Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

Comment of the Day
How to pay for the wall?

Apr 04, 2017

If you want to build the wall, pay for it with your own money. How much of your own money are you willing to donate? Trump received 62,979,879 votes. If each of Trump’s supporters voluntarily donates at least $1,000, which corresponds to about $42 per month for the next two years, and if we encourage those who are more affluent to double their donations, then Trump can have on hand about $100 billion, which may suffice for a substantial piece of the wall. Hence, all of you who are talking loudly about spending my money on building this wall, stay away from my wallet, but open your own wallet and send money to the “Build the Wall Fund.” Put your money where your mouth is.

What is wrong with Russia?
Dec 22, 2015

It appears that Russian leaders cannot free themselves from the medieval concept of regional influence, where weaker neighbors were subdued into becoming serf states. Is anyone capable of explaining to them that in these times of a global economy, any influence comes from economic strength? Russia, thanks to its size, natural resources and well-educated labor force, has everything that it takes to maintain a dominant position in the region, just by maintaining free trade with all its neighbors. It can do so without military interventions in Georgia and in Ukraine. Russia has everything that it takes to be a respected wealthier neighbor, to whom everyone in the region would turn for help when needed. Instead, it is a bully and a hooligan. It would take so little to change that. But it is so hard for Russia to do it. 

Closed mind for closed borders
Nov 19, 2015

Known to some as a libertarian, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. speaks against open borders. His argument is that it is an infraction against private property. He misses the point that most people migrate just because Mr. Rockwell’s neighbors want them on their private property – for picking apples, washing the dishes or writing a computer code. Then, Mr. Rockwell wrongly laments that those foreigners invited by his neighbors violate his private property rights by loitering in the public spaces that he frequents. He wants the government to deny the rights of his neighbors to do on their private property whatever they wish, so he will not need to face immigrants in the public spaces. Mr. Rockwell left the train called “liberty” at the station called “xenophobia.”    

They do not know…
Sep 14, 2015

Mr. Trump says: “A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct.” I prefer that our President would make decisions based on systematic due diligence. The instinct that guides Mr. Trump in his professional life arrives from his vast experience, starting when he was growing up under the mentoring of his successful father, followed by a solid education and years of practice. Mr. Trump's confidence is misguiding, as it gives his supporters the illusion that someone who mastered real estate dealing can be equally skillful as President. It is similar to the illusion surrounding Dr. Carson, that he can be as good a President as he is a brain surgeon. If both gentlemen were humbler, they would realize that they qualify to be President equally as much as Mr. Trump qualifies to conduct brain surgeries and Dr. Carson to run Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. The problem is not that they do not know many things they should; the problem is that they do not realize that.

Freedom cannot be legislated, its restriction can
Mar 31, 2015

Indiana voted in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In his WSJ piece, Gov. Mike Pence claims it was needed to protect the religious freedoms of Hoosiers. Every legislative act by its nature limits someone’s freedom. The only way of increasing freedom is by identifying existing laws that curb personal liberties and then eliminating them.  Hence, if Gov. Pence sees that under some circumstances, the religious freedoms of Hoosiers are not respected, he could correct the situation by eliminating laws causing this problem. We have the Bill of Rights, and it suffices. No “enhancements” are needed.

Greed-driven health care
Feb 27, 2015

The solution to our health care crisis is in the implementation of more market-driven mechanisms into our health care policy. This is the only way to give patients the freedom to make decisions regarding their care between them and their doctors; not having these decisions made by faceless bureaucrats. The biggest obstacle in implementing a change of this kind is in a deep public conviction that the introduction of the free market into health care will result in doctors, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and everybody else involved being guided by their greed, not the best interests of sick people. The biggest challenge in overturning Obamacare is not in Washington. It is in winning the argument with Americans that free-market-driven health care can serve their needs much better than the government-distributed one.

