Immigrants, War, Trade, and the Lions
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and I have been carrying on a spirited discussion in the 'Comments' section of this post by The Yooper and I thought it appropos to elevate the dialogue up here to the front page.
Mostly, I think we've each come to realize our opponent is not so much 'feet of clay' but rather 'baby of tar' and continuing to slog it out in the obscurity of 'Comments' only heightens our sense of futility.
So I'm gonna pull rank and put El Puff-Bo up on the main stage for your enjoyment and edification. (To get the full effect, you really do need to read the original thread):
See, people in the UP think the Packers are their home team, but they're wrong, the Lions are their home team, even though the Lions suck.
My Cuba/Iraq point was that we are at war, supposedly on behalf of people who were oppressed by a corrupt undemocratic government, while at the same time telling Mexicans that it's not our problem if their government is corrupt and undemocratic. It seems a little ironic to be willing to lay down American lives for people half way around the world while complaining about giving our shit jobs to our own neighbors. That was the 'logic' or lack of it, I was trying to get at.
But Pew research just published an interesting survey/report on Hispanics in America, which examined the economic impact of undocumented workers on our economy and on Latin American economies, how many of them pay taxes, which taxes, which social services they use, etc. It shows if you subtract the amount they take from the economy in terms of the social services they use, from the amount they contribute in property and sales taxes, over their lifetime the average undocumented worker contributes $80,000 to state and federal government.
The Pew study also shows that these workers account for $800 billion in economic activity every year. That means that, without them, our gdp would drop by $800 billion dollars, which sounds painful
I hope you don't think the pew research center supports dictators, because I'm having a hard time finding these statistics in the Bible (it's GOTTA be somewhere in Exxodus).
As for free trade, if Mexico put a tariff on our subsidized corn, we'd whine about their protectionist, anti-free-market actions, yet 4437 is basically a bill to protect domestic labor against the forces of the international labor market. NAFTA hasn't worked for Mexico, we ('we' being the Heritage Foundation, et al) insist that what Mexico needs is MORE free trade, while at the same time we're pushing for anti-free trade legislation in the US (in the name of combating terrorism, which is ridiculous because the Canadian border is even less guarded then the Mexican one, and the 911 dudes had passports and papers, anyway)
NACLA, which has been accused by Heritage Foundation of supporting Marxist groups, published this paper which says the same stuff as the Oxfam report.
The Heritage Foundation, which accuses every non-profit organization that doesn't advocate tax cuts for the rich of supporting Marxist groups, published an article which basically says that in the 10 years since NAFTA passed, things have gotten worse for labor in Mexico, although it recognizes NAFTA's role in that downward spiral, and actually argues for more free trade to fix the Mexican economy.
Also, a super sweet book that deals with the market-distorting effects of subsidized agriculture in the US is "The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy," by Pietra Rivoli.
Not that anyone's reading this, but I suppose I've said what I wanted to say.
Go Blue! (next year)
Esteemed Senor Mallow makes some good points, and I'm not going to immerse myself in affirming or refuting them at the moment.
I will say the biggest concern some people on the 'close the borders' side have is not that illegal immigrants are an economic drain, but rather that there is an overtly destructive ideology - anti-Americanism in the most generic sense - seeming to infuse the society of new arrivals. The notion of "illegal and artificial European divisions (borders) on our continent" seems to imply these folks have no intention of assimilating. That leads to a host of problems.
Stay Puft, I appreciate the well-conceived message. Thanks for writing and I will follow up in more detail in the next couple days.
And keep the faith: If the lowly 'Skins could turn it around, any team can. That President/GM of yours, however, an unrepentant Cowboys-hater, may need some re-education. The moron. (Yes, though it may surprise you, for a DC native I tend not to toe the establishment line. That's my wild side.)
UPDATE: Below the fold.
I think we have the full continuation of Puft Daddy's messages here now, (sorry for the confusion, PD!):
I doubt there are 11,000,000 members of Mexica in the US. Of course, radical fringe groups will always try to take advantage of political unrest, but that doesn't mean that their ideology pervades the whole community. Sure, on the
cable news we're shown a video of a guy burning a flag. I've been to rallies with 100,000 happy-go-lucky demonstrators and 50 anarchists shouting anti-everything slogans. Guess who's in the evening news.
