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August 03, 2009

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"Ross Douthat's column praising the budget policies of my adopted state of Texas has been pretty thoroughly critiqued."

Anyone with a concern about green power should hook up a connection to Molly Ivins' grave.

Talk about not investing enough in education in Texas! The Midland Independent School District just earned an "academically unacceptable" rating from the Texas Education Agency. I graduated from Midland Lee in 1967. At that time:
--91% of the Seniors in my class went to college
--Midland ISD and Spring Branch ISD had an informal competition for the highest teacher salaries in the state
--We had more National Merit Semifinalists at Lee alone than in all of Tarrant County (Fort Worth)

Midland is still a wealthy county. And it has gone through profound demographic changes - there a many more working poor there now. The lack of investment in education is a slow suicide.

I think you cause significant confusion in what you write about that chart compared to what Ezra wrote, I'm afraid.

You say this about the chart: "But I thought Ezra Klein's chart captured the essence of the problem with it. The upshot is that Texas's budget is in relatively better shape because there's not as much spending on social services."

This suggests that the chart measures comparative spending on social services.

When you write a sentence like that, and follow it with a chart, I think the most reasonable interpretation is to read the chart as measuring comparative spending.

But that's the opposite of what the chart does.

It didn't make sense.

Turns out that's because the chart doesn't follow from what you said, implying that the problem is that "there's not as much spending on social services" in Texas.

Ezra simply says "But I'd bet it has something to do with these numbers" and shows the chart, thus making it clear that what's measured in the chart is not spending, but is the amount of resulting problems, and not the amount of spending by either Texas or the U.S.

Ezra goes on to explain how "Compared with, well, most everyone else, Texas has a lot of uninsured people and a lot of people beneath the poverty line. Fully 26.6 percent of Texas's kids, for instance, don't have health-care coverage. That's in part because Texas is pretty poor, with a lot of immigrants. But it's also in part because Texas has a very spare social safety net," etc.

I know at least one person was confused by your description of the chart, because I was one such person who interpreted the chart as comparing Texas and U.S. spending -- the word you used -- , and couldn't make sense of it -- until I checked Ezra's version, and realized what he meant, rather than what you wrote, which was that the chart was comparing spending, and that the chart was instead comparing rates of resulting poverty, child poverty, the amount of uninsured, and uninsured children, and not comparing spending rates.

Maybe that's just me, to be sure.

Fair enough -- he does go on to say (as you note) that the safety net isn't good. And I think that's what creates these numbers.

But I could see how it could be confusing.

So thats how they will cement republican rule in Texas. Trough bad education. :)


Fair enough -- he does go on to say (as you note) that the safety net isn't good. And I think that's what creates these numbers.

But I could see how it could be confusing.

I wasn't saying that I thought what Ezra wrote was confusing. I was saying that what I thought you wrote, in your sentence introducing the chart, followed by the chart, which one naturally takes as a demonstration of the words it follows, was confusing, in that it didn't make sense of what the chart was indicating, unlike Ezra's post which did.

You wrote: "The upshot is that Texas's budget is in relatively better shape because there's not as much spending on social services."

Which is not what the chart that line introduces goes on to show. The chart does not show spending on social services. It shows something else quite different. But one can't tell that from how you introduce it.

Following the chart, you still don't explain what it does refer to, but instead go on to discuss spending and costs, which, again, the chart doesn't refer to.

I was trying to gently suggest you change the wording of at least that sentence introducing the chart, so it actually refers to what the chart does show, which is that Texas has poor results in the respective categories, not that it's spending any particular level of money at all.

Talking about one thing, and then putting up a chart showing an entirely different, though related issue, is, I think a technique that can be improved upon without little trouble.

Ezra clearly states that the numbers on the chart refer to percentages of people helped. You don't explain what the numbers on the chart are, period. I think rewording to explain what the numbers refer to would be helpful to understand and make sense of your post without having to click on the link to Ezra's post to understand and make sense of the chart.

Obviously it's up to you decide if this is worth the bother or not; it's merely a suggestion, of course.

Speaking of confusing, my previous comment left out a crucial word, when I wrote that "until I checked Ezra's version, and realized what he meant, rather than what you wrote, which was that the chart was comparing spending," when what I meant, of course, was that "until I checked Ezra's version, and realized what he meant, rather than what you wrote, which was that the chart was not
comparing spending." My apologies for my own error.

Many look at Texas and see high poverty rates, lousy education and underfunded healthcare.

Rick Perry and I look at Texas and see an abundant organ harvest, growing kidney commerce, and the nurturing of the Republican end (they are all leftists when it comes to intellignece) of the Bell curve.

I'd like to see a chart that compares apples to apples. With our high and growing immigrant population, we import poverty daily and it does not cure itself overnight. It is a fact of life, and building a safety net for every person who migrates from Mexico will, as California has proven and as common sense would indicate, simply increase the number of people moving north. More to the point, poverty in Texas is a fairly good life compared with poverty in Mexico, which is why people keep coming. If there is a comparable state that has an affordable remedy for this phenomena, I'd like to hear about it.

On the plus side, our employment rates are higher, real estate holds its value better and education is a function of school boards/teacher quality/student body make up. South Dakota doesn't have the immigrant situation Texas does, nor does D.C. Texas spends less than D.C., gets a much better result, and does so on its own nickel. South Dakota spends far less, and gets an even better result. Explain that.

In time, as California, New York, New Jersey and other high tax, business-punitive venues continue to overplay their hands, Texas and other relatively low-tax states will attract more and better companies who want a lower cost of living across the board and less of a burden on company earnings. Business-punitive states will kill off their tax bases and be dependent on the feds for emergency assistance.

Many--I would say 'most'--people want jobs first and foremost, not larger government. They know companies don't hire more people when their tax burden--or any other cost of doing business--is increased. Instead, people get laid off. You can't eat health insurance or make a car payment with it. If you think worrying about health insurance keeps people up at night, think about worrying every night about living with a family of four out of a pick up truck.

Texas functions fairly well because it limits its government functions to those areas where government is reasonably competent--highways, law enforcement, education.

The Republican Party has done a lot to hurt Texas, mainly through excessive concessions to business in areas outside taxes and regulation, such as slanting the laws way too heavily in favor of institutional interests and unwisely deregulating development. Previously, when the Democrats ran the state, the problem went the other way. Unfortunately for Texans, the Democratic fondness for taxing and spending, for having an infinite number of 'unmet needs' is pretty well understood, so the Republicans will continue to hold power. They are the lesser of two evils. Like I said, most people want a job, so they can eat and live under cover. Health insurance is an issue, but its not a top priority. Particularly not at the price many people intuitively know universal coverage will cost.

Douthat's choice of California as an exemplary "blue" state is kind of odd. CA does have strong liberal constituencies, but also has a strong anti-tax movement, and offers voters the ability to directly involve themselves in the state's financial decisions through ballot initiatives.

The result is kind of a mess, and one which is not uniquely blue or red. It's just a mess.

