Throughout the entire Presidential campaign of 1992, Bill Clinton promised that if he were elected President he’d give the middle class the tax cut they deserved. He flew around the country, feeling our pain, holding our hands and insisting that he was only trying to look after the best interests of those good people who followed the rules and did what they were told. The ink hadn’t been dry on his certificate of election when his top financial consultant, Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs, advised that deficit reduction HAD to be at the forefront of the Clinton Administration’s economic policy and in order to achieve deficit reduction, a tax CUT was deemed inadvisable. Instead we got one of the largest tax increases in history, without a single Republican vote. Doom and gloom was predicted. Bob Dole said on the floor of the Senate that there would be a recession in less than six months from the time of the tax increase. What did we get? Eight years of economic growth, low unemployment, low inflation, and, by the way, peace.
It’s important for us to understand that none of this would have taken place if Bill Clinton had decided to KEEP his campaign promise on taxes. Sometimes the needs of government supersede the exigencies of politics. This was one of those times. Now some people, especially the Clinton haters, would insist that he fundamentally LIED to the American people. He promised them one thing and gave them something else. And they’d be right. He did just that. But had he carried out his campaign promise and done what he said he would do during the campaign, this country would have been infinitely worse off.
In spite of all the caterwauling about President Trump’s edict on immigration, the fact is that this action should have caught absolutely NO ONE by surprise. It’s something he promised to do. He said so as forcefully as any politician anywhere has ever done and he said it from coast to coast and everywhere in between. In other words, the President’s immigration policy was instituted to fulfill one of his many campaign promises.
Do I think it’s good government policy? Absolutely NOT!! This is a country of immigrants and slamming our door in their faces is a fundamental mistake. I am the grandson of immigrants. My grandparents came to this country from Poland and Czechoslovakia respectively. Had President Trump’s immigration ban been in effect one hundred years ago, I wouldn’t be here today. They didn’t come here to experience freedom or democracy as we practice it. They came here for the economic opportunity this country afforded them. All my mother’s father wanted to do was to earn enough money to buy a farm in Poland. I’m sure my Dad’s dad came here for pretty much the same reason. And I’m under no illusion about the motives of a great many of the immigrants coming to this country today. They want to extract what they can and then return home, all the richer for the experience.
What we must fully understand is that my grandparents’ generation BUILT this country, link by link and yard by yard. They turned a sleepy, backwater of a country into the economic powerhouse it is today. We honor their memories and we salute their efforts. However, at the same time, we tend to forget the hostility, suspicion and downright hatred they faced when they got here. America never really greeted its immigrants with open arms. It didn’t embrace them as the hope of this country’s future. In fact, within ten years of my grandparents’ arrival in this country, the Congress of the United States passed anti-immigration legislation that would have barred the doors of this country to them.
The strength and vitality of this country was built primarily through the blood, sweat and tears of millions of people who came to America seeking economic opportunity, opportunity they did not see possible at home. Without their efforts, our country would have been smaller, weaker, less significant than it is today. Had we slammed the doors of our country on the immigrants of one hundred years ago, we would have be much the poorer for it!
Now there are those of you who would demur. You would insist that TODAY’S immigrants are different. They’re known to advocate violence, they practice a strange religion and owe their allegiance to religious leaders in another country, they harbor a known criminal element and do not share that good old American value system that has made this country great. All of this may indeed be true but the immigrants of my grandparents’ generation faced the SAME objections. Go back. Read your history. See for yourselves. Discover what those “good” native-born Americans were calling the immigrants of THEIR era. It pretty much resembles the kind of stuff spewing from President Trump’s mouth every time he mentions the subject.
Yes, I believe the Trump immigration policy is wrong. Yes, he’s definitely implemented it badly. But don’t for a minute say you didn’t see it coming, because you did. At least on the subject of immigration, Donald Trump did NOT lie to us. He is doing exactly what he promised he would do. It may be mistaken. It may be wrong-headed. But it IS a campaign promise he made and kept!!
Filed under: Politics