Joshua Heath: Two friends sit at a diner and read the news

Opinion - santa clarita news
Jim and Bob, two friends from Burbank High School—class of 1960—sat together at Denny’s, eating omelettes and perusing their copies of the Los Angeles Times. Their hair was white and thinning and their clothes were clearly out of style, but that was no matter, for they had each other and the crisp feeling of the newspaper at their fingertips. Jim: I always marvel at the L.A. Times. How these kids write these stories, day after day, without fault. How do they come up with this stuff? Bob: Well, it’s a big world out there, there’s always something to cover, a day doesn’t go by without death and violence and sex, or something worth talking about. Jim: I suppose that’s true. But, do you know what I like to do when I read the newspaper? Bob: What’s that? Jim: Look for the connection between the stories. If you look closely, the articles really relate to each other, and show you something about people. Bob: Interesting, give an example. Jim: Sure, turn to the op-ed page, you see the column about immigration….“The Truth About the Undocumented.” Bob: I see it. Jim: Read the third paragraph. Bob: According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, undocumented immigrants, through their labor in key industries and consumer spending, generate $500 billion in economic growth per year. That figure is far greater than the $54.5 billion deficit the U.S. incurs supporting these individuals through the safety net and public education system. Jim: Do you understand what the writer’s saying? Bob: Sort of…. Jim: We run a $50 billion deficit providing immigrants government benefits and education. In return, they create $500 billion of wealth. That’s a pretty good investment, dontcha think. Bob: Yes, makes sense. We help them survive and they contribute right back….And yet, we get these illiterate talking heads who claim immigrants are a drain on society. Jim: Right? The reality is the other way around: society is a drain on immigrants. Now, turn to the front page, see the article “Congress Defends Subsidies to Big Business?” Bob: Yes. Jim: Now, in this piece, the idiots in Congress are saying the tax money we give to big business is fine, because it generates economic growth. The corporations create jobs with it. Do you see where I’m going with this? Bob: …It’s hypocrisy that society complains about subsidizing immigrants, and, yet, we’re okay with giving money to wealthy companies? Jim: Bingo! The immigrant and the fat cat CEOs do the same thing. They take our tax money, and contribute in return, the CEO by creating jobs, and the immigrant through his labor. Bob: And, yet, we demonize immigrants while defending handouts to the fat cats. Jim: Such a Christian way of behaving, dontcha think? Bob: But, why is there such a disconnect? Jim: Media propaganda. You turn on the news, you see hundreds of stories celebrating big business—very few that praise immigrants. Bob: Right, people listen to that stuff and develop their prejudices. They’re fed lies, they don’t know any better. Jim: Mhmm. Now, another immigration story. You heard about the murder of Kate Steinle, right? That nice pretty girl who was shot down in San Francisco by an illegal? Bob: Yeah, terrible. Jim: Well, here’s an article about how her killer just got off, a truly nasty thing. Apparently, because the bullet ricocheted off the ground before it hit her, the Jury said it wasn’t really murder. What a bunch of eggheads. You see the right wing up in arms over this, as they should be. Bob: He never should have been in America to begin with—the shooter, I mean. He had already been arrested for a bunch of other crimes. Jim: I agree, and the GOP is really politicizing the whole thing.They’re organizing marches around the country, Trump’s tweeting angrily about it. New laws are being proposed to get criminal illegals out of the country. Bob: Well, some of that could be productive? Jim: If it is done right. Now, here’s the kicker, though. Turn to the front page, then go to the national news section. There’s a big piece right front and center. It says 10,000 disabled people died last year waiting to be approved for social security benefits. Bob: Wait, what? Jim: Disabled folks applied for assistance, but the government was too understaffed to process their cases in a decent amount of time. Then they died. Bob: Would they have survived if they had been approved? Jim: Well, there’s a quote right here “It’s plausible that many would have lived longer had they received benefits…But, there is no hard data on this,” said Benjamin Veghte, vice president for policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance. Bob: In other words, many likely did die from not getting social security, but this country doesn’t care enough to figure out exactly who this happened too? Jim: You bet. But, read the paragraphs. There’s not one comment from a single Republican promising to do something, or heck, just simply expressing their outrage. Bob: It’s like 10,000 disabled people aren’t worth as much as one pretty dead girl. Jim: Now you see why I enjoy reading the paper this way?