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Legal Workforce Act would get Americans back to work

In his recent op-ed, “A failed experiment,” (The Hill, June 28) Markos Moulitsas ignores the facts.

The Legal Workforce Act could open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans by requiring all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. According to a recent poll, 82 percent of likely voters support requiring businesses to use E-Verify.

{mosads}Mr. Moulitsas’s claim that illegal immigrants hold jobs that Americans won’t do is completely false. Statements that Americans are not willing to do these jobs demean the hardworking Americans who actually do this work on a daily basis.

Millions of Americans hold agricultural jobs. In fact, 50 percent of U.S. agriculture jobs are held by U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. While it is true that some growers seeking seasonal agricultural labor face a unique difficulty in attracting American workers, the Legal Workforce Act has a longer phase-in for agriculture to help alleviate this issue. 

But if farmers really need foreign labor, they can obtain it legally. The H-2A guest worker program for agricultural workers has no numerical limit. However, this program does need to be streamlined to better meet the needs of those who grow our crops. The House Judiciary Committee already has had one hearing on the H-2A program and plans to look at other proposals to make it work better.

Illegal immigrants also hold jobs that pay high wages, such as construction. This is at the same time the unemployment rate in the construction industry is around 18 percent.

Congress should pass legislation to require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. It’s free, quick and easy to use. Persons eligible to work receive immediate confirmation 99.5 percent of the time.

While 24 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, 7 million individuals work illegally in the United States. These jobs should go to legal workers.

Washington, D.C.

Let’s give the People’s Budget a serious look

From Paula Klonfas

The third option in the budget debate — the People’s Budget—deserves our attention. It would create a budget surplus of $30.7 billion and lower the debt to less than 65 percent of GDP by the year 2021 — responsibly, using ideas most Americans support.

{mosads}The People’s Budget would end most Bush tax cuts but keep marriage relief, credits and incentives for families, children, and education, and add new tax brackets for people with annual incomes in the millions or billions. It would also impose a “financial crisis responsibility” fee on Wall Street, and tax financial speculation.

It would end corporate welfare for oil, gas and coal companies and tax corporations’ foreign income as it’s earned — so it can’t be hidden in tax havens. It also would reduce the Pentagon budget and require full military withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq.

It would establish a public option for health insurance, lower costs by negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies and remove the Social Security tax cap.

Economists say the People’s Budget is realistic, well-conceived, fair and do-able. It deserves your coverage, and consideration by anybody interested in seeing our nation’s health restored. 

New Paltz, N.Y.

Lobbyists, large firms skew tax-holiday debate

From Holly Sklar, executive director of the Business for Shared Prosperity, and Frank Knapp, Jr., president and CEO of The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce

In his letter, “ ‘Business group’ really not voice of business” (June 28), Kenneth Kies, managing director of the lobbying firm Federal Policy Group, maligned the Business for Shared Prosperity, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and 10 other business organizations who oppose a proposed repatriation tax holiday. Mr. Kies makes the ridiculous assertion that these business groups “do not include a single business.”

{mosads}Perhaps Mr. Kies is playing a word game common in partisan politics in that our organizations do not represent a “single” business but rather many businesses. The reality is that the Business for Shared Prosperity, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and the other business organizations that signed the letter to Congress, including the Main Street Alliance, American Made Alliance, American Sustainable Business Council and others, together represent more than 100,000 businesses and more than 200,000 entrepreneurs, owners, executives and investors.

Mr. Kies neglects to mention in his letter that Microsoft and Pfizer, prominent members of the WIN America Campaign lobbying Congress to pass a tax holiday, are Federal Policy Center clients. Mr. Kies’s clients want to convince Congress to agree to another repatriation tax holiday even though Congress and the nation have been burned before with this bad tax policy.

While we celebrate the right to have differing views on public policy, we regret that lobbyists for powerful corporations would seek to delegitimize and silence the voices of business people — many of them small business owners — who oppose them in the policy debate. 

Boston; Columbia, S.C.


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