When I started writing
these commentaries five years ago, I called them “Warning Signs” because
I wanted them to reflect the many problems either being experienced or which
needed to be anticipated before they grew worse.
At the risk of sounding like some old Biblical prophet full of lamentations
and foreboding, it needs be said that, in 2004, there are plenty of problems
to address, not the least which will be the long-term effort to suppress
and end the terrorism gripping the world, thanks to the Islamic Jihad that
began in the late 1970s. We can anticipate more “high alerts” in the year
One problem growing larger by the day is that of illegal immigration into
the United States and, for incomprehensible reasons, the Bush administration
seems determined to make it worse. On December 9, the head of our Department
of Homeland Security proposed an amnesty for the eight to twelve million
illegal aliens already here and, this month, abandoned the National Security
Entry-Exit Registration System, NSEERS, that required non-immigrant males
from 25 terrorist-sponsoring nations to register with the INS. Since its
inception following 9011, it detained 14,000 lawbreakers while registering
83,000 foreign nationals.
Illegal immigrants are draining taxpayers just to pay for the costs of their
hospitalization. The new Medicare prescription drug plan includes a billion
dollars to cover those costs. We should not be underwriting these costs that
are estimated to be a minimum of five billion annually and, probably, a lot
more. When illegals show up at a US hospital, they should be reported to
the INS and deported. The drug plan, while popular among America’s seniors,
will bankrupt the Medicare system that is already tottering on bankruptcy.
On the energy front, the cost of natural gas has experienced an 83% increase
over the last 41 months. It has cost residential and industrial consumers
$111 billion dollars more during that period and it will get worse. The US
is blessed with enormous natural gas reserves, but thanks to the environmental
opposition, moratoriums on drilling remain in place. The same holds true
for untapped oil and coal reserves, both of which remain blocked. Meanwhile,
our electricity distribution grid was built largely in the 1950s and is in
desperate need of upgrading and expansion. If not, look for more big blackouts.
The obscenity that is our nation’s educational system will continue to produce
children whose test scores in virtually ever subject, will remain well below
those in other nations. Controlled from Washington, DC in league with the
National Education Association, the teacher’s union, parents are at a loss
to protect their children from the ignorance imposed on them. The grip of
the NEA must be broken. State and community control must be returned. Nothing
in the Constitution authorizes the present system. The coercive drugging
of thousands of school children deemed to have “attention deficits” or of
being “over-active” is criminal.
Property rights continue to be under assault by federal and state funded
programs that put more and more of the nation’s landmass under the control
of the government or private environmental organizations. Homes and properties
of private citizens are being seized or controlled using such devices as
the designation of wetlands, the Endangered Species Act, and “conservation
easements,” among others.
The Patriot Act, passed by a Congress that didn’t even read its provisions,
poses a direct threat to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution freedoms
Americans take for granted. It must be either significantly amended or abandoned
in favor of a less threatening administrative coordination of our intelligence
and law enforcement agencies. That’s not likely to happen.
These are just a few of the problems that lay ahead.
Alan Caruba is the author of Warning Signs, published by Merril Press. His weekly commentaries are posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.