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May 21, 2006

Big Changes

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Steve Sailer has put up an important posting outlining what the effects of the Senate's immigration bill are likely to be. Read it and then kiss goodbye to the America you knew and perhaps even loved. The Senate, in effect, is saying: "Hey, America, you're tellin' us that you think immigration rates are too high and that immigration is out of control? You're sayin' that you're worried that demographic changes are happening a little too dramatically? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet!"

Have I ever made it explicit that a theme of my contributions to this blog is Our Elites Have Turned Against Us?



posted by Michael at May 21, 2006


I have an off topic request. Could you change your rss feed so it displays more than half a sentence? I would prefer the whole post. :)

Posted by: wildsiesta on May 21, 2006 4:10 PM

I think there's reason to be skeptical about the projections of 100+ million new immigrants over the next 20 years that conservatives are throwing around. (For a good counterargument see this column by Alan Reynolds.) My own sense is that even if the various legislative proposals really did propose to do what the critics say they propose, they would never be enacted because Americans are too divided on this issue for one side to force its program through. It's like abortion, another issue on which Americans have strong opinions but are divided. IMO, as long as debate is kept within the political process the final outcome is likely to be a messy compromise that completely satisfies no one but (unlike many of the current proposals) is both politically achievable and an improvement over the current situation.

I'm sure that this political process will take some time and be accompanied by much argument and demagoguery. Hysterical accusations of racism (from the Left) and of letting the country be overwhelmed by immigrants (from the Right) are, unhappily, part of the game, but in the end I think that our political system will probably produce a result that most of us can live with.

Posted by: Jonathan on May 21, 2006 4:39 PM

Jonathan, I think you are too optmistic. At a minimum, any amnesty of the current illegal population will bring in 50-60 million because of chain migration.

Even if the American public turns against it after it's enacted I can't see any court allowing Congress to undo the chain once it's in place. Not a chance with the amount of judicial activism on today's bench.

Posted by: John on May 21, 2006 7:34 PM

It's like abortion, another issue on which Americans have strong opinions but are divided.

Talk about taking your talking points straight from the New York Times...

Posted by: blah on May 21, 2006 8:48 PM

What, again? Didn't massive waves of unskilled immigrants with their foreign languages and stinky food already ruin our country once, back at the beginning of the twentieth century?

Posted by: Questioner on May 21, 2006 8:56 PM

As a native Texan, my feelings toward the "immigration issue" are mixed, as are most of the country's.

On the one hand, I am crying "foul" at the changes in Texas culture because of the huge influx of immigrants from Mexico; on the other, I understand the special connectivity my state has with Mexico and its peoples.

The true cure to the problem is to make the hiring of illegals a felony, punishable to the fullest extent of the law with very stiff monetary and personal freedom penalties. If the job market dries up, so logically follows the illegal border crossings.

But, of course, legislature's long suit has never been played with common sense.

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on May 21, 2006 9:08 PM


When you call our Senators "our elite," I think you're living in the past.

Posted by: john massengale on May 21, 2006 9:35 PM

It's strange ... for all the national hysteria over immigration, I just can't get interested in the topic.

Posted by: Peter on May 21, 2006 10:15 PM

"All Things Considered" on NPR has been talking to county sheriffs along the Mexican border and so far there has not been one who thinks it's POSSIBLE to close the border. The guy today said, "Sure -- put up a triple wire fence. I guarantee you that in a week half of it will be in Mexico on pig pens and chicken coops."

Even up here on Canadian border where drugs and ordinary merchandise go back and forth through ranch backyards, one often-crossed cattle guard was fixed up by the border patrol with an army surplus motion detection device under the grid. The border guys went back to the port to wait for the signal that someone was crossing, but no signal ever came. When they returned to check on their device, it had been stolen.

What are we going to do, set up machine gun nests all along the border? Too many people are reliving the prairie clearances when Indians were pushed out of the way. Now they're coming back. Okay with me.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on May 21, 2006 11:05 PM

Wildsiesta -- I'm barely aware that we have an RSS feed at all. But I'll ask our webguy if he can execute what you're asking. Thanks for the interest.

Jonathan -- I admire your optimism!

John -- The chain migration-thing is quite a phenomenon, isn't it?

