We almost lost Burkle! Hillary's gift to the press: With Hillary, Obama gets the Bill Drama. And with the Bill Drama, he gets the Burkle Drama! The latest, from S.F. Chronicle : "Billionaire supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, who is former President Bill Clinton's confidant and financial benefactor, put in millions" in a failed biometric bill-paying venture run by a sketchy-resumed "visionary" who apparently knew how to party. ... Partying seems to be a common thread in Burkle investment missteps. ...[ Tks to reader H .] 12:52 P.M.
Saturday December 6, 2008
New York Daily News gossip columnists Rush & Molloy cut back to one day a week . Somewhere, Lloyd Grove is smiling. ... 11:13 P.M.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Mark Krikorian takes on the Illegals-Are-Leaving-So-What's-the-Problem argument (which has of necessity replaced the Illegals-Are-Here-To-Stay-So-Deal-With-It-Yahoos argument). We might as well make the borders porous, this new argument goes, "because people will just leave when the economy slows down." Yes, they will. But Krikorian notes they're leaving in part because of the economy but in part because of the enforcement efforts that people like Krikorian have championed. And, he might add, because the promise of amnesty as a reward for sticking around has faded.
But it's more than that. We don't want low-paid illegals immigrants streaming back in when the economy heats up again. One of the virtues of a hot economy, for Democrats, and certainly for Democratic adherents of Clintonomics, is that it tightens the labor market at the bottom, raising wages for the groups that have gotten screwed the worst by the forces of trade and technology over the past three decades. Sure, in boom times we need more workers. But we want employers to have at least some trouble finding help--then they have to pay more to get it (and maybe pay relatively less to their well-educated managers). It worked in the '90s . It won't work if the proximate effect of a boom isn't raises for unskilled American workers but rather more jobs (in America) for new, unskilled non-American workers . A free flow of immigrants, in this sense, functions eerily like the reserve army of the unemployed functions in paranoid Marxist theory. ("My men are demanding raises. Time for a recession," whisper the industrialists to each other over cigars at the club.) It's bad enough that the Fed takes away the punch bowl whenever the party starts getting good.** ...
Of course, sophisticated defenders of "comprehensive" reform realize this, and argue that in the future the inflows will be controlled. That argument's equally flawed (in part because many of the interests supporting "comprehensive" reform don't really want it to be controlled). But it's a different argument from the one Krikorian is refuting--which is the idea that--hey, look!--uncontrolled, natural flows solve any problem themselves. ...
**--['without all sorts of uninvited guests crashing the party and drinking the punch first?'-ed No. The full metaphor might almost work, I suppose, if the "party" is a wage-increase party, not a growth party. Immigration doesn't seem to inhibit growth. But the "punch" in the metaphor is easy money--and the immigrants aren't drinking that. I give up.] ... 10:48 P.M.
25% of the Amnesty with None of the Enforcement! Even if "comprehensive immigration reform," legalizing more or less all illegals, doesn't pass in the next year, a seemingly more limited measure called the DREAM Act might. In WaPo 's words :
The legislation would have halted deportation efforts of children who are here illegally, giving them citizenship opportunities if they entered the country before age 16 and have lived here for five years.
They would then have six years to complete two years of higher education or two years in the military. But because the Act would apply to any illegals between the ages of 12 and 30 (as long as they entered the U.S. before age 16) it could effectively legalize millions. And do you really think the government is then going to take action against their parents, or against siblings who are also here illegally? That's why even DREAM proponents claim the act would be an amnesty for " 25% of our total undocumented population ."
On bloggingheads I attempt to explain why this means DREAM offers the worst of three worlds . 1) It creates a powerful magnet for future attempted illegal immigration--"Sneak into the U.S. with your children and they can be made U.S. citizens and attend U.S. colleges like their predecessors!" 2) But it doesn't have the toughened enforcement parts of the "comprehensive" compromise--so those incentivized to sneak in by Factor #1 would find it as easy to do as it is now;. Meanwhile, 3) it still leaves the bulk of the illegal population living "in the shadows." ... All of the perverse incentives with none of the non-perverse incentives! It took decades of practice for sophisticated activists to achieve this result. ... 8:21 P.M.
TODAY IN SLATE
I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.
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