What does the word, “American,” mean to you and to the world?
The question has nagged at me several times recently. I have been an American for somewhat more than 84 years. I was an American during WWII, when the word “American” meant “heroic,” “righteous,” “happy,” “the land of opportunity.”
I was an American when we instituted Medicare and other social programs, partly in response to the nightmare of poverty and racial and social bigotry, when America meant “compassion” and “justice.”
I was an American during Vietnam, when we were “arrogant” and “naive.”
The question returns now, during the Trump era, when I read the following article in the November 2, New York Times:
Judge Blocks Trump’s Plan to Bar Immigrants Who Can’t Pay for Health Care
The court ruling is the latest to derail administration initiatives to limit the admission of certain legal immigrants into the United States.
President Trump’s proclamation barred immigrants who could not prove they had health insurance or the ability to pay for medical costs once they became permanent residents of the United States.
A federal judge on Saturday blocked the Trump administration from implementing a policy that would require immigrants to prove they have insurance or the financial resources for medical costs in order to obtain a visa.
The ruling, by Judge Michael Simon of the Federal District Court in Portland, Ore., was the latest in a string of court decisions to derail administration initiatives that would limit the admission of certain legal immigrants into the United States.
Judge Simon issued a nationwide temporary restraining order preventing the government from carrying out a proclamation by President Trump that would have gone into effect on Sunday.
Mr. Trump’s Oct. 4 proclamation ordered consular officers to bar immigrants who could not prove they had health insurance or the ability to pay for medical costs once they become permanent residents of the United States.
The president had justified the policy on the grounds that immigrants were more likely to be uninsured, and that “costs associated with this care are passed on to the American people in the form of higher taxes, higher premiums, and higher fees for medical services,”the measure said.
Legal immigrants are three times as likely as American citizens to be uninsured, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.
Lawyers from Justice Action Center, Innovation Law Lab and the American Immigration Lawyers Association argued that the policy was “plainly illegal” and that it would cause immediate and irreparable harm.
The President’s “costs” justification for blocking immigration is bogus. Our Monetarily Sovereign federal government has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency.
There would be no need whatsoever for “costs associated with this care (to be) passed on to the American people in the form of higher taxes, higher premiums, and higher fees for medical services.” This is part of the big lie that has been fed to the American people for decades.
It became wholly untrue in August of 1971, when President Nixon took us off the last gold standard, removing all blocks to money creation.
The fact is that medical services to immigrants — and indeed to everyone who lives in America — could and should be paid for via federal financing: No taxes, no premiums, no fees.
But, Trump’s base hates immigrants, so Trump appeases them with fraudulent claims, which they are all too ready to believe.
While “dislike” may stem from many causes, hatred always stems from fear. Trump’s followers fear that immigrants will work harder, achieve more, and close the income/wealth/power Gap above them. In short, they fear immigrants because of Gap Psychology.
So Trump gives his haters excuses for their hatred. He tells them immigrants are criminals, rapists, and lazy takers, wishing only to receive free government benefits — all lies. But these lies give his base a “reasonable” rationale for discrimination and for barring immigrants from entry.
Throughout history, many of America’s greatest citizens arrived on our shores penniless, but they were determined to work and make their lives better. In doing so, they made America better.
Here are just ten of the millions of immigrants who would not have been accepted by the Trump regime:
1) Do Won “Don” Chang. Chang grew up in South Korea and moved to California in 1981 with his wife, Jin Sook Chang. He never attended university and worked in coffee shops growing up.
He and his wife, Jin Sook opened a 900-square foot clothing store then named Fashion 21 in 1984 in Highland Park, Los Angeles with only $11,000 in savings.
The store took off, and as they expanded to other locations, the store’s name was changed to Forever 21 otherwise known as XXI. The number of stores grew to 600, with 30,000 employees by 2015.
2) Jordanian native Mufeed Haddad landed in America with only $700, half of which he gave to his brother to buy a car. He was turned down for every job he applied for, even a position flipping burgers at a fast food joint.
The only work he could get was as a paperboy, which meant getting up at 2 a.m. rolling newspapers, and delivering them house to house until dawn. Ultimately, he founded Liberty Tax Franchise, gross revenue: $34.6 million
3) Andrew Ly Ly fled his native country after the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam in 1975. Ly lived for nine months in a Malaysian refugee camp before getting assistance from the United States Catholic Charity.
Coming to the U.S. in 1979 with just a dollar to his name, Ly settled in San Francisco. He lived for years with eight other family members in a two-bedroom apartment, learning to speak English as he attended classes.
In 1984, Ly and his four brothers pooled their savings to open the Sugar Bowl Bakery. The bakery saw great success and has expanded to a $400 million dollar business, and in 1993 the Ly Brothers Corporation was born. Ly has been recognized as the Bay Area’s “Most Admired CEO” and earned the “Immigrant Heritage Award.”
4) Vinod Dham came to the U.S. in 1975 with $8 in his pocket. He became the CEO of Silicon Spice, which sold for $1.2 billion in 2002.
5) Andrew Grove. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, when he was 20, he left his home and family and escaped across the border into Austria. Penniless and barely able to speak English, in 1957 he eventually made his way to the United States.
Grove became Intel’s president in 1979, its CEO in 1987 and its chairman and CEO in 1997. Grove oversaw a 4,500% increase in Intel’s market capitalization from $4 billion to $197 billion, making it the world’s 7th largest company, with 64,000 employees.
6) Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp, arrived in the U.S. when he was just 16 years old, and his family lived on food stamps. In 2014, he entered the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans at position 62, with an estimated worth of more than $7.5 billion.
