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« Elsewhere | Main | Do We Make Too Much of Adolescence? »

June 07, 2007

More Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* For those who enjoy being reminded what a filthy game politics generally is, this David Kirkpatrick piece should fit the bill. Alaska's absurd Sen. Don Young -- responsible recently for the infamous $200 million "bridge to nowhere" -- is now earmarking $10 million for a Florida road that no one in its neighborhood even wants. No one, that is, aside from Daniel J. Aronoff, a real-estate investor with Florida holdings that will explode in value thanks to the road. Aronoff happens to have contributed to heavily to Young's campaign.

* A fun fact from Heather Mac Donald: "Welfare use actually increases between the second and third generation of Mexican-Americans -- to 31 percent of all third-generation Mexican-American households." (Link thanks to Steve Sailer.)

* Where our immigration policies are concerned, bleeding-heart types might want to consider the fact that, according to Business Week, even the legendary Keynesian economist Paul Samuelson thinks that

Wealthier Americans tend to benefit from the current wave of immigration while poorer Americans tend to suffer. A farmer in California may benefit from the inexpensive labor of illegal immigrants, while a construction worker in Texas sees fewer jobs and lower pay. A well-off suburban family may get lower-priced house cleaning or lawn care, while an engineering student has fewer companies offering positions.

Let's not forget Nick Lowe's song "Cruel to Be Kind," eh? Link thanks to George Borjas.

* And The Times of London reports a milestone in the making: "Muhammad is now second only to Jack as the most popular name for baby boys in Britain and is likely to rise to No 1 by next year."

* Clark Stooksbury reviews Bill McKibben's new book.

* Agnostic has some thoughts about boys who fancy "exotic" girls.

* DVD Spin Doctor reports that MGM's new "Sergio Leone Anthology" is a classily-done production.

* Scott Kirsner wonders how fast digital downloading is going to replace DVDs as many people's movie-harvesting mechanism of choice. Is the porn industry -- once again -- showing the rest of us the way?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at June 7, 2007




Comments

Muslims comprise 3% of the British population. That statistic tells us NOTHING, other than Muhammad is a really, REALLY popular name among Muslims. If it were a case of 'those damn Musselmen taking over' then Muslim names would dominate the rest of the list as well - they don't.

Here's the list:

1 Jack 6,928, 2 Muhammad (all spellings) 5,991, 3 Thomas 5,921, 4 Joshua 5,808, 5 Oliver 5,208, 6 Harry 5,006, 7 James 4,783, 8 William 4,327, 9 Samuel 4,320, 10 Daniel 4,303, 11 Charlie 4,178, 12 Benjamin 3,778, 13 Joseph 3,755, 14 Callum 3,517, 15 George 3,386, 16 Jake 3,353, 17 Alfie 3,194, 18 Luke 3,108,19 Matthew 3,043, 20 Ethan 3,020.

For Muslim girls? The most popular name was Aisha, in 110th place overall.

Posted by: omar on June 7, 2007 5:56 PM



is now earmarking $10 million for a Florida road that no one in its neighborhood even wants. No one, that is, aside from Daniel

This happens everywhere. Here in Rochester, we just recently got rid of our "fast ferry", a pork project foisted on the taxpayers by our former mayors over scads of dissent by the populace. $50 million bought us a ferry service to Toronto that was WAAAY overpriced ($40/person + $70 for your car), took longer than simply driving and operated for a total of seven weeks. Not to mention we also lost a significant portion of our water front area for a new "Port of Rochester" that now sits empty due to their being no boat to dock there anymore. It's worth noting that he's our former mayor not because he was voted out, but because he didn't run for reelection. Perhaps the kickbacks he got for this debacle were enough to retire on?

Dems, Pubs, it doesn't matter. Things are never going to change because we keep voting for the same idiots over and over again. It's gotten to the point that the old saying "don't blame me, I voted for...." should now be replaced by "don't blame me, I stayed at home on election day".

