For people struggling to survive in California watching the news during another campaign season may be a bit depressing, especially if some of that news concerns the truckloads of political money flowing to finance campaigns for politicians and propositions and knowing those decisions will soon affect, for better or for worse, you and your family.
Since California presents higher poverty rates than the rest of the nation and since Latinos and African Americans seem to have higher poverty rates than other groups, according to one analysis by the PublicPolicyInstituteOfCalifornia, any citizen who struggles and dreams of finding better life opportunities needs to engage with all ideas presented and then vote.
And voter beware, because politicians are really good at hiding things they do not want you to know. Because if you realize those things they do not want you to see in an election year especially, you may actually get angry enough to show up and vote against them or their pet projects.
Finances and a small business
Three stories highlight things that concern everyone’s finances. The first story is from the NYTimes about a woman who runs a cash-only Mexican restaurant who is not accused of anything but making cash deposits under $10,000: “Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required.”
Yes it happened, a surprised Carole Hinders said. For about forty years she ran her Mexican specialties restaurant as a cash only operation and deposited her earnings into a small branch bank just a block away from her business. Last year two Internal Revenue Service agents knocked on her door to inform her they had seized her checking account which had $33,000.00 in it at the time.
She was not charged with any crime wrote Shaila Dewan. “Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.”
Hinders asked what we all might ask. “How can this happen? Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?” (Apparently the government can. See how important lawmakers are? Choose wisely this year.)
In an Association for Psychological Science article the statement is made that while logically it seems voters should be able to tap into lots of information when they make their election decisions, it turns out “there’s a lot more going on when we step behind the curtain to cast our ballot.”
Samuel Popkin, a political science professor at University of California-San Diego quoted in the APS story on politics and the brain, argues that “it makes sense for average citizens, who are worrying about their own lives and the week-to-week struggles of surviving, to follow the leadership on issues they don’t understand or don’t care enough to learn about.”
We apparently have a mental “default” setting, but if it is not working for us — as we notice issues that hinder our society and officials do not seem able to resolve lingering issues– we need to re-think it perhaps.
Take the two issues being raised for years now of minimum wage and illegal immigration, for example. What do you believe to be the best answers for your current situation and future dreams?
In a report entitled The Impact of Illegal Immigration on the Wages and Employment Opportunities of Black Workers given by the United States Commission on Civil Rights Commission, the commissioners reported a dramatic situation for some in our nation.
Wage trends and illegal workers
Professor Gordon Hanson’s remarks were stated in the report:
“Professor Hanson … began his remarks by noting the dramatic rise in U.S. immigration, which rose from 5 percent in the 1970s to 12 percent by 2006. According to Dr. Hanson, immigrant workers make up one-seventh of the American workforce, and illegal workers account for one-third of the total immigrants now in the U.S. Dr. Hanson stated that around 60 percent of illegal immigrants have less than a high school education and compete for low-skilled jobs with native workers. He observed that economic theory would predict downward wage pressure as the result of the increase in the supply of workers in the U.S. economy. He noted the disagreement among economists, however, as to whether the data allows such a conclusion, indicating that studies on wage trends in different local labor markets often find small effects, and studies that look at wages on a national basis find larger effects. He stated that the strongest adverse impacts would be felt by workers competing for jobs with immigrants directly, that is, by low-skilled native workers.”
Undocumented student and immigration enforcement
The second news story to consider is the one heard recently. Here in San Diego, Fox5News reported the recent situation of an undocumented Harvard student who was stuck in Mexico after leaving the U.S. to get medical treatment for his dying mother. The family of the Harvard student came here illegally when he was just two years old and had nothing to say in the matter. Dario Guerrero Meneses, 21, took his mother back to Mexico in July to get alternative cancer treatment. She died, however, and when Dario tried to return to the States he was denied even though in 2012 he was “granted a temporary reprieve under President Obama’s Dream Act” along with thousands of other young illegal immigrants who have grown up in the States here.
And another report, this from the Migration Policy Institute described last year in USAToday, brought news that the Obama administration spent a hefty $18 billion on “immigration enforcement.”
That is a lot of money in many people’s minds, especially the working poor and the voting taxpayers who are trying to make ends meet each month and finding it very, very difficult.
The third news story came a few days ago and involved the shooting deaths of two sheriff employees by a “falsely documented” and twice deported man in Sacramento County. Daniel Oliver, a sheriffs officer, and Michael David Davis Jr., a sheriff’s detective, were “… killed in the line of duty…” according to a press release from October 24th by Governor Jerry Brown’s office.
The shooter was here illegally, a fact not mentioned by Governor Brown’s press release. “The man accused in a shooting rampage that left two sheriff’s deputies dead and a motorist seriously wounded was living in the United States illegally. He had been convicted in Arizona for selling drugs and deported to Mexico twice,”according to Elliot Spagat of the AssociatedPress.
An opinion piece from Assemblyman Tim Donnelly at Breitbart questions what to do with politicians in California however in lieu of this shooting and considering the Trust Act (AB4). He stated:
“[Luis Enrique] Monroy-Bracamonte’s alleged crimes would have been deemed minor under this law, and he would have been ‘legally’ permitted to remain here, had his arrests been in California instead of other states. That means this policy endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and even some police chiefs, are complicit in protecting this dangerous man from being deported before he allegedly committed this unconscionable double-murder.”
In an Examiner interview this month with one of the local candidates, Thomas Krouse for Assembly District 76, he made comments about the immigration issue not being dealt with for decades and pointed out what seemed to him as the “passive-aggressive” bipolar activity of elected officials.
“We have gotten to a point where politics is so much around image that people are afraid to say ‘yes, but’ … can we at least ask a question?” He referenced the website No Labels organization which states: “… America has been lost for some time, veering from crisis to crisis with a government in perpetual gridlock.”
This November choose to take better control of the local, state and federal situations. Plan to take a portion of your lunch time over the next days, perhaps, to research each candidate and proposition on your ballot.
It is important, because many better-financed individuals have been pouring money into political campaigns and advertisements that were intended to confuse you unless you spend time thinking about what you need and how it relates to these current candidates and their policies.