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July 03, 2010

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> But you haven't fixed it; you aren't doing the things that would fix it; you aren't talking about it as if it was something that urgently needs fixing. And it isn't going to fix itself.

Oh, yeah? I seem to remember some pretty substantial, multifarious stimuli, which really did reach into every arm of the crisis. Isn't the argument really over whether there should be more batches, not over whether the White House has done anything?

Unless you've gone supply-side, which would disappoint me sadly, indeed.

More stimulus probably would improve employment, but, it won't end employers' general reluctance to hire after recessions.

There's also the issue that we realistically have an underperforming Boomer generation of Congressional leadership, not the sort of LBJ-like institution that could deal with many things in a short time. So, realistically, you'd need to swap another stimulus with another major bill. So, which do you want to swap with? Immigration reform? Fiscal reregulation? Health care?

Isn't that graph missing a bar on the far right? One that's below the axis?

The stimulus stabilized the economy and stopped the bleeding in jobs, but did not do enough to directly support job creation. It was too small by at least $300bn and maybe $600bn, which was what they were told at the time; the predictions for its effects were wildly over-optimistic, which they were also told at the time; and the fact that the White House insisted that $900bn would be plenty left them no room to ask for more when it became clear it wasn't going to be enough (which was at least by late 2009).

I doubt more than what got passed could have made it through Congress at the time, but Democrats should have been saying that it wasn't going to be enough so they'd have some ammunition now.

I'm not a supply-sider, no. I'm a demand-sider, which is why I think that the lack of hiring could be remedied by making it clear that the Federal government was not going to let unemployment remain near 10%.

As for the lethargic Congress, yes and no. I think the chances of passing a new stimulus bill in the next 6 months are actually zero. But I think the Democrats loudly insisting that we need to pass a new stimulus bill despite the chances of it happening being zero would be a rather useful tool for the midterms. I think the Democrats loudly insisting that everything is Going Just Great Yay! with unemployment at 9.5% is not going to produce the desired results.

Unfortunately I think the one thing that might prompt action would be another major fall in the Dow. Which is a pretty pathetic state of affairs.

Isn't the argument really over whether there should be more batches

Batches? We don't need no steenkin' batches!

/obvious

BooManThis: Isn't that graph missing a bar on the far right? One that's below the axis?

As far as I can tell that's a quarterly graph, which is itself quite insulting to put out on the release of some pretty poor monthly data. The quarterly figure of about 500k matches the BLS report on seasonally-adjusted non-farm labor, but of course hiring was pumped early in the 2nd quarter by the census and that inevitably has to unwind. The monthly graph is much less cheerful.

A more honest graph from a party that planned to try to do something about the problem would have a line on it at about 300k jobs/quarter labeled "Needed to keep up with population growth" and another at about 1.8m jobs/quarter labeled "Needed to return to full employment within two years".

That would be a much less cheerful graph.

The stimulus ... was too small by at least $300bn and maybe $600bn, which was what they were told at the time;... and the fact that the White House insisted that $900bn would be plenty left them no room to ask for more when it became clear it wasn't going to be enough (which was at least by late 2009).

I doubt more than what got passed could have made it through Congress at the time, but Democrats should have been saying that it wasn't going to be enough so they'd have some ammunition now.

This is my opinion exactly. We needed more, but almost surely couldn't have gotten it. Still, Obama should have asked for more, for two reasons.

First, to lay groundwork for a second package, should it be needed.

Second, to move the alternatives being discussed away from "stimulus/no stimulus" to "small stimulus/big stimulus/no stimulus."

Letting the press portray the argument the first way was a big mistake.

"The stimulus ... was too small by at least $300bn and maybe $600bn, which was what they were told at the time"

In one of the rare times I agreed with Krugman he was certain the stimulus needed to be twice as big at a minimum and optimally 3 times, let's round up to 3 trillion. One to make up for the lack of consumer spending and two to actually stimulate the economy. Now that we have watsed the first trillion (marginally sucked into and wasted by the bad economy) we probably still need 2-3 trillion to get the economy moving in 18 to 24 months.

Or we can wait for the 2 Billion he "announced" today to generate the 2000 construction jobs and 1500 permanent jobs he said they would. That should take care of it,just keep spending that 1.3M per job, or maybe we should just give everyone 1.3M dollars.

that graph doesn't show stability. it shows progress. the fact that we aren't back to the fat-n-happy days of 06 just shows how far we fell.

I don't agree that the Democrats have control of Congress. The Democrats don't have control of the Senate.

I forget the exact number of Dems, Socialists, Independent Dems, Republicans and former Republicans. Also I have only a hazy grasp of cloture and other dodges used to block votes, set up for filibusters and so on, but it is clear that the Democrats can't simply write a bill and pass it in the Senate with Democratic votes.