Immigration inaction
Feb 17, 2015

Congress could not agree on the immigration reform. President Obama resorted to executive orders. Now he is stopped by a court order. It is sad to see that this legal wrangling substitutes for real discussion on why we have this immigration crisis and what we should do to get it resolved. Most Americans have strong, ideologically motivated views about immigration. If they were right, the policies implemented would work, and we would not have a problem anymore. We have an ongoing problem because most Americans are wrong in their understanding of what caused massive illegal immigration and what we should do to get it corrected. There will be no progress until someone  addresses this problem. For more about why we have this immigration mess go here.  

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Rube Goldberg immigration fix

The Gang of 8 prepared the immigration reform proposal. The intentions are noble. The proposed measures promise improvement, but the concept and mechanics of how it should be done look like a Rube Goldberg masterpiece.

When an engineer is given an assignment, first he or she tries to understand what the objective is – what needs to be fixed. The Gang of 8 skipped this step. They did not ask what caused our immigration mess, they did not ask why we have millions of people crossing our borders illegally; they just hoped to get results by adding new elements and more money into already convoluted system. They did not ask how we can resolve our problems by simplifying what we do so far; they took the Rube Goldberg approach.

Border security

Why do millions of people cross our borders illegally? Who are they? Is there anything we can do to stop them doing so anymore? Everyone knows the answers. We have millions of people entering here illegally because they can find the jobs they need. We can snivel as much as we want that greedy American employers do not want to pay higher wages to Americans and underpay immigrants. Our moaning will not change the fact that we have a global economy now. If anywhere in the world there is a worker willing to perform a given job at certain pay rate, if we effectively restrict an American employer from hiring this worker, someone else will hire this person.  The American employer will be not competitive on the global market anymore.

The logical question would be to ask, how many of these foreign workers does our economy need? We can estimate this by checking how many illegal immigrants arrived in the past. No one knows exactly, but from different sources one can estimate that before the recession, it was more than 500,000 per year, maybe even close to 1,000,000 in some years. Now, during the recession, it is estimated around 200,000, but the flow is negative, as more illegal immigrants leave than arrive. Of course we do not want to stay in the recession; hence, we have to be prepared that a booming economy might require an influx of at least 500,000, or up to one million, foreign workers every year. If we create a system allowing them to come here legally they will have no reason to cross the border illegally or overstay visitors’ visas. If we create a system that American employers can legally obtain the workers they want, they will have no reason to hire illegal immigrants. One may say that the greed of some employers has no limits and they will still try to take advantage of some foreigners and employ them illegally for a fraction they would need to pay legally. It is true to the extent that this is not different from someone trying to make an extra buck by breaking any other labor laws. As long as most people can legally get what they consider justifiable, they will report law-breakers to authorities. We do not have this within our current immigration system.

If we let in legally about one million more of guest workers each year, for any foreigner planning to work and maybe settling in the U.S. it will be unappealing and unnecessary to cross the border illegally or overstay a visa. This way we can solve the border security problem, as the only people crossing the border illegally will be criminals. Consequently, the border security issue will be separated from the immigration policy, and should not even be included in the immigration bill.  But, there is the reason why our noble Gang of 8 did not go this path.

Big elephant in the room

During the last 25 years, an average of about one million foreigners per year received a so-called “green card”, meaning permanent residency status in the U.S. At the same time, we accumulated about 12 million illegal immigrants, about half a million per year. It needs to be clarified that among those receiving legal immigration status about 55% are so called status adjustments. This simply means people already living in the U.S. illegally or on temporary visas, who found a way to legalize their presence. Only about 480,000 legal immigrants per year are actually arriving from abroad. Comparing this with estimated illegal arrivals, one can see that counting people coming here, more than half of them arrived illegally. One can blame people; I would say that people follow what is the most logical path in the system we have. Putting aside for a while what to do with people already illegally here, if we want to avoid repetition of what we have now, we need to be prepared to accept yearly anywhere between 1.5- 2 million guest workers and immigrants, instead of about 1 million now.  This is the big elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. In the recent poll, 55% of voters are against increased legal immigration, and only 28% are for increased immigration.

