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Arizona and Washington

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Echoing Claude Rains’s famous line in Casablanca, Richard Cohen rightly ridicules Arizona politicians’ latest effort to “round up the usual suspects” (“Casablanca West: Arizona rounds up the usual suspects,” April 27).  By demonizing immigrants, these politicians exploit voters’ misinformation about the economic consequences of the alleged devils.  Good for Mr. Cohen to expose politicians’ gaudy and dangerous toadying to voters who wrongly believe that immigrants are greedy leeches on the economy.

Sadly, the witch hunt in Arizona is playing out on a larger scale in Washington.  Congress is rounding up the usual suspects.  It is demonizing largely innocent and highly productive folks, only a minority of whom suckle at government’s teat.  Congress is exploiting the prejudices of voters whose understanding of who these alleged devils are, and of what they do, is infantile.  Self-righteous bullies such as Sen. Carl Levin are feathering their own political nests by stoking the misconception that evil leeches are preying on the economy – leeches that, we’re assured, must be burned off the body-economic by the Capitol’s high priests and priestesses.

In fact, compared to this inquisition by Congress of financiers, bankers, and insurers, Arizona Republicans are rank amateurs in the dark arts of inflaming popular prejudices against unjustly maligned and feared minorities.

Donald J. Boudreaux