Monday, March 10, 2008

New Jersey and Immigration

Today, when I dropped off some information with our accountant, I found him in a bad mood. He railed on and on about how New Jersey is going straight down the toilet - because of the immigrants that have, in his opinion, overrun the state. He talked about how high-paying professionals with small families were selling their expensive, property-tax generating homes and leaving the state while immigrants with low incomes and larger families were moving in and straining the state's coffers by not paying much into the system (according to him, immigrant families not only have more children, but they families also share single-family homes to save money, so they pay less property taxes too).

I thought - oh, my god - another racist, narrow-minded individual. Do I really have to listen to this? But after I left his office, I started thinking about his point. It's certainly true that a larger family(ies), living in a single house definitely pay less property taxes, per capita. It is likely that the state has to subsidize the children's education. So these people are benefiting from the state.

But isn't that the purpose of the government - to serve its people?

Why is he singling out the immigrants? The accountant's error lies in believing that the immigrant families are the only beneficiaries of the state's largess. Far be it from the truth: the accountant himself is leaching off the government by finding tax loopholes for clients such as myself; state workers are cheating/leaching whenever they get a family member, who is not qualified, hired into a government post. The list goes on and on.

I think that when things aren't going well economically, people look outside themselves for blame. For better or worse, it seems like my accountant has found his personal scape goat for all the ills happening in our lovely state.