Saturday, October 3, 2009

Board member's shocking, cruel reaction

"If they've got buyer's remorse and don't like what they have, then they can go back."
-Caddo Parish School Board member Barry Rachal

So here we have a what seems to be a clear-cut case of illegal activity: an unlicensed recruiter scams hundreds of Filipino teachers out of thousands of dollars, and keeps those teachers in what amounts to servitude.

And what does Caddo Parish School Board member Barry Rachal have to say about the victims?

"They signed an agreement, a contract," he told Shreveport Times reporter Icess Fernandez for this article, "and they were all thrilled to death to have a job in America and now they want to gripe about it. If they've got buyer's remorse and don't like what they have, then they can go back."

Except some of them can't go back, even for the Christmas holidays, because the recruiter is holding their work visas until the teachers cough up the vigorish they owe.

Rachal's comment might sound shocking and cruel, but it is also a symptom of what's wrong with American capitalism these days. If it's in the contract, it's OK. Whether or not the contract is with a corporation that operates legally, whether or not it violates principles of human dignity, whether or not any public agency has properly investigated the contract.

Get out of the way of business, and let business do what it wants. If people get hurt, so what. As Rachal puts it, "...sounds like they (the teachers) are not honoring their agreement."

That is the common thread running through the health care industry and the securities market that nearly brought us to financial collapse and the human trafficking at the core of our so-called immigration problem. Without regulation, oversight and prosecution of abuses, an unfettered "free market" can be very wicked indeed.

As any sports fan can tell you, all games need rules, referees and penalties. Otherwise chaos reigns. That's what happening in the case of these Filipino teachers. Politicians who can't see that are likely part of the problem.

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