Today I want to make a parallel between private business and national business.

Several years ago I was invited to participate in an inquiry about Hispanics and budgeting. Some of the concerns were teaching Hispanics how to budget and save money. Also they wanted to teach people not familiar with this economy how to make business plans and apply for loans. The students needed to have a good credit history. They were supposed to provide some sort of work history showing their stability and therefore guarantee payment of their loans. When you make a sound business plan, you submit to the financial institution a very good picture of your probabilities. But, they have to be supported by what you have now. You cannot live on what you may or may not have five years from now.

What I’ve been learning is that federal projections work differently. Expenditures were being made based on a surplus that existed. Nevertheless nobody could guarantee that the ideal conditions that created the surplus would continue. Therefore, based on the best wishes of the U.S. administrators, states and federal government declared enormous expendable quantities of surplus.

Where is the surplus now? Was the national debt paid, to have a ‘good credit history’? Are we incurring into larger loans to pay the current debts? (That’s something that individuals are advised on! Never open more credit cards to pay other debts or subsistence needs.) That’s what I was told about budgeting in the U.S.A. Were there any savings or surplus to answer to the slide of the U.S. economy? An individual would be considered highly irresponsible if he/she would take on this pattern of spending and borrowing. When individuals make that personal choice they have to face the consequences. When the government makes the same mistakes, who pays for that?

At the same time that the budget is in crisis there is suddenly a lot of attention given to the immigration issue. Over the years, thousands of undocumented workers attracted by the factory owners came to work and pay taxes. Everybody now agrees that those workers are essential for the growth of the economy. But suppose the economy continues to slow down, and some Anglo workers need to come down on the labor scale. Will they be willing to take the jobs and salaries held by those foreigners? Is the discussion on immigration used as an object of distraction over more urgent issue of how the economy is being handled?

September 15 through October 15 has been designated as the month of Hispanic Heritage. Besides the usual focus on folklore, food, and music, we should ask ourselves how much have hispanics contributed to the wealth of this country? Who is managing that wealth? Let’s look for some answers.