About what am I optimistic and pessimistic?

by on September 20, 2011 at 7:22 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

Rahul asks:

Reading Tyler’s views on the great stagnation, American deficit, American politics, the Euro, Greece, Medicare, Social Security, climate issues etc. I hardly see a sliver of optimism anywhere.

What things is Tyler really optimistic about?

Beware the fallacy of mood affiliation!  (Choosing a view to correspond to an overall desired or appropriate mood.)  And don’t overrate the importance of the public sector.  A few points:

1. I am a utility optimist and a revenue pessimist; better that than the other way around.

2. Many readers of TGS neglect the last section of the book which notes that a) the great stagnation is going to end, and b) we’ve already made the critical breakthrough, namely internet/computers/smart machines, we just haven’t seen most of the gains yet and they may take longer than most people expect.  I’ll be writing more on this.

3. I am a pessimist about the euro but not Europe.  The continent will do fine once it gets past this mess, albeit with some suffering along the way.

4. I am optimistic about most social issues, such as the increasing felicity of marriage.

5. I am optimistic about how well immigration will go.

6. I am optimistic about human cognition and the Flynn effect.

7. I am optimistic about the future progress of medical care, albeit with some lags.

8. I am increasingly optimistic about the WMD terrorism issue, though I am not sure if I am in absolute terms an optimist on this issue.  The terror groups don’t seem very robust or well-organized, and that may be for reasons which are intrinsic to their operations and ideology.

9. I am optimistic about most developing countries and this is a significant issue.

10. I am a pessimist about climate change and biodiversity, though most other environmental issues seem fine or at least manageable and possibly improving.

11. I am a pessimist about how we treat animals.

12. I am an optimist about restaurants in northern Virginia.

Adam September 20, 2011 at 8:06 am

Out of curiosity, are you more of an optimist or a pessimist on how we treat prisoners?

Andrew' September 20, 2011 at 8:08 am

Which prisoners?

Adam September 20, 2011 at 8:36 am

All of them. In the U.S., not in, say, China.

Mike September 20, 2011 at 10:29 am

Out of curiosity, what are we supposed to optimistic or pessimistic about?

Overcrowding? Building more prisons? Health care? Cable TV? Job training? Recidivism? Decreasing the time between conviction and execution?

I’m pessimistic you’ll learn what optimism and pessimism mean.

M. Simon September 22, 2011 at 7:49 am

The War On Drug users.

James Hare September 20, 2011 at 8:18 am

There’s nowhere to go but up, vis-a-vis Northern Virginia restaurants.

Albert Ling September 20, 2011 at 8:34 am

James, you are a spoiled and don’t know it!

10. Won’t biodiversity shoot up through the roof once gene splicing really picks up? I’ve read about ideas about “designer pets” and about putting GMO trees that glow in the dark (artificially made to be bio-luminescent) on the side of freeways so that we save up electricity on lighting…

Plus, they can scan every single existing species genome and save backup copies for the future.

8. They are low tech by their ideology. If there ever was a terror organization of extremist “singulatarians” who are tech savvy then I’d be really afraid. In that same regard, probably the most major factor that made Hitler lose WWII was his antisemitism.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 9:41 am

Albert, öhhmm… do you see our future with luminescent pets left on the side of the freeways to save energy??? Because then I´d be very pessimistic about how we treat animals…

Albert Ling September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am

hmm, I’d see ways to manufacture organisms that convert organic matter more efficiently into protein (see the conversion factor of current animals in this lecture: http://www.ted.com/talks/marcel_dicke_why_not_eat_insects.html), and without requiring a complex central nervous system (meaning less ability to feel pain).

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Or you manifacture beans and lenses.

Andrew' September 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

A rat with huge beef legs.

Rahul September 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm

@Andrew’

I’ve seen those on the NYC subway.

albatross September 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I think I’d rather have organisms that both photosynthesize and produce liquid fats with high efficiency. Then you basically harvest your biofuel crop by squeezing out the oil and using it as biodiesel.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm

About biodiversity: What about the good old cyano bacteria living in voluminous blinds in huge office buildings providing oxigen? One of my favorites. Not for consumption.

albatross September 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Well, there was that bit about invading Russia….

fourem September 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Albert Ling: “Plus, they can scan every single existing species genome and save backup copies for the future.”

Having an organism’s genetic information does not equal being able to create that organism. We can’t build E. coli from the ground up, let alone a human, even though we know the genomes of both.

Lynne September 20, 2011 at 8:22 am

“the increasing felicity of marriage.”
That’s an interesting turn of phrase. What exactly do you mean by that?

JL September 20, 2011 at 9:50 am

Perhaps he’s talking about his own marriage.

nelsonal September 20, 2011 at 10:17 am

It sounds like a case of happier marriages which seems to be the case, unfortunately for society most of the cause of the increase in happiness of marriage, is that they’ve become a luxury good.

Finch September 20, 2011 at 10:45 am

I’m not sure I understand your comment. Estate tax planning is a luxury good. That doesn’t mean it makes people happy.

I don’t know if this is what Tyler meant, but people who don’t want marriage and kids (or who aren’t well equipped to achieve it) are rapidly removing themselves from the gene pool. We’re in the midst of the Great Alpha Die-Off and its female equivalent. It’s not clear that this is a good thing, although it probably will increase marriage numbers in the short term.

JL September 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I think nelsonal means that only the upper classes have stable, life-long marriages these days.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Sparrows have that too, life-long marriages.

Finch September 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Thanks JL.

tenthring September 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm

“I don’t know if this is what Tyler meant, but people who don’t want marriage and kids (or who aren’t well equipped to achieve it) are rapidly removing themselves from the gene pool. We’re in the midst of the Great Alpha Die-Off and its female equivalent.”

Um, the lower classes are reproducing in the greatest numbers, they just aren’t marrying. And the upper classes are marrying late and having only 1-2 children or so. If anything lower IQ individuals are breeding faster then higher IQ individuals, and low IQ but physically/socially alpha males are breeding the most.

unblinkered September 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm

So the class IQ correlation is a lock then over the long run. The majority of today’s upper class, come from poor stock, less than a generation ago.

Finch September 21, 2011 at 11:14 am

Alphas are disproportionately hurt by birth control, relative to otherwise similar betas.

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm

The terms Alpha and Beta are so completely unscientific in any group more complex than a wolf pack, I’m a bit shocked anyone is using these terms in a scientific manner.

David September 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Yeah, I thought this was a very curious thing to be optimistic about, especially since marriage is collapsing for working class and poorer whites and it has been in trouble for some time among minorities. The fact that college educated, upper-middle class people now enjoy marriage more is a good thing, but the lack of marriage for others is very, very bad.

Rahul September 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

“the increasing felicity of marriage.”

I propose this has to do with lower entry and exit barriers.

SimpleSimon September 20, 2011 at 8:24 am

“we’ve already made the critical breakthrough, namely internet/computers/smart machines”

These are my two favourite graphs:

1) The explosion of internet shopping in the UK over the last couple of years: http://timetric.com/index/value-non-store-retailing-all-rsi/

2) Ten years of price deflation in on-line sales: http://timetric.com/index/jnhGYJDzQRuOptQhXGQiig/

TallDave September 20, 2011 at 8:25 am

2. OTOH the uility of labor will continue to fall, and this will affect increasingly higher skill levels. I’ve said before I favor the John Barnes vision of the future where AI does 90% of the work (in Barnes’ book, people are only required to work 2 hours a day for 5 years iirc, and they all bitch about it how unfair it is the whole time), including a lot of higher intellectual tasks that currently only a small number of people are capable of. But we’re not at strong AI bootstrap levels yet, and we might not get there even in 50 years.

unblinkered September 20, 2011 at 7:15 pm

” and they all bitch about it how unfair it is the whole time” thanks for my daily chuckle.

Emmanouil V September 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

“11. I am a pessimist about how we treat animals.

12. I am an optimist about restaurants in northern Virginia.”

Are these two things connected, Tyler?

Ramagopal September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am

are you optimistic about the progress in the arts?

Jamie_NYC September 20, 2011 at 10:32 am

What’s “progress in the arts”??

Mike September 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Making something people will pay for.

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Sounds like a poor metric for progress in the arts. A good metric maybe for the evolution of the arts. But a revolution in art is almost never profitable but would be considered greater progress. I’d much rather people paid for artistic touches on otherwise utility purchases while pure art is free for the masses.

JohnP September 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

“5. I am optimistic about how well immigration will go.”

If this means what I think it means … are you completely meshugah?

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

“I am optimistic about how well immigration will go.”

Why? The record to date is pretty dismal (declining wages, rising taxes, crime, poverty, soaring inequality, welfare dependency, unaffordable housing, failing schools, gridlock, resource depletion, etc.). There is vast evidence that immigration is deskilling America and making the United States into a Latin American society. By Latin American I am referring to the chronic dysfunction of Latin American societies. America can assuredly absorb some number of immigrants from Latin America or anyone else. We can not become Mexico El Norte without ceasing to be the successful nation of the last 200+ years.