Blah -- Civility, please.

Questioner - So you're welcoming huge population increases and massive ethnic power struggles? I don't find either prospect appealing, but there's no accounting for tastes ...

C. Pattie -- Odd, isn't it, that Mexico makes it so much harder for Americans to move in their direction? Mexico's immigration policies are much tougher than the US's are.

John -- I may well be, it wouldn't be the first time, god knows. But can you spare an explanation?

Peter -- Funny how some news topics grab a person and some don't, isn't it? Hmm, that's not a bad topic for a posting either: why some news topics grab you and why some don't (and which ones those'd be...)

P. Mary -- I dunno. Numbers like 100 million give me the willies. I'm not sure we're likely to see anything like that total coming from the north ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 22, 2006 12:01 AM

"All Things Considered" on NPR

Yeah. They have an agenda. So, watch for that.

Walls have been around for many thousands of years, and if they were ineffective they would have been abandonded many thousands of years ago as well.

Pig pens and chicken coops? There are walls that seem to be holding up pretty well, despite the well-known availability of explosives in the area. Seriously, kids. If the intelligent people out there are willfully trying not to get a clue, then we're pretty much doomed.

Anyway, any numbers they throw around are pure estimates. Immigration will stop naturally when equilibrium is reached, ecomomically and otherwise:

1) When wages are the same in the US and Mexico, no one will move to the US for better pay.

2) When the cities in the US are as dismal as in Mexico, then no one will move to the US for a better life.

3) When the government is as corrupt in the US as in Mexico, no one will move to the US for "Freedom."

Numbers 2) and 3) are pretty near equilibrium anyway I suppose, though in some ways the Mexican goverment is superior to any facet of the current American government.

Posted by: onetwothree on May 22, 2006 12:46 AM

Fun new detail: the Senate (er, Teddy Kennedy) also wants any illegals who are naturalized to get Social Security:

"Also on Thursday, the Senate rejected an effort to limit Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants who would become permanent residents under an immigration overhaul."

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 22, 2006 1:36 AM

I just wanted to confirm that I find the partial RSS feeds very very annoying!

(I view them on bloglines). For the record, Michaal, unlike most blogs out there (which show complete feeds within the RSS reader), your weblog shows only the first 10 words of each article. I often decide whether to read your essays on the basis of those first 10 words!

(Let's not exaggerate my annoyance. It just means I have to click onto the URL instead of reading exclusively within the rss feed reader. not a big deal since I know your stuff is worth reading anyway.

Posted by: Robert Nagle on May 22, 2006 1:46 AM

A hundred million immigrants from the north would just about wipe out the Canadian population!

When it comes to reports on the Mexican border, I certainly don't trust any federal law enforcement person. Sheriffs on the ground know what's what.

Of course, it's daunting that the way some kind of illegal-stopping parity will be reached is by the U.S. life deteriorating. But we seem to be on our way.

You mean NPR has an agenda and Fox News does not?

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on May 22, 2006 7:51 AM

I realize this is a secondary issue, but I wonder how this will play out in the 2006 election.

My personal, underinformed guess is that, as the Republicans take a hard line on illegal immigration, the Democrats are seeing their near-term chances slip away and Dubya's forward-looking strategy of attracting morally-conservative Hispanic voters to the GOP fold is also slipping away. Both sides must be very, very nervous. But I am eager to educated on this matter.

Posted by: jult52 on May 22, 2006 8:06 AM

As to the Social Security for immigrants deal: A lot of people don't realize that a worker can get credit for Social Security payments even if he never made any payments, and neither did his employer, as long as he was working and his employer SHOULD have been making payments and deducting money from his pay. I know, speculative, but can you see this at some point being applied to every illegal immigrant - with income imputed to at least minimum wage? I can. Hello Social Security bankruptcy, not twenty years from now, but NOW.

Posted by: Robert Speirs on May 22, 2006 8:08 AM

Michael - Re: Elites Turned Against Us

George Bush has pushed for a guest worker program, complete with the big lie about “jobs Americans won’t do,” since Day One of his presidency. Chambers of Commerce and the Wall Street Journal are not particularly elite, but just representative of self-satisfied burghers who don’t give a hoot about the long term as long as they have a few bucks in their pocket today.

