Friday, March 23, 2007

The High Cost of Cheap Labor

A couple of hours ago I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. In front of me was a couple with a baby. They spoke to each other in Spanish, and when they reached the front of the line and the woman handed the clerk a stack of WIC coupons it was apparent she could barely speak English.

The introduction of the WIC coupons slowed down the checkout process considerably, as it necessitated the clerk having to make notations on each coupon as various items were checked out. I estimate it added an extra 15 minutes to the process. I would not have minded this so much if these people had been US citizens, but it was apparent they were not.

At any rate, this is not about the loss of time. Far more serious is the loss of money represented by what I witnessed. After the WIC coupons were tabulated, these non-citizens paid $5.26 for what had to have been at least $50 worth of groceries. The federal government picked up the rest of the tab.

In 2002, the use of WIC and other food assistance programs by illegal aliens added $1.5 billion to the federal deficit. When that figure is added to their use of other federal programs, their total contribution to the 2002 deficit was $10 billion. (LINK)

We cannot afford to help these people. We cannot afford to give them jobs that rightly belong to Americans and we certainly cannot afford to feed them and take care of all their other needs. That is the responsibility of their country of origin. It is time—no, past time—for the buck to be passed back to Mexico, where it belongs.

“Be careful, Grandpa ...”

Isabella is excited. “Grandpa,” she says, “I got an Aquadoodle.”

“A what?” I say.

“Come here. I show you.”

Chandra says, “You can show him after we eat.”

“Okay.” She comes over to the table. “Grandpa, can I sit next to you?”

“You sure can.”

She pulls her chair close to mine and begins bouncing her foot on my knee. I ask her how she likes her new house. “My room is yellow,” she says. “Come on, I show you.”

“Later,” says Chandra, “after we eat.”

Chandra serves the pizza. While we eat, Chandra and I talk about movies we have seen recently. Isabella interrupts with her favorite movie. “Have you seen Peter Pan, Grandpa?”

“Yes, I have. As a matter of fact, I was your age when I saw it. That was in the 1950s. I saw it at a drive-in theatre.”

“A drivey theeter?" she asks, puzzled.

“A drive-in theatre was a place where you could sit in your car and watch movies.”

We finish our pizza. Chandra and I continue talking, but Isabella is impatient to show me her room.

“All right, let’s show Grandpa your room,” says Chandra.

“No, you stay here, Mommy. I show it myself.”

I follow Isabella upstairs. She climbs the stairs well, but appears unsure if I am as practiced as she. “Be careful, Grandpa,” she says.

“I’m being careful.”

In her yellow room, she shows me her new bed. “Bounce on it,” she says.

“I better not. I might break it.”

“Bounce on the bed, Grandpa!”

She insists, so I sit on the bed and make a few bouncing motions. She laughs, then jumps on the bed and starts doing some real bouncing.

I look at the books and toys on her shelves and pick up a toy bus. It’s a red double-decker. “This is the kind of bus they have in England,” I say.

“No, it’s a London bus,” she corrects me. “Mommy got it for me in London.”

“London is a city in England. We’re both right.”

I put the bus back on the shelf and pick up a small globe. “Show me where you live.”

She takes the globe, slowly turns it, then points to Texas, smiling.

“Very good,” I say.

It’s time to go back downstairs. She leads the way. “Be careful, Grandpa,” she says.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

NEW PODCAST: PsiOp Radio #4 (2-20-07)

For the past couple of months, I've been busy working on a new comic story for the upcoming second volume of the Fantagraphics anthology Hotwire, so have not been able to post on this blog as much as I'd like. However, every Tuesday night at 7 pm I've unwound from the day's work by spending an hour co-hosting PsiOp Radio on Anomaly Radio with my good friend SMiles Lewis. On our fourth show two nights ago, we covered quite a lot of ground, starting with the absurd "confessions" of Kalid Sheikh Mohammed and ending with recent revelations (or disinformation?) regarding the mysterious death of Marilyn Monroe. If you missed the live broadcast, it is now available as a podcast. Just go HERE to download the hour-long show.

About this new comic story of mine. It's called "Trouble in Tascosa," and it's best described as a satirical Western. That's all I say about it for the time being. I'll be posting a few sample panels on this blog and telling you more about it in the coming days, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, I hope you'll check out PsiOp Radio.