Archive for March, 2006

David Frum on Immigration & the Labor Market

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/28/2006

David Frum is back from months away from his blog and he’s doing lots of immigration blogging. Among other things he links to Steven Camorota’s important study, Dropping Out Immigrant Entry and Native Exit From the Labor Market, 2000-2005. Frum comments:

The data are so shocking that at first it is hard to accept that they can possibly be true:

In the five years from 2000 to 2005, 8 million immigrants entered the United States – half of them illegal.

In those five years, unemployment among the least-educated native-born rose by 1 million.

Labor force participation by the least-educated native-born dropped by a further 1.5 million.

Only 9% of the net adult new jobs created over the past 5 years went to the native born – even though the native-born accounted for 61% of the increase in the adult population.

And Frum on the President:

Immigration truly is emerging as an issue that can shatter the Republican party. The president is determined to thrust upon the party an amnesty/guestworker approach that is opposed by the overwhelming majority of the Republican rank-and-file. He has come to believe – and tells visitors to the White House – that party opposition to him is based on irrational fear, ignorance, and prejudice. (Just like Dubai! Or for that matter, Harriet Miers.)

If anything were calculated to solidify the perception that this administration scorns the values and concerns of the ordinary Republican – if anything were designed to discourage ordinary Republican from turning out in November 2006 – it is what this administration is doing now. At a moment when the president needs his maximum strength to see his foreign policy through to success, he is gambling everything on a wager he cannot win.


Posted in Economics, Immigration | Comments Off on David Frum on Immigration & the Labor Market

Illegals by the Millions Demand Citizen Privileges

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/26/2006

Illegals by the Millions

Police estimate that more than 500,000 rallied against the enforcement of American law in Los Angeles.

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1970 vs. 2005

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/26/2006

Are we better off now than we were 35 years ago? Quotable:

the median income of married-couple families, with the wife not in the paid labor force, was $40,100 in 2002, less than it had been in 1970 ($40,785) when inflation is taken into account .. Put another way, families have been able to get ahead only by becoming “nontraditional” and sending mother to work or forgoing children altogether ..

Posted in Economics | Comments Off on 1970 vs. 2005

An Interview With Thomas Sowell

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/26/2006

The WSJ talks with Thomas Sowell. Quotable:

[Sowell] describes his latest tome as “partly an old book and partly a new book.” It combines four somewhat revised essays on microeconomics, macroeconomics, methodology and social philosophy from his 1974 publication, “Classical Economics Reconsidered,” with four new essays, on Mill, Marx, Sismondi and economic history ..

Free-market economics, a legacy of the classical school, is thought of as an old conservative doctrine. But Mr. Sowell explains that it was in fact one of the most revolutionary concepts to emerge in the history of ideas. Moreover, “the thinking of the classical economist was not only a radical break from landmark intellectual figures like Plato and Machiavelli but also from mainstream thinking to this day.” The notion of a self-equilibrating system–the market economy–meant a reduced role for intellectuals and politicians, he says. “And even today many still haven’t accepted that their superior wisdom might be superfluous, if not damaging.” ..

He has shown, empirically, that affirmative action does not benefit poor blacks. He has shown, empirically, that political clout is not a prerequisite for ethnic economic advancement. And most importantly, he has exposed the harmful fallacy of using racial and gender discrimination as an all-purpose explanation for statistical group disparities.

Asked why many of these failed ideas, and the black leaders who promote them, don’t seem to lose credibility, Mr. Sowell responds that the phenomenon is hardly limited to the realm of race. “You could take it beyond the black leadership,” he says. “Has [John Kenneth] Galbraith lost any credibility? I remember ‘The New Industrial State'”–the 1967 book in which Mr. Galbraith famously argued that large corporations were immune to marketplace forces–“but since then, Eastern Airlines has gone out of business. The Graflex Corporation has gone out of business. Similarly with all kinds of big businesses. This hasn’t made the slightest dent in Galbraith’s reputation. We have Paul Ehrlich, who has told us there would be mass starvation in the world in the ’80s, and now we find our two biggest problems are obesity and how to get rid of agricultural surpluses.” Mr. Sowell’s conclusion is a cynical one. “I have a book called ‘The Vision of the Anointed,’ and there’s a chapter in there called ‘The Irrelevance of Evidence.'”

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Foreigners Outsource Their Families to America

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/26/2006

They work and pay taxes in countries around the world — but they’ve sent their wives and their children to America to live on the U.S. taxpayer’s dime. The big draw is free schooling in America’s public schools. The OC Register tells the story of one Taiwanese family. Quotable:

To get their children an education in Irvine’s top-ranked schools, dozens of dads remain in Taiwan, earning enough money to support a two-household, trans-Pacific life. When it’s early evening here, it’s midday tomorrow across the international date line. Mom and the children gather around a webcam, the electronic descendant of the fireplace.

“It’s stressful to have a split life,” said Susan Lin, here with her 17-year-old daughter, Sharon, and her 13-year-old daughter, Angela. Her 9-year-old son, James, and 11-year-old daughter, Tiffany, remain in Taiwan with her husband, who manages office buildings in Taipei, the capital. Like other Taiwanese parents interviewed, Lin said living apart from her husband “is a sacrifice we have to make.” The international education and opportunity to become fluent in English are worth the effort.

Posted in Economics, Immigration | Comments Off on Foreigners Outsource Their Families to America

PrestoPundit plays the National Budget Game

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/23/2006

That was easy:

Budget Totals
Old budget was $3748.1268 billion
($2673 billion in spending, $1075.1268 billion in tax expenditures and cuts).