There is the fundamental question of why take the risk? Nobody dares to claim that immigration yields any material benefits for the American people. If you leave out all of the negative externalities, it is net neutral. Once you include them it is clearly negative.

What if immigration doesn’t go well? What if America is torn asunder by ethnic, racial, and linguistic conflicts? The fact that the current wave of immigrants demand racial quotas (and need them badly) is not exactly grounds for optimism. What if the optimists are wrong? Why are we gambling our nation’s future for nothing?

If anyone doubts that immigration is undermining America, see below.

John Judis
“End State Is California finished?”

“At the gathering, held in a plush conference room, one of the experts projected tables and graphs comparing various states. It was there that I had my own “AHA!” moment. The states with thriving educational systems were generally northern, predominately white, and with relatively few immigrants: the New England states, North Dakota, and Minnesota. That bore out the late Senator Patrick Moynihan’s quip that the strongest factor in predicting SAT scores was proximity to the Canadian border. The states grouped with California on the lower end of the bar graph were Deep South states like Mississippi and Alabama with a legacy of racism and with a relative absence of new-economy jobs; states like West Virginia that have relatively few jobs for college grads; and states like Nevada, New Mexico, and Hawaii that have huge numbers of non-English-speaking, downscale immigrants whose children are entering the schools. California clearly falls into the last group, suggesting that California’s poor performance since the 1960s may not have been due to an influx of bad teachers, or the rise of teachers’ unions, but to the growth of the state’s immigrant population after the 1965 federal legislation on immigration opened the gates.”

Michael Lind
“Innovation and education won’t save our economy”
“The overall PISA scores of American students are lowered by the poor results for blacks and Latinos, who make up 35 percent of America’s K-12 student population. Asian-American students have an average score of 541, similar to those of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. The non-Hispanic white American student average of 525 is comparable to the averages of Canada (524), New Zealand (521), and Australia (515). In contrast, the average PISA readings score of Latino students is 446 and black students is 441.”

Rice U. demographer Steve Murdock:

“By 2040, only 20 percent of the state’s public school enrollment will be Anglo, he said. Last year, non-Hispanic white children made up 33.3 percent of the state’s 4.8 million public school enrollment…. “The state’s future looks bleak assuming the current trend line does not change because education and income levels for Hispanics lag considerably behind Anglos, he said. “Unless the trend line changes, 30 percent of the state’s labor force will not have even a high school diploma by 2040, he said. And the average household income will be about $6,500 lower than it was in 2000. That figure is not inflation adjusted so it will be worse than what it sounds. ““It’s a terrible situation that you are in. I am worried,” Murdock said.”

You can go to http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata/ and get test data by race, state, school type, etc. More or less invariably, Hispanic score are somewhere between white scores and black scores, but much closer to black levels. A useful note is that the percent of Hispanics with “advanced” skills appears to always round to zero.

Scondren September 20, 2011 at 10:26 am

“The record to date is pretty dismal (declining wages, rising taxes, crime, poverty, soaring inequality, welfare dependency, unaffordable housing, failing schools, gridlock, resource depletion, etc.”

You got actual evidence tying any of that to immigration?

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Scondren,

I am going to have to divide this up into sections.

Unemployment via mass immigration.

Immigrants quite literally take jobs from Americans. That makes them a direct loss to the American people. The examples below should demonstrate this point. Note that they are all from a period when the economy was doing much better than it is now.

1. “The Impact of New Immigrants on Young Native-Born Workers, 2000-2005 By Andrew Sum, Paul Harrington, and Ishwar Khatiwada” (http://bit.ly/69kSG7)

“Over the 2000-2005 period, immigration levels remained very high and roughly half of new immigrant workers were illegal. This report finds that the arrival of new immigrants (legal and illegal) in a state results in a decline in employment among young native-born workers in that state. Our findings indicate that young native-born workers are being displaced in the labor market by the arrival of new immigrants.”

“Between 2000 and 2005, the number of young (16 to 34) native-born men who were employed declined by 1.7 million; at the same time, the number of new male immigrant workers increased by 1.9 million.”

“It appears that employers are substituting new immigrant workers for young native-born workers. The estimated sizes of these displacement effects were frequently quite large.”

2. “Employment Down Among Natives In Georgia As Immigrant Workers Increased, Native Employment Declined in Georgia” (http://bit.ly/nzMBKB)

“Between 2000 and 2006 the share of less-educated native-born adults (ages 18 to 64) in Georgia holding a job declined from 71 percent to 66 percent. (Less-educated is defined as having no education beyond high school.)”

“Native-born teenagers (15 to 17 years of age) have also seen a dramatic decline in employment. Between 2000 and 2006 the share of native-born teenagers holding a job declined from 22 percent to 11 percent in the state.”

3. “Impact of Immigration In South Carolina” (http://bit.ly/qr64CL)

“At the same time that more Latinos are entering South Carolina’s work force, median wages for those at the low-skill end of the spectrum are dropping. According to the USC survey, the median annual earnings for Latinos was $20,400, far below the median earnings for South Carolinians in general. The effects of a larger Latino work force are most evident in specific industries. Construction appears to be the predominant economic activity drawing Latinos to South Carolina: this industry accounts for approximately 38 percent of Latino employment in the USC survey. The survey also found that the median annual wage for Latinos working in construction is $21,840.

According to U.S. Census data, among construction workers real median earnings for Latinos dropped approximately 12 percent from 2000 to 2005, even as the number of construction workers expanded 181 percent. Black construction labor saw inflation-adjusted earnings fall two percent. It is also surprising to find that total Black employment dropped by 24 percent during the construction boom.”

4. “IMMIGRATION AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: THE RESPONSE OF WAGES, EMPLOYMENT, AND INCARCERATION TO LABOR SUPPLY SHOCKS” (http://hvrd.me/ommg9j)

“Almost everybody knows that in the past 40 years, the real wages and job prospects for low-skilled men, especially low-skilled minority workers, have fallen. And there is evidence –– although no consensus –– that a rising tide of immigration is partly to blame. Now, a new NBER study suggests that immigration has more far-reaching consequences than merely depressing wages and lowering employment rates of low-skilled African-American males: its effects also appear to push some would-be workers into crime and, later, into prison…..The authors are careful to point out that even without increased immigration, most of the fall in employment and increase in jailed black men would have happened anyway. Nevertheless, the racially disproportionate effects of immigration on employment are striking.”

5. The Crider “Natural Experiment” (http://bit.ly/oFmp5e)

“After a wave of raids by federal immigration agents on Labor Day weekend, a local chicken-processing company called Crider Inc. lost 75% of its mostly Hispanic 900-member work force. The crackdown threatened to cripple the economic anchor of this fading rural town. But for local African-Americans, the dramatic appearance of federal agents presented an unexpected opportunity. Crider suddenly raised pay at the plant. An advertisement in the weekly Forest-Blade newspaper blared “Increased Wages” at Crider, starting at $7 to $9 an hour—more than a dollar above what the company had paid many immigrant workers. (January 17, 2007)”

“The Crider poultry-processing plant in Stillmore, Ga., lost two-thirds of its workforce last year after a federal immigration agency raid. Since then, Crider has scrambled to replace the employees. It has staged job fairs, boosted starting pay and even contracted for Georgia prison inmates to work on its production line. In an unusual experiment, Crider has also recruited a small group of Laotian Hmong refugees to move from Minnesota to Georgia, hoping they’ll start a new community.”

6. Immigrant Gains and Native Losses in the U.S. Job Market, 2000 to 2010 (http://www.cis.org/node/2649)

“Despite an abysmal jobs picture, Census Bureau data collected in 2010 show that the decade just completed may have been the highest for immigration in our nation’s history, with more than 13 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) arriving. What happened during the last decade in terms of employment of native-born Americans is astounding. Even though native-born Americans accounted for the overwhelming majority of growth in the adult working-age population (18 to 65), all of the net gain in employment went to immigrants. Something like that might not be too surprising over a short period like a quarter or even a year. But it is remarkable that over a 10-year period (2000 to 2010) all the net increase in jobs went to immigrants..

The growth in the native-born working-age population, coupled with their decline in the number working, created a dramatic decline in share of natives holding a job during the decades — from 76 percent in 2000 to 69 percent in 2010.

Less-educated natives have been especially hard hit. The share of working-age native-born high school dropouts holding a job fell from 52 percent in 2000 to 41 percent in 2010. For those natives with only a high school education, the share working fell from 74 percent to 65 percent.”

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Scondren,

Educational failure via mass immigration

If anyone doubts that immigration is undermining American education, see below.