This isn't entirely the fault of the Repub icsns although their hyperpartisannship, dishonesty, and willingness to throw the nation under the bus just for the sake of obstructivenness is a big problem. There is also the problem of Republican lite "Democrats" like Nelson of Nebraska. I do fault the leadership of the Dems for not keeping their people more in line. Seems like sellouts of the Nelson/Lincoln variety can stab the Democrats in the back and still be supported by the party leadership. It only takes one or two betrayals.

YOu all are probably right about Obama not setting things up properly to get a good stimulus bill. On the other hand, the Senate seems to be where good bills go to get watered down into bad bills. That's the dymanic that frustrates the hell out of me (and that I don't really understand).

Wonkie is right: Democrats don't actually control Congress, because of the filibuster in the Senate. Were the filibuster not there, would the stimulus and health reform and fin reg and energy bills have been different? Possibly not. It's not like "the Democrats" are especially liberal. But probably yes.

The trouble with Democrats is that many of them are afraid to put liberal policies to an actual test. Republicans have no compunction on that score. Given half a chance, they are unafraid to implement their policies, which are "conservative" only in the modern sense of the word, and let the chips fall where they may. In 2006 and 2008 the chips fell pretty much on the side of "we tried it your way and it didn't work". Maybe actual liberal policies would "not work" either. But they surely can never work unless they're actually tried.

I don't know which is less likely -- a formal change to the filibuster rules or a filibuster-proof liberal majority in the Senate. What I suspect is that for the latter to happen, we have to go through another round of trying things the Republican way. Things have to get a lot worse before they can get better.

--TP

The trouble with Democrats is that many of them are afraid to put liberal policies to an actual test. Republicans have no compunction on that score.

i'm pretty sure many Republicans feel the opposite is closer to the truth; hence, the teabaggers.

i'm pretty sure many Republicans feel the opposite is closer to the truth; hence, the teabaggers.

Most Republicans are not teabaggers, but then sometimes I break out in a cold sweat when I get a fleeting awareness that most Democrats may not be liberals.

The trouble with Democrats is that many of them are afraid to put liberal policies to an actual test. Republicans have no compunction on that score.

You can read that another way and it's still true: Republicans have no compunction about putting liberal policies to an actual test. At least certain specific ones, namely Keynesianism and transfer payments to the elderly. The Bush tax cuts in particular had an effect that was purely Keynesian. The stated mechanism was that they would affect "producer" incentives, but the real mechanism was simple borrow-and-spend Keynesianism. And massive war spending was also Keynesian; yeah, some of that money got spent out of the country on logistics, but most of it went on buying weapons (which are almost all made in the US), both new systems and replacements for that which was destroyed or expended.

Now tax cuts, especially extremely regressive tax cuts, are a very expensive way to stimulate the economy, and clearly tend to lead to overconsumption, malinvestment and poor growth prospects. War spending is very nearly as unproductive as digging holes and filling them in again.

But they do work as Keynesian measures and if you don't give a damn about the cost - if, in fact, running up the debt as much as possible is part of a Starve the Beast plan, and if, in fact, a regressive wealth transfer is more important than long-term growth prospects to you - then their inefficiency is beside the point.

The Keynesian policies of the Bush administration cost vastly more than the Keynesian policies of the Obama administration are going to, and set us up for a financial disaster. But they didn't waste any time on ideological objections to Keynesianism or deficit spending.

I am absolutely certain that had the Republicans been elected instead of the Democrats in 2008, we would have had a far larger stimulus package consisting almost entirely of tax cuts.

cleek, it's progress that the bleeding on jobs has been stanched. But that graph shows a slowing rate of increase of job growth (DeLong's second derivative), and having the baseline at 0 is misleading. The baseline should be at +300k jobs/month; anything less than that is actually losing ground. So we've stabilized, but that is very far from being good enough.

Most Republicans are not teabaggers,

my point was that almost nobody is completely happy with their party. teabagging is just a way for vocal Republicans to voice their disappointment. but Republicans in general complain about their party with pretty much the exact same language Dems do. go read any wingnut blog, for a taste: it's all "the appeasers won't stand up to the liberals!" and "we need politicians who will enact a real conservative agenda!" and "the liberals are shoving their agenda down our throats! why won't the GOP fight harder?!" they sound exactly like liberal blogs did back in 05.

but that's pretty much the expected outcome when you try to shoehorn all possible political views into just two parties.

The Bush tax cuts in particular had an effect that was purely Keynesian. The stated mechanism was that they would affect "producer" incentives, but the real mechanism was simple borrow-and-spend Keynesianism.