New budget is $1731.28 billion
($1237.48 billion in spending, $493.8 billion in tax expenditures and cuts).
You have cut the deficit by $2016.85 billion.
Your new deficit is $-1615.84 billion.

You’ve cut so much that the federal budget now contains a substantial surplus. Many economists warn that this budget may help induce or prolong a recession, and ordinary citizens demand a refund. You might want to cut taxes or raise spending.

Looks like we’ll be needing more tax cuts. George Bush was right after all. Who would have guessed.

You can play here.

Posted in Economics | Comments Off on PrestoPundit plays the National Budget Game

Why ‘Guest Workers’ are Bad for America

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/23/2006

Robert Samuelson speaks truth to the open borders Republicans:

What we have now — and would with guest workers — is a conscious policy of creating poverty in the United States while relieving it in Mexico. By and large, this is a bad bargain for the United States ..

The most lunatic notion is that admitting more poor Latino workers would ease the labor market strains of retiring baby boomers. The two aren’t close substitutes for each other. Among immigrant Mexican and Central American workers in 2004, only 7 percent had a college degree and nearly 60 percent lacked a high school diploma, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Among native-born U.S. workers, 32 percent had a college degree and only 6 percent did not have a high school diploma. Far from softening the social problems of an aging society, more poor immigrants might aggravate them by pitting older retirees against younger Hispanics for limited government benefits.

Posted in Economics, Immigration | Comments Off on Why ‘Guest Workers’ are Bad for America

Bruce Barlett on the Tax Cuts

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/23/2006

Original “Reaganomics” advocate Bruce Barlett speaks truth to the Republican faithful on the reality of the Bush tax cuts.

Students of philosophy will recognize a logical fallacy usually quoted in Latin: post hoc ergo propter hoc. Basically, it means that just because B follows A, it doesn’t prove A caused B. There may not necessarily be any relationship between the two. Only careful analysis can establish such a relationship.

Unfortunately, much of the debate about President Bush’s tax cuts relies on this logical fallacy. Supporters of the tax cuts point to a healthy economy, as evidenced by recent economic statistics. Since tax cuts preceded the economic expansion, therefore the expansion was caused by the tax cuts. By implication, we would still be wallowing in recession had President Bush not pushed large tax cuts through Congress.

Obviously, this is ridiculous. The economy has suffered from many recessions in the past and always recovered, usually without benefit of any tax cuts.

Of course, revenues always fall off when economic conditions are depressed. Economists call this an “automatic stabilizer” that helps recovery. But this is not the same as legislating tax cuts expressly to stimulate growth.

Anyway, the economic data upon which tax cut supporters rely doesn’t really prove their case. If one compares the recovery from the most recent recession to the last one, it is hard to find any effect of tax cuts at all ..

Posted in Economics | Comments Off on Bruce Barlett on the Tax Cuts

Milton Friedman at 93

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/23/2006

Milton Friedman interviewed by the NY Sun. Quotable:

At 93, Milton Friedman speaks a bit more haltingly than in past years, but his groundbreaking ideas about the value of free markets are reverberating powerfully around the globe.

While his theories helped trigger dramatic economic transformations in Latin America, Russia, and China, the Nobel Prize-winning scholar is modest about his accomplishments.

“I hope what I wrote contributed to that, but it was not the moving force,” Mr. Friedman told The New York Sun yesterday. “People like myself, what we did was keep these ideas open until the time came when they could be accepted.”

Tonight, hundreds of Mr. Friedman’s admirers are planning to gather here [in San Francisco] to salute his contributions and to see a few glimpses of a new 90-minute documentary about his life, “The Power of Choice.” PBS plans to air the program this fall.

In a telephone interview from his San Francisco home, Mr. Friedman said he hopes to attend the tribute, even though he’s recovering from a bout of bronchitis that recently landed him in the hospital for a few days. “In general, I’m in surprisingly good shape,” he said ..

Asked about the biggest problem facing the American economy at the moment, Mr. Friedman picked a target that might seem obscure to most, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a 2002 law that requires more intensive auditing of public companies and establishes increased penalties for corporate officers deemed to have defrauded investors.

“Sarbanes-Oxley is terrible. It ought to be eliminated,” Mr. Friedman said. “It’s costing the country a great deal.”

Posted in Economics | Comments Off on Milton Friedman at 93

Schwarzenegger-made Bad Government

Posted by PrestoPundit on 03/23/2006

The reasons for firing Reiner turn out to be reasons for firing Schwarzenegger — Mr. “Clean Government” has given us dirty govenment via his “non-appointment” re-apppointment of “early development” dilettante Rob Reiner to the billion dollar First5 commission. Bill Bradley has the goods:

Although Reiner’s term in office ended long ago, back in 2004, the governor never moved to appoint his replacement. Nor did he reappoint him. But Schwarzenegger’s inaction served to empower Reiner. Consider:

** Under Reiner’s leadership during the Schwarzenegger Administration, the commission undertook highly questionable activities, using taxpayer money to promote Reiner’s political agenda of stimulating demand for more state spending on preschool. This includes a state contract for $67.5 million in advertising signed on June 28, 2004. Which Reiner told me last week during his disastrous appearance at the Sacramento Press Club that he didn’t know about.

Schwarzenegger’s failure to fire Reiner compounds the problem — and gives us more reason to sit on our hands during Schwarzenegger’s campaign for re-election.

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