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I remember vividly my first trip to Hong Kong, before the ChiComs took it over. It was run by the Brits, and we went over to do some television programs. I recall wondering, “How is this big plane gonna land on that little island?” Nevertheless, we did land safely and climbed into the shiny, chauffeured limos (albeit it smaller than the typical American limo) waiting curbside to retrieve us and our equipment.
Besides cars driving on the “wrong side” of the street, I also became acutely aware that, despite the fact that they were jam-packed, the streets, sidewalks and grassy areas were inordinately clean. There was no trash, bottles, paper, leaves, etc., littering these areas. Having departed from New York City, the contrast was marked, to say the least. “How,” I wondered, “could this be?” Here, it looked as if a tornado had swept through, picked up the trash and perhaps deposited it in NYC. (Anyone who has been there knows whereof I speak – trash everywhere, including steps, entrances to stores, gutters, subway entrances and stairs.)
After a second day, I was compelled to ask one of the TV executives what accounted for the “just swept” look of Hong Kong streets. To this day, I still recall how he pointed out the solution. The city fathers, with ease, had killed two birds with one stone. Actually, it came closer to three birds: 1) clean the city streets, 2) reduce unemployment and 3) curb illegal immigration. Hong Kong, a very wealthy city, sits a few kilometers across the bay from China, which is crammed with poverty-stricken residents (kinda like the U.S. vis-a-vis Mexico and Cuba). How did they do it?
When anyone came to the city fathers or social networks because of unemployment, there was an immediate solution, a policy. They were given a broom and a wheeled garbage cart and sent out to clean the streets and neighborhoods of Hong Kong; they were paid a day’s wages for every day they worked. As a result, the city streets were sparkling clean, people were employed and there was no problem with illegal immigrants coming in to take jobs the unemployed residents of Hong Kong would not take.
Unlike America, where many people are paid not to work, and in some cases are, in fact, rewarded for not working, like this instance: “A report from the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare on a single mother on welfare with two children making $29,000 a year is better off than a single mother making $69,000 a year and not on welfare. The citizens of Hong Kong literally earned their daily bread.
We talk about high unemployment in the United States, yet thousands of illegal aliens flood our porous borders regularly. Florida is full of “boat people” from Cuba, et al. Why? They come because they can find, and will do, the jobs that are “beneath” Americans. It’s not for small potatoes, either; an estimated $21 billion is sent back to Mexico alone each year. We understand why someone would swim across the river to make even minimum wage (or less) here in the U.S. But what about Americans? Why should Americans work?
A recent Senate Budget Committee report states that those who live below the poverty line receive the equivalent of $168 per day in government benefits in the form of food stamps, housing, child care, health care, etc., all subsidized by us. Conversely, working families had a median household income (in 2011) of $137 per day.
Let’s work that out:
1) Welfare: equivalent to $30 per hour for a 40-hour week
2) Workers: median income $25 per hour (But you pay taxes, so your take home pay works out to only $21 per hour.)
The streets and highways in Texas, where I lived as a youngster, were also relatively clean and litter free, and while we were only about 45 miles from Mexico, we had no real immigration problems then. A few illegals got through every now and then, but it was nothing like the flood today. Why? There was no reward for not working. Now that I look back, the streets and highways were kept clean by guys in black and white striped suits who were chained together at the ankles – “chain gangs,” they were called. When you were sentenced to hard labor, they meant hard labor.
Everybody worked, including us kids. As a result, there were no jobs that “Americans wouldn’t take,” so the illegal aliens (oops, sorry, “undocumented” aliens) had to try and find work at home in Mexico.
Among us, black, white, brown, male, female, there was this adherence to a biblical admonition that few could quote but all practiced religiously: “If any would not work, neither should he eat” (that is, at the public expense). This was a maxim among the Jews, and the same sentiment may be found in Homer, Demosthenes and Pythagoras (Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes). I am confident that few, if any, laborers in Hong Kong could quote 2 Thessalonians 3:10, but they, as did we, put it into daily practice.
Problem solved – no work, no eat. Result? No illegal aliens flooding shores for unfilled work spaces, no one sitting at home watching TV and having babies for a living.
Is that two – or three – birds?