Only by accident, and only a little bit, I think. Tax cuts for wealthy people are a poor way to stimulate the economy. In fact, they may even be counterproductive if the increase in the deficit makes it politically difficult to get an effective stimulus at a a future time when it's really needed.

One good argument for fiscal conservatism during good times is that it makes stimulus policies easier during bad times.

I've known enough bad times to know
When the good times have begun..

(Not particularly relevant, but it came into my head.)

I break out in a cold sweat when I get a fleeting awareness that most Democrats may not be liberals.

There's the problem right there. The success of movement conservatism is exemplified not by how the GOP was transformed - in fact, the GOP ended up being a sloppy mess - but by how their ideological opponents ('liberals') were transformed. Democrats are by far their own worst enemy, and not just because they are 'disorganized' a la Will Rogers, but because of a spectacular failure of nerve. Humorlessness and myopia contributed too.

The reason 2008 was not transformative is that the Dems didn't want it to be - including Obama, unfortunately, notwithstanding his comments during the campaign about Reagan.

I was talking to my WW2 era dad this weekend, complaining about the entertainment business (could've been any business), namely that money people want high rewards, but don't want to take on risk to get them. IOW, they want high rewards without high risk. Democrats want change without risk.

Reagan's ghost - the Ghost Of Magical Thinking - is still hovering over this country.

"Reagan's ghost - The Ghost of Magical Thinking - is still hovering over this country."

"This is good that we are able to get the home loans and that opens new chances."

At the end of "It's A Profitable Life, She Shrugged" Dagny Taggert leaned down over George Bailey's drowned body (vomiting a little in her mouth at the thought of touching the undeserving), before they hauled it to a pauper's grave at Potter's Cemetery, and removed Zuzu's petals from his pocket and leased them back to Zuzu with an option to buy.

Ms. Taggert packaged the underlying security with other questionable paper and sold it to Credit Suisse.

Then she sold short the tertiary paper insuring the secondary paper, at a tidy profit.

Zuzu, for her part, began accumulating fissionable material from the world's stockpiles, and methodically assembled the bomb that would one day blow up the whole effing mess.

A little bell sounded in Bedford Falls, but it was just signaling the end of the eight-minute lunch-hour down at the Potter goat-rendering factory, which had been shortened after the Department of Labor was abolished to enhance productivity.

On the bright side, Mr. Potter can now play golf every Sunday, thanks to the transplanted organs his workers sold him to hold on to their jobs.

jonnybutter,

Well said. In my state, we have no state income tax. This makes our tax system a travesty, and implementing progressive legislation an exercise in self-abnegation as more costly programs are piled on top of a stupidly regressive and creaky tax base.

So what do our (overwhelmingly Dem) State Legislators do? Inch up sin taxes. Toy with taxes on soda bottles. Feh. What crap.

When pushed, they pull out the Roosevelt BS. "Make me do it", they say. Tell you what, these clowns regularly get returned to office with 60%+ majorities. They can afford a little political risk.

Maybe "make me" should include pistol whippings.

Sometimes I really miss machine politics.

nothing in the world is impossible if you set your mind to do it.

Dr. Shirts, Don't you read Barbara Ehrenreich?

nothing in the world is impossible if you set your mind to do it.

[Edited to slightly reduce [email protected] content - Teh Mgmt.]

i'm feeling optimistic.

let's achieve and celebrate !

Take Barbara Ehrenreich's unemployment check away and she would be free to become Barbara Cartland.

I aspire to the true America, the one in the Marianas, where the factory girls have time to work two jobs for the Republican Party ..... their day job and the blow job.

The future is so romantic.

bobbyb, do you live in WAshington state? Cause the scenario seems familiar...

nothing in the world is impossible if you set your mind to do it.

Try this:

1. Put on a pair of boots.
2. Lean over and grasp the straps.
3. Pull.

Tell me how far off the ground you get.

Does Lacoste make boots?

Yo lacoste, I want to be the Elector and Margrave of Brandenburg. Please advise me how to get started on that.

Grand Duke of Tuscany would also be acceptable.

"nothing in the world is impossible if you set your mind to do it."

Yes, capitalize on your dreams and if that fails, capitalize the first word of your sentences, for thy clauses shall not be dependent, but shall runneth on to the beat of a different bummer.

Lay thy head upon the 50 pound bag of lentils and dream, my child, of waking up and smelling the coffee, the bitter bean of which shall sustain thy wakefulness for the 70-mile drive to and from thy job of changing the sheets on the lovers' beds at the Motel 6 in Pensacola. For thou shall consume the hill of beans thou have amounted to and so shall you fall back on thy nest-egg to satisfy the premiums of thy insurance benefactors.

I want to be a pair of zircon-encrusted tweezers gleaming in the moonlight at night. That or a pygmy pony. I'm flexible like Hogan.

hsh: Your first step is moving to Montana, yippee-i-yo-ki-yay.

