Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Random Notes

I have a couple of items to bitch about so let me proceed:

1. Along the lines of my complaint that we settle for dumb debates in the public I think we settle for a mighty stupid discourse when it comes to immigration. I have two basic pet-peeves.

First, the media have told us there are two camps, pro and anti-immigration. In a certain sense this is true, but the bills that are being considered in the house and senate all revolve around what to do with a different class of immigrants, namely, illegal immigrants. One could reasonably be anti-illegal immigrant or more properly anti-illegal immigration (as one needn't dislike those who have crossed the border illegally but the whole phenomenon) but still be supportive of immigration or even increasing immigration, legal that is. More often the two are related, anti-illegal immigration folks tend not to base their arguments on sovereignity or rule of law or even fairness of procedure but rather on a nativist impulse and thus often oppose all immigration. I find them stupid. But the media nonetheless should strive for more specificity on the issue. Their use of language is lazy.

Second, the media has embraced this whole nonsense about illegal immigrants "doing jobs Americans (or my addition legal immigrants) won't do". This is an uneconomic argument. It is babble. I don't think there is a job in the world any person won't do. There are exceptions, maybe a rabbi would be reluctant to punch out pigs cavities at the Hormel factory but largely we are talking about levels of compensation. Think about prostitutes, they let nasty nasty ugly fat repugnant men do all types of unsavory things to their bodies, for a price. Americans won't do these jobs, such as construction or agriculture, for the amount businesses are paying them. Once upon a time Americans did do these jobs, but at higher wages than those paid to illegal immigrants. There is an economic benefit to illegal immigration, don't get me wrong. You get to eat out more, get your lawn nice and tidy for a whole lot cheaper, all types of goodies on the cheap. Fine and well. Illegal immigration affords cheaper and greater consumption. I love consumption. But this is a reflection of lower prices afforded by lower wages. If tomorrow, all of the illegal immigrants were deported, something I vehemently oppose, lawns would mowed, floors would be put in, buildings would be erected, albeit fewer, more slowly and at more cost.

2. It is the presidential campaign season and there are three items that make me want to impale the media and the actual candidates. I speak mostly of the Republican presidential candidates here. Picture the federal budget as a pie chart, the vast majority of the outlays are for 5 things: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Defense, and Debt Service. With the exception of Defense, these are all non-discretionary items. Social Security will continue to pay out unless changed by statute, same for the others. So I get really annoyed when the candidates (this means you Mitt Romney) say assanine things about bringing the budget into balance by:

a. Cutting back on discretionary funds.
b. Rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government
c. Eliminating pork from the budget.

All of these things are nice and salutory and could save billions of dollars. However, in the near term in order to bring the unified budget into balance we need to save hundereds of billions of dollars. In the long term we need to save tens of trillions of dollars. The only way to do that is to attack the big ticket items. Pork, Waste, Fraud, Abuse, and Non-Discretionary growth don't do this. The media should stop peddling these stupid slogans. They should laugh through their stories like hyenas everytime a Mitt Romney says something assanine like how he is going to bring the federal budget into balance by limiting growth of discretionary funding.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pure Genius!