More McKinley Redux

Richard Florida's recent article for the Washington Monthly, "Creative Class Warfare" is a must read. Of the many excellent points made therein, his discussion of immigration and America's economic future, is especially critical right now. Florida lays out the indispensability of immigrants to the American economy's competitive edge in no uncertain terms, and then goes on to demonstrate how the Bush administration has shot us in the foot on so many levels by making immigration for creative types, entrepreneurs, intellectuals and other educated foreigners unattractive. That could have worked twenty years ago...where else were they going to go? But that doesn't fly today. The world is flush with burgeoning creative capitals, and the U.S. has to get out there and compete like everyone else.

Instead, we get the current immigration proposal focusing on migrant Mexican labor. If giveaways to the coal industry didn't make it clear, then surely it is obvious now that Bush's platform is pulling its issues from the history books. When you think about America and immigration in the 21st century, and then you hear Bush talk about regulating Mexican labor flows, an abiding problem for the last 100+ years (or whenever California became a state), as his bid for a watershed policy change, you start to realize just how out of touch Bush is with all of the lines of national debate Clinton opened. And how deeply pessimistic and insular this country has become. It's not just the lingering feeling of September 11, its this administration and their mission to turn back the clock on American progress.


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