1. John Judis “End State Is California finished?” (http://bit.ly/2x2P6P)

“At the gathering, held in a plush conference room, one of the experts projected tables and graphs comparing various states. It was there that I had my own “AHA!” moment. The states with thriving educational systems were generally northern, predominately white, and with relatively few immigrants: the New England states, North Dakota, and Minnesota. That bore out the late Senator Patrick Moynihan’s quip that the strongest factor in predicting SAT scores was proximity to the Canadian border. The states grouped with California on the lower end of the bar graph were Deep South states like Mississippi and Alabama with a legacy of racism and with a relative absence of new-economy jobs; states like West Virginia that have relatively few jobs for college grads; and states like Nevada, New Mexico, and Hawaii that have huge numbers of non-English-speaking, downscale immigrants whose children are entering the schools. California clearly falls into the last group, suggesting that California’s poor performance since the 1960s may not have been due to an influx of bad teachers, or the rise of teachers’ unions, but to the growth of the state’s immigrant population after the 1965 federal legislation on immigration opened the gates.”

2. Michael Lind “Innovation and education won’t save our economy” (http://bit.ly/gtmx2r)

“The overall PISA scores of American students are lowered by the poor results for blacks and Latinos, who make up 35 percent of America’s K-12 student population. Asian-American students have an average score of 541, similar to those of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. The non-Hispanic white American student average of 525 is comparable to the averages of Canada (524), New Zealand (521), and Australia (515). In contrast, the average PISA readings score of Latino students is 446 and black students is 441.”

3. “In the Golden state, leaden school scores” (http://bit.ly/nxFMXw). Useful quote

“”If you ask why California schools have gone from the nation’s best to among its worst, I would say the influx of non-English speaking immigrants tops the list of reasons,” says Ms. Augustine, a 30-year teaching veteran.”

4. “US Educational Achievement on International Assessments: The Role of Race and Ethnicity” (http://bit.ly/pnRSd4)

“The debate about the performance of US students on international assessments of educational achievement routinely fails to account for one consistently stark result: US achievement is bifurcated between a group of high-performing Asian and white students and an exceptionally low-performing group of black and Hispanic students. By summarizing results across 20 major international tests conducted since 1995, this research paper shows that when US racial and ethnic groups are separately compared with other countries, Asian and white students regularly perform at or near the top of international rankings, while black and Hispanic students typically rank at or near the bottom. Furthermore, the United States has a substantially larger minority population than all other developed countries, and minority status is not synonymous with internationally comparable factors such as socioeconomic level or immigrant status.”

5. “The amazing truth about PISA scores: USA beats Western Europe, ties with Asia” (http://bit.ly/e1BN6o)

“What I have learned recently and want to share with you is that once we correct (even crudely) for demography in the 2009 PISA scores, American students outperform Western Europe by significant margins and tie with Asian students. Jump to the graphs if you don’t want to read my boring set-up and methodology.”

6. “The Hispanic Challenge” by Samuel Huntington (http://bit.ly/5ETHzJ)

The author shows little improvement in education attainment across generations of Mexican immigrants.

“The education of people of Mexican origin in the United States lags well behind the U.S. norm. In 2000, 86.6 percent of native-born Americans had graduated from high school. The rates for the foreign-born population in the United States varied from 94.9 percent for Africans, 83.8 percent for Asians, 49.6 percent for Latin Americans overall, and down to 33.8 percent for Mexicans, who ranked lowest.”

7. “Honesty from the Left on Hispanic Immigration A provocative new book doesn’t flinch from delivering the bad news” (http://bit.ly/4CBWWT)

“Hispanics are underachieving academically at an alarming rate, the authors report. Though second- and third-generation Hispanics make some progress over their first-generation parents, that progress starts from an extremely low base and stalls out at high school completion. High school drop-out rates—around 50 percent—remain steady across generations. Latinos’ grades and test scores are at the bottom of the bell curve. The very low share of college degrees earned by Latinos has not changed for more than two decades. Currently only one in ten Latinos has a college degree.”

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Scondren,

Lower wages via mass immigration
There are two approaches to this question (at least). First, theoretical models can be used. Second, empirical data can be examined. Not surprisingly the latter approach shows much greater wage reductions from immigration than the former.

1. “The Race between Education and Technology: The Evolution of U.S. Educational Wage Differentials, 1890 to 2005″ Goldin and Katz

“The impact of immigration from 1980 to 2005 was larger than during earlier periods. But our estimates are that immigration was responsible for only 10 percent (about 2.4 log points) of the post-1980s increase in the college to high school wage premium (which was 23 log points). Immigration can explain a considerably large share (43 percent) of the rise in the high school graduate wage premium, but the domestic education slowdown accounts for more (57 percent).”

Note that these are serious underestimates, because the authors only consider the direct impact of immigration. In other words, they fail to take into account the impact of the first/second/third/etc. generation children of immigrants. It is a sad truth, that low-skill immigrants have low-skill children.

An important point in this context, is that the notional high school graduation rate in the U.S. is around 75% (see Heckman). However, a large fraction (at least 1/3rd) of the “graduates” have below basic (NAEP) skills in reading, math, and/or science. These folks are graduates in name only. Adjusted for “graduates” with below basic skills, the de facto high school graduation rate is roughly 50%. Much lower for minority groups, of course.

2. “IMMIGRATION AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: THE RESPONSE OF WAGES, EMPLOYMENT, AND INCARCERATION TO LABOR SUPPLY SHOCKS” (http://hvrd.me/ommg9j)

“The employment rate of black men, and particularly of low-skill black men, fell precipitously from 1960 to 2000. At the same time, the incarceration rate of black men rose markedly. This paper examines the relation between immigration and these trends in black employment and incarceration. Using data drawn from the 1960-2000 U.S. Censuses, we find a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates. As immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group, the wage of black workers in that group fell, the employment rate declined, and the incarceration rate rose. Our analysis suggests that a 10-percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 4.0 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 3.5 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by almost a full percentage point.”

3. “The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market” by Borjas (http://hvrd.me/mVItU1)

“Immigration is not evenly balanced across groups of workers who have the same education but differ in their work experience, and the nature of the supply imbalance changes over time. This paper develops a new approach for estimating the labor market impact of immigration by exploiting this variation in supply shifts across education-experience groups. I assume that similarly educated workers with different levels of experience participate in a national labor market and are not perfect substitutes. The analysis indicates that immigration lowers the wage of competing workers: a 10 percent increase in supply reduces wages by 3 to 4 percent.”

4. “The Distribution of Income in California” (http://bit.ly/oryjny)

This report shows stunning fall in median (-20%) and 20th percentile (-40%) incomes in California. Even 75th percentile incomes have fallen (5%). These falls are larger than reported in states with fewer immigrants. The also coincide with the resumption of large scale immigration into the United States.

5. “Los Angeles and its Immigrants – Metropolis Web Site” (http://bit.ly/qJTsbP). A few quotes

“Consequently, the terms of compensation at the bottom of L.A.’s economy got worse over the past two decades: between 1970 and 1990, real earnings in the Mexican immigrant industrial niches declined by over $6,000. The downturn is not simply a matter of exchanging bad jobs for worse: real earnings also declined in all of the industries that served as Mexican niches in 1970, before the massive immigration truly began.”

“Ten years after their arrival in the United States, the immigrants of the 1970s are doing worse than were the immigrants of the 1960s at the same point in time. And all cohorts have seen the gap separating them from natives grow — a statement that remains true both before and after adjusting for differences in background characteristics.”

6. “The Greater Recession: America Suffers from a Crisis of Productivity” (http://bit.ly/qeKCGC)

“In fact, real wages for middle class men have declined by 28 percent since 1969, according to a report from the Hamilton Project. For men without a high school degree, they’ve fallen by a whopping 66 percent. “Stagnation is too weak a word,” said Michael Greenstone, author of the report. “This is decline.”"

What exactly happened around 1969? Mass immigration resumed. Note that the competing explanations (SBTC and trade) are insufficient. See “How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?” by George J. Borjas; Richard B. Freeman; Lawrence F. Katz; John DiNardo; John M. Abowd.

All of the above notes should help to establish the casual relationship between mass immigration and declining wages. However, since we are really concerned with real wages, the impact of immigration on prices and taxes needs to be considered. Probably the largest single factor (by far) has been to make housing less affordable, particularly in areas with viable public schools. Note that 29.3% of children attend private schools in San Francisco. That’s a massive decrement to real wages. Note that’s in uber liberal San Francisco.

Peter Schaeffer September 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Scondren,

Scondren,

Rising taxes via mass immigration

The literature is full of references to the negative tax impact of low-skilled immigrants. This should be obvious to anyone. No one dares to claim that America’s native born poor people aren’t a burden. Why should we expect imported poor people to be an asset? In the pre-welfare state era, this wasn’t true. The poor got little or nothing from government (even education was very cheap), and they worked long hours for low wages. The were clearly complementary to higher income groups. That era is over. Health care and education are extremely expensive and the poor are major consumers, to say the least. It would be essentially impossible for a poor person today (other than a single working age male / female with no children) not to be a burden on society. A few specific data points.

