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Graham: Social Security cards should be revamped

August 11th, 2007 · 5 Comments

South Carolina’s Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Tuesday, August 7, 2007, he will introduce legislation to replace all paper Social Security cards with plastic biometric cards that “can’t be duplicated”, so employers can be certain of the legal status of their workers. Because of course, businesses that hire illegals would be absolutely shocked to find out that Umberto the bus boy’s social security card, made with perforated business card stock from Staples, and signed in Crayola crayon, might not be authentic.

Senator Graham,

For the sake of liberty, please stop your proposal to change the social security card in your crusade against immigrants. Your recent efforts to bring about biometric social security documents are claimed to help ensure workers are legal, as part of a border security initiative. How quickly you forget that the hijackers of September 11, 2001 entered the country legally with visas.

What makes you think the social security card you propose will make us any more secure as a nation? What makes you think that the businesses hiring these illegal workers wouldn’t just break the law again and pay them illegally with cash, with the bonus of pocketing taxes from the unreported income, like many businesses already are? We need to make it easier for American businesses to hire immigrant workers, both in physical labor and skilled labor markets, from both impoverished and developed countries alike.

Your proposal will have no positive benefit to the American people, unless you are an American person working for an ID card manufacturer. You also claim the new cards will be tamper proof. Senator, if you think any modern method for printing ID cards is tamper proof, you know nothing about the digital age. At the very least, be careful how you market these cards: for you may be remembered and held accountable for selling us “tamper proof” cards if they are one day tampered with by highly motivated hackers working for international intelligence agencies or working for well financed terrorist groups. I assure you, Senator, that they will be quickly cracked by hackers, possibly even before they are issued to the general public.

But for that matter, what kind of super-powered high-security ID card are you going to issue, that will cost 300,000,000 Americans $8-$10 billion? At that scale, at $26-$33 a piece, I would expect these new social security cards to organize my contacts, have a built in 4-function calculator and AM/FM radio, and play MP3s. Take that $8-$10 billion of our money that you wanted to spend, and save it for a rainy day.

I know funds are tight these days, with so much money being spent domestically on American infrastructure, education, and health care. So consider this instead: at $995 per person, you could buy 161,000 American soldiers a first class flight home from Baghdad for under $2 billion — less than 25% the cost of your proposal. It could have been almost exactly $2B, but since thousands of soldiers like my cousin Michael died in Iraq so far, you can fly them back in the cargo hold at a much lower rate.

Our soldiers belong with us at home, defending us from global aggression. You could even put some of those soldiers on our borders, defending us from the true threats to our borders — organized drug and weapons smuggling by Mexican paramilitary — instead of having our forces decimate the desert on the other side of the world. I would go on about how it is the prohibitive American drug policy encourages international black markets and international crime. The war in Iraq, like the war on drugs, is a massive failure. If we can’t win wars, maybe we should avoid fighting. I’ll stop here and let you return to defending us against the true threat to our nation – counterfeit social security cards.


P.S. Maybe also you should fix the Social Security system before you fix the card.

Tags: Government & Politics · My Thoughts

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Constantine Ioannidis // Aug 12, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    I’m sorry but I have to disagree, so what if the Social Security system goes bust by the time we retire? The important thing is that we will have a Plastic social security card that we can keep for years to come and give to our grandkids. I think you should have included a realistic solution to the immigration problem. Such as shutting down the Staples corporation so Umberto cant buy Crayola crayons to sign their fake Social Security Cards.

  • 2 Rantings of a New Yorker » Blog Archive » Senator Lindsey Graham Wants Plastic, Biometric Social Security Cards // Aug 15, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    […] an effort to control illegal immigration, Senator Lindsey Graham wants to recreate all Social Security cards with plastic, biometric ones […]

  • 3 Petra // Sep 24, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    I agree. there is to much money spend in such stupid things. money that can be used for education or other important things.I also think that the Soldiers should stop fighting the presidents’ battle and come back to there nation.

  • 4 Ryan Skelly // Oct 31, 2007 at 4:41 am

    For a while, SS cards were laminated; my grandfather has one.

  • 5 Kathy // Dec 22, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Social Security cards are used by Senior Citizens as their insurance cards as well as people with disabilities. The little paper card does not last long. Why not provide a laminated secure card which would not only protect the system from illegals but from anyone who would try to steal benefits. It would not be a waste of benefits to provide this protection and only makes common sense. What other companies provide paper cards?? Not Visa, MC, most company ID’s military all have some sort of protection, if nothing else against the weather. This is not the 1800’s.

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