2010 July 31 Saturday
Women With Cheating Hearts

Find out from Audacious Epigone which women are most likely to have cheating hearts. What we really need: genetic tests for the genetic variants that influence promiscuity.

Oh, and if you are a sexless marriage and want to change that (short of divorce or an affair of course): make her feel insecure.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 31 08:29 PM  Cultural Wars Marriage
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US Manufacturing Losing To China Industrial Policies

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle features comments from Silicon Valley executives about China's policies that make US manufacturing unable to compete. China's efforts to dominate LED light manufacturing sound like they will be successful.

For five years, he said, China has given its cities billions of dollars to replace public lights, including traffic signals and street lamps, with energy-saving LEDs.

In addition to creating this internal demand, Watkins said China provided up to 80 percent of the capital for companies to set up LED manufacturing plants.

Now that those policies have spawned 55 LED manufacturing firms, Watkins said China is moving into the second phase of industry building, easing off the subsidies while putting a 20 percent tax on incoming LEDs to protect these domestic makers from outside pressure as they compete amongst themselves to become the survivors that light the world.

With large volumes achievable in China the Chinese makers will go up learning curves that will probably allow them to dominate world LED production. Given that LEDs are going to displace incandescent and fluorescent bulbs for lighting this is a substantial win for them. Former Intel CEO Andy Grove says the shift of so many US factories abroad and growth of US competitors mean the US is losing its long term competitive edge.

The policies that other companies pursue to boost their exports, cut our exports, and boost our imports matter to us. The US trade deficit is about 2.7% of GDP right now.

The gap expanded 4.8 percent to $42.3 billion as U.S. companies imported more automobiles and consumer goods, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The deficit was projected to narrow to $39 billion, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports and exports rose to the highest level since 2008.

The growth in the trade deficit contributed to a weakening economy. US economic growth slowed to 2.4% and looks to slow further.

The world’s largest economy will probably keep cooling in the third quarter as a lack of jobs prompts American consumers to rein in spending.

The economy in the U.S. grew at a slower-than-forecast 2.4 percent annual rate from April through June after expanding at a 3.7 percent pace in the previous three months, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday.

The Consumer Metrics Institute has metrics that show the US economy headed back into recession. Trade policy matters. That 2.4% growth rate includes a 1.05% inventory restocking. But sales are down. So factories are probably going to stop restocking and that'll lower economic growth further, perhaps back into a recession.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 31 08:19 PM  Economics Trade
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2010 July 29 Thursday
Physician Income Up In Recession

Medical doctors are keeping ahead of inflation - unlike most of the population.

According to findings in the American Medical Group Association's 2010 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey, most specialties saw modest increases in compensation in 2009, but many provider organizations continue to operate at a significant loss.

The survey found that 76% of the specialties experienced increases in compensation in 2009, with the overall average increase around 3.8% (in 2008, when 81% experienced an average increase around 3.5%). The primary care specialties (excluding hospitalists) saw about a 3.8% increase in 2009 (same in 2008), while other medical specialties averaged an increase of 2.4% and surgical specialties averaged around 3.8%. (The primary care specialties saw about a 3.8% increase in 2008, while other medical and surgical specialties averaged 6%). The survey reports that during 2009, the specialties experiencing the largest increases in compensation were pulmonary disease (10.37%), dermatology (7%), and urology (6.36%).

Their income appears to be going up at twice the rate of inflation.

Heavy and growing government spending on health care buffers the income of medical doctors vicissitudes in the economy. I'll believe we've finally reached the limits of government and voter willingness to put up with medical cost increases when recessions become bad for the medical service providers.

Health cost increases are not sustainable.

The annual premium for a family health plan sponsored by an employer cost about 54 percent more in 2009 than it did in 2000, $13,027 and $8,437 (adjusted for inflation), respectively, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

During the same period, the average cost of an annual premium for a single coverage plan rose by 41 percent, from $3,308 (adjusted for inflation) to $4,669.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 29 11:03 PM  Economics Health
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2010 July 28 Wednesday
Arizona Immigration Law Ruling Temporary Setback

In spite of the Obama Administration's legal war against Arizona's immigration enforcement law many states see Arizona as a model to follow.