1. “Guest Contribution: The ageing, crisis-prone, welfare state is bad news for welfare migration” (http://bit.ly/bM2bzg)

“Edmonston and Smith (1997) look comprehensibly at all layers of government (federal, state, and local), all programs (benefits), and all types of taxes. For each cohort, defined by age of arrival to the U.S., the benefits (cash or in kind) received by migrants over their own lifetimes and the lifetimes of their first-generation descendents were projected. These benefits include Medicare, Medicaid, Supplementary Security Income (SSI), Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), food stamps, Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI), etc. Similarly, taxes paid directly by migrants and the incidence on migrants of other taxes (such as corporate taxes) were also projected for the lifetimes of the migrants and their first-generation descendents. Accordingly, the net fiscal burden was projected and discounted to the present. In this way, the net fiscal burden for each age cohort of migrants was calculated in present value terms. Within each age cohort, these calculations were disaggregated according to three educational levels: Less than high school education, high school education, and more than high school education. Indeed the findings suggest that migrants with less than high school education are typically a net fiscal burden that can reach as high as approximately US$100,000 in present value, when the migrants’ age on arrival is between 20-30 years.”

2. “Los Angeles and Welfare” (http://bit.ly/qLT84e)

“I am sure that I’m not the only one who’s noticed how almost all of the discussion over California’s budget problems managed to avoid using such words as “immigrant” or “illegal”. So I decided to do a few calculations using the 2008 Current Population Survey to follow up on Instapundit’s remark. Well, here are some interesting results for your perusal–no remarks are needed:

All statistics give the fraction of households in the LA metro area that receive some type of assistance–either cash, food stamps, or Medicaid:

All households: 20.9%
Native households: 12.7%
Immigrant households: 33.2%
Immigrant households with a citizen head: 26.4%
Immigrant households with a non-citizen head: 40.1%

Just to put things in context, 40% of households in the LA metro area are immigrant households.”

3. “Impact of Mexican Immigration on Public Coffers” (http://bit.ly/r8HxTw)

“The most comprehensive research on this subject was done by the National Research Council (NRC), which is part of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, conducted in 1997, found that more-educated immigrants tend to have higher earnings, lower rates of public service use, and as a result pay more in taxes than they use in services. In contrast, the NRC found that because of their lower incomes and resulting lower tax payments coupled with their heavy use of public services, less-educated immigrants use significantly more in services than they pay in taxes. The NRC estimates indicated that the average immigrant without a high school education imposes a net fiscal burden on public coffers of $89,000 during the course of his or her lifetime. The average immigrant with only a high school education creates a lifetime fiscal burden of $31,000. In contrast, the average immigrant with more than a high school education was found to have a positive fiscal impact of $105,000 in his or her lifetime. The NAS further estimated that the total combined fiscal impact of the average immigrant (all educational categories included) was a negative $3,000. Thus, when all immigrants are examined they are found to have a modest negative impact on public coffers. These figures are only for the original immigrant, they do not include public services used or taxes paid by their U.S.-born descendants.”

That last sentence is important. Low-skilled immigrants produce low skilled children who will cost even more.

4. “The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to State and Local Taxpayers” (http://bit.ly/aJCZzJ)

“In 2004, there were 4.54 million low-skill immigrant households. The average net fiscal deficit per household for federal, state and local spending combined was $19,588. This means that the total annual fiscal deficit (total benefits received minus total taxes paid) for all 4.54 million low-skill immigrant households together equaled $89.1 billion.”

“In FY 2004, the average low skill immigrant household received $30,160 in direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services from all levels of government. By contrast, low-skill immigrant households paid only $10,573 in taxes in FY 2004. A household’s net fiscal deficit equals the cost of benefits and services received minus taxes paid. The average low-skill household had a fiscal deficit of $19,588 (expenditures of $30,160 minus $10,573 in taxes).”

5. “The High Cost of Cheap Labor: Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget” (http://www.cis.org/node/54)

“This study is one of the first to estimate the total impact of illegal immigration on the federal budget. Most previous studies have focused on the state and local level and have examined only costs or tax payments, but not both. Based on Census Bureau data, this study finds that, when all taxes paid (direct and indirect) and all costs are considered, illegal households created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion in 2002. We also estimate that, if there was an amnesty for illegal aliens, the net fiscal deficit would grow to nearly $29 billion.

Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household.”

Note that this is just the Federal impact. Illegals and other low-skill immigrants have a greater impact on state and local governments (education, health care, crime, etc.).

Peter Schaeffer September 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Scondren,

Importing poverty via mass immigration

It’s actually somewhat amazing that anyone would question this. The education data alone shows that we are importing multigeneration poverty on massive scale.

1. “Importing Poverty” (http://wapo.st/nNCoct)

“The government last week released its annual statistical report on poverty and household income. As usual, we — meaning the public, the media and politicians — missed a big part of the story. It is this: The stubborn persistence of poverty, at least as measured by the government, is increasingly a problem associated with immigration. As more poor Hispanics enter the country, poverty goes up. This is not complicated, but it is widely ignored.”

“Only an act of willful denial can separate immigration and poverty. The increase among Hispanics must be concentrated among immigrants, legal and illegal, as well as their American-born children. Yet, this story goes largely untold. Government officials didn’t say much about immigration when briefing on the poverty and income reports. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal advocacy group for the poor, both held briefings. Immigration was a common no-show.

Why is it important to get this story straight?

One reason is truthfulness. It’s usually held that we’ve made little, if any, progress against poverty. That’s simply untrue. Among non-Hispanic whites, the poverty rate may be approaching some irreducible minimum: people whose personal habits, poor skills, family relations or bad luck condemn them to a marginal existence. Among blacks, the poverty rate remains abysmally high, but it has dropped sharply since the 1980s. Moreover, taking into account federal benefits (food stamps, the earned-income tax credit) that aren’t counted as cash income would further reduce reported poverty.

We shouldn’t think that our massive efforts to mitigate poverty have had no effect. Immigration hides our grudging progress.”

2. “Importing Poverty” (http://bit.ly/rbut4Y)

“The Fresno county city of San Joaquin has a higher share of children under 18 than any other California city, 41 percent compared to the state average of 25 percent. Orange Cove has the second-highest share of children. Both cities are over 95 percent Hispanic, and both have per capita incomes lower than the per capita income of Mexico, which was $10,000 in 2009, or $14,000 at purchasing power parity. Per capita income in San Joaquin was $8,000, and $7,500 in Orange Cove.”

3. “Importing Poverty? Immigration and the Changing Face of Rural America” (http://bit.ly/nzNsFf)

“In Importing Poverty? Philip Martin shows how the American farmer’s demand for a perpetual supply of low-cost labor transfers poverty from rural Mexico to rural America. He also demonstrates that, as it is currently organized, farmwork is sufficiently undesirable that not even desperate immigrants will continue to do it once they have nonfarm options.”

4. “Importing Poverty Immigration and the Growth of America’s Poor Population” (http://bit.ly/ojcwck)

“The gap between immigrant and native poverty almost tripled in size between 1979 and 1997. The poverty rate for persons living in immigrant households grew dramatically, from 15.5 percent in 1979 to 18.8 percent in 1989 and to 21.8 percent in 1997, while over the same period the poverty rate for persons in native households stayed relatively constant at roughly 12 percent.

In 1997, more than one in five persons (21.6 percent) living in poverty resided in an immigrant household. And nearly one in four children in poverty now lives in an immigrant household. In comparison, only 9.7 percent of the poor lived in immigrant households in 1979.

The growth in immigrant-related poverty accounted for 75 percent (3 million people) of the total increase in the size of the poor population between 1989 and 1997. This increase is enough to entirely offset the 2.7 million reduction in the size of the poor population that results from the $64 billion spent annually on means-tested cash assistance programs.

Immigration is one of the primary factors causing the nation’s overall poverty rate and the number of people living in poverty to be higher today than they were 20 years ago. If immigrant-headed households are excluded, the total number of people in poverty in 1997 and the nation’s poverty rate would have been only slightly higher than it was in the late 1970s.

This rise in immigrant-related poverty was caused partly by an increase in the poverty rate for each wave of new arrivals. In 1979, the poverty rate for persons living in households headed by an immigrant who arrived in the ten year prior was 23 percent; by 1997, the poverty rate for individuals in households headed by a new immigrant had increased to 29.2 percent.

The increase in immigrant-related poverty was also caused by a slowing in the pace of progress immigrants make in moving out of poverty over time. For example, the poverty rate for immigrant households who arrived in the 1980s was still over 25 percent in 1997 — double that of natives.”

