Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Immigration and the GOP


Given the tough talk by some Republicans about illegal immigration, one must wonder about the anemic efforts to address it by the Bush administration. Is there or is there not a security issue? If there is, then why an amnesty program for illegals? Shouldn't illegal aliens be deported? Shouldn't they be stopped from returning?

Why was there more effort to punish two border guards for shooting a drug dealer who was illegally in the country than there is to punish the illegal aliens that are here?

Okay, enough questions. You want the answer so here it is: the Bush administration and the Republican party is deathly afraid of the legal Hispanic citizens being driven into the permanent ranks of the Democrat party... a second minority bloc, if you will. As a result, the Bush administration and the Republican party want to be seen as openly pro-Hispanic and protectors of Hispanic interests in this country. Actions that are seen as remotely anti-Hispanic are to be avoided and disavowed. Hence, two border guards convicted and jailed for shooting an armed, Mexican drug dealer who was illegally in this country (shooting Mexicans will be dealt with harshly). Hence, placing the national guard at the border, but only as observers who cannot actually do anything to stop illegals from crossing the border.

GOP... party of national security... unless it means they might lose some votes.

Some thoughts about immigration:

As the U.S. has matured... ceased expanding its boundaries and become a more stable society... a new sudden influx of immigrants creates a different dynamic than experienced in the 3 previous centuries.

1. Immigrants cannot simply move toward newly opened and free land (e.g., Sooners and 49ers); poor immigrants are shunted to the worst situations until they are able to work their way out.
2. Past immigration, while including "groupings" from various nations, tended to be a mixed bag of backgrounds who were forced to assimilate to the dominant culture (yes, they lived in enclaves, but then dispersed quickly).
3. There was a distinct lack of social programs which may have caused temporary hardships, but the lack of which served as a significant incentive for individuals to adapt to their new surroundings.
4. Immigrants came with the intention of becoming Americans, not with the intention of moving in temporarily in order to funnel funds back to the homeland, use social services while in the U.S., and then return to their homeland when they had accumulated enough money (no this is not necessarily the "norm" for current immigrants, but a phenomenon that has been documented). In other words, past immigrants had a greater commitment to becoming Americans as quickly as possible and worked within the system to do so.
5. Undocumented or illegal immigrants were a very small, insignificant, issue until recently. Past immigrants had to move and work within constraints until they became citizens and they had to pay their share of taxes. With 1/4-1/3 of recent immigrants (about 10 million) entering illegally, the immigration system has broken down and these people cannot be normally assimilated into the population.
6. Without controls that are normal placed on legal immigrants (and citizens as well), the illegal subculture has created various strains on the communities in which they have settled... legal, social, political, and economic.

Immigration itself is not the issue; neither is population growth. Illegal immigration is. The legal infrastructure cannot deal with the illegal masses in an effective manner. What many do to provide social services to illegal immigrants may be called "humanitarian", but it is dysfunctional from a social and economic point of view because it supports a phenomenon that is greatly disruptive.

The best action possible is negative reinforcement for both the illegal immigrants and Mexico which has not only not attempted to control the situation from its side, but actually promote illegal immigration into the U.S. Mexico is sending its problems to the U.S. rather than addressing them there.

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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)