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The Not-So-Secret Foreign Energy Source

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President Bush, several years after most Americans, has decided the nation can't be dependent upon foreign energy sources.

For much of his life, when he wasn't stoned or wasted, and especially when he was running what came to be a series of failed corporation, Bush worshipped the power of oil, while denouncing global warming as junk science.

But now, as an enlightened president who is prevented by his own incompetence and inability to deal with the insurgency and unable to drill for oil in Iraq, Bush has decided that alternative energy is necessary. Of course, he has a plan. He has a plan ethanol. It's cheap, he says. It's available from American corn crops, he claims. It's primarily provided by Archer Daniels Midland, which has consistently been a large donor to political campaigns, primarily Republican. But, just in case ethanol isn't as reliable as Bush believes it could be, there's still the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Our oil-slicked President believes killing animals and disrupting the ecological balance in the ANWR to drill for oil beneath the frozen tundra is also part of the solution to the oil crisis. By 2025, according to government projections, and assuming a ten year development during which no oil is pumped, oil produced in ANWR will represent only about 1 to 2 percent of the Americans' daily needs; if all the oil in ANWR were successfully mined, it would represent less than a one year supply.

But, while Bush says we shouldn't depend upon foreign energy, he really means we should depend upon foreign energy, not in the form of natural resources but in a human form.

He has no objection to American corporations increasing their compensation to executives and stockholders, most of them Republicans, by laying off American workers, most of them Democrats, and outsourcing jobs to myriad other nations.

Call for customer service on everything from a credit card dispute to a computer and you'll probably be talking to someone in India. Want an American-made car? If you don't mind that most of the parts are probably made in Mexico and other countries, you can have your all-American gas guzzler. Clothes? Don't even try looking for the union label. There isn't one in any of two dozen countries that provide most clothes worn by Americans. Toys? Games? American flags? Try China.

Most American politicians treat Cuba, an island nation about the size and population of Pennsylvania but with a higher literacy rate, as a Third Rail. They punctuate every mention of Cuba with the venomous tag, "Communist." The U.S. doesn't recognize Cuba, it doesn't allow Americans to vacation there, and it doesn't allow trade with the people of Cuba. But, every politician it makes no difference if they're left, right, or mugwump, slobber all over the gluttonous probabilities of trade with the one billion population Chinese Communists. Even Wal-Mart has moved into China. We don't know how that will benefit the average American; we do know that it means the end of China's downtown commerce.

In America, spurred by talk-show mouths, we complain about hordes of illegal immigrants infiltrating our businesses and gorging themselves on every medical, welfare, and educational benefit available. We don't want illegal immigrants translate that into the language of "Latino "but we also willingly employ them, and seldom do much to the employer.

And so millions of Latinos, trying to earn enough money to send home to their own families while possibly trying to become American citizens, shed their own knowledge and skills to become this nation's unskilled and semi-skilled laborers, to become janitors and gardeners, maids, clerks, and factory workers. Of course, employers have a scripted, ready-to wear excuse of why they must hire illegals they claim there's a worker shortage for low-paid no-benefit back-breaking jobs. Of course, they're right. One full-time worker making minimum wage, with no vacations, will earn $10,712 a year. The Census Bureau has determined that the poverty line for one person is $10,160 but, for a family of mother, father, and two children, the poverty line is $19,806.

The employment of low-wage employees is addictive. Hiring illegal immigrants means that businesses get workers for low wages, don't pay social security and unemployment taxes and, for sure, don't contribute to pensions or health care. Illegal immigrants either have to let the illness or injury "run its course" while destroying other body systems or reluctantly go to a charity hospital where taxpayers will cover the tab, keeping the employer from losing any more of the "bottom line."

When Americans do complain about worker exploitation in Third World countries, American corporations claim that if the overseas workers didn't earn pennies per hour, the cost of consumer goods the corporations sell to Americans would be significantly higher. That shuts up most of the opposition. If Americans weren't so blinded by their own greed, they would argue that keeping jobs in America would improve wages for all persons, allowing the people to afford higher-priced goods. The people could also argue that corporations could lower executive salaries and benefits, as well as the profit margins, to minimize price increases.

President Bush wants the government to recognize and permit more immigrants. He believes it will help improve the nation's work force. He is right. Most immigrants, transient illegals or future citizens, are hard workers. However, flooding American businesses with low-wage/minimum benefit employees allows businesses to increase their profits, a goal well within the political philosophy of this Administration, but opposed by the reality that companies earn their profits not because of country-clubbing executives but from the sweat of their workers.
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Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of (more...)

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