5. “Importing Poverty: Immigration and Poverty in the United States: A Book of Charts” (http://bit.ly/paNW9p)

“Since the immigration reforms of the 1960s, the U.S. has imported poverty through immigration policies that permitted and encouraged the entry and residence of millions of low-skill immigrants into the nation. Low-skill immigrants tend to be poor and to have children who, in turn, add to America’s poverty problem, driving up governmental welfare, social service, and education costs.

Today’s immigrants differ greatly from historic immigrant populations. Prior to 1960, immigrants to the U.S. had education levels that were similar to those of the non-immigrant workforce and earned wages that were, on average, higher than those of non-immigrant workers. Since the mid-1960s, however, the education levels of new immigrants have plunged relative to non-immigrants; consequently, the average wages of immigrants are now well below those of the non-immigrant population. Recent immigrants increasingly occupy the low end of the U.S. socio-economic spectrum.[2]

The current influx of poorly educated immigrants is the result of two factors: first, a legal immigration system that favors kinship ties over skills and education; and second, a permissive attitude toward illegal immigration that has led to lax border enforcement and non-enforcement of the laws that prohibit the employment of illegal immigrants. In recent years, these factors have produced an inflow of some ten and a half million immigrants who lack a high school education. In terms of increased poverty and expanded government expenditure, this importation of poorly educated immigrants has had roughly the same effect as the addition of ten and a half million native-born high school drop-outs.”

j r September 20, 2011 at 10:49 am

“What if America is torn asunder by ethnic, racial, and linguistic conflicts?”

You ever notice that the people who place the most meaning on race and ethnicity are the same people who are constatnly predicting racial and ethnic conflict. It’s one of my favorite excercises in circular logic: “If we keep letting brown people into this country, then my dislike of brown people is going to tear this country apart.”

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

jr,

Perhaps you missed the part about

“The fact that the current wave of immigrants demand racial quotas (and need them badly) is not exactly grounds for optimism.”

When an immigrant group demands (and worse needs) racial quotas the potential for conflict is substantial and it’s not the fault of the majority group. When an immigrant fails to succeed and blames the majority the potential for conflict is substantial and it’s not the fault of the majority group. When an immigrant group demands that the majority accept bilingualism / multiculturalism the potential for conflict is substantial and it’s not the fault of the majority group. When an immigrant group fails to assimilate the potential for conflict is substantial and it’s not the fault of the majority group. When an immigrant group denies even the right of the majority to enforce its borders the potential for conflict is substantial and it’s not the fault of the majority group.

Their is a cliche that the real definition of racism is “a liberal losing an argument” and it so true when it comes to immigration. Samuel Huntington wrote extensively on this subject. You might try reading his works. See “The Hispanic Challenge” (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1084558/posts). I quote

“The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages. Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves—from Los Angeles to Miami—and rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream. The United States ignores this challenge at its peril.

Such a transformation would not only revolutionize the United States, but it would also have serious consequences for Hispanics, who will be in the United States but not of it. Sosa ends his book, The Americano Dream, with encouragement for aspiring Hispanic entrepreneurs. “The Americano dream?” he asks. “It exists, it is realistic, and it is there for all of us to share.” Sosa is wrong. There is no Americano dream. There is only the American dream created by an Anglo-Protestant society. Mexican Americans will share in that dream and in that society only if they dream in English. “

j r September 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm

And what of all those Americans of fine, Protestant, European stock who vote for an ever-incresing basket of government entitlements while expecting to pay less and less in taxes? You going to blame that on brown people as well?

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm

jr,

There are actually two points here. First, you have your facts wrong. Total tax revenues (OECD) were 25.6% of GDP in 1975 and 28 percent in 2008. That’s what most people call an “upward” trend. Try using a dictionary (dictionary.com) to look up what words mean.

However, the second point is the more important one. Diversity doesn’t come free. It is profoundly expensive. Diverse societies have much lower levels of trust and social cohesion. They are frequently deeply dysfunctional. This isn’t just some theory. A liberal academic, R. Putnam studied this issue and found the results so disturbing he refused to publish them for years. I quote

“The downside of diversity A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?”

“IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.

But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam — famous for “Bowling Alone,” his 2000 book on declining civic engagement — has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.

“The extent of the effect is shocking,” says Scott Page, a University of Michigan political scientist.”

You don’t think this is going to show up in tax policy debates?

TallDave September 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Peter,

You’re committing a fallacy of aggregation there re voters and taxes. As a voter, one can demand more services while demanding others pay for them. Something like half of income taxes are paid by the top 10% now, and the bottom half pay almost none.

The Anti-Gnostic September 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

How many Meso-Americans–not Iberians, not upper caste mestizo–do you actually know? We are importing a whole other population group with levels of social pathology similar to blacks albeit not as high and left side IQ distribution that does not budge with succeeding generations. How do you expect that to work out? You think with a whole milieu of transfer payments and civil rights laws they’re going to docilely spread your pine straw forever? Or pay taxes for the nursing homes for a bunch of old white people?

Go to any public hospital, any SS or welfare office, look at any Most Wanted list for US urban areas. Check out property values in ‘vibrant’ neighborhoods. The future is shabbier, dirtier, more crowded, more violent and more impoverished.

j r September 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm

You had me at “social pathology similar to blacks.” I guess I can’t really argue with sound analytical reasoning like that.

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

jr,

if TAG offered statistics, would that mean anything to you? I have posted (many times by now) that NAEP and PISA data. You can find similar statistics for essentially all other metrics of societal performance (crime, illegitimacy, you name it).

Do facts matter?

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Are statistics facts?

Peter Schaeffer September 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

@DD,

“Are statistics facts?”

Is gravity real?

Rahul September 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Let’s assume you are right, just for argument’s sake. Blacks and Hispanics (I assume you mean them?) are low IQ and hence pathologically prone to crime. If then, you had a policy alternative to substitute these with hordes of, say, poor Chinese immigrants. Would you change your anti-immigrant stance? Do you think all non-American poor people are low IQ and crime prone or only certain ethnicities and nationalities?

msgkings September 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I think the answer to your last question, Rahul, is quite obvious. I’m guessing these guys got mugged once by a Latino dude, or one stole their girlfriend.

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Rahul,

You don’t have to either accept or reject group IQ linkages to recognize that the U.S. has serious problems, some of which have been imported. Would poor Chinese immigrants be better? There is plenty evidence to suggest that poor Asian immigrants do better in American society. 20 years ago, Scientific American published a study showing that the children of poor Vietnamese immigrants were thriving in the same schools were black and Hispanic children were failing. See Nathan Caplan, Marcella Choy, and John K. Whitmore, “Indochinese Refugee Families and Academic Achievement,” Scientific American (1992), 36–42.

Of course, my Chinese friends regularly disparage Vietnamese Americans and point out that Chinese kids do even better. They may even be right (and very unenlightened).

However, America should not favor any ethnic or racial group. The best policy is limited, highly skilled immigration without regard to race, religion, or national origin.

The Anti-Gnostic September 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Immigration should be determined by what is best for the host nation and its citizens; this is the very least that government owes its citizens. An IQ test, proof of income sufficient to provide net tax payments, scarcity in a particular skill set, historical compatibility of the cultures are all valid conditions for entry into the host country. There is simply no benefit accruing to an advanced nation by importing a low IQ and/or culturally incompatible population group.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Come on, IQ test…Where should our residents live then? Hm. In my small European County, it was the extremely right-winged party, when it was in government, and the rest of the world thought we´d be Nazis again, however, they demanded a mandatory Kindergarten year for kids with foreign languages, in which they should learn at least a bit of the local language. And they enforced child benefit for everybody, that means also for immigrants, which was payed only to employees and workers before.

Rahul September 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

@Peter:

There’s two anti-immigration arguments I can see:

(1) (Certain) Immigrants are bad for my nation just because they are bad. i.e. cause crime,are and will remain stupid, bad work ethics etc.

(2) Immigrants are bad for me because they compete against me but I’d like to continue seeking the rents that accrue to me by the felicity of being born in America.

I’m trying to deconvolute objections along these lines but perhaps “both” is a valid answer too.

Finch September 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

> Immigration should be determined by what is best for the host nation and its citizens

We could just sell citizenships at revenue maximizing prices. Then people would self-select for economically desirable features. The poor-but-capable could get loans.

Why is there a redistributive element in immigration discussions? Why can’t it just be about trade? If there’s value to be captured, why give it away? Why not sell it?

The Anti-Gnostic September 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Rahul – what’s the problem with #2? Certain advantages accrue to being born to intelligent parents–does that mean you and your parents are obligated to invite less felicitious children into your family? I’ll give my countrymen the benefit of a doubt I wouldn’t to others. So what? You think the rest of the planet does things any differently?

Americans-are under no, none, zero obligation to invite other folks to the party, particularly when there’s a high probability they’ll just piss in the punch bowl.