With its now-suspended immigration law, Arizona sent a clear message to illegal immigrants: Pack your bags and go home. Five other state legislatures have introduced similar legislation and 20 more are considering it.

A group which is opposed to illegal immigration wants a concerted effort to help the illegals to leave.

Now, a group committed to stopping illegal immigration is proposing a way to make this happen.

It's called "safe passage," and it's the idea that the US should allow – and in some cases help – the 15 million undocumented Hispanic workers believed to be residing in the US to leave the country freely.

The US government could fund bus and air fares for departing illegals. The illegals could sign up and select times and places to leave from.

Meanwhile, US federal judge Susan Bolton's decision to put the enforcement of most of the new Arizona law against illegals has elicited a lot of commentary. Liberals who favor illegal immigration of course applaud the decision But even in the New York Times a couple of voices in favor of enforcement are allowed to state opposing positions. Law prof John C. Eastman casts a critical eye on Judge Bolton's ruling.

Take the provision that has garnered most of the national attention, Section 2, which requires local law enforcement to check the immigration status of arrestees if there is reasonable suspicion that they are in the U.S. illegally. Federal law – Title 8, Section 1373(c) — already requires the Department of Homeland Security to respond to immigration status requests from state and local law enforcement “for any purpose authorized by law.”


Judge Bolton also blocked enforcement of the new state law requirement that aliens carry immigration papers proving they are in this country legally. But again, this merely parallels a requirement of existing federal law, specifically, Section 1304(e) of Title 8, which requires an alien to carry a certificate of alien registration. In fact, the Arizona law expressly incorporates the federal law in its provision, and the penalty for violation is identical to that provided by federal law--$100 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

The anti-enforcement faction basically argues there's no constitutional way to effectively enforce immigration law. You can tell whether an enforcement measure is likely to be effective by whether they oppose it on constitutional grounds.

Steven A. Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies points a previously enacted Arizona law against illegal immigration ultimately survived court challenges and helped substantially reduce Arizona's illegal immigrant population. SB 1070 will probably be appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court and it might survive too.

It is also worth noting that Arizona’s other important immigration law also had to wind its way through the courts. That law went into effect in 2008 and requires employers to verify that new hires are authorized to work in the United States using the government-provided E-Verify system. That law was also the subject of court challenges and demonstrations at the time, but it ultimately passed legal muster and went into effect. The Department of Homeland Security reports that the illegal immigrant population declined by 18 percent in Arizona between 2008 and 2009 compared to a 7 percent decline over the same period for the nation as a whole. It seems likely the 2008 law accounted for a significant share of that decline.

The US could eliminate 95+% of its illegal immigrant population. This could be done cheaply and easily. Even rounding up 10% of the illegals would cause most of the remaining illegals to self-deport. They'd rather leave on their own terms than to get arrested.

Even without this new law one county in Arizona has sent 26,146 illegal aliens out of the United States. Local law enforcement personnel are so numerous that they can do orders of magnitude more rounding up of illegals than federal immigration enforcement officers could ever hope to.

Statistics obtained by the Associated Press show that the Maricopa County sheriff’s office was responsible for the deportation or forced departure of 26,146 immigrants since 2007.

Other states are following Arizona's lead.

The report said that as of June 30, legislators in five other states had filed bills to create Arizona-style laws — South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Michigan.

In Utah, state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, has said he will unveil a similar law in early August for study by legislative interim committees, and he intends to introduce it in Utah's 2011 Legislature.

Fremont Nebraska has to decide whether it can afford to legally fight the legal bullies of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).

The city council of Fremont, Nebraska (pop. 25,000), is expected to decide Tuesday whether to delay enforcement of a new illegal immigration law because of legal challenges by civil rights groups. The ordinance, which would prohibit businesses from hiring and landlords from renting to illegal immigrants, was approved by voters June 21 and is scheduled to go into effect on Thursday.

The ACLU and MALDEF could easily win against a small town just from their deep pockets. The town can't afford the legal costs. Fremont should set up a web site for donations to their legal fund.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 28 10:39 PM  Immigration Elites Versus Masses
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2010 July 25 Sunday
UK National Health Care Spending Cuts

The new Conservative/Liberal government of Great Britain, faced with large budget deficits as far as the eye can see, is planning cuts in the National Health Service. The government says spending will still go up faster than inflation. But with an aging population and more costly treatments available health care spending has to go up much faster than inflation to prevent cuts per person. No longer possible to do that in Britain.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered widespread cuts planned across the NHS, many of which have already been agreed by senior health service officials. They include:

* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.

