Which elements of the Trump legacy will persist?

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one bit from it:

There is evidence that American attitudes toward immigrants are growing more positive. There is also evidence that simply thinking about immigrants makes Americans less likely to support them, so Democrats may decide to de-emphasize the issue. The intensity of anti-immigration sentiment has helped Republicans take control of all three branches of the federal government, and Democrats would probably prefer for the next big set of political debates to be about health-care policy and additional benefits for women. The American public actually trusts Trump more than congressional Democrats to deal with border security.

There is much more at the link, not all of it pleasant.

Comments

Immigration == illegal immigration?

We need a better chattering class.

Yeah, it's almost as if TC has a political position which requires him to not distinguish between legal and illegal acts by foreigners. I'm all for immigration; in fact I think that economists would be in the catbird seat for determining how many LEGAL immigrants the USA can absorb - and how to implement that absorption most effectively (which might be more of a group/society dynamics thing than one strictly answerable by economists). I'd guess we can absorb a lot more immigrants than we currently allow, but the dismal science has done an absolutely awful job (as usual) at informing interested citizens about the facts surrounding this issue. Is the median and average immigrant a net economic positive or negative? What about their net effect? There *should* be enough data to determine there contribution (1st gen.) (along with the family they pull with them). And what about breaking out asylum seekers as a special (non-rational) case? If economists had the balls climate scientists had (and the competence??) then I hope I wouldn't be as profoundly ill-informed as I am on this minor (for me) issue.

Legal immigrants can join unions - illegal immigrants cannot. It really isn't that hard to figure out when looking at anyone who is a member of the GMU econ dept.

And one can doubt that Prof. Cowen would ask Pollan about how union busting in the meat industry looks almost 2 decades after the publication of Fast Food Nation.

Competence? Climate Scientists? Neither competent nor honest usually.

Why?

Because they're not omniscient?

In other news, medicine still doesn't have a cure for cancer.

There is plenty of evidence from micro and macro studies to indicate that even illegal immigration, perhaps especially illegal immigration, has an overall net positive impact on the economy. I will try to find some source material later today.

Illegal immigration is also good for gang membership, a form of union, and for reducing social capital (Putnum). We have way too much social capital, and it is hurting opioid sales.

Does illegal immigration increase the percent of people in criminal gangs?

Last report: Nine MS-13 murderers entered the US as children. We don't know how many thousands more are waiting to strike.

You should probably never leave your house and keep your guns by your side every moment.

We need to deport these mudskins. They are ruining our country.

Yes, and we all know a more crowded society is a better society. Kowloon = utopia. Kitchen bunk beds for everyone!

I need to rescind my former statement by saying that at best, the net economic impact is mixed for illegal immigration. It appears that from several sources the federal and state taxes are not enough to cover the cost the government bears annually. I've done almost no reading on this so take it with a grain of salt.

It's not even close when you count their kids. And if you put the cost of the kids on the kids instead of the parents, the kids don't come close to paying for themselves

"There is plenty of evidence from micro and macro studies to indicate that even illegal immigration, perhaps especially illegal immigration, has an overall net positive impact on the economy. "

Being an overall net positive isn't enough. Immigrants need to, at a minimum, pay taxes equal to the average US per capita rate. Otherwise, they are a net negative and increase the tax burden on everyone else.

No, they need to pay MORE taxes than per capita average, given the budget is running in deficit.

Note that the "net positive impact" can still reduce GDP per capita and says nothing about how the "net positive impact" is divided between the immigrant, the natives, and the plutocratic elites who take most of the spoils.

If there were no legal or illegal immigrants your taxes would go down dramatically and you would certainly notice it.

Yes, there is a big difference there but there is a maybe even bigger difference in how people see the goals of immigration. Republicans tend to view it as something that benefits the host country and people, while Democrats tend to see it as charity that a country should be able to afford. That is a huge difference. Also, for Democrats the problem is to frame how much of such charity the country can actually afford. I'd say that is a pretty complicated question to answer, much less make a political point of it. So yes, immigration as a whole is a much easier point for Republicans and will continue to be so.

Democrats view it as a vote farm.

The charity model is absurd. You're not addressing an acute problem with illegal immigration (as you are with disaster relief), only a tiny fraction of source country populations benefit, and the source countries aren't that distressed by any historical standard. If you bracket out oil and mineral exports and you bracket out the hypertrophied share of the most affluent decile, real incomes in Mexico are at levels they didn't reach in the United States until the 1940s. Over 90% of the population is literate and the young adult population has near universal literacy. Life expectancy at birth is at levels it did not reach in the U.S. until about 30 years ago. The big quality-of-life sinks in Mexico are street crime and governmental incompetence, about which outmigration does nothing.

Tyler is right. Illegal and legal immigration are being bound in the public mind and are being reduced together by this Administration. There are at least a half dozen policy changes to reduce legal immigration.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-nowrasteh-trump-legal-immigration-20180513-story.html

Except at Mar-A-Lago of course.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/396346-mar-a-lago-requesting-permission-to-hire-78-foreign-workers

Blow me you twatt.

It isn’t the administration which is conflating the issues it is the despicable left and the media.

Ah, you made me lol this morning. Thanks for that.

Top White House adviser Stephen Miller defended President Donald Trump’s support for legislation that would reduce legal immigration to the U.S. and evaluate visa applications based on merit, calling it a policy that would help low-income and minority Americans gain jobs.

Lol! You are opposed to helping low income Americans? You want to flood the market of people who barely, if at all, make enough money to survive in our economy?

Wow.

No, not really. He's a partisan. If the Obama administration had promoted the same merit based policy he would be defending it.

My understanding is that the best research on this topic suggest that it's high skilled immigrants who crowd out American workers, not low-skilled immigrants since the latter are taking jobs that Americans don't because the jobs suck and the Americans have other resources (including government assistance) to fall back on. Ironically, Americans want more high-skilled immigrants to come. I think that's still good for the country and economy overall, but they're the ones most likely to "steal" Americans' jobs.

"the latter are taking jobs that Americans don't because the jobs suck and the Americans have other resources (including government assistance) to fall back on. "

Yes, that's true. But low skilled immigrants put downward pressure on the wages for those low skilled natives. Which costs everyone else additional taxes when they fall back upon that government assistance. Furthermore, those very same natives tend to rely more on government subsidized health care which drives up taxes. In addition, the low skilled immigrants tend to have more children attending schools which also drives up taxes.