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 7:22 pm

@Rahul,

“There’s two anti-immigration arguments I can see:”

How about

3. Immigrants are good for me, but bad for other Americans I care about.
4. Immigrants can be fine people (educated, honest, law abiding, hard working) and still adversely impact America. Amy Chua (yes, that Amy Chua) made this point in “World on Fire”. She was not referring to the United States. However, he argument isn’t hard to extend. I wouldn’t claim that Wallons are better than the Flemish or vice versa. However, Belgium would be better off if it only had one.

JonF September 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Stats show that immigrants (including the illegal ones) are LESS likley to commit crimes than native born ctiizens.

Matt September 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Sorry, but the restrictionists win on immigration. The current illegal wave, and to some extent the ongoing post ’65 wave are a slow-motion disaster. It is possible that the mass of hispanics will someday become like the old Europeans, but there was a significant effort to assimilate the old immigrants that just isn’t happening anymore. For one example, saying that immigrants should speak English is now a sign of horrible bigotry. The actual character of immigrants is less important at this point than the sheer numbers. A lot of good could be done by simply eliminating 1) illegal immigration, 2) the ‘diversity lottery’, and 3) family reunification.

Rahul September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm

#3 would be extremely iffy morally. Although I can appreciate its pragmatic appeal.

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Rahul,

There is family reunification and then there is family reunification. Right now immigrants can import spouses, siblings, parents, adult children, etc. Restrictionists generally propose to limit family reunification to spouses and minor children. Allowing parents to enter the U.S. doesn’t sound so bad. However, they almost always end up collecting handouts of one form or another.

bob September 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Not to mention that family reunification visa limits are so low compared to demand, they might as well not exist already: Close to 10 years for a European son. For a Mexican son, 20 years.

Now, what’s really dodgy is the situation of legal immigrants with college degrees: Typically after an H1-B, An EB-3 remain in limbo for 5 to 8 years, depending on country of origin. Why is it good for the country to make it hard for those people to switch jobs, when for all intents and purposes we know they will be accepted as permanent residents when the priority date rolls around?

Peter Schaeffer September 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

bob,

“Not to mention that family reunification visa limits are so low compared to demand, they might as well not exist already: Close to 10 years for a European son. For a Mexican son, 20 years.”

Totally untrue. See “Family Reunification” (http://www.upa.pdx.edu/IMS/currentprojects/TAHv3/Content/PDFs/Family_Reunification.pdf)

“There are important differences between the two categories. Immediate relatives of US citizens include
the non-native spouses of US citizens, unmarried minor children (aged 21 or under) of US citizens,
orphans adopted by US citizens, and the parents of US citizens over the age of 21. This category has no
numerical ceiling. The number of immigrants entering through this category affects, to a usually
marginal degree, the number of places available to immigrants entering through the second set of classes
entry, that of family sponsorship.”

jdm September 20, 2011 at 10:13 am

12. I am an optimist about restaurants in northern Virginia.

Not to mention that the prime ocean front views they’ll have when the icecaps melt.

Mo September 20, 2011 at 10:22 am

The Flynn effect strikes me as a testing artifact that has to do with how we test and the structures of modern education. Do we really believe that our ancestors in the 1800s were, on average, so mentally deficient that they would be only be qualified to be Walmart greeters today?

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 10:26 am

Mo, do you mean those who discussed Traktatum Logiko-Philosophicus?

Mo September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am

Well, they’re not the average person of the era (and that wasn’t published in the 1800s), but you get my point.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 10:44 am

Well, Mo, Traktatus… was printed 1781 and about the flynn effect: Alphabetization rates increased in that time due to prosperity. (I am very optimistic about Wikipedia, it helps me to be artificially intelligent, thank you, Jimmy Wales). But, Mo, You´re right, these guys were not average persons.

Mo September 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

Are you not speaking of the Wittgenstein treatise? He wasn’t even born until the 1880s

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 11:42 am

Mo, You got me, I admit, I´m not as intelligent as I thought. I mixed it eup with Kant, mabe…. You won!

Cliff September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am

Yes, unclear why Tyler would be optimistic on “the Flynn effect”, which is not g-correlated AND I have heard has all but stopped.

The Anti-Gnostic September 20, 2011 at 11:40 am

Was the Flynn effect measured or observed anywhere but in industrialized countries?

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 11:44 am

Mabe Tyler is optimistic, because Internet is about to displace TV and in the internet, people are reading again?

j r September 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

To say that the Flynn effect has ended would be a statement of “equilibrium is now.” Perhaps that’s true, but I doubt it. Even if cognative ability is 60 or 70% heritable, that still leaves a fair amount of wiggle room, especially when you take into account the percentage of the earth’s population that grow up in situations that are likely to significantly hamper their cognative development.

notkevinnealon September 20, 2011 at 10:27 am

Tyler –
Re: “we’ve already made the critical breakthrough…”

What about energy needs vs. production? If/when the global economy starts to make a comeback, the demand side of energy is going to jump again and we will likely see more price spikes. To run all of these electronics and feed the manufacturing and transportation/distribution side, we will need some less expensive energy options.

So, are you optimistic on cheap, sustainable energy showing up any time soon? (your pessimism on climate change tells me ‘No’)
Or do you not see this as a significant hurdle to continued growth?

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 10:55 am

“If/when the global economy starts to make a comeback, the demand side of energy is going to jump again”

Wrong tense. It already has. Check Brent crude prices (not WTI). See http://www.tradingeconomics.com/commodity/brent-crude-oil

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 11:51 am

Nuclear Fusion?

fourem September 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

You don’t need sustainable energy soon; you need it eventually. There’s lots of dirty, unsustainable energy that could serve as a bridge.

Steve September 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

As an economist, shouldn’t you think more in terms of opportunity cost than of optimism v. pessimism? For example, “I am optimistic about how well immigration will go” seems carefully worded to distract from the the real questions: What was the optimal policy? And who deserves blame for our suboptimal policy?

Steve September 20, 2011 at 11:15 am

Similarly, the reference to the Flynn Effect seems intended to blur the impact of the illegal immigration you so long supported. You realize now that it means lower average IQ in America than otherwise, but you hand wave about the Flynn Effect in the hopes that will make the detriment hard to measure. Of course, the concept of opportunity cost points out that the detriment is still real because we should measure versus where we would have been without so many illegal immigrants.

albatross September 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

But that’s the critical question, isn’t it? Moving from El Salvador or Guatemala to the US involves a huge change in environment–enough to account for a fair bit of IQ difference even given that IQ is largely heritable. (The heritability in twin adoption studies, where the environments are almost always middle class or better, is much too high for this situation.)

The question is, will those immigrants’ kids and grandkids blend in with the rest of society in two or three generations, like (say) Italians or Irishmen? Or will some subset of them form a permanent visible, ethnically-identified underclass because they can’t blend in, even given a first-world environment from the day they were born?

The Anti-Gnostic September 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Is anybody even reading the data? The answer is no, the test scores, grad rates, etc. are not improving over generations unlike the higher mean IQ European populations. Also, look at the IQ differential between Iberians and Meso-Americans in the same Central and South American countries.

And why are we obligated to import millions of people and spend millions of dollars on the LAUSD to try and find out?

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

a,

“The question is, will those immigrants’ kids and grandkids blend in with the rest of society in two or three generations, like (say) Italians or Irishmen?”

“The Congealing Pot Today’s immigrants are different from waves past ”

“They’re not just like the Irish — or the Italians or the Poles, for that matter. The large influx of Hispanic immigrants after 1965 represents a unique assimilation challenge for the United States. Many optimistic observers have assumed — incorrectly, it turns out — that Hispanic immigrants will follow the same economic trajectory European immigrants did in the early part of the last century. Many of those Europeans came to America with no money and few skills, but their status steadily improved. Their children outperformed them, and their children’s children were often indistinguishable from the “founding stock.” The speed of economic assimilation varied somewhat by ethnic group, but three generations were typically enough to turn “ethnics” into plain old Americans.

This would be the preferred outcome for the tens of millions of Hispanic Americans, who are significantly poorer and less educated on average than native whites. When immigration skeptics question the wisdom of importing so many unskilled people into our nation at one time, the most common response cites the remarkable progress of Europeans a century ago. “People used to say the Irish or the Poles would always be poor, but look at them today!” For Hispanics, we are led to believe, the same thing will happen.

But that claim isn’t true. Though about three-quarters of Hispanics living in the U.S. today are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, a significant number have roots here going back many generations. We have several ways to measure their intergenerational progress, and the results leave little room for optimism about their prospects for assimilation.”