Posted by: Upstate Guy on June 8, 2007 9:56 AM



I don't understand the purpose to all these studies of immigrations impact on wages, it's sheer common sense. I could draw you a labor supply supply and demand diagram in 2 seconds and prove it to you.

Price of labor (wage) on the x axis, quantity on the y, labor demand (LD) increases as wages fall, so labor demand curve slopes down. Labor supply (LS) increases as wages rise, therefore labor supply curve slopes up. Wage rate determined at point of intersection.

An increase in LD causes the LD curve to shift right, leading to a higher point of intersection and a higher real wage. But an increase in LS (ie. caused by immigrants) shifts the LS curve right as well, causing the real wage to fall. If LS KEEPS rising then the curve will shift more and more right, and wages will fall more and more in the industry affected.

Why economists cannot use their own logic when it comes to this issue is beyond me, they use this exact supply and demand model to solve every other problem in the cosmos - CATO recently used it to argue for a free market in organ donation.

When the supply of something rises the price of that good falls. If it's true for toys and oil then why is it not true for labor? End. Of. Discussion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

Posted by: omar on June 8, 2007 11:52 AM



Omar -- You may be overestimating -- Wikipedia says the figure is 2.8%. But aren't you being a little literal? It's a symbolic moment (the English are feeling overwhelmed and overrun!), not a scientific proof-moment, no?

Upstate -- That's a classic tale, tks. What I want to know is: How do I get on the gravy train? I want a percentage of the money that governments are throwing away on pork. How do I grab my share?

Omar -- Weird, no? It seems so obvious even to a math-challenged idiot like me: increase the amount of low-skilled, low-wage workers (via immigration) and presto, prices for low-skilled work will go down, thereby hitting your native less-well-off hard. My own explanation for whassup with economists is that they're crazy Utopians devoted to Higher Purposes. They aren't into looking out for their country or for their fellow citizens. They have a vision of doing good for everyone -- they're nobler creatures than the rest of us, who just hope to do well, and who hope that our friends and family and neighbors will do well too, and who may even feel a little something in the way of patriotism. A question is: Why aren't they more frank about their agenda? Do Americans know that the people who are doing the economic counseling aren't interested in looking out for America's best interests? And are crusaders for universal justice, even when it comes at the expense of Americans?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 8, 2007 12:14 PM



Where our immigration policies are concerned, bleeding-heart types might want to consider the fact that, according to Business Week, even the legendary Keynesian economist Paul Samuelson thinks that

Wealthier Americans tend to benefit from the current wave of immigration while poorer Americans tend to suffer...

Speaking as a bleeding-heart type...

1) The immigrants' lives are vastly improved.
2) How is immigration different for lower-class workers from off-shoring or replacing workers with robots or other machines? Are we to oppose technology as well?

Posted by: JewishAtheist on June 8, 2007 2:22 PM



Michael

It's just that figures like that are bandied about a lot on the internet, the implication usually being that Muslims are an emergent majority, when that isn't the case. OK, it's an interesting factoid whatever the statiscial reality vis-a-vis other names, but many will see that stat and assume Britian is becoming Muslim. I'm sure that 'Singh' is near the top of common British last names, but that fact does not attest to some Sikh demographic advantage, rather the commonality of the name among Sikhs.

------

Economists are an unusual species, I think part of it stems from Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage. This theory was the background to the reform of the corn laws in the UK, global free trade, and the first era of
globalization, from the mid-nineteenth century to WWI.

Comparative advantage is the rock on which economics has been built, and from which all else ushers forth. Paul Samuelson, Larry Summers uncle and a noble laureate, said that comparative advantage was the one social science theory that is both 'true and nontrivial.'

But it had another major implication - it made economists push-button internationalists. Anything with the word 'global' in it became haloized, the local became the enemy. 'Look at these stupid peasants making their own stuff! Buy them from China you clowns!'

