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September 4, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Immigrants and social safety nets

If the president can weave his way through the cloud of scandals surrounding his administration, he has a chance to bring about meaningful immigration reform. Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle standing in the way will be the cost of bringing millions of immigrants into our entitlement programs.

Ours is a generous country. Whenever there is a natural disaster, our leaders unhesitatingly put the taxpayer’s checkbook on the line. We are all weary of hearing about the national debt accumulated by our generosity. Foreign wars of liberation, “entitlements” of Medicaid, disability, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, Obamacare and a host of others.

It’s fantasy to imagine that we will somehow grow our way out of our debt by cutting taxes. Republicans promoting that idea will be treated badly at the ballot box. At the same time, it’s just wishful thinking to imagine that the world will continue to treat our public debt as if our country could pay its bills.

We are facing a political crossroads that will either be painful or disastrous depending on our choices. We can either resolve to bear the pain of raising the tax money to pay our debts, accept the price of our social safety nets and be able to accept immigrants, or we can continue in denial and bitter division and await the judgment of the world.

Let’s let our politicians know that we’re tough enough to do the right thing.

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