Monday, August 01, 2005


Well, we didn't spend an extra night at the hotel we were in near San Diego (actually Chula Vista, just south of San Diego) as I thought we might in an earlier post. Every room was already reserved. Off we went to Encinada, just north of San Diego, where we found a hotel with a vacancy. We spent the rest of the day driving around La Jolla and Encinada and going to the Mount Soledad Memorial. The latter is the place where the ACLU is trying to have a large cross removed from the monument.

The next day we backtracked a bit and headed south. At the Mexican border, we parked the van and then walked across into Tijuana. We were surprised to find that there was no Mexican security at the border, no customs agents, no-one. We simply walked through a turnstile and were in Mexico.

My wife and I have been in Mexico before, in three separate visits to three different areas. We were prepared for the beggars, the little children trying to sell gum and the many men chasing us down the street while trying to sell us silver trinkets. It was the first visit to Mexico for our son and he was very uncomfortable with the experience. He was surprised at the poverty, at the dingy appearance of everything and mostly that children far younger than he had to beg or work to help support their families. I had told him all this before, of course, but I guess seeing is believing. He felt especially sorry for the little kids and for two amputees we saw begging for change. Why doesn't the government take care of these people, he asked.

He knows why. It was a hypothetical question. Mexico is corrupt. Mexico lacks investment because it is corrupt, fiscally unstable and poorly managed. Without investment, there are few meaningful, well-paying jobs. Without jobs, there is little tax revenue. Without taxes, the government can't do much.

That is always the way though, isn't it? The first words out of our mouths whenever we perceive an ill somewhere that needs to be righted, are either "There ought to be a law," or "The government should do something about that."

No and no. There too many damn laws already and the government screws up everything it touches. Want prosperity? Guarantee property rights, non-confiscatory taxation and a rule of law. In one generation, prosperity will come. Guaranteed.

I like the Mexican people. They are industrious, family oriented and friendly. I have never had a bad experience in Mexico. With a little work, Mexico could be booming. It won't happen in my lifetime.

Perhaps someday, when my son takes his son to Tijuana, things will be different.

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