The conventional wisdom on immigration crumbles.

A mostly political Weblog.
May 30 2006 5:42 AM

Special Premature Gloating Edition

The bogus CW on immigration crumbles.

(Continued from Page 7)

Sic Semper Cocoonis! A surprise for NYT readers, anyway:

Though the immigration issue was initially thought to favor Democrats since it could hurt Republican efforts to court Hispanics, some Democrats facing tough re-election fights in the fall are finding it cuts both ways.-- Carl Hulse, New York Times, 5/20

10:53 P.M.

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Stanley Kurtz's NRO critique of a recent kf immigration post helped me clarify a couple of points--namely (1) why the current debate in Congress isn't like future debates and (2) why inaction on immigration would itself be a major substantive policy shift. See response to Kurtz below. ... 10:32 P.M.

Davis-Bacon--Back in the News! It's a harmonic convergence of kf enemies.  According to National Review's Kate O'Beirne, the Senate immigration bill:

extends Davis-Bacon "prevailing wage" provisions—typically the area's union wage that applies only to construction on federal projects under current law—to all occupations (e.g. roofers, carpenters, electricians, etc.) covered by Davis-Bacon. So guest-workers (but not citizen workers) must be paid Davis-Bacon wage rates for jobs in the private sector if their occupation is covered by Davis-Bacon. Presumably because Senate Democrats' union bosses thought this provision too modest, an amendment by Senator Barack Obama, approved by voice vote, extended Davis-Bacon wages rates to all private work performed by guest workers, even if their occupations are not covered by Davis-Bacon. [Emphasis added]

First take is that this provision will effectively price many guest workers out of the market, not only because it raises the legal guest-worker wage, but also because it makes them a magnet for wage-related litigation from annoyed construction unions who will claim that the guest-worker wages don't meet Davis-Bacon's government-set "prevailing wage" standards. ... A downside is that unions may now buy into the immigration bill because it extends Davis-Bacon's government setting of wages further into the private sector.  ... The legal guest worker program is relatively small under the Senate bill, remember. The huge influx into the United States is likely to be not legal guest workers but more illegals drawn across the border by the bill's semi-amnesty provisions, no? The Davis-Bacon provision, in one sense, simply guarantees that there will be plenty of employers who still want to hire them (because they'll be cheaper). ...  8:21 P.M. link

The LAT 's Legacy of Responsibility Will Not Die:

Los Angeles Times headline:

2 Arrested in Homeless Life Insurance Scam

Sploid headline linking to this LAT story:

Hobo-Killin' Grannies

The substance of the Times's story's good and noir. Which headline would make you read it?** It's the proud Times "legacy" DNA in action! ... The DNA of Dullness! ... Friday Times-Bash Bonus: Beyond Borders reveals that the LAT's most-emailed story of the day ("A Job Americans Won't Do, Even at $34 an Hour") is an edifice of PC hackery! It's not a piece that pretends someone it quotes is "a regular citizen on the sidelines of the debate" when really they are a pro-guest-worker activist. It's a piece based entirely on someone it pretends is a regular citizen (and an "ambivalent" one at that) when really they are  a pro-guest-worker activist! ... See also Malkin, who has updates on this fast breaking landscape management story. ...

**--The grannies have not been charged with any killings, it should be noted. They were arrested "on suspicion of mail fraud." Somehow I think this little factual mismatch wouldn't have stopped a NY Post headline writer--or anyone with, say, an ounce of actual newspaperin' in their blood--from coming up with something more compelling than "Life Insurance Scam."

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