Bush was never with “us” on this one, but many citizens just ignored this hard fact because they thought that Bush was going to give them what they wanted in other areas.

There never was much “border enforcement” when Bush was governor of Texas, so exactly why would anyone expect a change of heart when he became president? By the way, the same is true of past Democratic governors of Texas as well, since in that state business interests are stronger than political interests.

Cowtown Pattie -- Re: Texas Culture. Texas “culture” was originally Mexican culture. Ironic, isn’t it? Tejas only became Texas because a critical mass of non-Mexicans wielded enough clout to pull the area away from Mexico.

By the way, historically, the immigration laws were a lot like Prohibition. The Mexican-U.S. border (like the U.S.-Canadian border) has always been porous. Economic interests and other factors determined whether or not large numbers of people came over. Same thing currently. Pass any law you want, and people will come over if they perceive a greater opportunity in the U.S.

I was also explaining to someone how during the Dust Bowl, Californians tried to keep out those ignorant, backwards, degenerate Okies. Laws were passed and border patrols set up. Some of the ambivalence from Californians today about immigration comes from people who still remember that they and their parents were seen as undesirables. They even had people back then who could “prove” scientifically just how inferior those Okies were.

Enforcement of current laws might help. Some serious attempts to reform Mexico’s oligarchy would help more. Unfortunately, George Bush is very comfortable with oligarchies.

A further irony: Illegal immigrants are sending billions back to Mexico. And yet some of them would lose their rights if they became US citizens and their American born children would have severely limited civil and economic rights back in Mexico. But I think it very unlikely that illegal immigrants will continue to stand for this, and may ultimately forge the stick to beat down Mexico’s oppressive oligarchy. Thus, in the long run, the immigration mess may shake up both the US and countries south of the border in ways we can barely imagine (how about a Texas-Arizona-California secession from the US to form an independent nation with parts of northern Mexico?).

Americans voted for an open borders president. Buyer’s remorse is a bitch.

Posted by: Alec on May 22, 2006 8:46 AM

My lack of interest in immigration is mostly likely a reaction to its grotesque overhyping in so many places. In the media and especially in the blogosphere, immigration has been transformed into some sort of apocalyptic, our-future-hangs-in-the-balance critical issue. Right along with such other things as Global Warming, Islam is Going to Conquer the World, and the End of Oil. And yet, we always seem to muddle through somehow, with these apocalyptic issues never quite living up to the hype. And so, I am convinced, it will be with immigration.

Posted by: Peter on May 22, 2006 12:14 PM

A culture destroyed. Ours. And all for cheap labor. Obscene!

Posted by: ricpic on May 22, 2006 12:51 PM

Not all the future immigration will come from Mexico. Building a wall won't take care of that.

Also, it doesn't really matter what levels (tens to hundreds of milions) are allowed for in the legislation. The legislation won't be enforced anyway, just like it is now. Multiply any outrageous figure by 2 or 3 times. Then you will have an accurate picture.

Why is this taking place? The American financial empire is collapsing. Foreigners are beginning to dump US dollars for other currencies. This means all the dollars will return home. There are only two places the dollars can go--into financial markets, which hold them, like a sponge, until people finally buy something real with them, or into real things immediately, such as real estate, commodities, food, and what not. Notice the big increases in those items lately? Just you wait!

Also, America is in hock to the tune of approximately 50 trillion dollars, and it is rising. The corrupt bankers and businessmen are paying off the politicians to massively increase the population in order to have them borrow massive amounts of dollars to pick up the slack from foreign dumping. In other words, import huge foreign populations and make them use the dollars. Also the huge alien influx will smash wages for everybody, helping to keep our spending on commodities low, so the money will stay in the financial markets.

Anyway, you cannot understand this immigration issue without understanding economics. It is useless to do so--none of the rhetoric makes sense. Our country really will be destroyed, and all to stave off the effects of a giant currency collapse and the ruin of Wall Street and the huge commercial banks. Now you know who really runs the country.

If you don't fight this tooth and nail, expect America to pass away forever and become a true third world nation. Even if you win, massively hard times are approaching.

Its all happening slo mo, though, as such big changes would cause panic and disorder worldwide. But it is happening. And the time to fight back and prepare for the dark days ahead is diminshing.

