What would you do to a couple of rich guys who brought workers in from Mexico illegally to work in their state of the art manufacturing plant and paid them only $2.66 an hour? What if they brought them in on a travel visa, not a work visa, making it illegal for them to work in this country? What if they paid them by direct deposit into a bank in Mexico, as opposed to an American bank subject to American regulators? What if they got caught and you’re the judge?
A: Fine them into bankruptcy for violating U.S. immigration laws and ripping off hard-working laborers?
B: Fine them into bankruptcy while fully prosecuting them and using them as an example with a multimedia national PerpWalk?
C: Quietly let them off with a $6,100 civil penalty fine?
The reason this column exists is because you are not in a position of power to pick “A” or “B.”
Eric Kurhi and Brandon Bailey reported in the San Jose Mercury News that Mexicans were bused 1,300 miles into northern California to do welding and other jobs, which I presume U.S. citizens within a 1,300 mile radius of heavily liberal, wealthy Democratic Sunnyvale, California, refuse to do.
The men worked 51 hours a week for Bloom Energy and were not paid overtime. They were provided fabulous motel accommodations and 50 dollars cash each day for meals. Cash is, quite coincidentally, difficult to trace. If any of this appears to be accidental and certainly nothing like high-end human smuggling, consider the method of payment. The workers were not paid in U.S. dollars or in U.S. checks that might be easily traced. They were paid their handsome $2.66 per hour in pesos via transfers to a bank in Chihuahua, Mexico. Oh, Chihuahua!
Oops. Sorry. Oh, Chihuahua! This is all some unfortunate error that could not possibly have been planned. The illegal visas, the low pay, the bus, the bank transfers in Chihuahua, the cash for meals, every bit of it is just some terrible coincidence that could not possibly be planned, for if it was, then that would illegal immigrant smuggling. That would be human trafficking for illegal purposes and we certainly cannot believe that these wonderful people who happen to deposit millions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers to offset the real cost of the energy they sell would do anything untoward. After all, Bloom Energy is “green,” well-connected to the Democratic Party and its crony capitalist connections stretch from Sunnyvale, California, to Delaware.
In Delaware, the Governor is so impressed with Bloom Energy’s “Green” marketing that he compelled his fellow Democrats who control every branch of state government to declare Bloom’s natural gas fuel a “renewable energy.” Considering natural gas has a tendency to dissipate, the state legislature in your state could use the logic of Delaware Democrats and declare oil to be renewable, too; just pour your used engine oil into the ground and voila! It gets renewed! Please pay no attention to the Governor’s campaign contributions from one of Bloom’s biggest investment firms. Please disregard the Governor’s payments to a PR firm and activities to create his “national brand.”
While Fisker is often called The Delaware Debacle, the Bloom funding scheme could be the Bloomdoggle*. Considering the energy industry is arguably the most highly regulated industry in the U.S., how difficult would it be for a state government to compel a power company to siphon money from their unsuspecting Delmarva Power customers to a company, Bloom, that promises to build something brand new and “green:” big boxes of chemical reaction energy production? Not a problem if traditional investment vehicles, tax breaks and infrastructure incentives are involved. But if the plan is too controversial to risk public rejection, one could simply command the power company to bill its customers a little extra and pass that money straight through to Bloom. No one else in the state pays. Only Delmarva Power customers, who have now become unwitting venture capitalists without dividends or stock to cash, whose monthly investment is not even shown on their monthly bill.
The Bloomdoggle* is not as ham-handed as the Sunnyvale Smuggle … and certainly not as obviously prosecutable … but it does make one wonder, “How do they get away with it?”
*Bloomdoggle: Government scheme of putting citizens’ money into the pockets of politicians’ corporate cronies without the citizens’ permission.
© Copyright 2013 Rick Jensen, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.