The country is better off with somewhat higher wages for low skilled workers and less low skilled immigration.

As a country, if we are going to bring in 1 million immigrants per year, we are much better off, bringing in 1 million high skilled immigrants.

Exactly. The low skilled immigrant hurts the economy twice over

1) They crowd out low skilled natives, who fall back on public assistance.
2) They consume more benefits than taxes paid. (Immigrants, on average, may be fiscally positive, but this is only the mix of high and low skilled ones).

Treasury studies show that if the immigrant doesn't have at least a college degree, he causes a net loss for existing Americans.

Even if the immigrant is "fiscally neutral", this doesn't mean that the benefits accrue evenly across all existing Americans. Most of the gains are taken by the immigrant themselves and the large business employing them. Externalities are mostly left for the average American to pick up.

I meant "Pareto efficient across all existing Americans". Fiscally neutral immigrants still create more losers than winners.

They increase the vibrancy of neighborhoods.

Unlike Asians, they don’t compete with my kids for Ivy League education seats.

I like tacos.

Crime is irrelevant since I live in a gated community.

Illegal nannies are 30% of the cost if even. FICA taxes amirite ladies?

I don’t have to mow my own lawn.

My fruit trees get picked by my nanny’s kids for literally 2 dollars an hour. This is a massive Pareto improvement to my wife yelling at me to pick our fruit trees, to the point where the Coasean solution without illegals might be for me to burn the fruit trees down and buy my wife something nice. Maybe like fruit.

Unlike the white trash plebs, they don’t compete with me for income or education services for the offspring.

As a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and the brilliant Dr. Caplan once said, “let them eat street crime, falling housing values, violent and dysfunctional schools, and taco trucks.”

Also peasants know their place unlike uppity citizens who have access to social capital based on common bonds of fellowship, culture, and history.

You give too much credit to immigrants. Way more serious crimes have been committed by nonimmigrants which makes sense since 85% of Americans are native born. But anyway don't let facts and logic get in the way of your rant. Its clear you have a lot on your mind.

Total nonsense.

Americans won't take construction jobs? About 4% of illegals work in agriculture, fewer still doing stoop labor in the fields. Americans still work in construction, agriculture (non stoop labor), hospitality, and personal care industries all over the US.

Able bodied and mentally healthy males do not get public assistance.

Illegal aliens will work for lower wages, which is why employers love them.

Drive through the Home Depot parking lot in Chandler, AZ and ask around if anyone wants to spend the day digging foundation footings for $12/hr and see how many brown people flock over. My bet is zero.

"Able bodied and mentally healthy males do not get public assistance."

False. Many do. Thats why R's in red states are trying to reduce welfare. Men these days don't work.

I would like to know where able bodied males get public assistance other than disability.

Medicaid, aside from the states that refused the Obamacare expansion. Food stamps.

When considering the positives and negatives of high-skilled vs. low-skilled immigration, it's also important to consider the cultural/social factor. High-skilled immigrants almost certainly went to college and maybe more schooling, either in their native countries or even in the US, Europe, or Canada, likely speak English decently or better, have considerable exposure to U.S. cultural and media exports, and maybe even some American friends. This makes integration and assimilation easier, which is likely one reason why wealthier neighborhoods have such positive views of immigrants in their communities. Low-skilled immigrants often have minimal or no English skills, little education that would have broadened their mind beyond the more provincial attitudes, norms, and practices of their homelands, and much less exposure to American media and people prior to their arrival, making integration extremely difficult because of social and cultural misunderstandings and clashes with US citizens. It's a lot easier for high-skilled immigrants to feel "at home" in the US, whereas for low-skilled immigrants it is more likely to feel like just a way of collecting a paycheck, with the only feelings of "home" occurring in their fellow immigrant communities because of linguistic and cultural barriers beyond that. The former can still provide vibrancy, without some of the insularity that the latter group tend to carry.

Canada and Australia seem to have better success with assimilation and integration, and they have merit-based systems bringing in well-educated and more cosmopolitan-minded immigrants.

"which is likely one reason why wealthier neighborhoods have such positive views of immigrants in their communities. "

Other reasons include cheap landscaping and delivery services

Low-skilled immigrants often have minimal or no English skills, little education that would have broadened their mind beyond the more provincial attitudes, norms, and practices of their homelands, and much less exposure to American media and people prior to their arrival, making integration extremely difficult because of social and cultural misunderstandings and clashes with US citizens.

If you accepted a high-paying job with benefits in Tiom, Papua, New Guinea, would you start wearing a bone through your nose and a loin clothe right after moving there? Maybe the immigrants, of whatever social standing or supposed intelligence, would like to retain most of their own cultural features, just because.

Of course low-skilled immigrants want to retain their culture, in some cases it's all they have. The same is true of the citizens, particularly the less-skilled ones. You can handwave it away, dismiss it as tribalism (which it is, but that should not be viewed pejoratively), and say that we can't show a preference for one or the other, but the clashes will still happen. That is significantly less likely with high-skilled immigration.

And yes, I would try to follow the customs and cultural practices of the country I traveled to work in, and have in fact done so. Not in PNG, though. But then again, I wasn't a low-skilled immigrant.

My understanding is that the best research on this topic suggest that it's high skilled immigrants who crowd out American workers, not low-skilled immigrants since the latter are taking jobs that Americans don't because the jobs suck and the Americans have other resources (including government assistance) to fall back on. Ironically, Americans want more high-skilled immigrants to come. I think that's still good for the country and economy overall, but they're the ones most likely to "steal" Americans' jobs.

By all means, argue against things I never said.

I am on a hike, but I logged in because this hill has a little cell coverage. I just wanted to say you can also review the whole "shithole countries" episode. That is probably Trump's most direct statement that legal immigration is bad when it is bad people from bad countries.

Why can't they all come from Norway, am I right?

Recently, I was talking to one of the few Trump supporters I know. He was very motivated to vote for Trump to end illegal immigration, but he says to me "I don't know why we aren't talking about greatly increasing LEGAL immigration including laborers to solve the ILLEGAL immigration problem."

It strikes me as not quite right but some people do seem to think that if you have a law, even a bad law, that you should enforce it vigorously

I agree with your friend. That's why I find those conflating the two to be dishonest.