Posted by: Melda Laure on May 22, 2006 12:59 PM

Melda, excellent post.

It seems like so much of the American economy is built on population growth (housing being the prime example) that the driving forces here are very powerful.

The US population has peaked and will decline based on native birth rates.

Posted by: John on May 22, 2006 3:29 PM

Maybe Melda could point us to some resources laying down hard numbers. Otherwise...

Posted by: onetwothree on May 22, 2006 6:02 PM

Totally agree Michael. Deport'em all. After all, the huge increase in immigration from the 80´s onward has coincided with strong economic growth, low inflation, falling crime rates and vastly greater culinary variety. Who wants that multiculti liberal crap!

Posted by: masmao on May 22, 2006 7:30 PM

Melda Laure wrote:

Why is this taking place? The American financial empire is collapsing. Foreigners are beginning to dump US dollars for other currencies. This means all the dollars will return home. There are only two places the dollars can go--into financial markets, which hold them, like a sponge, until people finally buy something real with them, or into real things immediately, such as real estate, commodities, food, and what not. Notice the big increases in those items lately? Just you wait!

Nonsense. Why would anyone invest in dollar-denominated financial markets if the US "financial empire" really were collapsing? Our financial markets are booming and our economy is strong because productivity is higher than ever and higher than that of any other society in history. Commodity prices are high mainly because of demand from rapidly developing countries like China, not problems on our part. Our national debt is not a problem so long as real interest rates are low (they are) and we remain productive, in the same way that debt incurred by a business to finance expansion (increase productivity) is generally not a problem.

The real value of assets in our society, including real estate, commodities and financial assets, is high because US assets continue to offer an excellent combination of safety and opportunity and people from around the world choose to invest in our economy. Immigration is a great boon because it brings the brighteset and most motivated people from other societies to a place where they can unleash their talents.

The current immigration controversy is driven primarily by politics, not economics. The problem is a function of bad welfare-state incentives, US political decisions to avoid enforcing rules at the Mexican border and to restrict legal immigration excessively, and an incompetent immigration bureaucracy that makes following the rules into an ordeal.

Also the huge alien influx will smash wages for everybody, helping to keep our spending on commodities low, so the money will stay in the financial markets.

The USA has been accepting immigrants since the beginning, yet somehow our productivity, real per capita wages and living standards are the envy of the world. As for money somehow "staying" in the financial markets, how do you think investment assets earn a return if they aren't actually invested somewhere -- such as in real businesses that employ people and produce goods and services?
Now you know who really runs the country.

Please tell us. Is it the illuminati/Trilateralists/fat bald guys in top hats or what?

Posted by: Jonathan on May 22, 2006 8:05 PM

A national id and employer sanctions that are scrupulously enforced would solve the problem nicely via what the folks over at CIS (Center for Immigration Studies)are calling the process of "attrition." In other words, when illegals discover that they can no longer find emplyment easily they will drift back to their mother countries. BTW, it is good to see that a largely Jewish organization, which I believe CIS is (please correct me if I am wrong) has gotten on the right side of this issue; now we'll see some really sophisticated operations to influence elite opinion, and, hopefully, some results.

Posted by: Lea Luke on May 22, 2006 8:32 PM

Let's see . . .

Is the economy going down the tubes?
GDP growth in the last quarter: 4.8%

Oh, but everyone is unemployed right?
Unemployment rate in the U.S.: 4.7%

Aha, but all those jobs are poorly paid right? People aren't getting paid more!
Total compensation per hour up 3.6% (annualized) in the last quarter

But we've never had so many of those people here before!
The percentage of the population foreign-born has often been higher than now, see, for example, here:

So, though it has never before resulted in catastrophe for the United States to have high levels of immigration, immigration alarmists want us to believe that this time is different, that it's not just a problem but a IMPENDING DISASTER!!!!?

Look, I'm sympathetic to cultural arguments for immigration reform, but the laughable economics people put out (immigration is one of the few issues on which almost all economists agree, and I know you all will just say we're pointed-headed theorists, I'll refute that bromide later) to argue for it don't pass the laugh test.

