"I am hard-pressed to see a need to make English the official language. When I was growing up on the Iron Range I heard many languages and many variations of the English Language. Most of the Immigrant miners and their children grew up to be English speakers. The same is happening with our current wave of immigrants."
So saith our 8th District Representative, James L. Oberstar. I think he is wrong.
Never mind that conducting the business of government not only in English but in multiple languages raises expenses and is a burden on the taxpayer.
Never mind that states are required to provide driver's license tests in any language the immigrant want to take the test in.
Never mind that once they get the license, they can't read the road signs and are a menace to other drivers.
Never mind that Clinton's Executive Order No. 13166 gives every non-English speaker the right to demand an interpreter. For example, if a doctor fails to provide an interpreter to non-English speaking patients, he can be prosecuted for violating the patients' civil rights.
Never mind that illegal aliens are marching through our streets carrying signs that state their demands in Spanish.
Never mind how often we are told to press one for English, two for Spanish.
Never mind that a recent news article featured a Hispanic woman who has been living here for 11 years but needed an interpreter to give witness. Anti-assimilation or slow-witted?
I have Oberstar letters dating back to 2002 on this subject. The message is always the same. His mind is closed and he continues to be oblivious to all of the above.
Beverly J. Norlander
McCain's vague promises
The White House "increased its estimate for next year's deficit to nearly $490 billion, a figure that will saddle the next president with deepening budget problems. But the deficit is actually much higher, because creative White House accounting didn't include the wars, the unemployment costs, Medicare fees, or the housing bill in its calculations. If those numbers are included, it brings the grand total to about $600 billion.
In his new position paper, "Jobs for America," Sen. McCain promises to balance the federal budget by 2013. In the paper he promises to veto all pork barrel earmarks. These are generally estimated at $15-20 billion annually. As he plans to continue the Bush tax cuts, it is unclear where we will find the other $580 billion in annual savings. The new president will also face at least $450 billion in annual interest payments on a $9.7 trillion total deficit, of which $4 trillion was added during Bush's eight years.
McCain is not the first candidate to make a vague and impossible campaign promise, but I do miss the old "straight talk" version of the senator.
Rolf E. Westgard
ROLF E. WESTGARD is an associate chair of the Crow Wing County DFL.
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