Hey, you guys are on to something. Every able bodied adult could be dental floss tycoons. or mennel toss flycoons.

For there is no shame in donning the paper hat and serving the curly fries at Arby's, unless your friends shall pretend not to see you and quickly look away as you duck behind the counter seeking the special sauce, for they seek comfort in their pithy maxims, to wit: unemployment compensation subsidizes unemployment.

Ask not the impossible of the world, that it cease to speak its stupidities in your direction, for it has succored stupidity in its breast lo these many years and seeks yet greater and all-encompassing stupidity in its elections next November. It shall choose the darkest beasts of stupidity, its Angles, its Pauls, and its curvaceous dimwitted Palins to bring a more complete and perfect stupidity to the doings of man.

"Try this:

1. Put on a pair of boots.
2. Lean over and grasp the straps.
3. Pull.

Tell me how far off the ground you get."

Do that enough times and you'll build up your arms, back, and legs, and have the strength to do back-breaking labor, which may be all that's available for working-class Americans in the next decade. But as my Daddy use to say, the only way to get on your feet is to get off your ass... and with the asses we got running the country now, that may be our only option.

But as my Daddy use to say, the only way to get on your feet is to get off your ass

That's a cute saying.

Average time out of work for an unemployed person today is 35 weeks.

BLS U3 number is just under 10%. U6 is something like 17%, which means one out of six people in the workforce are out of work or can only find part-time work.

Five job applicants for every job.

You can make cute jokes about the "asses running our country" but there are a hell of a lot of people who are SOL, and it ain't because they're all lazy.

Positive thinking is great but it doesn't change the underlying reality.

Why do incumbent politicians talk to people as though they're stupid? Because they keep getting elected, and so have good reason to believe a majority of the electorate ARE stupid.

Anyway, I believe http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate_u6.jsp>this is the graph which should really concern us, the U6. It includes the people who've been unemployed so long they've given up. I don't see much of a recover here:

"You can make cute jokes about the "asses running our country" but there are a hell of a lot of people who are SOL, and it ain't because they're all lazy."

Who said they wuz lazy. Did I sez it? Naw. You'r jumping to conclusions that don't make no nevermind... How duz toughening up equate with laziness?

I was just sayin' there's hard times ahead, for maybe a decade, and with the kinda lack-luster leadership we have (and have had from two consecutive idiot administrations) folks better be prepared for the worst, 'cause as Bobby-D sez, we're 10 thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard, and it's a hard hard hard rain that's gonna keep falling, especially on the outta-work working class.

Get off their asses and do what?

Compete with undocumented day laborers for non-existent construction work, or to pick fruit at wages that wouldn't pay for a room at a flophouse, let alone sustain a family? Take up a life of crime? Start a new business with their depleted savings at a time when prospects for growth are dim and every existing business is scrabbling for work?

There's a surreal religious taboo quality to the current situation. 15 million real, actual people are standing around with nothing to do, watching their lives disintegrate, while we collectively wring our hands about whether the quantity of pieces of paper with numbers on them that we've printed might pass some magical threshold, even though simple mathematics says we're nowhere near it, and past experience says that increasing the numbers of certain types of paper-with-numbers-on will revive the economy and restore full employment.

"or to pick fruit at wages that wouldn't pay for a room at a flophouse, let alone sustain a family? "

I had no idea that the illegal immigrants currently doing those jobs lived in ditches while starving to death. In fact, I was under the impression that they managed to rent rooms in flophouses, feed themselves, AND send money home...

Not that you get paid well picking crops, I did my time doing that as a teen, and the pay was almost as bad as the work was hard. But it IS possible to exaggerate just how bad the situation is.

Who said they wuz lazy. Did I sez it?

"Get off your ass". Interpret as you wish.

I was just sayin' there's hard times ahead, for maybe a decade

You're assuming something's actually going to change. I hate to break your bubble, but we may be looking at the new normal.

Via Yves, Andy Grove from Intel in Bloomberg.

Eh, maybe a mild exaggeration, but really not by much. There are plenty of homeless farm workers right now, for instance: "Scattered groups of farm workers, unemployed and desperate, are emerging from a long cold winter spent living outdoors, in the same orchards that were once their livelihood."

My parents picked fruit in the UK when I was a baby. It didn't pay very well then either.

In fact, I was under the impression that they managed to rent rooms in flophouses, feed themselves, AND send money home...

Groups mostly of young men from impoverished countries get together to share rooms in flophouses to reduce individual expenses. Is this a good model for a significant percentage of Americans? Would that be a step forward or back?

"nothing in the world is impossible if you set your mind to do it"

"But it is possible to exaggerate just how bad the situation is."