Regardless what is said or written about this or any other immigration reform proposal, nothing can be accomplished until these numbers are reversed, until at least 55% of voters support meaningful increase of legal immigration. Senators can debate the immigration reform proposal endlessly but most of them will not vote for the act that most of their voters do not support. The Gang of 8 applied Rube Goldberg’s tangle to the extent that they themselves seem to believe that somehow miraculously the numbers will click. They will not.

It became obvious when known opponents of immigration testified during the Senate hearings. The culmination occurred when Sen. Durbin questioned Kris W. Kobach. After they were bargaining for a few minutes over whom to allow and whom not to immigrate, the obvious question to ask Mr.Kobach would be: how many immigrants would you accept, if any? Mr.Kobach is a legal counsel for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). On their website one can read that “FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest—more traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.” It is less than one third of what we have now and about one sixth what we need in order to be able to control immigration. Sen. Durbin did not ask the question which could expose the ridiculousness of Mr. Kobach’s views. I can only guess that Sen. Durbin did not do it as in return, Mr. Kobach would ask if the proposed immigration reform would end up with increased immigration. Sen. Durbin did not want to answer this question either. How we can have an honest debate if we avoid the most important issue?

Can we find a way around?

No. The situation is direr than most media commentators acknowledge. Organizations such as FAIR and Center for Immigration Studies (also testified during Senate hearings) have deeply imbedded in the minds of Americans that immigrants take their jobs; that immigration is net cost to taxpayers. This is simply not true. If more people are willing to work for less, more wealth is created. This wealth stays here. People have more money to buy things, government collects more in taxes. The part of the anti-immigration rhetoric is that only rich people benefit from the work of immigrants. If we go this path we can also ask the government to slow the technological progress as with every innovation rich people get richer before everybody else can benefit. After all, being entrepreneurial also means the ability to find cheaper workers. If Americans want to benefit from the dynamic economy, they have to be prepared that their jobs can be done cheaper and better by someone else. That someone else might be an immigrant. Or if we will not let them in, that job may move abroad.

Talking about technological progress, immigration takes blame for it as well. For example, construction workers are against increased immigration. Not long ago, it took weeks for a team of carpenters to build a frame of a house. Now walls come prefabricated. It takes a crane, one skilled man and one unskilled helper to put the house frame together within hours. That unskilled helper might be an immigrant, but this is not the reason that carpenters are losing their jobs. Similarly, not long ago computer programmers were prima ballerinas. Now they are produced by the millions in Asia. Software programming became commoditized. Unless you are a superstar, you cannot make as much as before. Again, Americans blame immigrants and outsourcing for this change.

The border protection as envisioned by immigration opponents and adopted by the Gang of 8 is laughable. By policing the border they will be able to prevent illegal border crossing as much as the government was able to stop production and distribution of alcohol during Prohibition. As long as jobs will be here, people will find the way to cross the border illegally. If physical protection will be perfected, bribing people we hired to guard the border will become the most common way to cross the border illegally. However, if all measures to stop people from coming and working here will be more effective than now; more jobs that these people could do will go abroad. In that sense the physical borders will become irrelevant. Advocates of protecting American jobs will need to ask for limiting foreign trade and disconnecting the internet connection with the outside world. Americans and the leaders on Capitol Hill need to decide if they want to be a part of global economy, or do they want autarky.

Until recently, most Americans opposed legalization of presently illegal immigrants. Recent opinion polls indicate that this has changed, and now most Americans accept that we have to find a way to let them stay here legally. The same change needs to happen in regards to expected size of legal immigration. The Gang of 8, together with other realistic politicians, needs to show some leadership qualities; they need to stand in front of Americans and tell them loud and clear that most of them are wrong on their views about immigration. They need to explain that if we want to benefit from the global economy, we have to take advantage of our infrastructure and stable political system, and be prepared to double the number of immigrants allowed for the next twenty years or so. After changing views of voters, they need to rewrite their proposal, making it simpler. If this is not accomplished, even if some lame immigration reform bill is voted in, it will be as effective in ending our immigration mess as any other Rube Goldberg invention.

About me

I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I live in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

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