MA might be a better example, however it's somewhat unique in terms of its strong tech and medical sectors, both largely due to powerful institutions such as the universities and the teaching hospitals. It takes centuries to build up that kind of legacy, it's hard to make stuff like that happen just by throwing money at it.

If I'm not mistaken MA currently also has the highest rate of debt of any of the states, also not a good example to follow.

Immigration's a factor for any state, of course. But there's not as great a difference between TX and the quintessential blue states as you might expect. In 2007 Texas was 16% foreign born, with most immigrants coming from Latin America. For MA, that number is 14.1%, with most coming from Latin America.

CA was 27% foreign born in 2007, so TX doesn't have all that much to complain about.

Assuming a high foreign-born population is something to complain about, of course.

TX has the second-highest incarceration rate in the nation. Only LA is higher.

13.5% of families in TX are below the poverty rate. Only MS, LA, and DC are higher.

TX had the second-highest level of income inequality of all states in 2006. Only AZ was higher.

TX was 30th in life expectancy in 2006, kinda mediocre.

TX is dead last in states with folks having a high school diploma or better.

And so on.

Nobodys perfect but I'm not sure TX should be our model.

Hey, while we're talking poverty, you know what else is a good indicator of future poverty? Teenage parenthood.

You know who leads the country in live births to teens? Texas! With 62.9 per 1,000 population, compared to 40.1 for California, 28.2 for New York, and 25.5 for New Jersey. Just to name a few states that were name-checked.

You know what's another good indicator? Not graduating from high school (or getting a GED or equivalent). You know who has the lowest high school graduation rate in the country? Texas! 78.3 percent of its residents have a high school or higher education, compared to a national average of 86.5 percent.

Texas also is second nation in total number of homicide victims (1,407), behind California (2,503) but ahead of New York (874) and New Jersey (417). The same is true of its overall number of violent crimes. And motor vehicle thefts. And forcible rapes.

Of course, Texas also leads the nation in executions, with nearly four times as many as the next highest state (Virginia) over the last 30 years, so I'm not sure why all those violent criminals aren't being deterred. Perhaps without capital punishment, Texas would mostly look a lot like The Road Warrior or something.

Hey, speaking of transportation -- one of those things Texas is, I guess, competent at? -- the most recent statistics show that Texas was #6 in total Federally-funded transportation dollars, behind bad old California, New York and New Jersey.

Just so long as we're throwing facts out there about Texas.

"If health coverage reform fails, it's not like costs will go away. Instead, the costs will be borne by the uninsured, the underinsured, and people with rising premiums. And that's all before we consider the more intangible costs of fear and anxiety, along with the frustration (and social loss) of being stuck at a job you don't like in order to keep benefits.

The goal of reform is rationalize this system, and spread the costs around in a more efficient (and moral) way."

Great. Extend Medicare to the uninsured. :)

Easy, and doesn't mess with everyone else right away. The costs are just reallocated anyway.

(That isn't snark, I'm serious)

::high-fives russell::

"More to the point, poverty in Texas is a fairly good life compared with poverty in Mexico, which is why people keep coming."

Good news for you, mckinney! Hispanic Immigration Down With Economy.

Great. Extend Medicare to the uninsured. :)

Easy, and doesn't mess with everyone else right away. The costs are just reallocated anyway.

Ezra Klein explains why not here. In short, what you're proposing would have fewer supporters but exactly as much opposition than the current plan.

"Health insurance is an issue, but its not a top priority."

To people who have it.

"Texas also is second nation in total number of homicide victims (1,407), behind California (2,503) but ahead of New York (874) and New Jersey (417)."

Total number of homicides? When states vary radically in population? Way to find a useless number!

I don't find Ezra's post convincing. I'm not proposing Medicare for all. I don't think most people with access to other health insurance would want Medicare. (I believe that Medicare and health insurance have different expectations. People expect less from Medicare, which makes relative satisfaction levels seem comparable, but people aren't likely to want to switch).

So it is "Medicare for the uninsured". Which is fine, and which covers the biggest problem area. Ezra's point is only strong if you are absolutely wedded to the idea of the government getting involved in everyone's health care (which he is). I'm not such a person. I'm interested in getting the uninsured covered. That is the pressing need. We can decide if we need to do more than that at a later date.

"In short, what you're proposing would have fewer supporters but exactly as much opposition than the current plan."

Also it wouldn't have exactly as much opposition--it doesn't mess with the 250 million or so people who have insurance or are otherwise already covered.

Well, Brett, if it makes you feel better, Texas is #7 in the nation in violent crimes per 100,000 population. California is #25, New Jersey is #43, and New York is #46. At least as of 2004. But I'm sure it's gotten a lot better.

Sorry, though, to have fallen so far short of your usual lofty standard for facts, statistics, cites, and getting things right.

Oh, wait, you never do those things.

So it is "Medicare for the uninsured". Which is fine, and which covers the biggest problem area.

Ah, my mistake then. Wouldn't you expect the number of uninsured to swell dramatically though? And wouldn't you expect adverse selection problems? It seems that insurers would immediately drop coverage or make premiums completely unaffordable for anyone with health problems...after all, once those people are dropped or can no longer afford insurance, medicare for the uninsured will take care of them, right?

"You know what's another good indicator? Not graduating from high school (or getting a GED or equivalent). You know who has the lowest high school graduation rate in the country? Texas! 78.3 percent of its residents have a high school or higher education, compared to a national average of 86.5 percent."

And what are the stats if you discount for first generation immigrants from Mexico? Ditto for single parenthood.

I like Molly Ivin's description of Texas as "the laboratory for bad government".

And what are the stats if you discount for first generation immigrants from Mexico? Ditto for single parenthood.

Why on earth would you "discount" for single parenthood?

"Why on earth would you "discount" for single parenthood?"

You would look at the single parent birth rate for the population at large less first generation immigration from Mexico.

""Health insurance is an issue, but its not a top priority."

To people who have it."

Gary,

You have made this point over and over, but not very clearly. If you had a choice between a job with no health insurance aand having health insurance but no job, which would you pick? Out of the 40+ million we are all trying to get covered, how many are working uninsured and would they want to lose their job so they could have insurance? How many are simply not going to be insured unless we have true government delivery because they won't know how or care to sign up for it? How many people would remain uninsured because they are recent illegal immigrants?

It's handy to cite huge numbers of uninsured but the breakdown is very granular as to WHY they are uninsured and Maslow's heirarchy would probably put eating in front of health care insurance.

I know people who have the right to be covered who live "off the grid" that will never be insured.

Sorry, but you just can't keep saying that this isn't as important as other things only to the insured, because often the opposite is true. Older people, not qualifiedd for Medicare, that are insured worry about the lack of it much more than 20 somethings who feel immortal.

Yeah, I'm sure that all the problems Texas has are the fault of first-generation Mexican immigrants. That makes sense.

OK, I wasn't following you there.

But I still don't think immigration is going to be the great mitigating factor that you seem to be looking for. Texas' foreign-born population was 13.9% in 2000, compared to 20.4% in New York--but Texas' rate of teenage motherhood is over twice as high.