Steve September 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Intellectuals outside the Southwest seldom realize that we already have an enormous amount of data on Mexican-Americans whose ancestors have been in the United States for many generations, so they feel entitled to make up theories about their future performance based on “Italians or Irishmen.” For example, the 2008 book “Generations of Exclusion” by sociologists with the UCLA Chicano Studies center examined 1500 American-born Mexican-Americans in L.A. and San Antonio..Their conclusion was that Mexican Americans do not make additional educational progress past the second generation. Among 4th generation Mexican Americans (people whose grandparents were born in American), only 6% had bachelors’d degrees in 2000 versus 35% of non-Hispanic whites in the same cities. This isn’t a disastrously bad performance, but it’s thoroughly mediocre and raises obvious questions about Latinos will generate enough wealth to ever blend into the middle class.

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I find there’s too much dissimilarity between Mexican-American and their Irish/Italian equivalents. The latter are both now considered “one of us” while the former is not, no matter how longer they have been in country. Skin color is the variable here that I find important, not number of generations.

Steve September 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm

So, that’s why all those dark-skinned Dravidian-speaking Indian immigrants and moderately dark-skinned Fujian Chinese immigrants are so poor …

Peter Schaeffer September 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

DD,

Your obsession with skin color would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. If you could overcome your ideology of race, you might notice that Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, etc. are highly successful in America.

Jim September 20, 2011 at 11:51 am

>5. I am optimistic about how well immigration will go.

Spoken like someone who lives far, far away from any US land border.

The Anti-Gnostic September 20, 2011 at 11:58 am

If you’re around immigrants in the 90th percentile from around the globe, immigration looks great. What could go wrong?

Rahul September 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Are close-to-border problems more drug, guns and gang related or are they per-se an immigration policy issue. Drugs, guns and gangs would seem to persist whatsoever be the choice of immigration policy pursued.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Rahul, I don´t think that drug- gun- and gang-related problems are per se an immigration policy effect. Here in Europe these problems are not there, even though many immigrants keep speaking their languages and some residents here also fear an intellectual decline. Here it is also noticed, that the composition of population has changed. But it´s not usual to carry a gun and many immigrants are muslims who usually don´t take drugs.

Rahul September 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Silvia, that is exactly my point. The close-to-border problems might seem immigration related by proximity but are quite an independent effect.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Rahul, maybe the ehtnic groups are not mixed enough. Too many of the same ethnic goup could feel like an enclave. Maybe some festivals for them in their place, for the purpose of learning to know each other and the people around, supported by politicians, would make them feel wooed. Mabe they should get the feeling of being respected. Everybody wants to be respected. But I don´t know.

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm

SP,

“Rahul, I don´t think that drug- gun- and gang-related problems are per se an immigration policy effect”

Wow. What part of Europe do you live in? Finland? For each country please tell me what percentage of the population is comprised of immigrants and their descendents versus what percentage of the prison population is made up of immigrants/descendents?

Every statistic I have seen shows that immigrants (and their kids) are vastly overrepresented in the criminal population in Europe. Just one data point from the Washington Post.

“In France, Prisons Filled With Muslims”

“This prison is majority Muslim — as is virtually every house of incarceration in France. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population.

On a continent where immigrants and the children of immigrants are disproportionately represented in almost every prison system, the French figures are the most marked, according to researchers, criminologists and Muslim leaders.”

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I think that Rahul lives in the United States, I don´t.

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Correlation is not causation.

The Anti-Gnostic September 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Social pathology correlates with impulse control and time preference which correlates with intelligence. Less intelligent people have higher levels of social pathology. That’s why there’s very little violence associated with marijuana distribution on college campuses but lots of violence associated with marijuana distribution in Compton. That’s also why you don’t read about child prostitution rings at college campuses, or campus security officers being beheaded as a message to the board of regents, or university presidents having to buy ransom insurance for their family members.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Mabe the people in Compton should rely more financial support from their parents.

The Anti-Gnostic September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm

It would be nice if ‘financial support’ were the determining factor. Then we could just make transfer payments like EIC, Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8, etc. and the social pathology would disappear.

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm

R,

See the notes on immigration and crime in Europe. The results for the U.S. are similar. The communities with the lowest crime in the U.S. have very low levels of immigration.

KLO September 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm

But you also need to address the fact that crime has been getting lower and lower during a period of greatly increased immigration. How does one explain that?

Moreover, for large cities, there does not seem to be a strong correlation between immigration and crime.

Steve September 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Economists have a concept called “opportunity cost.” The current model Blackberry smart phones are much better in an absolute sense than they were a decade ago, so that means RIM’s management is doing a swell job right?

No.

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm

KLO,

“But you also need to address the fact that crime has been getting lower and lower during a period of greatly increased immigration. How does one explain that?”

Other effects predominate. They include harsher criminal justice, cultural shifts, crack epidemic burnout, and perhaps lead phaseout from gasoline.

“Moreover, for large cities, there does not seem to be a strong correlation between immigration and crime”

Actually, state level crime regressions show a striking correlation between demographics and crime. The regression coefficients match generally accepted criminality ratios by race / ethnicity.

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

So what I’m hearing is that no one actually can explain lower crime rates, so it must be immigration?

Peter Schaeffer September 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

“So what I’m hearing is that no one actually can explain lower crime rates, so it must be immigration?”

No, it must be sunspots…

Crime rates move up and down across race / ethnic lines more or less in tandem. That shows that exogenous factors are operative.

Of course, you can always argue that immigrants are magical and somehow cause blacks and whites to commit less crime. Good luck with that idea.

If you want to play the correlation causation game, I could point out that crime soared after the 1965 immigration act and that crime was rather low when immigration was restricted.

Maybe immigrants are magical creatures who cause blacks to commit more crime. That view has peer-reviewed papers supporting it at least (Hanson and Grogger).

Rahul September 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for humoring my question Tyler! Nice to know all these things you are optimistic about. MR needs more posts on those topics IMHO. Best blog out there BTW. Thumbs up.

Guy in the Veal Calf Office September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I am optimistic that Alex and Tyler will continue enlivening my morning coffee for years to come.

korbonits September 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I wholeheartedly concur

Rahul September 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I have a perverse hope that Tyler / Alex never get elevated to the presidential economic council or some such lofty positions. Their opportunity cost ought to be kept low enough that blogging at MR remains worthwhile.

And god forbid someone wins a Nobel or gets on the NYT bestseller list. My, I cringe at the riff-raff we’d attract to the comments section. There’s a strange sweetness in relative obscurity.

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I first came here from a Slashdot posting. Now I am saddened whenever I see a cross-link. I know that it leads to much abuse of libertarian memes at the expense of legitimate conversation. It may be a sad state of affairs, but I hope this blog can remain as insular as possible as well.

albatross September 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm

One thing I suggest as an additional thing to be optimistic about: access to information. My kids are growing up in a world where, right after I say “gosh, I’m not sure who was the Greek goddess of agriculture,” I pull out my phone and look it up on Wikipedia. That’s huge.

Similarly, open courseware, iTunes U, blogs, and various podcasts make really high quality information available to anyone who wants it. Want to learn about linear algebra or microbiology? There are online courses including podcasted lectures available for free. Want to learn about virology or astronomy? There are wonderful blogs and podcasts just waiting for you to find them. Once you’ve gotten interested enough and learned enough, you can even read a lot of the papers in the fields, since many are open-access, and many others are available on the researchers’ webpages or are put online after a certain period of time. A whole bunch of academic conferences now have slides and video podcasts of their talks online.

This has the potential to change the world in amazing and huge ways. I expect it will change things far more for people on the far right end of the intelligence distribution, since being smarter makes it easier to benefit from it.

Similarly, online access to news breaks the near-monopoly of the big US media companies and big newspapers on deciding what facts will be reported and what discussions will take place. Again, the impact here is potentially *huge*, and is probably an increase in the distance between the most informed people and the least informed people. Low-information voters will remain low-information voters, and may even become less well informed. Nonvoters will generally remain even less well informed. But many others will see a much wider picture of the world. Wikileaks and Youtube and blogs all make sure that it is practically very hard to suppress information, and this has already had some big impacts on the world. (How much more plausible will the next claim of police brutality seem to you, given all the videos of police beating the hell out of some guy and then reporting that he “resisted arrest?”) People who want to will end up harder to lie to and better informed. That seems like it has to be good news.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I agree absolutely with you.

Peter Schaeffer September 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm

a,

‘One thing I suggest as an additional thing to be optimistic about: access to information. My kids are growing up in a world where, right after I say “gosh, I’m not sure who was the Greek goddess of agriculture,” I pull out my phone and look it up on Wikipedia. That’s huge’

It is, but it will only accentuate the divisions in American society. The motivated, educated, elite will rise higher exploiting the Internet. Other folks will use the Internet to fall even further. Khan Academy is a fantastic tool in the hands of a motivated kid. Sadly, motivation is not uniformly distributed.

