I'd always thought the tight 90s labor market, and the opportunity it provided for those at the bottom, wasone of the glories of the Clinton years that Democratic economists like DeLong celebrate and wish to replicate. Maybe Democrats could run an economy so hot it would provide employment for millions of decent, hard-working immigrants from Latin America and Korea and for any left-behind unskilled Americans. That would be nice! But until we achieve that miracle, we will have to think about restricting the influx of competing low-wage workers from abroad.
**--Update: I agree with several emailers who argue the current EITC for childless individuals--i.e. including most of the "scrubs" I'm talking about--can and should be expanded. Right now it only adds about $400 a year. Let's say we tripled that amount and lowered the age of eligibility (now 25). That would still be a marginal change when compared with limiting the low wage competition. It's much more important for unskilled young men to hear, "They're hiring right now over at Home Depot for $10 an hour" than "If you manage to find an employer willing to hire you rather than a hungrier, more motivated immigrant and then you apply to the IRS you'll someday get a few hundred dollars back." If everyone had long time horizons we wouldn't have a ghetto-poverty problem. 12:54 P.M.
Most Idiotic Rumor of the Week: Page Six's"buzz" that Vanity Fair'sGraydon Carter might replace Brad Grey as head of the Paramount movie studio. And I will be replacing Katie Couric on the Today show. 11:39 A.M.
Maybe! Another home-brewed sports car: The Yes!11:16 A.M.
a lopsided majority of the American public, 72%, favor a "guest worker" program in a head-to-head match-up over a House bill that would criminalize illegal immigration. [Emph. added]
Here is the question Time asked:
TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES HAVE BEEN SUGGESTED TO DEAL WITH ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. PLEASE TELL ME WHICH COMES CLOSEST TO YOUR VIEWS ...
MAKE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION A CRIME ANDNOT ALLOW ANYONE WHO ENTERED THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY TO WORK OR STAY IN THE UNITED STATES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES [25%]
ALLOW ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO GET TEMPORARY WORK VISAS SO THE GOVERNMENT CAN TRACK THEM WHILE THEY EARN PERMANENT RESIDENCE AFTER SIX YEARS IF THEY LEARN ENGLISH, PAY A FINE, PAY ANY BACK TAXES, AND HAVE NO CRIMINAL RECORD [72%]
P.S.: April Fool's! ... Correction: Oh wait. I was going to do an April Fool's item in which I parodied Time's comically biased wording, but I accidentally printed the the actual wording they used. I apologize for the error. ... Maybe Mystery Pollster will correct me, but this seems not close to being a fair poll question. The polltakers make the editorial case for one side after describing the other side with language that's extreme ("anyone," "under any circumstances") and probably inaccurate. (Are there really no circumstances in which someone who entered illegally could stay in the country under the House bill?) I doubt many actual politicians, with their careers on the line, will believe Time. ... It's almost as if they poll-tested the words they used in the poll to make sure they'd get the desired respectable result. ... P.P.S.: Emphasis on comic bias words added ...P.P.P.S.: The question is such a special confection it apparently hasn't been asked by this polling organization before. Those questions that have been asked before seem to reveal a mild 2-6% movement in the Bush/guest worker direction over the past three months. But they also show a 69% majority in favor of denying illegals driver's licenses, and a 56% majority in favor of a "2,000 mile" fence--and even a near-equal 47-49 split on "deporting all illegal immigrants back to their home countries"! ... P.P.P.P.S.: The Time poll also seems to show substantial backlash after last week's demonstrations. By a roughly 3-1 margin eople say they were moved to oppose the marchers' cause. But if that were the case you'd think it would be reflected in the results. ...
More: It's also hard to jibe Time's "guest worker" result with this two-week old Hart/McInturff NBC/WSJ poll, featuring more balanced wording, that found a 59-37 majority againstallowing illegals to "apply for legal, temporary worker status." (See question 22a, and also 22b). ... 3:14 P.M. link