If you think worrying about health insurance keeps people up at night, think about worrying every night about living with a family of four out of a pick up truck.

So those are our choices? We truly are a blessed nation.

Texas is not the state with the highest immigration levels. So it's doubtful that 1st generation Mexicans will account for the low academic performance.

I'm not here to pick on TX, every state has it's issues. I'm just not sure it's a good model for the rest of the country, nor one the rest of the country would be particularly interested in following.

"Ah, my mistake then. Wouldn't you expect the number of uninsured to swell dramatically though? And wouldn't you expect adverse selection problems?"

I wouldn't expect the number of uninsured to swell dramatically. The only reason I've heard around here that would cause anyone to suspect that would be that suddenly everyone's work would drop coverage. I don't expect that to happen for the same reason I don't worry about everyone's salary suddenly being dropped to the minimum wage. (In fact I'm even less worried about it in the health care case, because unlike the minimum wage, most employers have no health mandate whatsoever, yet they still provide coverage).

I'm not worried about adverse selection for a few reasons. First, the pool of currently uninsured is largely younger and healthier than the current Medicare pool (which is very old compared to almost any other pool). Expanding it actually improves the pool. Second, if you are very worried about recission and the like, we can make rules that stiffen the penalties and/or make it more difficult to pull off. We are going to have to do that in any plan, so it isn't an additional problem with my plan. Lastly, the research suggests that incentives aside, there really isn't an enormous amount of adverse selection in employer-based insurance. (That is one of the only good things to be said about it). Since at least at the beginning a huge amount of insurance will continue to be through the employer, adverse selection isn't going to be a big deal.

(The big deal will be how to deal with the tax break on the premiums so as to avoid wrenching changes in the system. Ideally no one would get it, but second best is to allow the paying party to get the tax benefit. If that is the employer, they get it. If that is the employee, he gets it.)

"And what are the stats if you discount for first generation immigrants from Mexico?"

The following just throws the issue back to the general issue of OMG-Mexican-immigration-panic, again, but I still fail to get why we should be more alarmed about first-generation immigrants of any sort, when history shows that the second generation of every immigration nationality always winds up, as a large majority, being bilingual and being net contributors as American tax-payers, and the third generation always winds up overwhelmingly speaking English-only, and otherwise indistinguishable in any meaningful way from any other past immigration nationality.

Every single one of which, I note, we've had panic about from then-existing Americans. How is the current wave significantly different?

And on the issue of illegal immigration: so let's make it legal. Meanwhile, police chiefs all over the nation say our laws about illegal immigration are terrible for them, because they prevent illegals from coming forward as witnesses and to report crimes.

Previously it was panic about Italians, Jews, Eastern Europeans, Slavs, etc. As far back as the 1830s/1840s, it was panic over Irish immigration.

That's setting aside that study after study shows that current Hispanic illegal immigrants contribute a net billions of dollars tax-surplus to U.S. tax coffers, via paying Social Security tax they don't get back.

Lots of stats here. The one most relevant might be the attitude of resident Texans toward their state government. I wonder how this sentiment in Texas would compare to a similar one in California, which is a state that shows up in many of the cited stats.

I have often noted that the distinctions being discussed here, lamented by some, praised by others, are exactly the types of variations one could expect to get under original federalists principles, and which results in an opportunity for choice by US residents regarding under what conditions they prefer to live. Some of the comments here lead me to believe there are those who do not favor people having these kinds of choices. Washington, of course, is famous for big time, one size fits all, solutions.

"That's setting aside that study after study shows that current Hispanic illegal immigrants contribute a net billions of dollars tax-surplus to U.S. tax coffers, via paying Social Security tax they don't get back."

Which has nothing to do with the states ability to assimilate and insure them.

It also has snothing to do with border violence and the number of uninsured or the number of people without a high school education or the number of people living in poverty or children living in poverty: or, in fact, any of the statistics in the graph.

"Some of the comments here lead me to believe there are those who do not favor people having these kinds of choices."

I'm absolute positive that different people have, among them, a wide variety of views.

Myself, I'm sure that what I believe should be left to the states, and what I believe is better in the hands of the federal government, depends strictly on which issue we're talking about, rather than any absolutist notion that one level must always be better than the other.

As a general principle, I favor allowing experimentation by the states, and as another general principle, I favor disallowing policies that allow states to "race to the bottom." Those two principles tend to be in tension.

"Washington, of course, is famous for big time, one size fits all, solutions."

Washington is equally famous, big time, for block grants, and lots of policies that do favor variation among the states. There are thousands of policies where Washington sets national standards, and thousands of policies where Washington allows state choices; sometimes this is by decision of Supreme Court, but often it's by Congress or the President, or some combination of any of the above.

"South Dakota doesn't have the immigrant situation Texas does, nor does D.C."

This is, in a way, true. DC and the surrounding area don't have the immigrant situation Texas does. It gets a huge number of immigrants, from all over the world. From 12.9% in DC itself to almost 30% in some of the surrounding counties. Half of those are from Latin America, often Mexico.

And of course, the economic miracles of the "low-tax" states are not quite as promied, in general.

"Which has nothing to do with the states ability to assimilate"

As I've mentioned, all immigrant groups wind up assimilated to a very large degree by the second generation, and entirely by the third generation.

"and insure them."

States could insure them by making them legal.

"It also has snothing to do with border violence"

I suspect we'd have less border violence if we had more legal immigration, though no doubt there's remain some, as it has various causes, most of which have nothing to do with immigration, unless I don't understand what you are referring to.

"and the number of uninsured or the number of people without a high school education or the number of people living in poverty or children living in poverty"

Again, this differs from past waves of immigration, how, exactly?

Are you a Native American, incidentally, Marty, or did your ancestors come over on the Mayflower, or did not people object on the same exact basis to your ancestors making it to this continent? Just curious.

Personally, it seems to me that Native Americans have the most valid objections to immigration they objected to. Perhaps all of us who have ancestors who weren't accepted by formal treaties still in effect with the local tribes then extant should "go back where [we] came from," given the illegality involved according to the laws then prevailing here.

Presumably, generally speaking, people want to be consistent and fair about their principles, after all.

"And on the issue of illegal immigration: so let's make it legal"

Hear, hear. Total legal immigration to the US is about 800,000 a year. Illegal is another 300,000.

Make the quota for legal immigration bigger and let them all in. If you're not a criminal, demonstrate a capacity for and and interest in working, and want to make your life in the US, the door should be open.

Some problems have freaking easy solutions.

"Some of the comments here lead me to believe there are those who do not favor people having these kinds of choices."

Not mine.

If Texans want to have low graduation rates, lock up and execute their folks in alarming numbers, and have generally mediocre outcomes by most social metrics, I will not stand in their way.

I'm just not interested in having them held up as a model for the rest of us to emulate.

Well, Gary, I absolutely concur that some things are handle well at the federal level and others at the state level and our Constitution made provision for this dichotomy. The issues now generally revolve around how to recognize when it is appropriate for the federal government to take the initiative and, in general, I think conservatives view the default to be with the states and modern liberals like to see more responsibility in Washington (this has little to do with party politics since the parties get very confused when things are viewed in this way).