Silvia Plank September 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Peter, you are only speculating. As if you knew every child and all their motivations. Motivation is being developed when needed and considered promising success. So there has to be a chance which you would not offer. You wouldn´t open opportunities, but just a vicious circle.

albatross September 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm

To the extent those divisions are about lack of access to information, educational opportunities, etc., the massive increase in access to information will narrow them. To the extent they’re about lack of interest in or ability to use the extra information and educational opportunities, the massive increase will widen them. My guess is that in richer countries, it will widen the gaps, because we already spend a lot of resources trying to give lots of people 13 years of free education, a shot at college, etc. So in the US, there are probably fewer people who desperately wanted to be able to study math at a university, but just couldn’t scrape together the resources, relative to someplace like Mexico or India.

On the other hand, I’m long out of school, and I make extensive use of all these resources–where I would have read an occasional nonfiction book or watched a PBS special to satisfy my interest in, say, virology or immunology, I now can get access to much more detailed information from blogs and podcasts and online courses and online books and papers. I wasn’t going back to school in one of those subjects, not because my society is poor and I’m stuck sweeping floors for a living, but instead because I’ve got a job I like pretty well, and don’t need the expensive credentialing service of a university. (Also, I’m in my mid-40s with three kids and a mortgage, so it’s not like I’ve got unlimited time or money to devote to the parts of going back to school for another degree I’m not interested in.)

Ray September 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm

“I am a pessimist about how we treat animals.”

What does this mean? You think we won’t treat animals in the future better than we do now. (Don’t we already treat them better than we did 30 years ago?) Or that somehow in treating animals better, we lose some utility and you feel pessimistic about that utility?

TheCrankyProfessor September 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Hah – I got #12!

unblinkered September 21, 2011 at 1:26 am

Some Musings on Herr Schaeffer’s fishbowl.

1. The U.S. IS an Immigrant Invasion, the place was all brown for a long time, was diluted by a lily white and pure black mix, and has then been injected by browner and browner waves of immigrants driven by the meta-forces of attraction to the U.S. and repulsion by elsewhere. It is a continuum, that does not stop, will not and cannot stop. Peak white theory or not, the far more powerful forces of human procreation, and instinctive migration trump man made boundaries, political, social or otherwise. It may very well be that peak white was the nicest of the many phases of Americana, for the white of course. But more likely, given the greatest historical civilizations have been all over the map, the best may yet be to come, and that is what Tyler’s optimism is about. As an earlier poster pointed out, the great majority of the worlds seed stock of humanity has been growing in quite barren land. With freedom, and knowledge and better governance, there are much better things ahead.

2. There has never been a moment of American history when the beneficiaries of the current invasion have not vehemently articulated well reasoned arguments and “statistics” that incoming groups behind them are awful, and will completely ruin the place. And my apologies Peter, I did not read all your long missives on just why your superiority is incontrovertible, and my inferiority is a fact. But Africans in america, have never known otherwise. In that core human quality, It is a fact they have stubbornly refused to accept to all our edification.

3. The pathology of a culture that enslaves tens of millions of people for more than a hundred years, brutalizes them for many more decades, and then is shocked!, shocked I tell you, at their pathological behaviors is…..wait for it…. just maybe a pathology in it’s own right.

And no amount of “data” will requite people who pick up a single line: “13. I’m optimistic about immigration” and deliver hundreds of words of argumentation focused narrowly on IQ levels, to support a very broad assertion about the suitability of citizenship. IQ is important to you because IQ is the linchpin you’ve needed all along.

The Anti-Gnostic September 21, 2011 at 8:03 am

You misunderstand Gaussian distribution. It is not that African Ph.D.’s or Anglo dullards are impossible, just that their distribution will differ, as it does for Ashkenazim, Koreans et al.

Slavery and conquest were a fact of life for the entire world for millenia. The hypothesis of historical slavery as the driver for the mass dysfunction of African societies just doesn’t hold up. You and Tyler dream of the Great Brown Awakening when low IQ Africans and Meso-Americans breathe the free air and public schooling of the US. What they will actually do is recreate their homelands on US soil, at the same time as the Great Society runs its course into ultimate default.

American blacks are harmed the most by mass Third World immigration, by the way.

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I’m not sure I buy American slavery as hindering modern black-American society. I’d place the problem squarely on how they were treated post-slavery.

Peter Schaeffer September 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

@unblinkered

Nations control borders if they choose to. If you doubt me, try climbing the Israeli border fence. In the 1920s, the passed and enforced immigration reforms. In the 1950s, Eisenhower stopped illegal immigration by deporting 1-2 million illegals. It took 1000 agents and 3 months. That’s a scalable model. I don’t know when the U.S. will resume immigration enforcement. However, history says that any country that cares to maintain its borders can. People are noticing that counties with fewer immigrants (Finland, Japan) are doing better. Knowledge is a dangerous thing.

You state

“There has never been a moment of American history when the beneficiaries of the current invasion have not vehemently articulated well reasoned arguments and “statistics” that incoming groups behind them are awful”

You need to read some American history. Highly skilled and compatible immigrants have been welcomed throughout American history. Opposition has focused on low-skill immigrants and those thought incapable of assimilation. Note that the Declaration of Independence specifically condemns King George for restricting immigration.

“He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.”

Note at the same time, Jefferson and others were expressing concerns about whether some immigrants could or would assimilate and advocating specific measures to ensure the maintenance of national unity.

The shift in public opinion (and public policy) from supporting immigration towards opposition coincides with the transition from what was called “old immigration” to “new immigration”. These are the terms of the era, not how it would be described today. Basically, immigration shifted from highly skilled workers to unskilled laborers. For example, only 16% of immigrants were unskilled in the 1820s. By the 1890s, 55% were unskilled. Public opinion shifted accordingly.

See “International Migration in the Long-Run:Positive Selection, Negative Selection and Policy” by Hatton and Williamson. I quote

“The autarchic retreat from unrestricted and even subsidized immigration in the first global
century before World War I to the quotas and bans afterwards was the result of a combination of factors:
public hostility towards new immigrants of lower quality, public assessment of the impact of those
immigrants on a deteriorating labor market, political participation of those impacted, and, as a triggering
mechanism, the sudden shocks to the labor market delivered by the 1890s depression, the Great War1 and
postwar adjustment.”

As for “pathology”… You might have noticed that we are discussing immigration, not slavery.

“And my apologies Peter, I did not read all your long missives”

Do avoid reading… It’s a problem. You might learn something you won’t like.

Peter Schaeffer September 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

@unblinkered

As for the “Herr Schaeffer” bit. You might try looking up Goodwin’s Law to avoid future embarrassment.

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Godwin’s Law. Also, it is precisely the low-skilled immigrants that have become the highly prized citizens.

The Anti-Gnostic September 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Don’t you know it. Imagine what the professional class’s landscaping costs and restaurant tabs would be without them.

fogcity1981 September 21, 2011 at 1:55 am

Are these two linked?

11. I am a pessimist about how we treat animals.

12. I am an optimist about restaurants in northern Virginia.

Paul C. September 21, 2011 at 4:38 am

@ unblinkered. It is rare to read a post that is so wisely and beautifully rendered. As I followed this thread, I became increasingly saddened by the small mindedness, the lack of humanity/ empathy. Thank you for delivering a broader historical perspective, a sense of humor, and a ray of optimism. Bravo/ brava.

The Anti-Gnostic September 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

If he had posted facts instead of sentiments, it would have been even better. But then the post would have come out quite differently.

Peter Schaeffer September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

PC,

Dreams and hopes versus hard facts on the ground.

Open Borders versus restriction.

Makes sense to me.

Dan Dostal September 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I couldn’t agree more. The saddest part is that the small minded ones believe they have facts to back up their filth.

Rahul September 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

+1

Peter Schaeffer September 21, 2011 at 11:26 pm

DD,

Small minded people with facts versus big minded people with fantasies. How do you think that is going to work out?

The reality based community versus the faith based community. How do you think that is going to work out?

“Don’t confuse me with the facts, I have a closed mind.” Earl F. Landgrebe defending Nixon.

How did that work out?

Bradley Gardner September 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Being a pessimist about climate seems to negate most of what there is to be optimistic about.

albatross September 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Only if you think climate change will destroy human civilization. My guess is that it will cause all kinds of trouble, but that rich, well-run countries will do okay at adapting to it. Climate change, like hurricanes and earthquakes, may hurt rich countries, but devastate poor ones, in much the same way that Japan is still a rich country after suffering an incredibly nasty catastrophe. A much smaller one wrecked Haiti, because they didn’t have the resources (either wealth or functional government/institutions) to prepare for or cope with it.

It is demonstrably quite possible for life to really, truly suck in much of Haiti, Gaza, Afghanistan, and Sudan, while still being remarkably pleasant in France, South Korea, Iceland, and the US.

European September 26, 2011 at 10:30 am

Can please somebody explain the restaurants? (12.) Thanks!!

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