Plucking the pluckers.

A mostly political Weblog.
June 18 2007 8:14 AM

Plucking the Pluckers

Do liberals still care about low-wage workers?

(Continued from Page 19)

Paranoid's Corner: I haven't been watching Fox but judging from their immigration-free home page the eerie Fox blackout on anti-amnesty rabble-rousing is still in effect--and extends to Rupert Murdoch's print property, the New York Post (which you'd also think would be making a fuss about the Senate's bill). ... P.S.: And did that JFK terror plot really have to be broken up  the weekend before the immigration debate resumes in the Senate? I'm just sayin' ... P.P.S.: Murdoch may not be shutting down his conservative media empire's natural proclivities to please Bush. He may be shutting down his empire's natural proclivities to make them conform to his own proclivities, as evidenced in this 2004 WSJ article. Either way, its creepily dictatorial. ... I'm with Jack. ... 

Update: There was some discussion of immigration this morning on Fox. The segment I saw--on "Live Desk with Martha MacCallum"--seemed atypically balanced, even comprehensivist. We'll see if the network's bigger guns-e.g., Hannity--are allowed to go after the bill. Doesn't look like it. ... Update 2: Hannity & Colmes had a short-but-satisfying segment in the armpit of the broadcast, wedged between Bob Shrum and Paris Hilton. .. 1:39 A.M. 

Murdoch will take care of these guys: As apparent contrition for the obnoxiously smug, self-satisfied, cultishly conformist Wall Street Journal "editorial meeting"-- at which Paul Gigot's crew denounced fellow conservatives as not "even rational" and "foaming at the mouth" on immigration--the Journal editors had Heather Mac Donald on their TV show  on May 26--then basically rolled over while she calmly explained what was wrong with the bill.

The Journal is in an odd position in this debate, because while President Bush is busy promoting his immigration bill on the grounds that its enforcement provisions really will work this time--honest!--the Journal seemingly promotes the bill on the grounds that enforcement can never work. I especially don't understand the argument, made by Jason Riley in the televised meeting, that a program of legal guest workers will necessarily dramatically reduce the flow of illegals even absent effective border barriers.

The notion seems to be that if the economy "needs" 400,000 low wage workers, and you let in 300,000 legally, then only 100,000 will come in illegally. But that assumes it's only the demand side of the equation that determines the flow, which I don't think is how markets work. There's also supply--how many workers want to come here, given stagnation, droughts, recessions, etc, in their homelands--and wages, which match supply with demand. If 800,000 are interested in coming here, and 300,000 come in legally, the other 500,000 aren't going to necessarily stay home (assuming, again, border enforcement is futile). They're going to come and bid down twages--raising the number of workers U.S. employers want to hire. Eventually the wage will be so low that some of the 800,000 are discouraged and don't come.

The market might equilibrate at 500,000 (300,000 legals plus 200,000 illegals), or 600,000 (300,000 legals and 300,000 illegals) or 700,000, or anywhere in between. But it won't necessarily stop at the preexisting job "need" level set by government bureaucrats.

It's as odd to see the editorial champions of markets ignore how markets work as it is to see the leading advocates of supply-side thinking ignore the supply side. Do they really believe it? ... 1:19 A.M.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

How was your Memorial Day Recess? Sen.Lamar Alexander attends meeting of constituents concerned about the Senate immigration bill, is rescued by Army Delta Force rapid reaction unit. Just kidding! But a protective cordon was formed, apparently. ... [via Instapundit] 2:14 A.M.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

HuffPo Secret Menu:Eat the Press is not dead, it turns out. It's hiding, Gutfeld-style, under an innocuous house ad two screens down on the Huffington Post Media "vertical." ... P.S.: When do I get a vertical? 3:42 P.M.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Momentum slowing? Hillary sounds pessimistic on the chances for Bush's grand immigration bargain, reports Josh Gerstein of the Sun:

Mrs. Clinton said it was possible no comprehensive immigration bill would pass. She said the tech executives might need to seek a stand-alone measure to increase the number of "H1B" visas, which allow technology firms to bring workers to America from India, China, and other countries.

I hope she knows something. ... Maybe she's been eavesdropping on Sen. Chambliss. ... 2:28 A.M.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Noonan rips Bush: "He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering." 11:03 P.M.

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