I wouldn't expect the number of uninsured to swell dramatically. The only reason I've heard around here that would cause anyone to suspect that would be that suddenly everyone's work would drop coverage. I don't expect that to happen for the same reason I don't worry about everyone's salary suddenly being dropped to the minimum wage.

But the cost of insuring people is growing much faster than inflation. That means the incentive to stop offering insurance only gets larger with time. Also, many companies that offer health insurance today wouldn't be able to attract and retain high quality employees if they didn't offer insurance because those employees would have no choice but to buy on the individual market ant that's impossible for many. But in a world where Medicare is open to the uninsured, companies can get out of the health insurance business while still attracting and retaining talent. Dropping the administrative staff needed to deal with health insurance saves lots of cash. And if companies transferred a portion of those savings along with the savings from not paying for insurance outright into increased salaries, they'd be better able to attract talent than their competitors that keep offering insurance.

I'm not worried about adverse selection for a few reasons. First, the pool of currently uninsured is largely younger and healthier than the current Medicare pool (which is very old compared to almost any other pool). Expanding it actually improves the pool. Second, if you are very worried about recission and the like, we can make rules that stiffen the penalties and/or make it more difficult to pull off. We are going to have to do that in any plan, so it isn't an additional problem with my plan. Lastly, the research suggests that incentives aside, there really isn't an enormous amount of adverse selection in employer-based insurance. (That is one of the only good things to be said about it). Since at least at the beginning a huge amount of insurance will continue to be through the employer, adverse selection isn't going to be a big deal.

These are good points. Would your expanded Medicare plan include an individual mandate?

Overall, it seems like an interesting idea, but I'd want to read more wonky analysis. So far, I haven't been able to find any expert analysis on this sort of proposal, but if you know of any, I'd be obliged for a link.

I think conservatives view the default to be with the states

Except when it's the exact opposite, like pushing a constitutional amendment forbidding states from recognizing same-sex marriages.

"Again, this differs from past waves of immigration, how, exactly?"

Actually, I am some large measure Native American, it misses the point. The point is that there are legal ways to emigrate to the US, they were quite popular during the time frames you mention.

But it has nothing to do with the STATISTICS WE ARE REFERENCING about Texas. A regular influx of uneducated, non english speaking, first generation emigres who do not qualify for immigration will effect those statistics. No matter how many times you go around this circle.

I don't know how familiar you are with immigration law but the reason these people are illegal immigrants is because they don't qualify to be legal immigrants.

So imagine a world where we allow unlimited immigration with no qualification required and we can discuss that, but this discussion was about the impact of illegal immigration on the statistics in the graph.

"Except when it's the exact opposite, like pushing a constitutional amendment forbidding states from recognizing same-sex marriages."

Or those conservatives (who are not all conservatives) who seek a constitutional amendment forbidding abortion.

But I'd not argue with GOB's contention that there is some general tendency for conservatives to lean towards states handling things and some general tendency for liberals to lean towards Washington. I simply wouldn't generalize very far, and would try to avoid making assumptions about individual conservatives and liberals, or anyone's, given views.

But it has nothing to do with the STATISTICS WE ARE REFERENCING about Texas. A regular influx of uneducated, non english speaking, first generation emigres who do not qualify for immigration will effect those statistics.

Fine. But you continue arguing as if Texas were uniquely afflicted with this immigrant scourge, and it isn't. It has a lower proportion of immigrants than a number of states that do better on these measures. So how large can this effect be?

'Except when it's the exact opposite, like pushing a constitutional amendment forbidding states from recognizing same-sex marriages.'

Isn't this exactly the appropriate way to change how any issue may currently be addressed by the Constitution. This would be my dream come true for all those things that have been assumed by the federal government without any consideration for constitutionality by the Congress or the President.

"Fine. But you continue arguing as if Texas were uniquely afflicted with this immigrant scourge, and it isn't. It has a lower proportion of immigrants than a number of states that do better on these measures. So how large can this effect be?"

No, what you will find is that I never actually said there couldn't be individual states or "Districts" that dealt with this better.

What I said is comparing it to the US was invalid(I am not sure I even said that), nope I didn't.

What I did say was comparing all of that to historical legal immigration wasn't valid and I would add that taking it into account would make the statistics more relevant in determining the effectiveness of Texas stae government.


"Actually, I am some large measure Native American, it misses the point. The point is that there are legal ways to emigrate to the US, they were quite popular during the time frames you mention."

So was banning specific ethnic groups. Take a look here. Persons "persons of African descent" were quite alarming in 1870. Chinese were entirely so by 1882.

1917 extended the Yellow Peril to:

[...] Furthermore, it barred all immigrants over the age of sixteen who were illiterate. The most controversial part of the law was the section that designated an “Asiatic Barred Zone,” a region that included much of eastern Asia and the Pacific Islands from which people could not immigrate.
Meanwhile, the anti-Irish riots of the early 19th century were against perfectly legal immigrants. We had no serious legal bars against immigration by anyone prior to 1917, aside from the aforementioned above.

Somehow our country survived. All this was simply ethnic prejudice, papered over with what we now call "concern trolling."

"I don't know how familiar you are with immigration law"

Fairly, though IANAL.

"but the reason these people are illegal immigrants is because they don't qualify to be legal immigrants."

Duh. And we can change that by making them legal. Talk about circular reasoning.

In the long term, limiting immigration has never done America any long-term good, and I'd defy you to demonstrate otherwise.

And if you can't, you're left with either "but now things are different somehow!" arguments, or "the short-term problems overwhelm any arguable long-term good!" Which also can't possibly be proven.

And as I point out every time this discussion comes up, on the list of population density by country, the U.S. comes in 177th out of 238 countries in the world. I think we can manage to squeeze in a few more folks.

"Isn't this exactly the appropriate way to change how any issue may currently be addressed by the Constitution."

That's a different issue than the fact that a fair number of conservatives do, in specific cases, favor national solutions, rather than state solutions.

Isn't this exactly the appropriate way to change how any issue may currently be addressed by the Constitution.

By having a majority of states decide for all states? That's your "dream come true" for delegating power to the states? You've lost me.

"But it has nothing to do with the STATISTICS WE ARE REFERENCING about Texas. A regular influx of uneducated, non english speaking, first generation emigres who do not qualify for immigration will effect those statistics. No matter how many times you go around this circle."

In absolute numbers, CA has a higher rate of illegal immigrants than TX. As a percentage of the population, both CA and AZ have higher numbers than TX.

Maybe something other than illegal immigration is going on.

"I don't know how familiar you are with immigration law but the reason these people are illegal immigrants is because they don't qualify to be legal immigrants. "

And one of the reasons they don't qualify is because we limit the number of legal immigrants to about 900K per annum.

More than 900K people who are otherwise perfectly well qualified to be productive members of US society want to come and do exactly that.

'By having a majority of states decide for all states? That's your "dream come true" for delegating power to the states? You've lost me'

Actually, it's not a simple majority since 3/4th's of the states must ratify. I never said anything about delegating power to the states since they don't need a delegation, unlike the federal government. So you surely lost me!