This has been a very bizarre episode. Tyler correctly observes that the Trump Administration seeks to reduce both legal and illegal immigration. He reasonably sees this as opposition to immigration in general. Because it is.

Then we play a great game, where perhaps some of the very same people who complained about too much Muslim immigration, or lack of integration, jump up and say "oh no they have never heard of any opposition to legal immigration."

Pull the other one?

I mean, some of you might honestly still be in favor of legal immigration at old or similar levels (including for Muslims!), but at least be honest about the change in policy, and that the "conflation" has come from the top. And the many of the right-trolls in these pages have been right there in favor of it.

I am disappointed by this obvious Straussianism by Tyler. Conflating legal and illegal immigration offends those who worked hard, played by the rules, and jumped through many hoops to prove that they are worthy of coming to the US and remaining as permanent residents. The illegals are just invaders and should be treated as such. Many legal immigrants I know are scared to say so in public but they strongly believe that the illegals should be stopped and shown little support or mercy when caught in the US. So it's not just Trump voters.

Geez guys, this is not something Tyler invented, this is something Tyler is responding to.

https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/trump-administration-aims-reduce-legal-immigration

You are being dishonest.

The American people want to end illegal immigration and modify the criteria for legal entry into the US. What is wrong with that?

What we have now is an abundance of illegal immigration followed by massive chain migration based on family connections. The American people do not want that, but it has been forced upon them by s comfortable elite that does not have to suffer the consequences of this policy. The American people are fed up with it, and executing a coup d'etat and installing a Democratic president is not going to change that.

Amazing. I give you abundant links to administration policies, and now you say it is me, not them?

Boys, the tribalism might be on the other foot.

Help me! I am lost in the threads and can't get out!

Sorry, my post is in the wrong place.

Dastardly threading!

Tribalism destroyed his brain. He doesn't realize that Trump's inane policies made immigration more popular than ever. The anti-immigration types overplayed their hand.

What are the consequences of whatever policy it is that you're talking about? When you say, "The American people do not want that", what American people are you speaking of? In this so-called democracy has there been a vote on this, ever?

In reality, the interactions between American citizens and illegal immigrants are limited to lawn care, roofing, and perhaps some janitorial work. No citizen can determine if the person in line behind them at Krogers is an illegal alien or not.

Speak for yourself. I have plenty of interaction with them. You obviously live inside the bubble. Since you don't experience the downsides, you are ok with the invasion.

There is evidence that American attitudes toward immigrants are growing more positive. .... The intensity of anti-immigration sentiment has helped Republicans take control of all three branches of the federal government

It is remarkable how positive people can be about an issue when they think the law is being enforced and the rules applies. As opposed to being shouted down as racists when they object to the unfairness of the Hard Left and Big Business getting together to prevent any enforcement of the laws on the books.

, and Democrats would probably prefer for the next big set of political debates to be about health-care policy and additional benefits for women.

Additional benefits for women? I doubt that. I think that arguing for more money for single mothers - the second strongest group of Obama supporters - is not likely to be popular with the public. Hillary's strident Women First campaigning seems to have put off a lot of people. Not all men. And health care seems to have died as an issue for the Democrats. They have gone very quiet on the issue. CNN is not running with it 24/7 like they would if it worked for the Democrats. After all, it is a perfect issue for the Democrats - they can show all the babies given cancer by Romney and Trump. But they are not using it. Which suggests it polls very badly indeed.

Still the Republicans are trying again to bail out Obamacare which seems insane.

I think the only issues that work for the Democrats are inciting racial hatred and indulging White upper middle class women with tales of Glass Ceilings and Evil Republicans who stand in their way. At least that seems to be pretty much all they are running with at the moment.

None of them seem able to land a hand on Trump himself. They have thrown everything but the bathroom sink at him. And he does not care. So I would hope the real Trump legacy is more Republicans willing to tell the hacks who work in the media to go a reproduce with themselves. Romney folded. Didn't work for him at all.

It is remarkable how positive people can be about an issue when they think the law is being enforced and the rules applies.

If this is so (and I believe you are wrong; the public cares about culture, demographics, and job protection; the legal/illegal dispute is eyewash), then why do people complain about guest worker visas?

Because they are built on lies. Silicon Valley is not bringing cheap labor in from India because they can't find programmers in America. They are doing it because it is cheaper.

Not that many people do complain about guest worker visas. The big complaint concerns illegals.

Silicon Valley is not bringing cheap labor in from India because they can't find programmers in America. They are doing it because it is cheaper.

So, according to you, the point of immigration is to only allow in people who cannot or will not do a job any American can? In effect, you want 0 immigration then.

If you invite a single immigrant, that person will, either immediately or eventually, compete with Americans. And offering one's services for lower price is a legitimate competition tool.

You seem to have proved my point that it's not the illegality of immigrants that's a problem to many Americans, but rather their very presence.

"They are doing it because it is cheaper"

And it's cheaper *because* they are guest workers and not permanent immigrants. They are here as, effectively, as temporary indentured servants, sponsored by and beholden to their employers, with virtually no ability to negotiate wages or change jobs. Letting them in as permanent residents would be much better (I know of no backlash against immigration from India generally).

Letting them in as permanent residents would be much better

I'm really not sure this will serve the purpose of protecting American jobs and keeping wages high if the green card numbers are increased to accommodate today's guest workers.

Currently, permanent residency is dependent on labor certification while the H1B visa is not (contrary to what a lot of people think.) Increasing the number of green cards is and has always been quite infeasible thanks to the (almost permanent) nativist constituency in Congress. The corporations have no problem making residents out of their guest workers (again, contrary to what many Americans believe), but the green card quota system prevents that from happening, so they use the H1B visa as a workaround. And again, the green card quota is explicitly rigged against Indians and Chinese as it imposes a 7% cap on national from a single country in a given year. But India and China have close to 20% of the world's population each, so demand's bound to exceed supply. This creates long backlogs and a continuous clamor from corporates for more guest worker visas.

Actually, you are quite wrong. I have been a high tech hiring manager for decades in Silicon Valley. The employee on an H1B is tied to a particular job. The employer only chooses to sponsor the employee on an H1B for a green card if the employee is exceptional, since the process is expensive. Once the employee gets the green card they can move to another company, which increases their bargaining power. Until then, they are essentially indentured servants.