Posted by: Chris on May 22, 2006 11:21 PM

(how about a Texas-Arizona-California secession from the US to form an independent nation with parts of northern Mexico?).

Speaking as a Texan, I'm down with that. Wait -- that means I have to spend time and $$$ educating Mexicans about how a democratic republic works.

No, the true solid answer is figuring out a way to bring Mexico up to first-world status. Slap some sense into their elites, diplomatically or otherwise. No reason we shouldn't demand more of them, not that I can see.

Of course, they're soon going to have a wave of South American illegal immigrants on their hands when the Bolivarian socialist finish wrecking the major economies down there. Assuming, of course, that Mexico doesn't go pink in the election their own selves.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin on May 23, 2006 12:47 AM


Unemployment is not 4.7%. The government gives several numbers on unemployment each month. That is the U-3 number, or the narrowest, happy one. The broadest measure is U-6, and that is almost 9%, last time I checked (two months ago). This number still doesn't count those who have "dropped out" of the labor force altogether. Tack on some sort of conservative estimate of these people (probably 1-2%) and you have the REAL unemployment figure.

The government seriously understates inflation for a variety of reasons, most prominently to hold its COLA rates low for Social Security payments, and also to artificially inflate GDP numbers. This is harder to argue than unemployment, because numbers are hard to come by. But anyone who thinks that real or "core" inflation is only 2% a year must have rocks in their head. Most people don't consider hedonic adjustments to the inflation rate, and other manipulations when they look at their pocketbooks. In summary, inflation is seriously understated, which also artificially inflates GDP.

As far as wage growth is concerned, who really cares about it if it doesn't keep up with inflation? Most long term studies show that wages for most people haven't really gone up in decades, and those on the lower end are losing ground. Also, it would be nice to see tax growth laid alongside wage growth. Also debt growth. Maybe some economist could make a name for himself by doing that. We could call it the "Real Honest-to-God Wage Growth Index".

Central Banks are slowly dumping the dollar. Gold and other commodities have risen by 100+ percent in the last 4-5 years. We have 40-50 trillion dollars worth of unfunded liabilities, a massive trade deficit (which shows NO signs of slowing down, even with the depreciation of the dollar). How is this good news? We didn't have this 30, 40, or 50 years ago. We are the greatest debtor nation in the history of the world. Most of our growth is debt-based, not real productive growth. Much so-called "investment" is really speculation, not investment. And hot money has a way of finding an exit when things get rough.

Look, you're not going to get an all or nothing argument from me. The American economy is huge and the rest of the world depends on it for a lot of things, most notably consumption and a safe haven for investments (and hot money). But it is rotting out through massive debt creation and unproductive investment.

And who runs America, the Trilateralists of the Illuminati? Well, neither. As I said in my post, I think its the huge commercial banks (who actually create our money, not the Treasury) and Wall Street. That's where all the money is. And he who has the money calls the tune. I think that's logical enough. You would do better to prove me wrong than call me a nut. But I guess that's what happens when somebody runs out of arguments.

Posted by: Melda Laure on May 23, 2006 8:44 AM

"A national id and employer sanctions that are scrupulously enforced would solve the problem nicely via what the folks over at CIS (Center for Immigration Studies)are calling the process of "attrition." In other words, when illegals discover that they can no longer find emplyment easily they will drift back to their mother countries. "

So let me get this straight. We scrupulously enforce a ban on immigrants working while still giving out free benefits to immigrants? And this is supposed to improve matters because the immigrants who actually want to work will go home? And we'll be better off only hosting immigrants that don't want to work?

The reason immigration worked so well for us in the 19th Century is because those immigrants landed in a largely sink-or-swim environment without public benefits. About a quarter of them went back to Europe with their tails between their legs. The rest succeeded and made all of us rich in the process.

Posted by: Ken on May 23, 2006 9:06 AM

Heard this morning that a vast majority of illegal immigrants get here legally, either through work visas or other temporary papers, then simply overstay their initial term. That sounds about right, although it's the first I've heard about it in The Media.

Posted by: the patriarch on May 23, 2006 9:59 AM


Seems like only "happy talk" is allowed about the US economy. But all the happy talk in the world won't change the real situation.

