Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

Comment of the Day
The Editorial Board should have no opinion

Jul 11, 2020

The WSJ Editorial Board expressed its opinion about the case of Michael Flynn. It does not matter what they said; in my book, the Editorial Board should have no opinion on any topic. Editorial boards’ job is not to lecture, but to facilitate views from individuals who can present valid arguments. The Editorial Board's job at the WSJ is to guarantee to me, a subscriber, that the different opinions presented are fact-checked. I pay a subscription for the WSJ because I do not have the time nor the means to fact-check whatever is written and posted on the internet. I do not pay for the subscription to be brainwashed by whatever the self-anointed authority of the Editorial Board believes is right. I can make my judgment based on the facts and their interpretation by other individuals.

More parenting is needed
Aug 01, 2019
Peter Gray in Psychology Today advises for less parenting. The problem is exactly the opposite: There is not enough parenting. In the past, when most of our ancestors lived in self-supporting households, often a farm, out of necessity, children were an integral part of whatever adults needed to do during their daily life, and they learned that way. Now, we do not need to do as much at home. Work is outside the home, food is brought in, heat is turned on and off, and mysteriously magical, colorful screens are the center of most activities. If we leave children free to explore what they find the most attractive, they will play video games. There might be some educational value in it, but one needs to learn much more. Hence, we need more effort in parenting, with parents doing more in the home than is otherwise required, and spending more time with children outside in order to introduce them to the real world. This realization hit home after I witnessed the surprise of a 7-year old seeing apples on my apple tree.
Less fight more work
Jul 30, 2017

The fight over Obamacare repeal is over, at least for now. The GOP can start to work on a new proposal that each of us can look at it, and then compare how my particular health care solution would play in it, as compared to Obamacare. In a television interview, HHS Secretary Tom Price said that Obamacare “may be working for Washington, it may be working for insurance companies, but it’s not working for patients.” Maybe it is time to consider patients’ involvement in the preparation of an Obamacare alternative? It could be that Obamacare repeal failed just because it has been prepared by Washington with consultation from insurance companies. Let us start with addressing 19 health care issues that politicians avoid talking about.

How to pay for the wall?
Apr 04, 2017

If you want to build the wall, pay for it with your own money. How much of your own money are you willing to donate? Trump received 62,979,879 votes. If each of Trump’s supporters voluntarily donates at least $1,000, which corresponds to about $42 per month for the next two years, and if we encourage those who are more affluent to double their donations, then Trump can have on hand about $100 billion, which may suffice for a substantial piece of the wall. Hence, all of you who are talking loudly about spending my money on building this wall, stay away from my wallet, but open your own wallet and send money to the “Build the Wall Fund.” Put your money where your mouth is.

What is wrong with Russia?
Dec 22, 2015

It appears that Russian leaders cannot free themselves from the medieval concept of regional influence, where weaker neighbors were subdued into becoming serf states. Is anyone capable of explaining to them that in these times of a global economy, any influence comes from economic strength? Russia, thanks to its size, natural resources and well-educated labor force, has everything that it takes to maintain a dominant position in the region, just by maintaining free trade with all its neighbors. It can do so without military interventions in Georgia and in Ukraine. Russia has everything that it takes to be a respected wealthier neighbor, to whom everyone in the region would turn for help when needed. Instead, it is a bully and a hooligan. It would take so little to change that. But it is so hard for Russia to do it. 

Closed mind for closed borders
Nov 19, 2015

Known to some as a libertarian, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. speaks against open borders. His argument is that it is an infraction against private property. He misses the point that most people migrate just because Mr. Rockwell’s neighbors want them on their private property – for picking apples, washing the dishes or writing a computer code. Then, Mr. Rockwell wrongly laments that those foreigners invited by his neighbors violate his private property rights by loitering in the public spaces that he frequents. He wants the government to deny the rights of his neighbors to do on their private property whatever they wish, so he will not need to face immigrants in the public spaces. Mr. Rockwell left the train called “liberty” at the station called “xenophobia.”    

They do not know…
Sep 14, 2015

Mr. Trump says: “A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct.” I prefer that our President would make decisions based on systematic due diligence. The instinct that guides Mr. Trump in his professional life arrives from his vast experience, starting when he was growing up under the mentoring of his successful father, followed by a solid education and years of practice. Mr. Trump's confidence is misguiding, as it gives his supporters the illusion that someone who mastered real estate dealing can be equally skillful as President. It is similar to the illusion surrounding Dr. Carson, that he can be as good a President as he is a brain surgeon. If both gentlemen were humbler, they would realize that they qualify to be President equally as much as Mr. Trump qualifies to conduct brain surgeries and Dr. Carson to run Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. The problem is not that they do not know many things they should; the problem is that they do not realize that.

More Comments

Jack C. Lee is wrong. Are you too?

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

One may ask, who is Jack C. Lee and why do I write about him? Mr. Lee is an older gentleman who wrote a comment to my recent article about immigration. There is nothing new in his statement that I did not hear before. His response is important because it contains commonly repeated false arguments and misconceptions, which you might share as well.

We were a country of immigrants

Mr. Lee sincerely writes that we are a nation of immigrants. According to him, we all agree that having more immigrants “is desired and a win-win for all.” I wish I could get a penny whenever zealous immigration opponents repeat this kind of lie. Mr. Lee correctly wrote: “Our country has been open to all immigrants for the good part of our history.” He conveniently omitted that this practice ended in 1921, precisely a century ago. Since then, our immigration policy has been not about facilitating immigration but about damming it.

Legal immigrants versus illegal ones

Immigration opponents typically present legal immigrants as law-obeying and illegal immigrants as lawbreakers. They do not know or, more likely, do not want to acknowledge that about half of legal immigrants fall under the so-called “status adjustment.” I could not find official data, but most instances of status adjustment I know of are for illegal immigrants who found a wicket in the system.

