MY TURN: A money-making plan for Uncle Sam: Guest workers at $5K a pop |

MY TURN: A money-making plan for Uncle Sam: Guest workers at $5K a pop

As the United States of America continues her deadly blundering across the world stage, she finds the circle of unfriendly nations surrounding her becoming denser, darker, tighter and meaner.

Isnt it time, needing all the friends we can muster, or at least keep, to recognize, honor and thank the nation of Mexico, and especially the Mexican people? Those who, after gifting us the better half of their land, including California, Arizona, New Mexico and the presidential home state, continue giving by frying our eggs, picking our lettuce, cleaning our toilets, watering our lawns, building and cleaning our houses, building our bridges, and anything else we will let them do. Not to mention giving us free reign in such places as Cancun, Cozumel, Cabo and Acapulco as a respite from our fretful lives here up north. And all the while they do it happily to the best of their ability. And what kind of treatment do these people receive from us? Cheap wages, told to walk to work, the respect of a marked criminal; access to our jobs only won by heroic efforts, walking across hot desert for days, evading boarder patrol like a panic-stricken mouse fleeing the talons of an owl. His soul protector: the coyote, who provides safe passage across the boarder for a cost no less than complete financial evisceration. Stumbling, dirty, tired and disorientated they arrive in the promised land to find a corner to wait on, hoping for a chance to prove themselves to a stranger. Through all this, wondering if they will ever see their loved ones back at home again.I realize our government has an armful of thorny issues at home and abroad to sort out. However, my opinion is that this problem ought to be easy to solve. Is there any reason why we cant or shouldnt sell work permits to our industrious friends down south for the bargain rate of $5,000 per year? Our cost to get $5,000 cash? A piece of wallet-sized laminated paper costing only about 5 cents. Imagine the influx of sorely needed revenue into our treasury. Ten million Mexican workers in our country times $5,000 per work permit per year (reminder: costing us 5 cents) equals $50 billion per year. Not much on a world, or even a national level, but why forfeit to coyotes? Surely, our government will waste, misdirect, and steal most of the loot but should there be any outside chance of saving only a billion of it, heres a couple suggestions as to how to use it.

Get a big time contractor, say, Dick Cheney and Halliburton, to build giant worker processing centers along the American-Mexican border, each of them 10 times the size of the largest Wal-Mart. Here is where we will take their money, do background checks, medical screening, finger printing, photograph, collect their vital information and give them their official, wallet-sized work permit. Should $50 billion not be enough for our country (and too much for the workers), allow our financial institutions to set up shop, loaning at interests rates high enough to put a twinkle in any bankers eye. Imagine the other private interests sprouting up around these worker processing meccas; bus services, airports, car dealerships, information services, employment and military recruitment services, English schools, driving schools, insurance companies, Wal-Mart etc. Imagine the appreciation of real estate in this present day no-mans-land. Through the roof and beyond.However tremendous this all sounds, are we giving away too much? Providing work permits and family visitation for only $5,000 per year? Some might argue for charging more, say $10,000. However, even at relatively high wages earned washing dishes, $10,000, easy for any American to expense for the privilege of much beloved employment, is perhaps a little over the top for the average Mexican worker. Lets sell Mexican workers work permits, good for a year, for a discount rate of $5,000 each as our way of saying: Thanks, great job, keep up the good work. Thank you for being our neighbor, a smiling and helpful friend when we need you most, as we wallow in our weird battle with the rest of the world.Viva la Mexico. The nation that keeps on giving.Jeff Johnson is a contractor with 25 years experience working side-by-side with immigrant laborers.

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