Fifty Bucks is Fifty Bucks

There was an older couple who religiously attended the annual county fair. Each year, Ed would want to take a helicopter ride over the county, but each year Ethel refused to allow it, ending the conversation with, “fifty bucks is fifty bucks.” After twice seeing this conversation happen, the helicopter pilot approached the couple and offered a deal: “I’ll take you up in my bird, and if you can both stay completely quiet, I’ll let you ride for free. But, if you can’t stay quiet, you’ll have to pay the fifty bucks.” Ethel agreed, counting on her nerves of steel.

The pilot took them up and did all he could to make them scream or plead to be taken down. He climbed and dived, swayed side to side, barreled straight for a mountain and pulled up at the last second. As he landed at the fairgrounds, he spoke through his microphone to the back seat, “I’m amazed! I did everything I think this bird can handle, and you haven’t let out so much as a gasp! You win!” Ed replied, “I almost said something when Ethel fell out, but ‘fifty bucks is fifty bucks.’”

Often the same kind of thinking enters politics. For example, there is a hidden resource in Utah. In a state that has a record low 2.3% unemployment, companies are begging for qualified people .And there are capable people with a desire to fill those jobs. However, many in the state legislature want to take away the opportunity to do so based on a decision made for these potential workers by their parents and others.

There has been a big push recently in Utah among “conservatives” to revoke the opportunity for illegal immigrants to avail themselves of in-state tuition to the state’s colleges and universities. Why? Because “illegal is illegal.”

Consider the benefits of allowing these students in-state tuition:
– Companies continue to come to Utah seeking better-trained workers.
– The immigrant community is more integrated and less marginalized.
– Better education means better wages, which builds the economy of the state and the stability of that economy.
– Most immigrants being bilingual, they can improve global business opportunities and relationships for Utah companies.
– Utah produces a smarter, better-informed, better-trained, better-equipped, population to face the challenges of the future.
– The U.S.-citizen children of these graduates will have better education, health-care, literacy, housing, etc. because of the ambition of their parents. This will decrease the state’s expenses on caring for these children.

I’m sure there are others I haven’t thought of. Now for the downside: “illegal is illegal.” Some would have to swallow their nationalistic, xenophobic pride. And it will cost more in the short run. I think it is well worth the cost to invest in a better state.

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