Many older Silicon Valley employees have been replaced, permanently, by importing younger, single, foreign workers, by outsourcing to India and a few other nations, and by outsourcing corporations, like Wipro and others, that snap up most of the H1Bs and use them to hire not-very-special-but-cheap-Indians who end up gaining a big competitive advantage over Americans. This does indeed create resentment but, amazingly, not against the immigrants from India or China, but against the companies and the predatory entrepreneurs that employ these tactics.

I have heard very few negative comments about Indians or Chinese. It appears it is the opinion of most that they make good colleagues and neighbors.

I personally have many Indian and Chinese friends.

Conversely, I hear many complaints daily about the massive immigration from Mexico. I think it's because of the crime, fraud, and especially gang activity seen all around the community. There,'s nothing like seeing a murder trial going on for years, a suspect with no family or connections in Mexico because the US is the only home they have ever known (common leftist canards) flee to Mexico to avoid trial, and being constantly reminded of the problem by seeing gang graffiti scrawled all over every publicly visible surface. Then there's the cultural preferrences for twenty people in a single family home with cars parked all over what used to be lawns and both sides of suburban residential streets. Throw in a few fatal hit and runs and, yes, Indians and Chinese make nice neighbors welcomed with open arms.

Note that in the neighborhoods of the wealthy and cultural elites you don't see any of that. The private schools they send their kids to do not even have metal detectors. Amazing!

I was a hiring manager for engineers (with a Fortune 500) for some years. I hired quite a few H1B engineers, all MS or PhD. Every single one was put into the green card process after 6-12 months. I approved the legal bills (its not free, but compared to engineer salaries, not a real big deal). As far as I know, with the exception of one engineer who left to move to another city and marry, every single one of them eventually received a green card.

The H1B engineers I managed were paid and treated exactly like the US citizen engineers. There were one two instances where they might have otherwise been in the candidate pool for a lateral transfer to another location, but were excluded so as not to interfere with their green card process.

All these were people who hoped would become career employees. Most were more than competitive with US candidates, some were quite exceptional.

I've also seen and worked with the outsourcing folks. Their staff is much more a mixed bag, with a lot of people I would not have hired. I think this has gotten worse over the years as these guys have gotten bigger. In the early years, they got the cream of the crop; I don't think that's true anymore.

"The H1B engineers I managed were paid and treated exactly like the US citizen engineers. There were one two instances where they might have otherwise been in the candidate pool for a lateral transfer to another location, but were excluded so as not to interfere with their green card process."

I have minimal understanding of the H1B hiring process for tech engineers, but I imagine this would be the source of the problem: that the H1B engineers are treated exactly like citizen engineers. This can present a problem if "highly skilled" is read very broadly, as lawyers for companies seeking H1B applicants tend to argue. If the applicant or candidate pools are expanded through awarding visas to foreign workers, that will lower the average wage for the position, especially if the visa applicants have lower wage expectation due to differing quality-of-life expectations than US citizens, for right or wrong. I do tend to think that tech positions had evolved into a kind of rent-seeking for those who had got in on the ground floor in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, and that their salaries and perks were bloated, such that hiring foreign workers makes sense. However, it's hard not to sympathize with younger US citizens, mostly millennials, who were told to go into the tech sector for a safe and reliable career that would at least land them in the middle class, and likely higher, taking on sometimes considerable college debt in order to do so (something the visa applicants and candidates often don't have, again playing into their possible lower wage expectations). Part of designing a legal immigration system, including the numbers of legal immigrants, whether permanent or temporary, is to manage these expectations so that both business needs and citizen expectations are addressed: there is no truly "fair" number, it's just a compromise.

STEM.job security?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/spectrum.ieee.org/riskfactor/computing/it/the-changing-pattern-of-stem-worker-employment.amp.html

Engineer,

It appears you were hiring people at a higher level of education. We were hiring journeyman software engineers and very few were sponsored for green cards.

I think that arguing for more money for single mothers - the second strongest group of Obama supporters - is not likely to be popular with the public.

Argument would be "more money for children", which is generally more popular.

Re: And health care seems to have died as an issue for the Democrats

Nope. It's just that since last fall there's been an unofficial truce on the issues in DC while Trump and the GOP focused on taxes and immigration. There is yet another push starting on destroying the ACA, so I expect Democrats will begin to play their cards there again as they did last summer when congressional favorable ratings cratered over the attempt by the GOP to repeal the ACA and replace with a sham system which polled about as well as cockroaches and diarrhea.

The Obamacare law left in individual market in medical insurance in hopelessly unstable condition. The Republicans don't have to 'push'. It's dying from it's own pathologies.. The question is how to repair matters.

What Trump and republican did with Obamacare didn't really kill it. It removed the least popular part of it which was the individual mandate (forced taxation). So now all liabilities incurred by Obamacare just got piled onto the national debt. Ironically, fiscal conservatives may abandon the GOP for its lack of fiscal discipline.

"As for free trade and protectionism, the Democrats have been against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and skeptical of NAFTA for some time"

WTF? Obama was the official barrow pusher of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Remember?

Democrats are whores for corporate power, just as much as Republicans.

Just like you, TC!

Perhaps it could have been phrased better. Left-Democrats have been skeptical of trade. Post-Trump they are more likely to gain the upper hand.

"Perhaps it could have been phrased better."

LOL, you mean perhaps it could have been correct.

Let me remind you ..

https://www.vox.com/2015/3/13/8208017/obama-trans-pacific-partnership

Remind me that carlospln was correct, well ok. But the issue wasn't in doubt, now was it.

Troll.

It's amusing how when confronted when obvious facts that disprove your assertion you immediately resort to name calling.

carlospln said: "Obama was the official barrow pusher of the Trans Pacific Partnership."

Your own link says: "Why the Obama administration is fighting for a trade deal its liberal allies hate"

He called you a troll because you act like one.

Obama's views aren't really relevant anymore. Candidate Clinton opposed the TPP.

Well she supported if first, but then she did come out against it "in it's current form". However, she's consistently supported NAFTA.

An accurate statement would probably be that Democratic support for large trade deals has been soft with the Centrists pushing for them and the Left wing pushing back.

On the other hand, you could say nearly the same thing about Republican support. The Centrists have been pushing fro them and the Right wing pushing back.