You might see this as an argument against more widespread government funding of medical care in the US. If the private sector funds it then government budget cuts won't cut care. But in the United States medical care for the 65 and older is already funded by the (ever more deeply in debt) US government and the pressure for cost cuts on medical care for old folks surely is going to build.

The US government will not be able to avoid cuts in quantity and quality of health care for old folks. If you want to get medical care as good as what your parents or grandparents are currently getting then substantially cut your living standard now and start saving more.

The British government plans to steer terminally ill patients toward dying at home rather than in hospital. I see that as a positive development. Taking a terminally ill cancer patient whose body is shot thru with cancer and whose whole body is in pain and keeping that person alive in an ICU war with intravenous drip and a ventilator is cruel. Hospice care is more humane.

The ability to pay out-of-pocket could make a big difference if you ever need to get surgery for obesity or a fast diagnosis of possible cancer.

* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.

* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment, and for surgery for obesity.

* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.

With over 17% of US GDP now going for medical care and the trend line headed much higher something has to give. The current system of incentives causes doctors to generate too much revenue for themselves with excessive numbers of tests, office visits, and procedures. But it is a difficult problem to solve because patients aren't in a position to judge what treatments are necessary.

My advice: expect less from government. Make more money, spend less money, and prepare to become more self-sufficient.

Update: Donald Berwick, Barack Obama's Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), sees the UK National Health Service as the ideal.

Cynics beware, I am romantic about the National Health Service; I love it. All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at health care in my own country.

The NHS is one of the astounding human endeavours of modern times. Because you use a nation as the scale and taxation as the funding, the NHS is highly political. It is a stage for the polarising debates of modern social theory: debates between market theorists and social planning; enlightenment science and post-modern sceptics of science; utilitarianism and individualism; the premise that we are all responsible for each other and the premise that we are each responsible for ourselves; those for whom government is a source of hope and those for whom government is hopeless. But, even in these debates, you are unified by your nation’s promise to make health care a human right.

Accumulate cash. Be prepared to spend your way around an increasingly government-controlled health care system. Your life may depend on it at some point.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 25 08:54 AM  Economics Health
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2010 July 21 Wednesday
National Curriculum Next Great Hope In Education

Yet another magic bullet.

Less than two months after the nation’s governors and state school chiefs released their final recommendations for national education standards, 27 states have adopted them and about a dozen more are expected to do so in the next two weeks.

Education is a field that moves from great hope to new great hope. Each great hope is a dud. But deluded hope springs eternal. The great money hope is still alive against all evidence. $22k per student didn't help Newark New Jersey schools. But more money is an attractive solution for those who work in schools because it means higher salaries. So I expect continued promotion of that particular hope.

Testing combined with carrots and sticks was the great hope of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) fantasy of George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy. With meager improvements to show for it the bloom is coming off that rose. So time to move on to the next delusion. National education standards takes a bow as the next contestant

President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are dangling cash for playing the national curriculum game.

The developers considered standards in other countries, along with almost one hundred thousand public comments.

One way the Education Department is trying to persuade states is with money. States are competing to share in almost three and a half billion dollars as part of a school reform competition. They will earn extra points in the Race to the Top if they approve the standards by August second.

The NCLB fantasy was already a source of pressure for a more consistent curriculum as schools increasingly taught to the tests that their states used to check the learning progress of kids.

The desperation of our elites to raise NAM academic performance produces casualties. I'm thinking the national curriculum is a step in the direction of national performance measurements for teachers that will likely raise the casualty rate. More teachers will be fired for failing to raise student performance. The people in academia and the press who enforce the taboos and mythology of our era can't accept any explanation of student performance differences that rests on differences in ability. So the scramble to find other targets to blame will inevitably target teachers and school administrators since they are the most obvious alternatives to blame.