I'm going to take up embroidery.

"Get off their asses and do what?"

I agree with what ya saying,Jacob, that things are bad, but ya gotta do something to survive in these times-- food on the table, paying the rent, and getting off your ass and trying to do something is better then passively sitting on it while the roof falls on yer head, right?

And maybe if we reduced the number of undocumented day laborers you mentioned, notably in the construction industry, where they've undercut the hourly wage for a generation of carpenters, electricians, cement and tile workers, wages would creep back up, and American workers would be able to earn a decent living once again in those sectors -- if, that is, the dye-uh-ree-a brains now in charge of the recovery ever get it together and fix the border, and fix this katty-wonkered economy in time to create enough jobs to keep us from starving to death --

Fix the border? Good luck with that.

The construction industry? You mean the one that built all those houses during the housing bubble? Good luck with that, too.

In fact, I was under the impression that they managed to rent rooms in flophouses, feed themselves, AND send money home...

Which they largely accomplish by living 10-12 people to a small home while NIMBYs and racists look for ways to zone them out or otherwise punish/ban them.

"flophouses"

"Is this a good model for significant percentages of Americans?"

The flophouse model could be adapted to fit American tastes and standards. For example, the bedbugs would need their own separate wing.

There would need to be an adjoining hot tub and spa complex utilizing brown water runoff, but we could keep costs low and maintain authenticity by using the brown water directly rather than filtering it.

We could dispense with the INS raids, of course, but to keep the flavor and tone of the original flophouse concept, we could stage mock raids on Tuesday evenings during happy hour.

A guest speaker night would enliven the theme --- think of John McCain stopping by for a convivial "Get Off My Lawn and Deport the Sons o' Bitches" roundtable with the guests. Arizona's Governor Brewer could pop in for a lawn game of "Hide the Severed Head" with the resident kids.

A small orchard could be situated contiguous to the unmanicured grounds in case the guest wanted to get off their asses and possibly dream the impossible dream.

A bowl of windblown fruit between the hammocks in every room.

I envision a chain of these accommodations across the country (splaying his hands in front of him as he gazes at an imaginary marquee) --- Flophouse 17 .... or ...... Flophouse Express .... The Flophouse Biltmore.

I see a high margin 24-hour Usury Kiosk for the guest's check-cashing needs.

We could slyly eliminate the need for immigrant labor by letting the guests clean their own rooms for a small fee added to their bill.

trying to do something is better then passively sitting on it while the roof falls on yer head

The folks who are normally counted as "unemployed" in the US are people who have actively looked for work in the last four weeks. So, by definition, the people who are "passively sitting on it" are not part of the almost 10% of the workforce that is officially counted as unemployed.

They leave out the folks who have simply given up.

So, there are something like 14 million people out there pounding the pavement.

Per the BLS, the US employed about 820K agricultural laborers in 2008, and is projected to employ fewer than that in the future.

The construction industry is currently running at something like 20% unemployment. That's not because of US immigration policy, it's because there is no money to be made from building houses and/or commercial RE right now and for the near term forseeable future. There's a huge glut of private homes and commercial RE is at something like 80% occupancy.

It's not about being a good boy and getting your gumption mojo working. For millions and millions of people, THERE ARE NO JOBS.

It's not that the jobs are out there and they just have to go find them. It's not that their wonderful entrepreneurial opportunity is just waiting for them to stumble on it.

THERE ARE NO JOBS. No job now, no job soon, and most likely for millions of them, no job ever again.

No job.

There are lots of causes for that, and some but not all are down to government policy. Of the policy-related causes, some may be laid at the feet of Obama, but most of them stem from 30 or more years of deliberate decisions to favor interests other than those of people who live on earned income.

So yeah, times are going to be tough, and it is going to take a long time, longer than the current administration is likely to be in office, to turn it around, assuming it can be turned around. Which maybe it cannot.

Go pick fruit if you like and if you can find a gig, but picking fruit is not going to employ 14 million people. Neither is construction, or manufacturing, or cleaning office buildings.

14 million people is five times the entire federal workforce. It's about 14 Wal-Marts.

And you can b*tch about Obama, but if you look at the employment numbers in the graph at the top of the thread, you will see that whatever else you want to say about the guy, his actions made at least some dent in the situation.

Just not enough.

Go pick fruit if you like and if you can find a gig

You could start here.

"Eh, maybe a mild exaggeration, but really not by much. There are plenty of homeless farm workers right now, for instance: "Scattered groups of farm workers, unemployed and desperate, are emerging from a long cold winter spent living outdoors, in the same orchards that were once their livelihood.""