The critical point of all this is that the gains from NAFTA haven't been nearly as large as the original proponents claimed. From the US point of view the net gains have been marginal.

"If NAFTA had any net effect on the overall economy, it was barely perceptible. A 2003 report by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that the deal "increased annual U.S. GDP, but by a very small amount – probably no more than a few billion dollars, or a few hundredths of a percent." "

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/08/north-american-free-trade-agreement.asp

2003? In 2003 NAFTA wasnt even fully implemented. Anything more recent? How about 2017?

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/naftas-economic-impact

Fair point. But did you look at what your source said:

"Most estimates conclude that the deal had a modest but positive impact on U.S. GDP of less than 0.5 percent, or a total addition of up to $80 billion dollars to the U.S. economy upon full implementation, or several billion dollars of added growth per year."

Those are marginal net gains.

NAFTA may not have been much of a boon-- but it also hasn't been a bane. Despite the fact that it's seen as the great boogeyman in some circles, it was not Mexico that sucked the jobs out of the US, but China, which had nothing to do with NAFTA.

"NAFTA may not have been much of a boon-- but it also hasn't been a bane"

Yes, I agree with this sentiment. On the other hand, it would makes sense for the US to push for better terms on NAFTA, since the US has little to lose.

"no push to weaken EPA standards..."

See, this is how leftists like Tyler think. EPA standards are either too weak or at some ideal level so that any weakening is A Bad Thing. Look at the nuclear power industry to see how over regulated that has been for 30 years.

this is how leftists like Tyler think

Then I guess rightists believe that the environment is a gift that keeps on giving, regardless of what we do to eff it up.

US environmental law is and ALWAYS HAS BEEN a balance between protecting the environment while minimizing the burdens on our economy.

The Obama EPA was rebuffed by several courts because it completely IGNORED the costs of environmental measures on the economy. The courts didn't object to the measures as much as they chastised the Obama EPA for breaking the law. The EPA only had to do a minimally sufficient accounting for courts, and it deliberately tried (and argued) to avoid such accounting. It wanted free reign to do anything it wanted.

So you think Trump rule changes to allow more asbestos use are good thing?

https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2018/07/how-trump-s-epa-keeping-asbestos-legal

A friend's dad died that way, exposed to a bit too much asbestos in apartments he owned. Not nice.

Depends on what its used for. Asbestos is a health problem if you breathe it in. If you use it in a way in which that is not an issue, like floor tiling for instance, then there is no real health risk.

+1 it's an excellent product if used correctly.

Lol. Floor tile is forever. Floor tile never cracks. Floor tile is never peeled up by owners or workers who do not know it's content.

And then what? Grind it up and snort it?

What will persist?

The handling of the next financial crisis, there's a long road ahead before Jan 2021.

Good comment. I come here for "economics." What do I get? Anything but economics.

I keep coming. The comments are entertaining. Henry VIII had his court jesters.

Tyler IS a court jester.

No one cares, darling.

Henry VIII also suffered from pus-filled boils. Who here is a pus-filled boil? Name names.

I think what this shows is that we need to return back to the "Team-of-Rivals" era in American politics (2009-2013). This was a hallowed time in American politics which can really show the way forward out of this hyperpartisan quagmir. I think it would be a brilliant move on Trump's part to give Hillary Clinton back the job at State, and put in Robert Muller at Justice. That would really cement his legacy and silence all his critics.

I was very much alive and aware during '09-'13 and I honestly can't figure out why you're characterizing it with that phrase.

'09 - Coming off the financial crisis. Recovery Act (Obama stimulus). Lots of fears from the Right that we're moving to a command economy due to "czars."

'10 - Passage of ACA ("healthcare reform") with zero GOP votes. Tea Party in full swing. Huge November wave for Team Red.

'11 - Budget crisis. Obama offers some significant spending reductions in exchange for smaller tax hikes. GOP stands pat.

'12 - Presidential silly season. Mitt Romney takes hits from Right in a punishing primary before being outdueled by an effective Obama campaign. ACA is surprisingly upheld by Supreme Courth. Mitt has the bad luck of being the challenger in a good economy.

'13 - Republican Party is in "autopsy mode."

What am I missing?

Re: ACA is surprisingly upheld by Supreme Courth

Not that surprising at all, given the weight of precedent, the flimsiness of the counter arguments, and the dangers of the Court inserting itself to such a highly charged political issue. The only surprising thing was that the case was not preemptorily denied cert.

It only held by the judgment from roberts that the fine was a tax, something the authors denied throughout the whole lawmaking process. Lot of issues with the law including the fake data send to the CBO for scoring.

"The intensity of anti-immigration sentiment has helped Republicans take control of all three branches of the federal government"

No!
The intensity of anti-identity-politics and anti-affirmative-action sentiment has helped Republicans take control of all three branches of the federal government.

They're not anti-identity-politics. They're against the identity politics of minorities.

Yeah, they really ARE against identity politics, regardless of identity.

But they are really FOR Real Americans.

"The identity politics of minorities' promoted by black politicians, California chicano politicians, and sorosphere swag incorporates promoting the malicious nonsense that the premier social problem in black communities is homicide-by-cop, promoting the idea that blacks must not be questioned, inconvenienced, or embarrassed by officialdom, and promoting the idea that Mexicans and Central Americans have a right to settle here at their discretion (it being intolerable to enforce immigration laws).

Nothing about how presidential popularity also includes credible claims of multiple liasons with multiple porn stars?

Luckily for Trump, draft dodging is bipartisan thanks to Clinton's documented hypocrisy, but it will be interesting to see if it will be policy for the next president to denigrate veterans.

"The intensity of anti-immigration sentiment has helped Republicans take control of all three branches of the federal government, and Democrats would probably prefer for the next big set of political debates to be about health-care policy"

The Republican take over began not in 2016 but in 2010, when Democrats controlled the White House and had a filibuster proof Senate. Voters in blue-state Massachusetts elected Scott Brown specifically to give Republicans the filibuster to stop Obamacare, which also gave rise to the Tea Party, eventually leading to Republicans controlling not only all three federal branches but also about two-thirds of governorships and state legislatures. The Tea Party was most influential when it was talking about small government, not immigration. Repealing Obamacare was the one issue that all Republicans agreed on, not immigration.

