same Greek word, “agape.”
      The point being, when people first started saying “charity begins at home,” what they were trying to get across was that being a loving person in the home leads to being a loving person out in the world. In other words, it served as an instruction about how to be more generous, which is kind of the opposite of the way it’s used today as a warning against being too generous. Or, as other experts have pointed out, only an a$$hole could hear “charity begins at home” and interpret it to mean that it also ends there.”


  11. some guy February 15, 2019 5:35 am Reply

    can we stem the flood of wretched Californians coming to Hawaii and other states?


  12. Keoki February 19, 2019 1:11 pm Reply

    What makes America so great that millions have come here legally (and illegally) over the 200 years? Why are we so successful? What makes central and south American countries so dismal? Chritianity and a constitutional republic, which is the rule of law has allowed people to flourish in America. The revolution of Marxism only destroys and creates chaos. This is why the people of the south are coming here. The Left in America need their votes to survive. The Left offers nothing to America. They only want to survive. We must secure the border and protect what makes America great. Immigrants need to come through the door and properly learn about this great country. Our students in American schools need to start learning about this great country again.
    BTW, there is a significant open borders movement. It is part of the globalist anti-nation mindset. It is behind the leftist effort to keep our borders open. They use emotion to trick people into supporting open borders because democracy has become a powerful tool of the left. Mobocracy. Fortunately we are still a constitutional republic.


  13. Pete Antonson February 22, 2019 12:44 pm Reply

    Name one person in a significant leadership role who is advocating actual open borders.


  14. Carrie Eckert March 10, 2019 11:53 am Reply

    Gordon Oswald you hit the nail on the head with your comments about peeping Pete Antonson. First let me set Pete’s comment-straite on his success in living on the waterfront …“ America brought me waterfront living on Kauai for several years, I retired and got my own piece of paradise that I don’t have to share with aging white xenophobic males.”… The house he is referring to was my house that I bought and solely owned on the waterfront in Kauai. He paid rent to me to live in it. Pete hates men. He sees them as responsible for his failing career as air traffic controller and all other men who stood in his way. He exerts all his energy on hating men. He left the USA because it was only a matter of time before his sick secret came out. He has a pathetic weakness for the dark side of human exploitation on the internet that would have certainly ended in serious consequences for him in Kauai . He is in a country which is notorious with this lewd trade. I am sure this is paradise for him as he states. He is to be pitied for his twisted mind. Your right Gordon, Pete is a tormented man which has been apparent in his writings for years. He is a very sick individual!


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