For the economist Chris who says that unemployment is 4.7% -- I assume you got that number from the BLS, right? Here's another number from the BLS: the unemployment rate is 8.7%. Your number is the U3 number. Mine is the U6 number, or the broadest measure. And on top of that, the BLS readily admits that it drops people out of the rolls who have been unemployed for a long time and not collecting unemployment insurance. So the real number of unemployed can conservatively be raised 1 or 2% above the U6 number. This would be 10-11% unemployment. Why do we need a huge influx of labor if we really have 10-11% unemployment? If you don't even know this about the BLS report, and econ is your job (its not mine), then why should we take you seriously at all on this topic?

Also, the inflation number is ridiculous. The government readily admits it plays around with the CPI numbers too. For instance, if a TV set is $300, but it has improved technology, the govt. will say that the "real" cost of the TV is only $225 dollars, "adjusting" for improved quality. But you still pay $300. This is called "hedonic" adjustment. Also, the CPI excludes food and energy costs due to "volatility". In other words, these costs fluctuate month to month. But so what, all prices fluctuate. And by volatility, they mean prices fluctuate around some set value. But what if that set value is actually rising, and rising fast, as in oil prices? Who really thinks oil is going back down to $20-30 per barrel? You see, the numbers are fudged. And the government admits it. Inflation is very much understated by the govt., to reduce its COLA adjustments to Social Security recipients and to keep the party going on Wall Street. If the real inflation rate is truly 5-6% a year, who really cares if wages are rising at 3.5%? You're still losing ground. GDP is overstated by a fudged inflation number too. And if all the illegals, both low skilled and high skilled, are allowed in to depress wages, as is the strategy, wage numbers won't go anywhere either, and if they do, they will still lag behind inflation. The question is only by how much. Also, any real wage number that doesn't adjust for increased taxation and increased debt obligations, personal and governmental, is silly. Totally meaningless. Where are the math nerds on that one? Why can't we get that number?

Foreign central banks are slowly dumping the dollar, and have publicly stated their intentions to, as the say, "diversify" their reserves. Who will buy all our debt (central banks buy govt bonds to earn interest on the dollars they hold)? Resource producers, such as Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and other want to trade their resources for euros, or rubles, etc. The asians are creating a common currency, like the euro,which could challenge the dollar and remove part of its use internationally (the ACU, or asian currency unit).

Lets face it, the US is and has relied on debt for its growth, outsourcing manufacturing to low wage countries to try to hide its monetary inflation and debt. The thing that holds it all together is a strong dollar used as the world reserve currency. Strong dollars mean low commodity prices, and higher purchasing power to buy all the foreign-made goodies. Other countries would hold onto our dollars and government bonds as assets, money in the bank, if you will, and a safe haven in a troubled world. But the dollar is losing its strength rapidly. Commodity prices are soaring, and those foreign made goodies are costing more all the time. Central banks which hold dollars are seeing their money in the bank shrink in purchaisng power, and they want a way out. And now, no matter how far the dollar falls, our trade deficits with the rest of the world will not shrink, but actually increase, since we import so much of our prosperity. We are getting poorer. So is the rest of the world that keeps our dollars. And they are looking for a way out. With the euro, the ACU, gold, and other options which will be created, they will have it. And we will get their poor in return. With the remaining purchaisng power of their dollars, they will buy up companies and controlling interests in natural resources, companies, and our debts. And we will, and are beginning to, lose our sovereignty.

This is the real situation. The rest is happy talk. Listen, if you are going to tell me that America has a strong economy and we are a prosperous nation, you won't get an argument from me. I'm not going to play the all or nothing game. But the rot is setting in. Our debts are soaring. We have an aging population with the staggeringly high unfunded govermental liabilities of Social Security and Medicare.And the bulk of our immigrants are low-wage dregs who will permanently do the work that teenagers used to do in the past. Look at the countries our past immigrants came from, and see how they are doing today. Now look at the countries where we are getting our current immigrants from, and see how they are doing today. Take notes. Compare. This is the future.

I also said that the Wall Street crowd and the large commercial banks really run the country. If they didn't, how can the Congress and White House try to ram through a plan to vastly expand immigration and legalize all who came here illegally, when it is opposed by 80% of the population? I don't know what a Trilateralist is, or an Illuminati for that matter. Maybe you can come up with some kind or real argument next time.

