Immigration reform

With the passage of an immigration reform measure by a bipartisan group of members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, some advocates of long-awaited change are allowing themselves to hope. If President Obama has been nobly ambitious when it comes to taking on politically charged issues such as health care reform and gun control, he might be called a glutton for political punishment in advocating that the nation address a long-simmering lack of direction on immigration.

But the president is right to make this a priority. As millions of illegal immigrants have come to the United States over the years in search of higher hopes and better lives for themselves and their children, they have become targets of political opportunism on the one hand and exploited members of the agricultural workforce on the other.

But the Senate committee would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who passed pretty tough muster, and that path would take years to navigate, though illegal immigrants would be granted a degree of legal status in the meantime.

Opponents of providing such a path to those who have worked in the U.S. and raised children here and who have been law-abiding apparently hold hope that, somehow, all illegal immigrants can be deported. Deport 11 million people? That’s unrealistic.

Would it not be better to bring these people out of the shadows, have them pay taxes and buy health insurance and share the responsibilities that citizens share?

— News & Observer of Raleigh, NC

Carte-blanche taxation

President Barack Obama has consistently insisted that the wealthy should pay their "fair share" of taxes. Sounds fair enough — assuming that you can trust the Internal Revenue Service to play fair.

But how much of a person’s income — or a company’s profits — is government’s "fair share"? And how high can taxes go before they become not just unfair but unproductive in generating government revenue?

That defining debate persists. However, there should be no debate about the folly of elevating taxes on the rich to this ludicrous level, as reported last week by Reuters.

Fortunately, though, France’s Constitutional Council, which more or less serves as the nation’s highest court, has rightly ruled the truly confiscatory tax rates on the well-to-do to be "unfair."

The Socialists now plan to inflict that extra bite on companies instead of individuals — another sure formula for further stifling France’s long-struggling economy.

At least some Americans who favor hiking taxes on the rich in our country recognize that President Hollande has stretched that concept beyond the bounds of reason.

So when deciding what a "fair share" of taxes should be, recall the ill-advised slaughter of the title character in Aesop’s "The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs."

— Post and Courier of Charleston, SC