Democrats also suffered huge losses after their previous healthcare reform effort, losing control of the House in 1994 for the first time in several decades. Bill Clinton, however, was smart enough politically to abandon health care reform, which allowed Dems to reach their political height from the mid-90s to 2010.

The message from Americans to government has been clear: stop trying to take over our health care.

'also gave rise to the Tea Party'

As if the Tea Party did not arise fully formed from the head of the Kochs. Wait, that is not the classic myth, is it?

'As conservative columnist and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin would point out, the Tea Party was far from being a bunch of Koch brothers drones, no matter how much money the billionaires spent. It had its own grassroots appeal, drawing thousands of regular Americans into political activism for the first time and building its own political culture. But it didn’t take long for the Koch brothers’ Astroturf organizations to recognize their low-tax, lax-regulation agenda in the new movement and see an opportunity to leverage it. Perhaps aware that people were becoming hip to their earlier methods of buying influence, the Kochs and their spokespeople made a pro forma denial that they “in any way direct [the Tea Party’s] activities” or fund them. David Koch told New York magazine, “I’ve never been to a tea party event. No one representing the tea party has ever approached me.”

Yet it was easy for Jane Mayer to demonstrate that the Kochs’ fingerprints were all over it. Verification came willingly, even gleefully, from their own employees: Peggy Venable, a paid operative for the Koch-created Americans for Prosperity, announced at a training session for the Tea Party in 2010, “We love what the Tea Parties are doing, because that’s how we’re going to take back America!” She went on to spell out how AFP intended to train and educate Tea Partyers and had provided them with lists of public officials to be targeted for defeat that November.' http://www.takepart.com/feature/2015/10/30/tea-party-history

'The message from Americans to government has been clear: stop trying to take over our health care.'

As noticed by this American citizen, among others - “...keep your government hands off my Medicare.” http://swampland.time.com/2010/10/21/keep-your-govt-hands-off-my-medicare-cont/

Not much substance to this article, vaguely speculating on what might happen in the future.

As for Russia, I’m not sure we know yet exactly what the current policy is. But that is one foreign policy area where the next president could possibly bring a major change.

If we don't know what it is, how will we know if it changes?

The Rooshians gave up on the heavy-duty socialism and international meddling that motivated the Cold War but they're still the bad guys, according to major segments of the US mentality. Maybe it's just that the population itself, or a large percentage of it, is just naturally evil. What else could it be? That's probably why they engineered the victory of Trump's election. They just wanted to foul up the US economy and keep thousands of Guatemalans living next to active volcanoes.

On Russia's near absence in Tyler's piece, I've been struck in the last couple days by something that is always true, but perhaps especially true now.

There are things that are true, and there are things we are prepared to accept.

One may be as big as the other in shaping national beliefs and policy.

Since Trump's election, Cowen has repeatedly made the case that Trump isn't that different from prior presidents, that his style might differ but not the substance. Cowen typically makes this point with a both-sides-ism argument: Trump may separate families, but Obama did too, even more so. In his latest Bloomberg column, he takes the both-sides-ism argument to the extreme, making the case that Democrats favor many of Trump's policies even if they don't like Trump. Trump insults Europeans, Democrats don't care much for Germans and the French either. Trump starts a trade war with China, Democrats oppose the TPP and favor a more direct approach in dealing with China. Trump meets with the brutal dictator Kim, thereby elevating Kim's stature, Democrats favor giving peace a chance. Trump explodes the national debt with his tax cut, Democrats don't really care that much about deficits either. And so on. Why does Cowen do this? I suppose he believes there's some truth to his both-sides-ism argument. And I suppose Cowen actually approves of the disruption caused by Trump's style, for we all know that Cowen abhors complacency (as nature abhors a vacuum). My view is that Cowen is being much too complacent, that the disruption caused by Trump is likely to have far worse consequences than what Cowen is suggesting. Or is Cowen simply hoping for the best?

'but they're still the bad guys'

Which is kind of silly, What the Russians are has been known to Europeans for centuries, particularly those involved in the Great Game.

The only nation that has ever successfully defeated grand Russian ambitions is the United States, allied with other nations. That the Russians would like to weaken such an opponent has been obvious since the end of WWII, and is not really connected to ideology (strategy yes, but the Soviet Union was just the Russian Empire in the end, with a new paint job).

'What else could it be?'

Russia's vision of itself as the world's leading nation? This guy was pretty explicit about it, actually - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Solzhenitsyn (Though he was a pretty complex figure, and not a fan of Russia taking part in any crusades.)

'They just wanted to foul up the US economy '

Or they are just returning the favor that Sachs did them.

Britain, with an assist from France (and with Austria turning its back) defeated Russian expansionism into the Black Sea and Balkans in the 19th century. See: Crimean War; Treaty of San Stefano.

Exactly. And the Great Game folds. And there are losses in the North too. Russian 19th century imperial ambitions are definitely hit and miss.

Didn't the Russians settle with the Japanese on disadvantageous terms in 1905? They really weren't victorious in Afghanistan, either.

There IS NO anti-immigration sentiment. This is a complete fabrication of leftist propagandists.

The prevailing sentiment is for LEGAL, CONTROLLED, and PRUDENT immigration. This means no people sneaking across our border, no open floodgates, no terrorists mingling with refugees, no America haters, no grey market illegal workers, and no preferences for minorities.

Me (from Canada), my wife (from Lithuania), and my parents (from Poland via Canada) all came here legally. It is insulting when people continue to conflate sentiment for obeying laws as racism and xenophobia, especially from academics who should know better.

Virtually every Republican plan I’ve seen proposes to cut legal immigration. That is the heart of anti-immigration sentiment.

Virtually every Republican plan I’ve seen proposes to cut legal immigration.

What's wrong with that? Roughly 400,000 immigrants in toto annually might be enough to compensate for fertility deficits and would be in line with the immigration rates in place from 1924 to 1965 and prior to 1840. We certainly don't need to be taking in > 1,000,000 a year, legal and illegal.

Yes, a 91 year old man was beaten up by a Democrat.

Actually, when I read the article it did not mention her party affiliation, just that she was black.

And who cares whatever party she may belong to? This is one of the stranger things that one now commonly sees - some clearly anti-immigrant American beats up a 91 year old man with a brick, and the response is to mention whatever party she may belong to?

Anti-immigrant feelings are not a matter of party, at least not in my experience.

"and the response is to mention whatever party she may belong to?"

