Coming to America means something different now
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
(Reprinted from November 4, 2009 Current-Gazette Weekly Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties of New Jersey, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/news.php?id=5404)
My great-grandparents came to this country 100 years ago. They worked long hours, got little pay, and lived in awful, cramped apartments. But within 10 years they spoke English and had skilled jobs and comfortable homes.
Their children (my grandparents) went to excellent public schools that were run by and for the public ? not the unions. Schools were so inexpensive that taxes were minimal. Only English was spoken there.
Some of my relatives needed help, and they got it, but not from the government. There were dozens of volunteer groups and clubs (like our Atlantic City Avoda, UNICO, Ye Olde Tymers, etc.) that taught job skills, and loaned money to start businesses, go to college, pay doctor bills, etc.
Everybody got by, even during the Great Depression. Some rented rooms and served meals to paying boarders. Others used their cars as taxis and jitneys. (Now, of course, all this is illegal).
That generation of immigrants, their children, and their grandchildren all loved America. There was a big American flag on every house on July 4, Decoration Day (now Memorial Day), and Nov. 11, Armistice Day celebrating the Great War, later known as World War I. Families gathered for Thanksgiving dinner and sincerely thanked God that they were lucky enough to live in this country.
Like my grandparents, most immigrants today come from poor, miserable countries. Today, they are from places like Pakistan, Mexico, and Bangladesh instead of Poland, Italy, and Ireland. Like my great-grandparents, today?s immigrants want better lives for themselves and their children.
But my great-grandparents admired America, and idolized George Washington and Abraham Lincoln long before they came here. They knew America was great and prosperous because it was a land of liberty ? which was all they came here for.
Many of today?s immigrants have been taught since childhood to hate America. It?s not their fault. If their oppressive and corrupt governments told them the truth, that our system of liberty brought prosperity to America, their people would demand that same liberty in their own countries.
Most schools, mosques, and even churches in these countries teach that we Americans are rich because we cheat, rob, and exploit people around the world and make them poor.
These lies are believed because our own Hollywood movies give that same message to audiences overseas. Why are their no portrayals of American soldiers as heroes in Iraq? Why are American government officials and business owners so often portrayed as villains who cheat, steal, kill, and trash the environment?
I meet too many immigrants who came here not for liberty, but to steal back the wealth they think we stole from their country in the first place.
The ?multicultural? curriculum of our public schools gives that message. So do all the free food, medical care, college, gas, electricity, and even free cell phone programs we say they are ?entitled? to.
But the worst abuse is in real estate. When I read the dozens of sheriff?s sale notices in the daily newspaper, and look up the deeds and mortgages online at http://www.atlanticcountyclerk.org/onlinesearch.htm, I see patterns like this.
In 1999 Mr. X buys a beat-up house on some alley in Atlantic City for $80,000. He gets a mortgage for 95 percent of the sales price and pays about $8,000 at settlement. In 2003, Mr. X gets the house appraised at $150,000, refinances 80 percent of that value and walks out of closing with another $40,000. Already, Mr. X has made a 500 percent profit on his $8,000 investment.
The mortgage loan is given by a big bank that makes a big profit in upfront fees. Future mortgage payments are guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, agencies of the U.S. government.
But it doesn?t stop here. In 2005, Mr. X sells the house to one of his broke relatives for $200,000. The U.S. government again guarantees a $190,000 mortgage loan. Mr. X collects another $50,000 on his $8,000 investment. The relative can?t afford $1,900 a month and soon stops paying the mortgage. He goes bankrupt. After two years of living rent-free, the bank finally forecloses and takes back the house.
Then the bank sells the house cheap for $70,000. Who buys it? Would you believe one of Mr. X?s children, complete with an $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit?
Sure, home-grown Americans also do these scams. But people who outsmarted oppressive and corrupt governments in the Old Country for years are better at it.
Did any candidates talk about this during the election? Why not?
For information visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussion groups are held 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Athena Diner, 1515 New Road, Northfield.