But the cost of insuring people is growing much faster than inflation. That means the incentive to stop offering insurance only gets larger with time.

That is a static analysis. Insurance companies aren't just going to sit there and watch their entire business go away. They are going to attempt to get better prices, and Medicare will provide a quality floor that they don't dare go below.

Also, many companies that offer health insurance today wouldn't be able to attract and retain high quality employees if they didn't offer insurance because those employees would have no choice but to buy on the individual market ant that's impossible for many. But in a world where Medicare is open to the uninsured, companies can get out of the health insurance business while still attracting and retaining talent.

I think the actual analysis should be a little more subtle. Companies compete with each other and one of the things that they can offer is health insurance that is better (either in quality or price or both) than the alternatives. That will still happen in the Medicare-for-the-uninsured scenario. The companies will either have higher quality, or lower prices, or both. If they don't, people will go to Medicare.

I'm not against government run health care in theory, I'm against assuming that our government can run health care better. If it is cheaper and better, people will go to it and you get de facto government universal health PROVEN to be better. Otherwise it just provides the floor for people between jobs, which is fine by me.

[I don't know if you were here for the previous threads, but my whole proposal is: Medicare for the uninsured, insurance mandate with Medicare level benefits as the floor, tax benefit if any to go to whichever entity is paying the premium (to avoid further entrenching the employer/health care link without severing it in such a way as to cause compnaies to dump their systems), Medicare premiums to be set at self funding levels, the poor covered by EITC like subsidies of the premium. This structure allows real competition without throwing the poor to the wolves]

Dropping the administrative staff needed to deal with health insurance saves lots of cash. And if companies transferred a portion of those savings along with the savings from not paying for insurance outright into increased salaries, they'd be better able to attract talent than their competitors that keep offering insurance.

I don't really think so. The administrative costs would be captured somewhere. So either the individuals pay for it, or the companies do. We basically revert to the same compensation/perk analysis as before. And again, if that happens you end up with universal health care by the government, which is what most of the people here are aiming at anyway.

I don't believe that will actually happen unless the government cheats by exempting itself from rules or subsidizing the whole system through back-door taxes. But if it turns out that the government really is more efficient without cheating, great.

In the meantime, while we are empirically establishing how well the US government can do at it, everyone is covered with at least Medicare levels of coverage.

"In absolute numbers, CA has a higher rate of illegal immigrants than TX. As a percentage of the population, both CA and AZ have higher numbers than TX.

Maybe something other than illegal immigration is going on."

And we don't show the breakdown for those states on these statistics anywhere here, Maybe something is going on, but there are no facts either way. Unless you want to count that California is bankrupt, which i would say is not a better alternative.

I might concede, btw, that intuitively somewhere between California and Texas lies a better way.

"And one of the reasons they don't qualify is because we limit the number of legal immigrants to about 900K per annum.

More than 900K people who are otherwise perfectly well qualified to be productive members of US society want to come and do exactly that."

I would like to verify these facts if you have a source, not that I doubt the number. It would be nice to be able to see the breakdown of the 900k in terms of what quotas apply to each.

I know there is an H1B backlog. However this year for the first time in many years the quota wasn't filled on the first day. In fact, it took 5 days. However, very few of the illegal immigrants crossing the southern border from Mexico would qualify.

"In the long term, limiting immigration has never done America any long-term good, and I'd defy you to demonstrate otherwise."

This is not a fact, although you presented it that way. This is an opinion. I disagree with it. None of the facts you included led to the "Therefore" in this statement. Defying me to demonstrate the opposite is a nice flourish.

""but the reason these people are illegal immigrants is because they don't qualify to be legal immigrants."

Duh. And we can change that by making them legal. Talk about circular reasoning."

Well, there is another alternative, that they would qualify but didn't bother to apply. Just reinforcing that they don't meet the qualifications.

Insurance companies aren't just going to sit there and watch their entire business go away. They are going to attempt to get better prices, and Medicare will provide a quality floor that they don't dare go below.

If you asked me a few years ago whether the American financial industry would ever be so stupid as to start selling hundreds of thousands of mortgages to people that had absolutely no ability to afford them, I probably would have said "these people aren't going to just sit there and watch their money go away." I remain skeptical about what insurance companies would do.

But assuming you're right: it seems that insurance companies would mobilize their political forces to defeat your medicare for the uninsured proposal. After all, as you said: they're not going to just sit there and watch their business disappear.

Also, I don't understand why you think they'd be successful at lowering prices. I mean, an insurance company that lowered its prices right now could theoretically make a killing, but health insurance costs are growing, not shrinking. Moreover, insurance companies seem institutionally incapable of effecting the kind of reform that the Mayo Clinic or Grand Junction or the VA system use to lower prices. I don't see why this would change.

I don't really think so. The administrative costs would be captured somewhere. So either the individuals pay for it, or the companies do.

From the company's perspective, it doesn't matter that someone has to pick up the admin cost as long as that someone is not them. That someone might be the employee or it might be the government, but that's not the company's problem. I'm not sure we're talking about the same cost though. What I'm talking about is the fact that you have to pay staff people to spend time learning about insurance, dealing with insurance reps, comparing offers, negotiating, dealing with employees and insurers when disputes arise, etc. In other words, you have to spend a lot of person-hours on something that is completely unrelated to your core business.

"Maybe something is going on, but there are no facts either way."

Yeah, the facts on the ground here are all fairly thin. In my case, some googling, and a quick stop at statemaster.

However, I'm in the fortunate position of not trying to demonstrate that illegal immigration is a significant contributor to Texas' ills. All I'm doing is showing that Texas' immigration situation is not particularly unique, and so that claim is likely not going to hold a lot of water.

But yeah, we don't clearly know why Texas has kind of crummy stats on a lot of social indices.

For me, personally, I don't really care why Texas is such a mediocre place. I don't live there, I'm not going to live there, and it ain't my problem.

My participation in this thread is dedicated to one and only task -- to make it clear that, contra Douthat, IMVHO Texas is nothing any of the rest of us should look to as a model for good governance, fiscal or otherwise.

For that matter, splitting the difference between Texas and California doesn't do much for me either.

We got fifty states, and all Douthat could come up with as examples are Texas and Cali? One's bankrupt and the other leads the nation, hands down, in criminal executions. They rank #1 and #2 in number of homicides by gun and in forcible rape.

Yeah, Douthat wants to claim that Cali, home of governors Reagan and Scwharzenegger and President Nixon, and home of the OC, is a liberal hothouse, and that any liberal efforts initiated by Obama are fated to meet California's uniquely and spectacular fiscal flameout.

That seems pretty dumb to me. Not dumb as in "Douthat is dumb as a box of rocks", just dumb as in if you thought about it for a minute and weren't mostly trying to find some cartoon prop for some ideological point you wanted to make, it's just not something you'd bother saying.

That kind of dumb.

My guess is that we have lots of choices, not splitting the difference between TX and CA, but avoiding anything similar to either place.