Well, duh: I was laid off for four months back in 2008, and can testify that even engineering work doesn't pay enough to keep a roof over your head if you're not employed at it.. I don't imagine the situation is any different for picking radishes. Has very little to do with whether you'd starve in a ditch on the pay you get while you ARE employed picking radishes...

" For millions and millions of people, THERE ARE NO JOBS."

And if we kicked out of the country the people who are here illegally and working, there'd be NO JOBS for several million fewer Americans. And several million more Mexicans, but as I've observed before, our government's job is to look out for the interests of Americans, not Mexicans.

"14 million people is five times the entire federal workforce."

The solution to getting that first number UP to acceptable levels for the burgeoning Andrew Mellon contingent running the show is to fire the entire federal workforce, including postal workers, and ratchet that number up to about 16.6 million.

Throw in approximately another 4 million state and local government workers ... your policemen, your firemean, your librarians, your teachers .... and you've got a regula surfeit of Village People cutting in line with the other 14 million at the job fair.

Give each one of them an AK-47 and lots of ammo and keep the safety net cuts coming.

See y'all down at the local House of Flop.

Soon as we pick all of the bullet fragments out of John Boehner, we're roasting a pig.

A body's got to make do.


O.K., the business plan is crystallizing.

Wait for it ........


Timeshare Flophouses!

That's right. For the itinerant unemployed.

Villa de Flop. Chez Flop.


And if we kicked out of the country the people who are here illegally and working, there'd be NO JOBS for several million fewer Americans.

Those several million fewer Americans are no sooner going to take jobs picking fruit for a pittance than you would if you found yourself laid off again.


For those who believe that illegals take jobs that others won't, my son-in- law captains a crew boat for offshore rigs. More than once the entire crew he was transporting didn't speak enough English to understand the safety briefing.

Brett: engineering work doesn't pay enough to keep a roof over your head if you're not employed at it

No, but it presumably pays well enough that you have some buffer against becoming immediately homeless should you be out of work. It doesn't exactly speak to the remunerative potential of agricultural work that a fair number of the people engaged in it are instantly rendered indigent when work dries up.

"Those several million fewer Americans are no sooner going to take jobs picking fruit for a pittance than you would if you found yourself laid off again."

I think that doubtful, but if I did believe it was true, any sympathy I'd had for them would evaporate like a snowflake in Hell.

But, hey, let's do the experiment, and see which of us is right.

Here's an experiment: Figure out how much money and manpower it would take to kick all the illegals out of the country and then use it to do something far more productive. That'll put people to work without all the unnecessary cruelty toward impoverished people who are trying to scrape a few bucks together to support their families.

Figure out how much money and manpower it would take to kick all the illegals out of the country...

Oh come on, it would be a snap to find and deport 20 million people. Once we did that all our burning problems would be over, right?

/s

In fact, I was under the impression that they managed to rent rooms in flophouses, feed themselves, AND send money home...

So why always go with the under? Try getting over those impressions for a change.

Oh come on, it would be a snap to find and deport 20 million people.

and if they did it as fast and decisively as the wingnuts want, just think of the thousands and thousands of lawsuits from people who were wrongly expelled. it would keep every lawyer in the country busy for the next 20 years. now there's some long lasting stimulus!

"Those several million fewer Americans are no sooner going to take jobs picking fruit for a pittance than you would if you found yourself laid off again."

We're not talking about picking fruit -- that's a red chili pepper -- we're talking about the myriad of jobs illegals, and the hundreds of thousands of workers who are allowed entry to work in the US on NAFTA visas and daily Border Crossing cards (as easy to get as cell phones from Target)
have appropriated from Americans, non-farm jobs driving trucks, pouring cement, cutting meat, butchering chickens, digging foundations, landscaping lawns, short-order cooking in restaurants, installing satellite dishes and cable TV -- jobs that will pay survival wages (that's what so many of us are trying to do, survive). Ya have to have yer head twisted to a strange angle not to see those are jobs that Americans can and would do if the oversupply of foreign workers wasn't undercutting the wage platforms.

So why ya want to make it harder for American-born workers like me to find work in this failing economy, and instead throw your support to foreigners from other countries?

I repeat. Whenever the subject turns to illegal immigration, the net ECONOMIC effect, according to a consensus of economists is slightly positive for The USA. So, any argument about what illegal immigrants cost us is leaving out all the stuff they provide for us, that we wouldn't have otherwise.

If you want to oppose illegal immigrants, please use the real reasons you oppose them. Economic arguments fail.

Ya have to have yer head twisted to a strange angle not to see those are jobs that Americans can and would do if the oversupply of foreign workers wasn't undercutting the wage platforms.

for example, see russell's link @ 3:33. the world hurts everybody.

why ya want to make it harder for American-born workers like me to find work in this failing economy, and instead throw your support to foreigners from other countries?