From there emerged the pro-immigration economist- every immigrant adds value, he does a job Americans won't do/did previously, and that frees up Americans to do other, more 'creative' jobs...

"The Chinese make our toys now? Good! Less people wasting time doing that, they can now add value elsewhere: create Google, flip my burgers, whatever man. A Mexican is an East Asian, only right beside us. An American losing a job to a Mexican right here is the same as an American losing a job to a Chinese person across the Pacific."

This is the 'dark side' of economic thought - job losses are GOOD, as Greg Mankiw implied in a speech on outsourcing once.
They also view immigration as akin to technological progress - ie. immigrants are robots. In the same way as 90% of people don't have to work on farms anymore due to technology, so large swathes of Americans don't have to do other jobs because immigrants do them. Remember dockers? Docking used to be a widespread employer, but companies innovated, along came cranes, and that was that. But what if companies hadn't innovated? What if, instead, they had replaced expensive US dockers with Mexican ones? (Well, they did once with Irish and Italians, but then the migrant barriers went up and they were forced to innovate) To the economist this is AS GOOD a solution to the problem as technological progress.

Of course the Great Problem is that Mexicans are people, and people have divergent desires, cultures, and dispositions, require many things the market doesn't provide, and are not interchangebale variations on Homo Economus.

Posted by: omar on June 8, 2007 2:57 PM



How is immigration different for lower-class workers from off-shoring or replacing workers with robots or other machines? Are we to oppose technology as well?

Workers on foreign soil and robots / technology aren't a huge burden on social services. Plus these don't create negative externalities like higher crime rates in previously OK neighborhoods, greater mistrust among more diverse areas, eyesore houses & cars plus intolerably awful music brought into the neighborhood, etc.

The only positive externality I can think of in the Latino case is a higher proportion of tawny, curvaceous babes walking around the area -- but they'll only date within their group if immigration is massive enough to provide them with lots of Latino guys to choose from. In any case, this is an argument for highly selective immigration: let's take in smarties of any stripe, and failing that, hot babes but not any of their menfolk.

Posted by: Agnostic on June 8, 2007 4:41 PM



Agnostic for president?

Seriously though, Latino's aren't very hot, well, maybe the more Spanish looking ones, but even then they're difficult to have an intelligent conversation with. America should tailor it's immigration policy towards Eastern Europe, as the British Isles have done accidentally. Hot AND intelligent.

Posted by: omar on June 8, 2007 7:05 PM



Dear Michael,

Thank you for raising the immigration issue. You risk a punch in the mouth, as it were, from the open borders fanatics. I fought long and hard to defeat the current immigration bill. But don't ignore the issue, because the traitorous backers intend to try again. Have your readers connect to numbersusa.com to get a list of senators. Then they can start calling them near the time the bill is resurrected. On an average day, senators get few calls. So your many viewers can constitute a powerful force.

As a lawyer, I can truly state that treason consists "in adhering to their Enemies, giving them aid and comfort. The Mexican government, the Mexican illegal aliens, and the Mexican blood derivatives want to takeover the southwestern USA. Mexican officials have not been shy about expressing their desire.

Bush has adopted Mexican culture as his own. Some might think this proposition is ridiculous. But they forget that Hitler adopted blond haired blue eyed people as his favorite culture. Just because Bush does not propose murdering people does not change his motivation.

All the Best Michael,

Paul

Posted by: Paul Henri on June 9, 2007 4:19 PM



Seriously though, Latino's aren't very hot, well, maybe the more Spanish looking ones, but even then they're difficult to have an intelligent conversation with.

Bush has adopted Mexican culture as his own. Some might think this proposition is ridiculous. But they forget that Hitler adopted blond haired blue eyed people as his favorite culture.

Between smirking at economists and this charming bit of work, its no question to figure out who the yahoos are.

DU

Posted by: The Mechanical Eye on June 10, 2007 1:24 AM






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