Also, I don't understand why you think they'd be successful at lowering prices. I mean, an insurance company that lowered its prices right now could theoretically make a killing, but health insurance costs are growing, not shrinking.

If you're right then we end up with everyone on Medicare which is the ultimate goal you're ok with anyway. But I'm not convinced that Medicare will in reality be so cheap nor am I convinced that it will be of the quality people want.

Moreover, insurance companies seem institutionally incapable of effecting the kind of reform that the Mayo Clinic or Grand Junction or the VA system use to lower prices. I don't see why this would change.

Medicare doesn't seem capable of it either (remember 100% of Canada's per capita expenditures while covering 27% of the population). And remember that the Mayo Clinic isn't government.

What I'm talking about is the fact that you have to pay staff people to spend time learning about insurance, dealing with insurance reps, comparing offers, negotiating, dealing with employees and insurers when disputes arise, etc. In other words, you have to spend a lot of person-hours on something that is completely unrelated to your core business.

But it isn't unrelated to your core business. You have to attract good people with good perks. And again, I don't understand why you think they do it now. They aren't mandated by the government to do it now. They don't do it just because the government doesn't provide it. They do it as a tool to attract good people. So one of two things will happen. 1) Good workers will continue demanding better-than-Medicare insurance, or 2) Good workers will decide that Medicare is good enough and won't demand better-than-Medicare insurance.

Why should you or the government care which of those two occurs?

"None of the facts you included led to the 'Therefore' in this statement."

Marty, there is no "therefore" in that statement. So it would be very very very hard for anything I wrote to have led to something I didn't write.

But, look, if you want to argue the case that allowing the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Eastern Europeans, and the Slavs, into America has done it long term harm, do be my guest.

"Well, there is another alternative, that they would qualify but didn't bother to apply. Just reinforcing that they don't meet the qualifications."

I'll try this a third time: there's no good reason for any "qualification" to immigrate beyond excluding criminals, the terminally ill, and those with severe mental illness. I repeat for the third time that any "qualifications" we require can be changed so they don't exist any more. Thus eliminating almost the entire problem of having "illegal aliens."

And if you want to demonstrate long-term harm coming to America from open immigration, go ahead; history hasn't shown any such record of such harm to America in the long term, has it? If it has, please do point out how.

"And if you want to demonstrate long-term harm coming to America from open immigration, go ahead; history hasn't shown any such record of such harm to America in the long term, has it? If it has, please do point out how."

I will go to your point on "now is different". As evidenced here there is a substantial difference in immigration since the 1965 immigration act. With many revisions the most notable statistical change is that most people come and stay.

Also, not in the cite, we didn't "take care" of all of those people that came before 1965(actually 1935, the level of immigration spiked considerably from 1965 to 1995).

They came, became productive members of society or failed and went home. The very nature of the discussions on healthcare for all is a significant difference.

Interesting from the source this quote on the 1965 bill:

"Senate immigration subcommittee chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA.) reassured his colleagues and the nation with the following:


"First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same ... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset ... Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia ... In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think."

Sen. Kennedy concluded by saying,


"The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs." (U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization of the Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 1965. pp. 1-3.) "

The issues seem to be the same now, so I guess not so different. Finally, to apply facts to the equation there is a chart from the same source (that I can't copy) clearly showing the trend from its caption:

"Growing Education Gap

Although the percentage of high school dropouts among immigrants has fallen somewhat, the gap between natives and the foreign born has grown significantly, with immigrants more than twice as likely as native-born Americans not to have completed high school. This contributes to a growing pool of blue-collar workers competing for a shrinking number of well-paying jobs."

And since you and I know that the most severe economic impact since 1965 is the disparity between the rich and the middle class, particularly blue collar workers, yes, I think things are different.

"As evidenced here there is a substantial difference in immigration since the 1965 immigration act. With many revisions the most notable statistical change is that most people come and stay."

First of all, the CIS, if you haven't noticed, is an anti-immigration advocacy site, not a neutral source.

Secondly, the main point of the article seems to be this, as regards the 1965 Act:

[...] The unexpected result has been one of the greatest waves of immigration in the nation's history — more than 18 million legal immigrants since the law's passage, over triple the number admitted during the previous 30 years, as well as uncountable millions of illegal immigrants. And the new immigrants are more likely to stay (rather than return home after a time) than those who came around the turn of the century.
To which my response is, even if this were true, which they in fact provide no evidence whatever of beyond assertion: so what?

If there's some other quote from that piece you believe is more relevant, please do quote more specifically, if you'd be so kind.

"They came, became productive members of society or failed and went home."

And now is different how?

"The issues seem to be the same now, so I guess not so different."

The article argues that the effects of the 1965 Act were bad. Specifically, that:

[...] Under the old system, admission largely depended upon an immigrant's country of birth. Seventy percent of all immigrant slots were allotted to natives of just three countries — United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany — and went mostly unused, while there were long waiting lists for the small number of visas available to those born in Italy, Greece, Poland, Portugal, and elsewhere in eastern and southern Europe.

The new system eliminated the various nationality criteria, supposedly putting people of all nations on an equal footing for immigration to the United States. The new legislation (P.L. 89 236; 79 Stat. 911; technically, amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952) substituted a system based primarily on family reunification and needed skills.

And my point was that this country has a distinct history of immigration policy based purely on racism and ethnic prejudice: this is your attempt to refute that point?

Your argument is that we should go back to the pre-1965 national quotas? Really? If not, what is the point you are making in linking to this article?

"Although the percentage of high school dropouts among immigrants has fallen somewhat, the gap between natives and the foreign born has grown significantly, with immigrants more than twice as likely as native-born Americans not to have completed high school."

One more time: I've pointed out over and over and over again that these same factors applied to all previous first generation waves of immigrants. And that the second generation is the one that begins to assimilate in a major way, and the third wave completes the assimilation. I have repeatedly asked you to demonstrate long term harm from large-scale or open immigration.

Once again, you have not responded with anything relevant to this point, I'm afraid.

I'd also again point out that Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security With Billions.

"And since you and I know that the most severe economic impact since 1965 is the disparity between the rich and the middle class, particularly blue collar workers, yes, I think things are different."

Post hoc, ergo propter is a fallacy, not an argument.

"And my point was that this country has a distinct history of immigration policy based purely on racism and ethnic prejudice: this is your attempt to refute that point?

Your argument is that we should go back to the pre-1965 national quotas? Really? If not, what is the point you are making in linking to this article?"

Actually one of the things I found very good in the 1965 bill was it undid much of this.

But wait, why would high school graduation rates apply to first generation immigrants?

"I have repeatedly asked you to demonstrate long term harm from large-scale or open immigration.

Once again, you have not responded with anything relevant to this point, I'm afraid'

And a thirty year history isn't long enough for you? So I haven't, because you say so, I'll move on now.

If you would like to provide any benefit beyond the SS benefit of having people in the country illegally, which is a really long stretch, because, if you make them all legal, that benefit disappears overnight,

Let me know.

"And a thirty year history isn't long enough for you?"

I keep, each time, referring to the second generation of those who immigrated as those who truly begin to assimilate, and the third generation as those who complete the process. Which part of this have you not understood?