Legal immigration is a lengthy and troublesome process. Overstaying a tourist visa or crossing the border without inspection is the simplest way to immigrate for entrepreneurial people who make enough money to pay lawyers for legalizing their status. It still takes time to go through the process, but an applicant is already here. It sounds awkward, but logically an illegal immigrant adjusting status is probably the best scenario we can dream of. It is a person who risked coming here, proved to be successful here, and invests in legalizing a permanent status.

Lastly, it is difficult for illegal immigrants to find a job, but all of them work. It proves we have undocumented immigrants not because of the evil intentions of people coming here but because of the stupidity of Americans who do not recognize that the profound shortage of labor stifles our economy.

Things have changed since the early 1900s

Until 1921, practically, there were no numeric restrictions for European immigrants. Very few people know that many immigrants did not stay long and returned home. Some went back and forth more than once. Only those who succeeded stayed. It worked fine for America.

It is worth looking at that thriving model when considering comprehensive immigration reform. Mr. Lee dismisses this approach because “we are no longer the same country.” Yes, our lives became more complex, but we learned a few things and have much better technology, particularly computers.

Politicians learned nothing

Mr. Lee does not look for logical solutions. Like many Americans having strong opinions about immigration, he follows the mantra of his favored politician. In his case, it is former President Trump. When Donald Trump started his first election campaign, I called him a leader of the deceived. Later I pointed out that if he took a businesslike approach, he would support increased immigration. Now, we are finding out that as a businessman, Mr. Trump was not much better than as a president.

Sadly, the current president does not do much better. He acts as though his hands are tied up with some other political obligations.

Image by LEEROY Agency from Pixabay

Immigrants create jobs for Americans

Mr. Lee claims the opposite: “When you have an unlimited supply of low-skilled cheap labor, you end up with a depressed wage structure.” In his view, if we have more immigrants, fewer Americans have good-paying jobs. Facts show the opposite. When more people work, the economy expands, benefiting everyone. But Mr. Lee listens to pundits and politicians spewing their biases.

Immigrants might earn a pitiful fraction of the minimum wage in the United States in their home country. But they come here because they want to get the prevailing wage available in the United States. Initially, they might accept a lower salary, but they soon learn their value and ask for the top pay available. Mr. Lee mentions we have a free market system, but  ̶  like many Americans  ̶  he does not understand how it works.

In another article, I offer an example of the European Union where, within the last 15 years, borders had been opened between the affluent Western European countries and new, underdeveloped member nations. Since then, several million people have crossed the borders in search of better jobs. Everyone has benefited.

Interestingly, in the United Kingdom, increased immigration was a reason why many Britons voted for Brexit. But the economic data show that immigrants did not cause any noticeable unemployment or earning loss among Britons. New immigrants provided a boost for the economy. But they awaken old cultural and political anti-immigration sentiments. Noticeably, Ireland received a similar dose of immigrants per capita but, devoid of anti-immigration politics, is content with the new immigrants. It means that Britons, similarly to Americans, have an anti-immigration bias based on irrational politics. The Irish are free from it.  

Guest work visas are the key

When 15 years ago I started writing about immigration, the idea of guest work visas was the best one I found and soon adopted. Guest work visas bring the benefits of the unfettered immigration we had in the 19th century along with adopting the rules of the advanced society we have become.

A poor foreigner wants to advance by working in the United States. Let us keep it simple. If an American employer has a matching job offer, let us give that foreigner a visa permitting them to work here. If, after working here for some time, that newcomer returns to the home country, everyone benefits. Americans had a good worker for a while. The home country is enriched as well, getting back a citizen bringing money from abroad.

After working in the United States for some time, a guest worker with taxes paid and no criminal record should be entitled to get a green card, opening a venue to citizenship.

How do we get out of the current gridlock?

Mr. Lee mentions guest work visas as well but puts them after building the wall. Behind this logic is a deep mistrust in the current political system.

Now, our labor shortage is so profound that millions of illegal immigrants can find jobs and, thanks to tax IDs issued by the IRS, pay taxes. Formally, it is unlawful to hire illegal immigrants, but they work here because they are needed. In plain language, this situation is a highly demoralizing disrespect for the law. Almost everyone breaks our idiotic immigration law. We do not report it to authorities because we benefit from the work of illegal immigrants, see no harm from their work here, or feel sorry for their predicament. Also, we know that to deport all illegal immigrants, we would need a Soviet-style tyranny. No one wants that, either.

Mr. Lee is among these Americans who have lost the faith that our immigration anomaly can end. He is petrified that by loosening our restrictive immigration policy, millions of foreigners would come here uncontrollably. If he had read to the end my article he criticizes, he would know that even if we let in every one who shows up at the border, only those who could find a job would stay.

Mr. Lee cannot imagine that illegal immigration would cease to exist with the guest worker visa approach. The guest worker concept is the only viable solution. Foreigners with work permits would take all jobs held now by illegal immigrants. Employing an alien without a permit would mean that the employer is cheating on taxes or the foreigner is a criminal who could not get the visa. In either case, it would be harmful to the community. Someone would report it to authorities. As it would be an isolated case, the police would act swiftly. Respect for the law would be reinstated.

It is worth reminding everyone that the same politicians who voted in Prohibition also established the core concepts of our immigration policy. Prohibition has been repealed. We need to do the same with our current immigration law. The argument of Mr. Lee to build the wall first means that we should first eliminate all anomalies of our immigration policy before reforming it. Applying the same analogy to Prohibition, one would ask for stopping all criminal alcohol production and distribution before repealing the law.    

Leave a Reply

About me

I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became a freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I have lived in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in the service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of the politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions, I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

... more