Who said anything about anyone "throwing their support" one way or another? You can't deport all the illegal immigrants in the US and you can't even stop them from working without a better system for verifying eligibility. That's not a question of "support", it's a question of acknowledging reality.

Blaming the migrants for wanting to work is a waste of time. What moral weight attaches to breaking the widely-ignored US immigration law, compared to finding work to support your family? Even blaming the employers only goes so far; the root problem is that the work eligibility verification system in the US sucks, and the legal quotas for work permits are not even on the same planet as the number of workers that employers want here (or used to). Big demand, big supply, slack law enforcement, guess what happens?

As a matter of actual fact, I agree that undocumented workers are bad for low-end American wages, in fact I have a post on the subject I will get to finishing and maybe put up. I think that's worthy of concern, but facts (like a 2,000 mile land border) are facts, and they have to be accommodated. Bringing workers into the legal system of employment lets them organize and demand fair working conditions, and building a new system for employment eligibility verification would help stem the demand for undocumented workers and slow further immigration. But it's not going to stop because the US, the richest country on the planet, is right next to a low-income country that has failed to provide jobs for its people. Short of moving America to the moon there are going to be Mexicans coming to the US to work.

"Short of moving America to the moon there are going to be Mexicans coming to the US to work."

Oh, I agree. Even if we took that 2000 mile border, and put up two Israeli style security walls with a mine field between for the entire length of it, (Would cost a small fraction of one year's defense budget; It's a 2000 mile border, but a BIG defense budget.) SOME illegal aliens would get through.

If we had to stop every last illegal alien in order to get any benefit from securing the border, it would indeed be sensible to throw up our hands in defeat. But, of course, we don't. Stopping 95% of them would be just fine.

So why ya want to make it harder for American-born workers like me to find work in this failing economy, and instead throw your support to foreigners from other countries?

Poor baby. Why don't you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps?

I think that doubtful, but if I did believe it was true, any sympathy I'd had for them would evaporate like a snowflake in Hell.

What did you do when you were laid off, Brett? Did you pick fruit?

Well, there were those proposals to fit every non-US human being with implanted ID chips. That would make it easy to tell the illegals from the citizens (to fit the latter instead would of course be inacceptable fascist stalinism). Branding would of course be even cheaper. Also the implanting/branding teams would provide work for many given that all those non-USians breed like rabbits on speed. Not to speak of the Herodian... I mean Herculean... task of locating all those brats.

if we took that 2000 mile border, and put up two Israeli style security walls with a mine field between for the entire length of it

Land of the free, and home of the brave

"Undercutting the wage platforms" is what America was set up to do.

It's right there in the Constitution. You say you want me to PAY people to pick cotton?

Americans wake up every morning trying to figure out how to undercut someone's, anyone's, wage platform.

You'll do more with less or we'll find some other schmuck who'll do it. With 17% unemployment, there's nothing employers like more than the sight of tens of million people f#cking each other at job fairs.

May the best man win? F*ck you, may the cheapest man win.

There's an entire political party devoted to "undercutting the wage platform", and they want to start at the bottom. The other political party stands around collecting THEIR wages for having their thumbs up their a*ses.

That security fence will be manufactured IN Mexico so that the f*cking corporation who builds it can undercut the wage platform. Laborers whose wage platform has been undercut will be setting the mines.

Then the rest of the American corporations will start catapulting jobs over the effing fence, so THEY can undercut the wage platform.

Unless you want to hire two fat f*cks armed with bows and alatles to sit at either end of the border on folding chairs to police the border.

They'd probably "deploy" there for a a couple of ham sandwiches.

Jacob Davies is certainly not stupid, but I've canvassed a wide range of political opinion across the stellar wealth of media (pundits like George Will, our Republican Congress, the political hacks in the White House, finance ministers far and wide, corporate honchos, etc) we have in this great country of ours and I'm afraid he's going to have to settle for the low expectations of the stupid.

Because the smart people got nothing but stupid.

Occasionally, though, our political system coughs up a diamond in the rough, an individual with vision, a man with a plan.

You want jobs?

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the next President of the United States, Mr. Alvin Greene of South Carolina:

"Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an army uniform, and me in my suit. They can make toys of me and my vehicle, especially for the holidays and Christmas for the kids. That's something that would create jobs. So you see I think out of the box. It's not something a typical person would bring up. That's something that could happen. That makes sense. It's not a joke."

This is genius. What, you wanted to vote for Jim DeMint, whose idea of an economic plan is to bugger the poor? Although Demint could be named head of the Product Safety Commission to halt any regulation of heavy metals in the paint of the Little Dolls of Me.

I see a bi-partisan ticket encompassing the sheer genius and ingenuity of the American people.