It's directly relevant to the conversation. Indeed, Zaua brought up the political side in the comment directly before the one you wrote.

Clockwork your standard ploy of intentional cluelessness is transparently obvious to every reader on this blog. You might get away with such sophmoric debate tactics among your dumber friends but it's not going to work on anybody with intelligence and an education.

'It's directly relevant to the conversation.'

Why? There are plenty of people opposed to immigration in the U.S., it is not a matter of party affiliation, regardless how much some partisans on both sides claim it must be.

'Indeed, Zaua brought up the political side in the comment directly before the one you wrote.'

Yet the quote that prompted my comment was from Willitts - you can even see it, in quotation marks. Maybe I should start sourcing the source of quotes too?

'You might get away with such sophmoric debate tactics among your dumber friends '

Considering that basically of the friends and acquaintances I talk to regularly are all European (well, a few Australians too), it might surprise you to discover that they do not care much about whatever issue it is that Republicans and Democrats are supposed to be divided on. This is either an advantage - or disadvantage - of living outside of the U.S. One has memories of when things were different, and can still imagine that Americans have not turned into what apparently you believe they now are. You may be right, of course.

However, I still cling to the reality that more Americans actually do not belong to one party or the other, and that when a Democratic or Republican partisan speaks, they are only speaking for a minority of Americans.

But then, that is much like Prof. Cowen claiming that one's twitter feed needs to be carefully curated, while blithely skipping past the fact that 80% of Americans don't use twitter at all. To give another example - that whole metoo thing is about punishing those who have broken the law in terms of sexual behavior. Why would anyone care what party a rapist belongs to, as long as that rapist is properly found guilty and sentenced? Yes, that is an example from this comment section, where someone thought that it was important to point out that Democrats were being punished - I still don't believe that most people outside of places like this think that way.

"'It's directly relevant to the conversation.' Why?"

That's a silly response. Clearly it is relevant because the political dimension was already brought up before you posted.

"But then, that is much like Prof. Cowen claiming that one's twitter feed ..."

LOL, there you go, off on another Obsessive tangent once again.

Kudos for trolling me!

Healthcare is a not necessarily a good issue for Democrats. Healthcare is an area where most voters like their existing coverage, prefer the status quo, and want stability, especially because the issue affects them personally. Obamacare was what cost the Democrats the 2010 election and put us into this whole mess we are in today. At the time, Obama even tried to buy political capital by being very tough on immigration, and it didn’t matter a bit. Now, many Democrats want to have single-payer, not just preserve Obamacare. Single-payer has a disastrous political record when voters have to consider the concrete details—in 2016, Colorado had a single-payer ballot initiative, and 80% of voters voted no. Expanding the government’s role in healthcare also vastly increases the risk of a technical scandal like the faulty rollout of the Obamacare website that would further weaken support for the Democrats.

Re: Healthcare is an area where most voters like their existing coverage, prefer the status quo, and want stability, especially because the issue affects them personally.

The 90s called and want their talking points back. Today people are very much dissatisfied with their existing coverage which gets pricier and skimpier every year. And these days the ACA is part of the status quo, and most people want to keep all the major features. The GOP is now in the role of Healthcare Disruptor and as we saw last summer it pays a price when it tries to monkey with things.

"Today people are very much dissatisfied with their existing coverage which gets pricier and skimpier every year. " So ACA did its job then.

While I agree with this overall, it probably does underplay the legislative failures of Congress, and the malicious successes of Russia. At least at the margins.

If we had had a productive Congress throughout the Obama years, the stage would not have been set for "these are the worst times ever." And if that stage had not been set, the Troll Army would have had a harder time selling "burn it all now."

So sure, Democrats may be less immigration friendly and less trade friendly, but will it be in a productive Congress?

Without that I think we get more demagoguery.

(And as always Brexit tracks in parallel. Funny that the same people fell for both.)

"If we had had a productive Congress throughout the Obama years"

Yea, a productive Congress. As if Congress's job is to rubber stamp whatever the president wants.

This is another line of lefty bullshit, when a democratic president doesnt get what he wants, its a 'obstructionist, do nothing congress' what done it. When the Democrats in congress oppose a Republican president, they are the noble 'resistance'.

You missed my meaning there. I was thinking more of the loss of bipartisanship or at least pragmatic negotiation.

Trump's legacy will (I hope) be punishing the Republican party for invading Iraq.

Question for Prof. Cowen: You say American attitudes towards immigration are somewhat positive. Sounds good. Where are American attitudes wildly incorrect or wildly problematic?

Viewed against American history, Trumpism is just another outbreak of white supremacy and fear of immigrants like occurred in the 19th century and 1920s when the Klan was at its height.

We will get through this, but it will take a while.

Trump's surrender to Russia is more problematic, since the Republican Party seems to have silently acquiesced as well.

"Trump's surrender to Russia is more problematic, since the Republican Party seems to have silently acquiesced as well."

How do reasonable people believe this is a remotely true statement? The Treasury Department just hit Russia with new sanctions last month. And this is on top of targeted sanctions in April and other sanctions in March.

At best you could say that Trump has softened the US hard line stance against Russia. But the idea that Trump has surrendered to Russia is a product of delusional minds and click bait headlines.

How do reasonable people believe this is a remotely true statement?

The entire discourse in the Democratic Party is dominated by a series of social and historical fictions about the opposition. Not all of them are of equal interest to partisan Democrats and not all are uniformly subscribed to, but they're the mode. You have demonstrable nonsense like the Southern Strategy discourse that you cannot reason people out of (Paul Krugman being a big promoter). You have the somewhat dated New Deal discourses. The farrago of nonsense Mulp posts is familiar to people who read liberal opinion journalism current ca. 1984. You have the Mass Incarceration / Black Lives Matter rubbish (to which libertarians also subscribe).

You poor guys. You've tried to ignore the news like a vampire in sunlight.

But the sunlight keeps seeking you out.

"Trump told Russian hackers to get Clinton’s emails. That same day, they obeyed."

https://twitter.com/aterkel/status/1017830876992991233

So Trump's either owned by the Russians or he owns them. Can't keep your message straight, can you?

"Trump's surrender to Russia" just LOL at democrats...

It was a bad week to play "know nothing, see nothing."

https://twitter.com/anneapplebaum/status/1017829717452476422

Trump's legacy is a busting up of the political Overton window. So either will have retrenchment to the previous status quo or the various shattered windows will remain shattered.