"If you would like to provide any benefit beyond the SS benefit of having people in the country illegally, which is a really long stretch, because, if you make them all legal, that benefit disappears overnight"

Beyond the obvious fact that they're willing to work for lots of jobs that better-off Americans won't take and our agricultural industry would collapse without them?

These are people who have overcome tremendous hardship to come here; why would their motivation to economically better themselves change because they were made legal?

Apparently, 300K people move here a year illegally. I will engage in a tiny bit of mindreading, based mostly on folks I know who have come here illegally:

Their goal is not to pursue some criminal enterprise, but to come to the US to work and live. They do so because they believe they will like it better here than where they came from, and they think it will be better for them and their kids to live here.

These folks work hard, build businesses, buy homes, raise families, and basically do all of the things we would ask of any legal migrant.

The reason most of them are illegal is because we limit the number of legal immigrations to some number short of the number of folks who'd actually like to come.

For the life of me, I can't see the value, to us or anyone else in the world, of not letting these people come legally and make a life for themselves.

Maybe somebody else here can explain the logic or goodness of it. It escapes me.

"These are people who have overcome tremendous hardship to come here; why would their motivation to economically better themselves change because they were made legal?"

I, in general, don't disagree with this. Except that 300k (or really more) people who have endured those hardships don't translate to 3 million who just get to come because there is no barrier.

The very determination that makes these people come sets them apart from the others who would come if there were no limits.

However, those 300k must be denied because of the other 2.7M, and don't tell me 3M a year wouldn't adversely effect our economy, first generation alone. We might not get to a third generation economically if we had no limits.

Before you complain, I think the number might be quite a bit higher than 3M, but you keep saying no limits so I just picked ten times as many who weren't as dedicated to the proposition.

We have way to many illegal gangs and crime to import more willy nilly. You can say we can screen for that, but not with NO restrictions. Those would be people who would flock to our shores without limits. They would have the means and the motive.

The assumption that all that come would be representative of those who have come is not realistic. An open door invites all kinds, even in the safest neighborhood you wouldn't leave your door open to everyone.

We aren't a land where the immigrants can come and settle Oklahoma anymore, it's settled.

"Before you complain, I think the number might be quite a bit higher than 3M, but you keep saying no limits"

What Gary Actually Wrote: "I'll try this a third time: there's no good reason for any 'qualification' to immigrate beyond excluding criminals, the terminally ill, and those with severe mental illness."

Marty:

so I just picked ten times as many who weren't as dedicated to the proposition.

We have way to many illegal gangs and crime to import more willy nilly. You can say we can screen for that, but not with NO restrictions.

Let me try to follow this: right now, we have way too many "illegal gangs" (I'm thinking possibly you meant something like "gangs of illegal immigrants," although I'd like to see a cite on how many of such actually allegedly exist; if that's not what you mean by "illegal gangs," I don't know what you mean by that phrase: gangs that commit illegal acts?; those certainly exist, but the connection to illegal immigration seems tenuous at best -- the overwhelming majority of members of American gangs are native-born; unless, again, you have some evidence that most "gang crimes" are committed by illegal immigrants), but if we actually let more people in legally, this will make it harder to screen out criminals, since almost all immigrants will, in fact, be screened, whereas now, as you point out, many are not.

Needless to say, this makes no sense whatever.

"An open door invites all kinds, even in the safest neighborhood you wouldn't leave your door open to everyone."

Yes, that's where that whole "screening for criminals" I mentioned in the first place comes into play. Which, as we agree, isn't possible now with illegal immigrants; it becomes possible with legalized immigration.

"We aren't a land where the immigrants can come and settle Oklahoma anymore, it's settled."

As I've pointed out, we And as I point out, on the list of population density by country, the U.S. comes in 177th out of 238 countries in the world. We've got 3,717,813 square miles of space. Most of Alaska is uninhabited. The population density of the U.S. overall is 80 people per square mile.

But, oh, horrors, if we nearly double our population density to that of Ireland, at 143 on the list, with 150 people per square mile, we'd just find life unendurable.

Maybe we'd suffer the terrible fate of Greece, the 112th most crowded country in the world, with 220 people per square mile. Or Germany, the 54th, with 600 people per square mile. Or the unlivable state of Great Britain, the 52nd most crowded state, with 640 people per quare mile, eight times our population density.

The population density of Alaska, btw? 1.03 persons per square mile (1.2 estimated in 2007).

I think we can squeeze in, as I said, a few more folks than our current estimated 302,741,000. Like, say, at least eight times more.

Here is the population density by state, by the way, in case this helps. Ever been to Montana? I have. It's got 6.5 people per square mile (2007 estimate). The Dakotas? 9.3 and 10.5.

Not exactly jam-packed.

How about Oregon? An absolutely lovely state: 39.0 people per square mile. How about Maine? 42.7 per square mile. The claims that these places are all uninhabitable deserts doesn't fly. Iowa has 53.5 people per square mile. Vermont, 67.2 per square mile.

And, oh, the terrors of living in such crowded places! It's practically as bad as Hong Kong, or Singapore! (Singapore: 17,650 people per square mile: just a shade more than Vermont!)

We can fit in a few more, contrary to immigration panic, which, as I've noted, we've always had -- xenophobia is everwhere -- and has nothing to do with the facts, but everything to do with waving around scary words about "illegals" and "criminals." And often tied to "letting in diseases."

I don't think I'll repeat any of this again fo you, if none of these actual citations of actual facts makes a dent with you, which I'm sure we'll both be grateful for.

"this will make it harder to screen out criminals, since almost all immigrants will, in fact, be screened, whereas now, as you point out, many are not."

If there is no criteria then screening for criminals becomes reasonably hard to do. Screening for criminals requires the aid of the country they are coming from. If you don't believe everyone from the Russian mafia to the Chinese gangs will be trying to get people in the country then we will just disagree. The good thing about them having to come illegally is it lets us get rid of them faster, and not in our jails.

I understand the population density, so please yes, don't repeat it. No one is coming here to move to Alaska, they settle in cities or along the border. I know lots of them.

It is clear that there is no limit to your opinion that everyone who wants to come here is the same as the tired, poor and huddled masses of the past. I don't believe that.

I think we would get the people other countries want to get rid of. It is much easier to save/borrow the money to catch a plane here than in the past.

The NY mayor is offering plane tickets to anywhere for his homeless. It is just not the same world.

Maybe I am too cynical, maybe not.

I should add that we would also get the people at the other end of the economic scale in large quantities. Those who see this as a land of opportunity to turn advanced skills into wealth. So the flood of people crosses the spectrum.

"No one is coming here to move to Alaska, they settle in cities or along the border. I know lots of them."

Yeah Marty, we all do.

At the height of the immigration wave in the early 20th C. something like 15-20% of the population was foreign born. Now it's about 10%.

At that time, we let immigrants in to the tune of about 1% of the population, per year. Now it's about a third of 1%.

Those folks were Irish Catholics, Jews, Italians, and god knows what other combinations of smelly barbaric garlic eating papist weirdos. The republic was going to fall, except it didn't.