Mr. Greene for President. Republican Sharron Angle as his running mate (if the little dolls of me business plan doesn't work out, we can go to her only slightly less brilliant Plan B -- the ever-popular Second Amendment remedies).

Personally, I find it a shame that the little dolls of me empire will undercut my nascent plan for a chain of flophouses across the breadth of America, but maybe if the wage platform is low enough for the piece workers manufacturing the little dolls of me, the flophouse chain may still have a niche.

Flopniche.

That has a ring to it.


Remind me again why the Republicans are the party of "tough" guys when they're terrified of Mexicans, foreigners in general, their own government, "One World Government", poor people, labor unions, and whatever the new boogeyman is this week?

We could make little flophouses to go with the little dolls of me.

Dollflops.

"Well, there were those proposals to fit every non-US human being with implanted ID chips"


Hartmut, are you aware Mexicans are already putting those kinds of chip implants, into their own citizens, and have been for a while now.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5439055/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aayL5RLYdYY

My husband and I are American Ex-Pat citizens, living in Mexico. We've been here six years now, and we think it's a beautiful country in many ways -- but in some ways problematic. We frequently cross the border into the USA, twice a month at a minimum (necessary trips to COSTCO, FRYS, and Grand Slam breakfasts at Denny's). And we would have no objections to having chip implants (assuming they're as safe as the chips my daughter had implanted in her pet dogs), if it speed-ed up our border check times.

And if the chip contained our US passport info AND our Mexican Visa info, that would be even better. Here in Mexico foreigners are required to carry identification at all times, that includes tourists in the country for more than 72 hours, or those traveling 70 miles beyond the border zones. If you're a foreigner, you can't cash traveler's checks or use a credit card without presenting proper documentation - and believe me, as soon as they see you're not a Mexican native, they demand entry ID. It's also challenging to open a bank account if you're a foreigner. You have to present numerous documents, including an FM3 or FM2 visa, your home country passport, and proof of residency, i.e. rent receipts or copies of telephone or utility bills, etc. Visa ID is also required if you apply for a Mexican driver's license. And if you ever are stopped by Mexican Police for a traffic violation (sadly there's many a speed trap on roads and highways) you better have your visa or tourist card with you.

It would save a lot of time if the passport and visa documents could be scanned from a chip, and you didn't have to lug all that paperwork around with you to prove you're who you say you are, which is doubly true here in Mexico.

"It would save a lot of time if the passport and visa documents could be scanned from a chip, "

It would save a lot of time for anybody who wanted to copy your passport, too, without your knowledge. Remote electronic cloning of RFID passports was demonstrated before the feds even got the product rolled out.

It's also challenging to open a bank account if you're a foreigner. You have to present numerous documents [...]

It's pretty darn challenging to open a bank account in the US as a foreigner. You need a Social Security card, or presumably a ITN would do, which means you need to go to the Social Security Administration and present your proof of legal status, wait for the card to arrive in the mail, etc. (I went to get mine at the downtown San Francisco SSA building and had a lunatic in the waiting room explain that he was going to murder me in the parking lot outside. Nothing says "Welcome to America" like someone telling you they're going to stab you.)

Then you have to persuade a bank to give you an account. When I first came to the US my credit union wouldn't even give me a Visa debit card because I had absolutely nothing on the credit report they got with my freshly-minted SSN.

Not that that has anything to do with anything, except to say that countries tend to be set up for the convenience of citizens over foreigners.

I can buy a foreign-made product, not that there is anything wrong with that, and the product doesn't have to show me proof of anything.

Foreign and international corporations, who I'm happy to patronize, and who are people now, just like me, don't have to show me jack-sh*t for me to patronize their products.

People hate people.

"Not that that has anything to do with anything, except to say that countries tend to be set up for the convenience of citizens over foreigners."
And it's becoming increasingly inconvenient for citizens.

"It's pretty darn challenging to open a bank account in the US as a foreigner. You need a Social Security card, or presumably a ITN would do, which means you need to go to the Social Security Administration and present your proof of legal status, wait for the card to arrive in the mail, etc"

I am a UK Citizen, and opened Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Washington Mutual accounts, and never needed a social security number because I wasn't employed by any US firms. This was three years ago, and I don't know if the procedures have changed since, but I opened an international account for non us citizens, showed proof of address, my passport ID photo, and presented my entry visa. The bank employees paid only perfunctory attention to the visa -- none verified if it was up to date. There were also some forms to sign, promising I was not engaged in evil pursuits I think, and in twenty minutes to half an hour, I was on my way out with temporary checks and debit cards.

-I can buy a foreign-made product, not that there is anything wrong with that, and the product doesn't have to show me proof of anything.-

I believe any product imported into the US must show its country of origin...

-People hate people.-

Unless they look like Helena Bonham-Carter... :)

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