7) Irving Berlin Born in Russian hut with a dirt floor, Berlin’s family fled the country after an anti-Jewish pogrom. He entered the country through Ellis Island and lived with his family in a Lower East Side tenement, where he became fascinated by ragtime and saloon music.
He wrote hundreds of songs, many becoming major hits, which made him famous before he turned thirty. During his 60-year career he wrote an estimated 1,500 songs, including the scores for 20 original Broadway shows and 15 original Hollywood films, with his songs nominated eight times for Academy Awards.
Many songs became popular themes and anthems, including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, “Easter Parade”, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, “Cheek to Cheek”, “White Christmas”, “Happy Holiday”, “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)”, and “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.
His Broadway musical and 1943 film This is the Army, with Ronald Reagan, had Kate Smith singing Berlin’s “God Bless America” which was first performed in 1938.[
8) Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1848 at age 12. When Carnegie was thirteen, his father had fallen on very hard times as a handloom weaver; making matters worse, their country was in starvation.
His mother helped support the family by assisting her brother (a cobbler), and by selling potted meats at her “sweetie shop”, leaving her as the primary breadwinner.
Struggling to make ends meet, the Carnegies then decided to borrow money and move to the United States for the prospect of a better life.
Carnegie started work as a telegrapher, and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges, and oil derricks. He accumulated further wealth as a bond salesman, raising money for American enterprise in Europe.
He built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J. P. Morgan in 1901 for $303,450,000. It became the U.S. Steel Corporation. After selling Carnegie Steel, he surpassed John D. Rockefeller as the richest American.
9) Artist Willem de Kooning born in the Netherlands, travelled to the United States as a stowaway on a British freighter bound for Argentina, and on August 15 landed at Newport News, Virginia. He stayed at the Dutch Seamen’s Home in Hoboken, New Jersey, and found work as a house-painter.
In 1927 he moved to Manhattan, where he supported himself with jobs in carpentry, house-painting and commercial art.
Some of de Kooning’s paintings have been sold in the 21st century for record prices. In November 2006, the American business magnate David Geffen sold his oil painting Woman III to hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen for $137.5 million.
A month earlier Cohen had already paid Geffen $63.5 million for Police Gazette by de Kooning. In September 2015, Geffen sold de Kooning’s oil painting Interchange to hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin for $300 million, the highest price paid for a painting at the time.
10) Thomas Peterffy was born in Hungary. When Hungary became a Russian satellite state, Peterffy and his family lost everything. He immigrated to the U.S. illegally. He had no money and spoke no English. He had a single suitcase, which contained a change of clothes.
By the late 1970s Peterffy had saved $200,000 and founded a company that pioneered electronic stock trades. In the 1990s he founded Interactive Brokers Group. Peterffy, 72, is now worth an estimated $12.6 billion.
Literally millions of people have immigrated to America illegally, and because of their strong urge to succeed, they are among those who have made America great.
None of them would have been able to “prove they had health insurance or the ability to pay for medical costs.” None of them would have made it here if a Trump administration had been in power.
Today, we have no idea how many potential artists, scientists, teachers, athletes, and civic leaders America has lost because of overly restrictive and cruel immigration policies.
How many have been turned away? How many have died in the attempt or been psychologically damaged by the trauma of being caught? How many have been deported? How many have been jailed or otherwise deprived of the ability to achieve greatness, all because of Trump’s appeal to xenophobia?
The danger and difficulty immigrants face shows them to be among the most ambitious, hardworking, and creative people — just the people who really make America great.
These potentially great people lost. America lost. You and I lost. And we never will know how much.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The most important problems in economics involve:
- Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
- Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
5. Salary for attending school
6. Eliminate federal taxes on business
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.
8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
9. Federal ownership of all banks
10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9%
The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
5 thoughts on “Does the word, “American,” mean, to you and to the world, “rich people, only?””
So true, Rodger. And nativists shouldn’t be so smug in thinking it can’t happen to them next. Because as history shows, slopes are a LOT slipperier than they appear. Imagine if Ann Coulter got her way and people who didn’t pay for the full cost of their own private health insurance were banned from voting. Yes, she actually seriously proposed doing that a few years ago. A stealth poll tax, basically. And what’s next? Making health insurance a prerequisite for all other civil rights perhaps? Not good at all.
Empathy and compassion are not GOP strong suits.
We are not so different, assessing erstwhile immigrants without a thought for what they can achieve. It is just as venal as Trump. Trump must actually know especially with his own background as child/ grandchild of an immigrant from Germany. As we say here, we are all boat people originally. [we have plane people now who overstay their visas, and only some get sent away]
Basically anyone willing to risk their life for a better chance, will be a good migrant.
As to success stories we have a post war Slovakian migrant, Frank Loewy, arrived with nothing who founded Westfield a multi billion dollar developer of shopping centres.
He is just one who springs to mind.
One difference here; if you default on your mortgage you can surrender the keys and walk away. Here the debt will follow you around.Bankruptcy is more stigmatised here.
Citizenship will no longer be automatic for children of some US military members living overseas
The Trump administration is making it more difficult for the children of some US service members and US government employees living abroad to automatically become US citizens, according to a policy alert released Wednesday by US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The rule appears to primarily affect the children of naturalized US citizens serving in the armed forces who have not lived in the US for a required period of time, a relatively small number — estimated to be approximately 100 annually, according to a Defense Department official. It does not impact anyone born in the United States.
The policy took effect on 29,October 2019–
There are many paths in this world, but if there is a mean-spirited, xenophobic path, that is the path Trump will take. His followers will march happily behind.