My great grandfather was among them. When he arrived, he got up every morning and dug ditches in the ground that turned into NYC subway tunnels. His kids worked for Bell Labs, his grandkids were NYC firemen and fought in WWII, his great grandkids work on Wall St, are attorneys, and waste their time ranting on ObWi.

I really don't see a threat. If people want to come in good faith, live and work here, raise their families, and generally pitch in, I don't see the problem.

We have a hell of a lot of empty houses for them to move into.

My two cents, take it FWIW.

"If there is no criteria then screening for criminals becomes reasonably hard to do."

Okay, what part of "Yes, that's where that whole 'screening for criminals' I mentioned in the first place comes into play. Which, as we agree, isn't possible now with illegal immigrants; it becomes possible with legalized immigration" aren't you following?

If we screen for criminals, one of the criteria is screening for criminals. I don't know how much simpler this can be explained.

"Screening for criminals requires the aid of the country they are coming from."

Your point?

"If you don't believe everyone from the Russian mafia to the Chinese gangs will be trying to get people in the country then we will just disagree."

What on earth makes you think I don't believe criminals would try to enter the U.S.? Was it my repeating over and over and over and over again that we should screen to keep criminals out?

I said it at 06:05 PM and several times at 09:02 PM.

Did my writing that we should be "excluding criminals" lead you to the conclusion that I believe no criminals will try to enter the U.S.?

I wrote "there's no good reason for any 'qualification' to immigrate beyond excluding criminals, the terminally ill, and those with severe mental illness."

Which part of this was unclear to you?

When I repeated the same comment at 9:0w p.m., did it become more difficult to follow?

When I followed that by writing "but if we actually let more people in legally, this will make it harder to screen out criminals, since almost all immigrants will, in fact, be screened, whereas now, as you point out, many are not," did this lead you to believe I was arguing against screening for criminals, instead of pointing out that more legal immigration makes it easier to screen for criminals, since illegal immigrants aren't screened at all?

When I then wrote "Yes, that's where that whole 'screening for criminals' I mentioned in the first place comes into play. Which, as we agree, isn't possible now with illegal immigrants; it becomes possible with legalized immigration," which part was unclear?

I have to admit that I'm becoming a tad testy that you seem to repeatedly not read what I've repeatedly written, and claiming I'm saying the opposite, when you write things such as "If you don't believe everyone from the Russian mafia to the Chinese gangs will be trying to get people in the country then we will just disagree."

Is reading on your phone giving you problems following comments? If so, I sympathize, but it seems you really, today, simply aren't reading what I'm writing.

"It is clear that there is no limit to your opinion that everyone who wants to come here is the same as the tired, poor and huddled masses of the past. I don't believe that."

Ok. Post some relevant stats on what differences you find relevant.

"I think we would get the people other countries want to get rid of."

Yes, the U.S. has historically been based to a very large degree on that, just as Australia was. You'll find some of the libertarian types arguing that this makes us more wonderful, because we're genetically inclined to seek freedom and take initiative, which I don't buy the genetics part of, absent actual evidence, but the history of it working quite well for us that we have a history of welcoming dissidents, troublemakers, and, yea, even criminals, is extremely heavily documented, it turns out. Loads of famous Americans fled their countries of origin. Others were exiled. Good for them all in making a good choice in picking America. I'm sure glad my grandparents did. They weren't wanted in Russia and Poland and Germany and thereabouts. My grandparents were "wretched refuse" and utterly impoverished.

And I'm not willing to say "well, now that I'm here, we have to quit all that."

Because that would be entirely hypocritical of me.

America, as seen by Emma Lazarus?

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Yes, I'll entirely stand by that sentiment. I was taught this was a foundation of America. Why do you hate America, Marty?

And do instruct Australia on what horrible things happen when you found your country with outright criminals.

"but the history of it working quite well for us that we have a history of welcoming dissidents, troublemakers, and, yea, even criminals"

Apparently, my grandfather mentioned upthread went AWOL from the Italian army and traveled Europe as a circus strong man.

I guess the strong man gig didn't work out, because he brought his semi-well-born wife and my then two-year-old grandmother here to live in Orange NJ while he embarked on his brilliant career digging holes in the ground.

"Yes, I'll entirely stand by that sentiment. I was taught this was a foundation of America. Why do you hate America, Marty?"

That was the most rude thing i have ever read in this or any other blog.


Well, Marty, Typepad keeps eating any attempt I make to respond to you.

Google "why do you hate america?"

Then note that you are not aware of all internet traditions.

"Why do you hate America, Marty?"

Marty: That was the most rude thing i have ever read in this or any other blog.

What an extraordinarily sheltered life you have led, Marty!

That was the most rude thing i have ever read in this or any other blog.

Clearly I haven't been spending enough time in comments recently.

Anyway, as for "any other blog," here you go. Warning: not just a clever name. Try not to shatter your pearls or collapse any fainting couches.

It's practically as bad as Hong Kong, or Singapore!

Perk of being raised in Hong Kong: anywhere I go feels like wide open country. I remember going to Manhattan and wondering when the city would begin...

I say this as someone who has been loudly cursed at by russell before, and as someone who probably will be again, but why doesn't he have rights as an "author" at this blog?

There's a pretty big hole to fill at this blog, and not saying anyone could do that, but if my RSS feed came up with a new top level post by russell, I'd read it.

Just sayin.

"I say this as someone who has been loudly cursed at by russell before, and as someone who probably will be again, but why doesn't he have rights as an 'author' at this blog?"

A rare agreement between myself and "now_what."

yikes.

I appreciate, more than I can say really, the kind words, but seriously, if I spent any more time online I'd get fired and my wife would leave me.

But really, thank you.

"I appreciate, more than I can say really, the kind words, but seriously, if I spent any more time online I'd get fired and my wife would leave me."

That's a pretty poor argument you make when pleasing us is the alternative, if you ask me, Russell. I mean, what kind of sense of priorities is that?

Next thing you know you'll be justifying Hilzoy quitting on some flimsy grounds of her having a "job" and having to devote time to relevant "research" and "teaching," and other such ridiculous nonsense.

if I spent any more time online I'd get fired and my wife would leave me

So spend the time you already spend online differently.

As it is now, you respond to comments and then spend time defending yourself. If you're writing top level posts, you get to define what you want to talk about and then you have to defend that.

It doesn't necessarily take any more time.

You've got a voice, don't bury it.

This is just unbelievably rare, but: yeah, what now_what said.

I love russell's voice and style, he's the platonic ideal of a commenter. But (and I say this as I muse whither ObWi and, by extension TiO should go) my feeling is that a front pager should be someone who is willing to provide links as well as well crafted points. Of course, with Typepad being the way it is, I may be drawing a massively mistaken conclusion, but russell has always been someone to keep the conversation going rather than provide the starting point.

I want to emphasize that I am in total agreement with now_what and Gary's praise, but, as I imagine that the hive mind is thinking about adding to the roster, I hope this might give some food for thought.

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Whatnot


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