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View Diary: America - The World Does Not Owe You a Living (186 comments)

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  •  Sorry I didn't see your comment until now. (0+ / 0-)

    1)  Mexico has a low tax structure, in many ways.  

    For example, my 2400 sqft solid stone and concrete 3 bd 2 ba house with pool in Mexico has property taxes of $45 US per year.  My 1100 sqft wood sheet-rock and cheap siding 2 bd, 2 ba, patio home in the US has property taxes of $4200 US per year.
     There is a 20% discount on my Mexican property taxes if I pay in January.

    IVA - value added tax - is 16% in Mexico.  Sales Tax in the US is 8.75%.

    Income taxes do not equate. I have no "Mexican income." If I had certain types of investments or bank accounts in Mexico, there would be various taxes. Generally, there are not income taxes for some types of workers in Mexico, but this is complex.  US income taxes are high for individuals and very low for corporations.  Mexican taxes on business can be tough, which is why much of the economy is off the books.

    The Mexican Federal government receives ~30% of their revenue from sales of crude oil from national oil company PEMEX, mostly sold to the USA.  This funds many infrastructure improvements and inflates the bureaucracy, which actually does serve the public in many ways. Government service is a major employment sector.

    2)  Social Welfare Network. Yes and no. There are basic food supports for the poorest in most areas. This depends on the honesty of local officials, sadly. There are "dispensas" in case of emergency, hurricane, other natural disasters. A dispensa is a regularly provided package of basic foodstuffs.  These should not be discounted as they can be major sources of nutrition.  Dispensas are provided, paid for by state governments, for example when the fishing season is limited for two months to allow fish stocks to replenish.  Everyone who is a fisherman receives dispensas during that time.  Taxi drivers or others who falsely claim dispensas are often turned in by their neighbors who believe dispensas only go to the deserving.  Any one could be next on a list for dispensa services depending on what happens.  Again, the adequacy depends on the honesty of local officials.

    There are subsidized cooperative/govt/Social Security food stores with lower prices and limited selections.  Basic staples are available at very reasonable cost. There are different types of these, but basically, commercial grocery stores are supplemented with other subsidized food stores.

    SS health care is available to nearly everyone with "on the books" jobs, i.e., those which file government tax returns.  For those who have no "official" job, there are large public hospitals.  Quality of the services depends on the honesty of state and local officials, but people are known to have large protest marches (1000s of people) if there are blatant cases of injustice. The activism of the people is a check on dishonesty in government.

    There are no direct payments for "not working", exactly.  What the governments does, in the case of the suspended fishing season for example, is line up public works jobs and/or training.  The fishermen would then be paid a basic wage for reporting to city hall each day, attending training (engine repair, reading, whatever, usually something applicable) or things such as painting light poles, park benches, sweeping streets, repairing sidewalks, etc.  During your two month period, you may learn to repair outboard motors (very helpful for fishermen), read a book and paint a lot of park benches.  They try to rotate everyone equally, but it is not always possible.

    In the case of emergency, there are organized corps of citizens, arranged through political parties, schools, government offices, public services and the military.  After a hurricane, throngs of trained people fill the streets checking on their neighbors, etc.  These are voluntary tasks people undertake as a part of being a good citizen.

    3)  Why come to the USA?

    a) opportunity.  Wages in Mexico for an albanil (stone mason) run around $100-150 US per 6 day week doing heavy, back-breaking, sun-roasted work.  That much can be earned in two days in the USA in a kitchen, construction, agriculture, etc.  So, money is a prime motivator.

    Approx 1.5 to 2.0 million subsistence farmers were devastated by NAFTAs dumping of US Federally subsidized multinational corporate corn into Mexico.  Prior to NAFTA these millions of people traditionally would grow about 1/2 their crops to feed their families and 1/2 their crops to sell for basics like salt, meat, sugar, etc.  After?  no market for their crops.

    Being treated "like dogs" is relative compared to starving to death or watching your children starve.  Subsistence farmers are "off the map" of government aid and primarily indigenous.  Prior to "border toughening," workers would flow back and forth across the border with the seasons, returning home with money and gifts for their families.

    With border toughening starting under Clinton, more and more immigrants began to stay, send for their family and set up home in the USA. It was simply too dangerous and too expensive to repeatedly cross the border any more.

    Thus, the immigrant population was burgeoning exactly because of border toughening, causing more calls for border toughening. People bought homes, started their own businesses, lived together in extended family units, saved, invested and became well established.

    Again, being treated "like dogs" by conservatives on the nightly news and treatment in many jobs are two very different things.  Restaurants, construction companies, factories, farms, service industry all desperately need (well, prior to the recession) workers.  They paid well (compared to Mexico) and were often run by other immigrants, documented or otherwise. So, there was an enormous economic opportunity and relatively small downside.

    Conservatives are determined to destroy that, of course, but they have no solutions for who will take the jobs.  See Georgia and Alabama news reports for recent examples of crops rotting, etc, because no Americans would accept field labor, etc.

    This is necessarily brief, generalized, and non-specific and there are many exceptions, but it is the best I can answer such a huge question in a comment.

    Please feel free to ask more specific questions, if you wish.

    Millions of Mexicans would never dream of leaving their country. But for those who are desperate, for those outside the regular system, for those more indigenous, for those whom our fucked up trade policies devastate, there is a huge shining beacon of money, jobs and opportunity.  Who wouldn't want to try their luck?

    The USA gets many of the most ambitious, hardest working, most dedicated workers from Mexico and we complain about it.  If there were opportunity - jobs - in Mexico, it is very likely they'd never leave.

    Hope this helps. :-)

    What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

    by YucatanMan on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:12:39 PM PST

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