And for those who enjoy large foreign populations, I suggest this radical, but simple idea--get a passport! That way, you can see huge foreign populations, enjoy their culture and food, drop some of those increasingly worthless dollars around, and feel good that you helped the poor, starving natives. Then you can come back to America and work those extra pounds off by mowing your own lawn! See, its all very easy.

Posted by: Melda Laure on May 23, 2006 1:00 PM

I'm with the posters above who can't get excited about the deadly scourge of Mexican/Central American immigration. This alarm has been sounded before in our country's history, and with the same sort of caterwauling about the refusal of the (new) immigrants to assimilate to American culture. And yet the Republic survived, and survived, and survived again.

Hey, but maybe if Steve Sailer and Michael Blowhard and Lou Dobbs yell about it every five minutes instead of every ten, people like us will become interested due to sheer information overload. Kind of like a buffer overrun. Worth a try, right, guys?

Posted by: Questioner on May 23, 2006 5:39 PM

"I'm with the posters above who can't get excited about the deadly scourge of Mexican/Central American immigration."

Previous waves of immigration consisted of Europeans. Is this distinction something that Questioner regards as unimportant?

Posted by: Hugh on May 23, 2006 6:52 PM

Thanks Jonathan and Chris.

I don't want to be disrespectful but Melda Laure's post was one of the most worthless things I have read on this blog.

Posted by: grandcosmo on May 23, 2006 10:32 PM

If you don't even know this about the BLS report, and econ is your job (its not mine), then why should we take you seriously at all on this topic?

Michael likes things civil here, so I will only respond by saying that if you presume to assume what I do and do not know without either asking or any knowledge of who I am, perhaps you should drink a tall glass of STFU (again, Michael, apologies, but one asshole deserves another). I will be happy to debate with people about why the CPI is adjusted or the unemployment rate is measured as it is, but HOW DARE YOU tell me what I know, as if economists don't know where the numbers come from and are in some sort of asinine conspiracy.

Posted by: Chris on May 24, 2006 2:10 PM

Sorry about that last post, I don't want to be like that. It was very rude. Apologies. (I guess I see why this issue brings out the worst in people).

But I do hope people can see that on this issue, as on other economic ones, reasonable people (who aren't just naifs and fools who don't know about the super-secret real statistics) can disagree without being pawns or conspirators.

But, again, my tone was uncalled for.

Posted by: Chris on May 24, 2006 2:37 PM

I think we all deserve a big round of applause for showing how to be civil while discussing charged and vexed issues! Passions will run high. And if reasonable people can't disagree, then I'm quitting blogging right now. What would be the point?

Anyway, my own small contribution to the discussion is to ask a question: What do you (we, etc) want? I get a little surprised by the way disussions about immigration policy nearly always revolve around questions of morality-and-righteousness or economics, and almost never around what you (we, one, etc) want. Morality-and_righteouesness: Well, in my view, a case could be made that we should let everyone in, but a case could also be made that tough love would do the world more good (as in force Mexico to reform itself rather than lean on us as an escape valve). As for econ: I've seen studies saying that high Mexican immigration is a net plus, and others saying it's a net drag, but neither figure is huge. So as far as I'm concerned, those two discussions turn around and around in circles. The discussion about what we want seems to me to break us out of that circle. After all, we generally know what we want and what we don't want. (I'm down on crowding, and I'm down on dramatic ethnic re-writings, for instance.)

So: what do we want?

Actually, what really interests me here is why Americans are so shy about asserting what we want ... I'm not sure how to answer this question ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 24, 2006 2:47 PM

I happen to favor an extreme tightening of the immigration laws but it a) looks like it is not going to happen this go-round and b) would not be enforced anyway.

My main reason for this is cultural not economical. However I think the rise of political correctness in the USA in the last 30 years has reached a point where there cannot be a national debate on the cultural implications of runaway illegal immigration from Mexico, Central and South America without the anti-immigration side being labeled as heartless bigots or worse. So those forces (with the exception of a few national figures) just shrink away from actively debating the issue and thus cede the issue to the other side. Anti-immigration sentiment still shows up in polls by large numbers but the people answering the polls seem to be content to leave it at that.

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