Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cuts in "meritless" immigration will have economic repercussions, but stupid is as stupid does coming from the racist right

It increasingly appears that a “deal” on immigration “reform” is withering on the U.S. Senate vines, thanks largely to Donald Trump, Steven Miller and a crazed extremist-right “rump” in the House of Representatives. It is becoming a certainty that once more, immigration and all the racial hatred it inspires will become what it always has been: a tool of Republicans to stoke the one thing that the majority of Republicans have been “consistent” on. Well, of course there is the slow killing of the Affordable Care Act and its idiotic tax “reform,” which should have raised income taxes on the highest “earners” in exchange for lowering business taxes.

Instead, as Mark Sumner of the Daily Koss tells us, Republicans think that “governing” means going back to “nature” and letting things just settle on their own; any policy that doesn’t directly benefit themselves and their wealthy benefactors (as opposed to ordinary people) just doesn’t interest them that much. It is too much hard work:

Even though the Freedom Caucus was all in on giving away funds when they knew they were safely going straight into the hands of the wealthy, investing in things like infrastructure is a less reliable means of distributing funds to the people who pay for Republican campaigns. Infrastructure projects have to pay people. Buy things. And generally don’t result in direct payment to those who keep the important, if mostly invisible, infrastructure of the Republican Party ticking along. All those institutes, think tanks, consultancies and general sinecures that guarantee minimum six-figure incomes to Republican ex-politicians and would-be-politicians don’t come cheap. And without creations like ALEX and Heritage, Republicans might have to spend time studying and writing their own bills. None of them want that.

Sumner also notes that Trump and the Freedom Party would rather focus the country’s attention on the MS-13 gang “problem,” once more dispensing with the truth—which besides being overblown, it is like all gangs in this country a largely U.S.-born-and-bred phenomenon, regardless of its origins.

Meanwhile, not only is slashing revenue in the hopes that something “good” will actually come out it pure foolishness, the chickens may come home to roost quicker than people imagine. The Washington Post is reporting that many economists are predicting recession in 2019:

In a further strike on the Trump economy, Goldman Sachs said the president’s deregulation push is having little to no effect on the economy. “Overall, our results suggest that non-financial deregulation has had a limited impact on the economy to date,” the bank wrote in a report over the weekend.

It also noted that Trump’s business tax cuts will have little or no impact on economic growth, merely putting more money in the pockets of those who already have more than what they need:

Goldman's research follows on the heels of a Morgan Stanley report last week that looked at what 556 companies are likely to do with their tax savings. The survey found 43 percent intend to fatten dividends and share buybacks. The next most popular use of the tax money is likely to be mergers (according to 19 percent). Only 17 percent anticipate more capital spending, and 13 percent think higher wages are likely. notes that while unemployment is at 4.3 percent, behind the numbers is something sinister:

Meanwhile, the economy will keep running its cycle. Recessions happen because labor grows scarce and wages climb, which prompts businesses to ease back on hiring and the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, which has a braking effect on the economy. In general, the longer it takes for these events to occur, the longer the recession will be. A recession in 2019 would likely be short but one in 2021 might be a bit more brutal.

Note that what we have here an unspoken link between the economy and immigration. This country’s historical economic growth depended on immigrant labor, especially at the so-called “low-skill” positions. Look, more people means buying more “things,” which means production must grow, and with it the economy grows. One consumer doesn’t buy two cars or two refrigerators, but two consumers do. It’s that simple. Republicans and “populists” on the left like to say that immigrants are “stealing” jobs from Americans. I would say that is more true of H-IB recipients, especially from India—who as we noted before are not just abusing the program to discriminate against U.S. citizens, but are literally taking complete control over some sectors of business (like convenience store and motel ownership) and deliberately practice  unlawful hiring discrimination against “stupid Americans.”