I really don't think illegal immigrants are anti-American. in my experience, immigrants are mostly a-political, but feeling threatened with deportation probably changes that somewhat.
re: TouchDown #1:
I don't think the "freedom for the Iraqi people" line was used to sell the war, rather to apologize for it after the security concerns turned out to be bogus.
But while we're digging below the rhetoric, why not come to terms with the fact that "The Border Protection, Anti terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005" is really another in a long line of racist immigration laws we've
1780s: whites only policy
1917, 1924: no Chinese/Japanese
1936(?): no naturalization of Filipinos
This is off the top of my head, so don't quote the dates, but you get the picture. A Border Protection act would look very different from 4437, as would an anti-terrorism bill. So it's really about controlling immigrants. Which
immigrants? Scots and Danes? No! It's no secret that it's designed to curb the influx of Mexican/Latin Americans. Maybe you say, "Of course 4437 is focusing on Mexicans, because that's who's coming into the country!" That's
true, just like how it was the inflow of Asians in the teens and 20's led to anti-Chinese/Japanese/Filipino legislation in the past.
So let's tell it like it is, Iraq is about a misguided security concern, and 4437 is really the "we don't really like Mexicans anymore act of 2005"
Mallow-man makes a very good point on the ideological instigators getting the lion's share of publicity. I totally agree. However, ideology can grow massively once it gets out into the public sphere. This was true in the 13th century and it is a lot more true today with the ubiquity of the mass media.
But the Mexicans I run across in daily life ( and there are many) do not seem to exhibit the slightest hint of anti-American, 'reconquista' ideology. They seem like everyone else, trying to get by and playing by the rules.
BUT - so as not to let the camel get his nose under the tent - I don't think the security concerns about Iraq have turned out to be bogus IN THE LEAST. In my view, if we hadn't invaded Iraq in 2003, we should damn sure be doing it again right now. That's a topic for another day, PD, because as you can tell it's already taking me too long to respond here as it is. We can have THAT argument if you want, we can trade those links.
ALSO - the only downside of the Border Protection Act is we don't have a 2,000 mile fence yet. Racist? Yeah, right. Just like every friggin' country in the world is 'racist' by having borders.
Yet I'll acknowledge your good points and good will and give you the floor again:
Sorry, but I forgot to mention option #4: stop artificially lowering the price of US agriculture through subsidies, Mexican agriculture could then compete with US imports but, uh-oh, US agriculture collapses because it's no longer artificially propped up with tax dollars(about $20 billion a year).
As for a comparison of the numbers:
According to "Canada loves NAFTA" half of 2.7 million jobs in the 1st 7 years of NAFTA were manufacturing, that's 1.35 million manufacturing jobs in 7 years, about 200,000 a year. In comparison, about 15 million Mexicans depend on corn, and falling corn prices have led to about 300,000 rural Mexicans crossing the border to find work in the US each year. That's the number who actually leave the country, not the number who lose their jobs. so there it is. Also, do the manufacturing jobs pay as well as the agricultural jobs did? I don't know the answer to that, but it's an important part of the equation. For instance, in Michigan, the total number of jobs is increasing, but we're losing $40,000-$70,000 a year manufacturing jobs and replacing them with minimum wage jobs.
So again, I really don't think this immigration situation is about a bunch of radicalized Mexicans attempting to stage a native-peoples' revolution. It's a matter of economics and survival, and the anti-immigration movement is just a reaction to a globalized economy which won't yield to national borders.
I want to agree with you. From personal experience I also think it is about survival. From stuff I'm hearing about elsewhere, though, it sure seems like there is more to it.
We had a lady from Arizona speak to our group recently and her story about life in border towns was chilling. Things that are happening even in the next town over from me (Herndon, VA) are also pretty scary. Not because of ethnocentrism but because of major social dislocution and perceived damage to the fabric of society.
If it's about economics and survival, I think things will get better in the U.S. because those are two areas our country does pretty good in. There is definitely room for more folks to play a role. (Let 'em get here legally though, if you ask me, because there are already millions in line trying to take the legal route).
If the radicalism gets a toehold, though, that would be bad. I'll probably be here with the Paul Revere crew keeping an eye out for that.
I'm now almost beside myself with enthusiasm to find out what the whole Ann Arbor scene is about, and if I get to make the pilgrimage we'll have to try and share a cold one or two and continue to hash these issues out.
Thanks for the trenchant messages, Great White Puffy Father. You have our gratitude.
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