Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

A Few for Wednesday

with one comment

I hate to bury the more important Afghanistan posts, but I’ve been working hard to avoid my work this morning and I wanted to memorialize my efforts with a linkdump.

* Via The Rushmore Academy, Richard Brody says The Darjeeling Limited is the second-best film of the decade. Coming as this does just one day after a lunchtime argument with Ryan over whether Wes Anderson is a “serious” filmmaker, I think my affirmative case has now been definitively proved.

* Matt Yglesias had a good post this morning on the way institutional pressures in the military-industrial complex drag America’s foreign policy to the right no matter who is president.

* Bad behavior from conservative Democrats in the Senate has put Snowe and Collins’s votes back in play on health care.

* UC-San Diego’s Gordon H. Hansen: Despite all this, illegal immigration’s overall impact on the US economy is small. Low-skilled native workers who compete with unauthorized immigrants are the clearest losers. US employers, on the other hand, gain from lower labor costs and the ability to use their land, capital, and technology more productively. The stakes are highest for the unauthorized immigrants themselves, who see very substantial income gains after migrating. If we exclude these immigrants from the calculus, however (as domestic policymakers are naturally inclined to do), the small net gain that remains after subtracting US workers’ losses from US employers’ gains is tiny. And if we account for the small fiscal burden that unauthorized immigrants impose, the overall economic benefit is close enough to zero to be essentially a wash. The bolded phrase represents the reason why, despite ongoing shrieking nativism from the Republican party base, immigration reform never actually occurs. (via @mattoyeah)

* Kottke: Photos of Dubai in decline are the new photos of Detroit in decline. Have to admit I laughed at Stewart’s sad “It’s now Du-sell” pun last night.

* And Scott Lemieux has today’s deep thought.

I am absolutely shocked that, despite a near-total lack of precedent, a wealthy professional athlete has engaged in sexual relations with persons to whom he is not married, and I hope that cable news will devote more time to these remarkably surprising and important revelations.

One Response

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  1. Immigration follows economic patterns pretty tightly. The last great worldwide clamp-down on immigration was in the period between WWI and WWII. This is when we see virulent nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment going hand-in-hand. The “losers” are, of course, the immigrants, legal and illegal (Operation Wetback, for example, which was later than this period, although discriminating between the two categories in theory, often made no distinction between illegal and legal when deporting Chican@s and Mexicans). In other words, at a certain point, the “absence of economic effect” begins to be trumped by the presence of political effect, and that’s when the anti-immigration politicians are set loose. It’s happening in Europe right now. This is why economists never understand politics: there’s more to it than gross national benefit. So yes, there is a legitimate danger of anti-immigrant backlash invading the political sphere as well as the civil sphere. We saw an inkling of this when Bush gave the go-ahead to the border militias, not to say anything of the “fence.” And the 2006 demonstrations were against a proposed amendment to the immigration bill that would make it a felony to “harbor an illegal alien.” Talk about Nuremburg! Without those demonstrations, I think it’s possible that the bill could have passed.


    December 2, 2009 at 11:51 am

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