Another problem is the fact that most Americans who lose their jobs in middle-to-upper middle class positions (especially in tech) are not going to be taking low-skill jobs in the interim; they are just going to sit on their hands living on their severance pay or their next unemployment check, waiting for a job to come to them. Labor for “low-skill” jobs is not dependable either; again, people are not going to move to where the jobs are, and a person has to have a certain “mindset” to want to do certain jobs, and you can’t just dictate that from a political pulpit, because people just do what they want to do. It is the simple truth that throughout the history of this country, immigrant labor on the lower-end of the scale has filled a significant need, and that won’t end in a country with an increasingly older population. Those who believe that immigrant labor lowers pay levels on service and manufacturing jobs are just plain wrong: the U.S. is competing with cheap, mostly Chinese-made goods manufactured by an even lower-wage workforce. People just have to stop thinking of this in racial (or racist) terms.

But Trump and the far-right insist they want “merit-based” immigration. For example, Trump likes Canada’s “merit-based” system—except as usual he doesn’t have a clue what it is about. Unlike Trump and the far-right here, Canada recognizes that “merit” isn’t just about high skill tech jobs. If you bring in nothing but tech people who will compete with college-educated native-born citizens for tech jobs, who do you think will win? There is this myth that Asians are “smarter” than whites (they certainly are “cheaper”), and as I noted previously, an Indian-American who came over as an immigrant who owns a tech company called Infosys believes that there are only “stupid Americans”—in case you already forgot that that term applies to you—and abused the H-1B program to bring in only his fellow countrymen from India to be employed in his U.S.-based operations. Is this how an “American” treats his fellow citizens? 

On the flip side, Canada realizes that “merit” also has to do with need. In agriculture, which doesn’t need “high-tech” labor, workers that have skills that tech workers don’t have the slightest regard for and obviously wouldn’t even consider doing have their own “merit.” While it is being reported that the ICE are honing in on agricultural enterprises in California and Washington and being just plain stupid in threatening domestic food supplies by rounding-up workers that this country’s work visa program is impossibly lax in addressing, in Canada each province provides a number of workers that it estimates it requires in labor markets from low-to-high skill positions, and that is how they determine immigration status. Trump and his allies simply stereotype a whole group as “low-skill” and they are not wanted. As Sen. Lindsey Graham said recently, it makes no sense to dole-out “merit” without first determining labor needs (he is also right about the media’s fascination with the North Korean nut-job dictator’s sister, which is just more gender hokum that dispenses with the truth of her privileged position, while millions in North Korea starve). 

Racism is behind it, naturally. More proof of Trump and Jeff Sessions’ racism and antipathy for “common people” generally is the fact that as NBC News is reporting after the resignation of the Justice Department’s No.3 person, Rachel Brand, the DOJ after more than a year still has not filled the top positions in its civil rights and civil divisions. I suspect that Sessions prefers to keep the civil rights division “unheaded” since any potential head will have to be confirmed by the Senate and be obliged to justify the division’s current pivot (with the help of political appointees) toward concerns for white “civil rights,” especially in regard to affirmative action. Once more, bare-faced racism is behind this, and, as white females should note, they have been the “face” of this racism despite having been the principle beneficiaries of affirmative action, and continue to be so through Title IX. 

While blacks and Hispanics constitute a bare handful of enrollees in most colleges like the University of Washington, “international” students (principally from Asia) constitute as much as a quarter of the student population, and they are actively pursued for the high tuitions they must pay, because the state legislature continues to stumble over its feet, failing to follow through on the state Supreme Court’s demand that it adequately fund public education. UW has also been subjected to white female-faced attacks on under-represented minorities, instead of facing the truth. Despite the fact that Wisconsin has the same population as Washington, it is able to fund one of the best higher education systems in the country because it has a state income tax, while Washington has one of the worst in the country—barely above Mississippi—a situation that it could address by passing an income tax law, something which could be made more palatable by cutting supposedly “onerous” state business taxes.

But stupid is as stupid does. We all know what is behind all of this, and one has little hope that the rats eating away at the country’s moral and ethical center will ever by swept away. People who call themselves “patriots” are completely ignorant of what the flag of this country stands for; maybe they should reread the Declaration of Independence.

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