Trump is a clown and a blow hard, but he's been invaluable in asking questions that needed to be asked and pushing issues that needed to be pushed.

Large scale illegal immigration should be curtailed. The US should not spend far more on NATO than it's allies do. Trade deals should be structured in a way that leads to a reasonably equal outcome for the US.

'The US should not spend far more on NATO than it's allies do.'

NATO is just one part of the world. NATO has nothing to do with the U.S. Third and Seventh Fleets, for example. (One can reasonably question the Fifth Fleet's connection to NATO.) Nor does NATO have anything to do with defending the Canal Zone or keeping Taiwan independent.

The U.S. spends more because it has a military presence over the entire globe, due to its own interests - and do note that Trump has not cut the military budget.

NATO requires a 2% of GDP spending on defense. Most European countries aren't meeting their NATO commitments. The US spends an average of 4% on defense. Half of that covers it's NATO commitments.

Actually, since the primary role of NATO is defending Europe, I think a very strong case could be made that the Europeans should carry the vast bulk of that cost, say 80-90%. Most of the Naval forces in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, for example, arguably should be European. As should most of the combat, transport, and refueling aircraft in Europe.

Its not 1950 anymore when the US was basically the only NATO country other than Canada not gutted by WW2.

Best news if all this is true - VOX will go out of business and the world will be a marginally less annoying place.

Recently, I was talking to one of the few Trump supporters I know. He was very motivated to vote for Trump to end illegal immigration, but he says to me "I don't know why we aren't talking about greatly increasing LEGAL immigration including laborers to solve the ILLEGAL immigration problem."

>The American public actually trusts Trump more than congressional Democrats to deal with border security.

Savor that "actually" for a few minutes.

Tyler, you are useless.

You seem to have a use for him every day, as a blog host to anonymously bitch at like a Real Housewife of The Internet

America has become a bitterly divided nation.

I'm sure inviting in millions and millions of people vastly different than the average 1965 USA demographic had nothing to do with it. More tribes = more social harmony.

It might not surprise that Thomas Bernhard considered Thomas Mann an utter sleazoid. Mann is one of Bernhard's favorite whipping posts.

This is all backwards, it's the racism that is popular. Trump took the lid off rather than just hinting at it. That's the genie that can't go back in the bottle. Republicans won't be able to get by with just the dog whistles.

It never occurred to you that the response to Team Brown is going to be Team White?

I don't think it did. Dems seem shocked to learn that Sauce for the Goose is good for the Gander.

But note that Andre can't allow himself to see it as a reaction to his policies; it has to be "latent racism" that was always there!

It’s actually kind of funny (and simultaneously pathetic) that the Left is so enthusiastic about judging people on the basis of their skin color rather than their character, and making every effort to formalize and enforce that racism.

Lol, also backwards. The whole history of the United States and Europe is Team White.

That truly does not matter.

If it's always been Team White, and Team Brown is going to argue that phenomenon as a historical grievance, then the people who are supposed to cede social and economic status as imagined reparations are going to argue for Team White, whether that framing has ever occurred to them before or not.

There was a conversation about Ta-Nehisi Coates in a thread a few days ago, and it came to the conclusion that his beliefs, or at least what he writes, are not constructive and just play into the hands of the alt-right. If America and the US Constitution were always "whiteness", white norms, white laws, and so on, then that undercuts the entire purpose of the civil rights movement, that the US isn't a white country and that anyone of any race, religion, ethnicity, or other type of background can come here and live as they please is undercut, because according to Coates and the critical race theorists that would mean the end of America, as by definition living in America for any non-white, and especially black, person would require living under oppression absent an extremely radical overhaul of all the laws, social norms, and bedrock principles of the "whiteness" fundamentally embedded in America and carried out by white Americans. That attitude doesn't help anybody but people on the far-left and far-right who want orgiastic violence against their preferred targets.

The whole history of the United States and Europe is Team White.

That's who happened to live in the United States and Europe. Sorry to break it to you.

The non-white population of North America was never going to be influential (even had they been treated more congenially) because they were outnumbered 7-to-1 and had (pound for pound) less human capital.

This is all backwards, it's the racism that is popular.

If fiction helps you feel better, fine. It's not going to help you with the electorate.

"In the Middle East, Syria is already wrecked..."

Syria is not "wrecked." Syrians are repatriating, and Syria is rebuilding as a secular, multi-creedal state. The only thing "wrecked" is an ideologically blinkered, naïve policy that failed to account for the realities of the place and its people.

Here's hoping Trump's legacy includes a return to more realpolitik and less ideology. What works, what advances US interests, what provides a stable operating environment as opposed to Progressive/Whig crusades.

Isn't it a bit early to be yapping about any 'legacy', much less the durability of one?

Tentatively, the Trump phenomenon does tell us something about the political parties on Capitol Hill and on the streets. These arent's somethings which are shocking surprises, however, and there's no ready indication that the pathologies incorporated within them will be resolved to any significant degree.

See 'the Reagan legacy'. It wasn't nothing, but it ought be noted that after Reagan departed the scene, the careerist element in the Republican establishment was again on top (bar a brief interlude running from 1995 to 1998). They had somewhat different dispositions and idioms they favored than they did prior to 1981, 'tis true. The vaguely liberal element in the Republican congressional caucus disappeared and the manifest temporizers like Susan Collins were shoved to the margin (recall that Hugh Scott was the Senate Majority Leader - once upon a time to be a 'Modern Republican' was at the apex and center). Look at the Republican presidential nominees of the last 30 years. George Bush the Elder and Mitt Romney seemed to regard issues as fungible, Robert Dole had no adult vocation other than electoral politics, George Bush the Younger seemed driven by an elemental competitiveness, and John McCain seems addicted to public office. None of them had the well-formulated prescriptive policy dispositions that Ronald Reagan did. Other than Romney, none brought anything to the skills table that you couldn't readily find in their peers.

Trump's legacy will be to turn the once mighty USA into Venezuela. Populism doesn't work, has never worked, will never work.

I think you are understating the long-term persistence and impact of tax policy.

Reducing the deductability of state taxes makes sales taxes more competitive with income taxes and probably makes state tax increases more controversial. I expect this to have a substantial long-term effect on state politics.

Comments for this post are closed