Susan Barnes-Gelt, "inspired by the intelligence, work ethic and generosity of spirit of the Mexican people" after a recent vacation down there, says Colorado should provide in-state tuition for illegal aliens. Firing back in the March round of Head On TV debates, John Andrews says that idea flunks, it's "flat wrong." John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over Wall Street bonuses, the union card check proposal, road and transit funding, and Obama's mandate - if any. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for March: 1. IN-STATE TUITION FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS
John: Something like 20 million individuals from Mexico and other countries are illegally present in the United States. Public policy should discourage them from staying here, not encourage them, especially at a time of rising unemployment and declining tax revenues. The proposal giving illegal aliens in-state college tuition is flat wrong.
Susan: Just back from 2 weeks in the Yucatan, I am again inspired by the intelligence, work ethic and generosity of spirit of the Mexican people. Ensuring the children of undocumented immigrants who depart their wonderful country to find work, are educated - is in America's best interest.
John: Stop the cameras, I’m getting verklempt. Seriously, Susan, our family has enjoyed Mexico’s hospitality as well, though today with the drug cartels I’m not so sure. But that has nothing to do with cheap college for immigration lawbreakers. On the rule of law and fiscal responsibility, that idea flunks.
Susan: These kids aren't criminals anymore than the offspring of a Klanner is a racist. There will be no fiscal impact to the budget, students must seek citizenship and the bill comports with proposed federal legislation. An educated workforce is good for Colorado. Republican opposition is - at best - myopic.
2. COLORADO TRANSPORTATION TANGLE
John: Everyone agrees Colorado needs safer roads and bridges, increased highway capacity, and better public transit. But the Democrats don’t have a clue about how to get us there. First they increased the car tax 250 million. Now they want to decrease existing funds 300 million. Colorado drivers end up worse off.
Susan: Colorado drivers are hampered by decades of inadequate investment in roads, bridges and transit. Thanks to a state budget crippled by TABOR, we lacked shovel ready projects and Colorado was 49th in dollars from the federal stimulus. That and RTD's utter incompetence put us way behind.
John: Forty-ninth in stimulus wasn’t TABOR’s fault. Ritter and Colorado’s DC Democrats pulled off that gem. Meanwhile in the state, as I said, Dems want to take away with one hand more road dollars than they gave with the other. And they want to double the RTD tax. How absurd.
Susan: RTD got legislative support to go to the ballot, prior to building consensus among the metro mayors. And until the agency makes key management changes and civic and political leaders get it together, the voters won't bite, This train's been hijacked by a ship of fools.
3. MICHAEL BENNET'S FIRST TEST
Susan: Senator Michael Bennet must navigate between Scylla and Charybdis. Bennet must chose between business and labor when he casts his vote on the Employees Free Choice Act, easing unionization of businesses by eliminating secret-ballots, allowing workers to sign a form prior to voting.
John: Free choice is the last thing this bill provides. It would force unwilling workers into unions, and drive up costs through arbitration. Harmful to prosperity and liberty. But Democrats love it as a pipeline for campaign funds. Is Bennet a party hack or his own man? This vote will tell.
Susan: If the issue were that clear - Bennet wouldn't be on the hook. Heavy handedness by big labor is matched by intimidation and bullying of big business. It's tough to organize a workplace where conditions, pay and benefits are fair. Both sides need a new model.
John: Come on. Labor bosses have had the advantage over employers under federal law for 70 years. Even with that advantage, fewer and fewer workers are choosing unions. Hence labor’s desperation for the easily manipulated card check instead of secret ballots. Card check will prolong the recession. Bennet should vote no.
4. AIG BONUSES & WALL STREET WOES
Susan: The Ain't I Greedy boys - aka AIG - are paying out $165 million in bonuses - nearly matching their $173 million federal bailout. The administration lacks legal authority to retract these payouts. Is nationalization of banks & financial institutions a better answer?
John: “Too big to fail” was never a good idea. Not last fall under Bush, not this spring under Obama. Nationalization of the big boys, whether in finance, automaking, or any industry, is absolutely the wrong way to go. Government should sell its shares, quit micromanaging, and let bankruptcy take its course.
Susan: I'm frustrated too by the behavior of the big boys - the banks, GM and Wall Street. However, if your house is built of wood and your neighbor, smoking in bed, set his on fire, you're going to call the fire department. Punishing the miscreant comes later.
John: It’s the American people who are getting punished by the economic incompetence of this president. AIG paid bonuses because the White House dropped the ball. The stock market erased trillions in wealth because investors have no confidence in Obama and his clueless advisors. This isn’t the change we were promised.
5. OBAMA'S FIRST TWO MONTHS
Susan: Obama inherited the worst economy since the 1930's and two wars. Despite the nattering nabobs of negativism - a majority of Americans continue to have confidence in his steady as we go demeanor. It took 8 years to get into this mess. It will take more than 90 days to get out.
John: Voters are giving Obama a honeymoon, but no greater than they gave other new presidents. Early mistakes have proved he’s all too human. Lobbyists, earmarks, a snub to Great Britain – the list goes on. Does he want to fix the financial crisis or just exploit it? Please, Mr. President: focus.
Susan: If Americans wanted 4 more years of the Bush agenda, McCain would be president and Congressional majorities wouldn't be so strong. The Dems won a mandate to change direction and implement their policies.
John: Voters gave Obama no mandate to body-slam the economy with a carbon tax. No mandate to roll back welfare reform. No mandate to give a billion dollars to Hamas with its agenda of exterminating Israel. No mandate to let Congress continue with earmarks. That’s not the change we were promised.