Update: OneSTDV points me to a report on how higher educational spending does not improve outcomes. Hence the drive to fire lots of teachers. If more money won't help then measuring teacher performance (not student performance) in order to fire low performing teachers is the next step. No mention is made of the innate abilities of the students these teachers are failing to teach. That's beyond the pale. So the teachers have got to be sacrificed on the altar of our national liberal secular religion.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 21 09:57 PM  Education
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2010 July 19 Monday
Ground Zero Mosque Culture Clash With Our Rulers

While some people pose as wiser and morally superior to Sarah Palin because she opposes the Ground Zero mosque at the World Trade Center site OneSTDV points out that liberals favor cultural and social capitulation to a group that is hostile to what they stand for. Liberals are suicidal at a cultural level. What's with that? Libertarians are equally foolish of course.

So Palin criticizes the proposed Ground Zero mosque, perhaps the most unabashed insult one could lance at the American people. Per a response at HuffPo, opposing cultural and social capitulation to a pernicious group that openly champions the West's destruction represents bigotry and paranoia. Liberals would gladly welcome their own demise if done so under the guise of tolerance for non-Western cohorts. And while I surely support freedom of speech and religion, survival should always be the paramount value. This entails ardently opposing any overt aggression towards our country and our culture, even if it means subverting a cherished ideal. Though if we listen to some right-wing pundits, we can allay Islamic enmity by winning their "hearts, minds, and friendship". Fittingly, so as to not rouse their ire and pique their delicate sensibilities, perhaps we SHOULD let them build the mosque or even adopt their commendable moral standards. (\sarcasm)

Our ruling class will support a mosque at Ground Zero because our ruling class does not want to admit that America has cultural and ethical differences with some other parts of the world that are huge and that should be protected. What to make of this? Roissy points to an essay by Angelo M. Codevilla about how the ruling class and masses have drifted so far apart.

Never has there been so little diversity within America's upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America's upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and "bureaucrat" was a dirty word for all. So was "social engineering." Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday's upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.

Today's ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters -- speaking the "in" language -- serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America's ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.

The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century's Northerners and Southerners -- nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, "prayed to the same God." By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God "who created and doth sustain us," our ruling class prays to itself as "saviors of the planet" and improvers of humanity. Our classes' clash is over "whose country" America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark's Gospel: "if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."

Our enemies rule us. That's a problem.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 19 11:49 PM  Elites As Enemies
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Geert Wilders Calls For Muslim Immigration Ban

Stop all Muslim immigration into the Western countries says Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

An anti-Muslim populist in the Netherlands is forming an international alliance to spread his message across the west in an attempt to ban immigration from Islamic countries, among other goals.

Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom party, told the Associated Press that he would launch the movement late this year, initially in five countries: the US, Canada, Britain, France and Germany.

"The message, 'stop Islam, defend freedom', is a message that's not only important for the Netherlands but for the whole free Western world," Wilders said at the Dutch parliament.

Islam is incompatible with Western values. So the ban makes sense. Why bring in people who favor a form of government that will strip away rights you now enjoy? Why live in an environment that will be more oppressive? Why let your country get worse?

2.5 million Muslims are threatening to leave Facebook. Hey, if you aren't comfortable with the virtual world of Western countries and want to leave it why not go even further? You can move yourself to a Muslim country that requires women to veil and that treats non-Muslims as second class citizens. While you are headed out the door take some useful fools with you.

Geert's ban could be combined with Steve Sailer's proposal to pay Muslims to leave.

One reason we need to keep Muslims out of the West: We can't count on our own governments to protect us from them or to protect our rights when Muslims start demanding they get taken away from us. Case in point: Geert is going to be tried in a Dutch court for the temerity of criticizing Islam. Here's what'll get your prosecuted in the non-free Netherlands: Fitna.

Fitna Part 2:

Pat Condell on the reaction to Fitna:

By Randall Parker 2010 July 19 05:37 PM  Immigration Culture Clash
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2010 July 18 Sunday
Divorce Court Alimony Shafting

The state of Massachusetts does not hesitate to shaft divorced men.

Steve Niro got married in 1981 at age 23 and divorced less than five years later. At the time of the divorce, he and his wife were in their late 20s, and both were working. Niro remarried nearly 15 years ago, but he’s still paying his alimony.

My advice to young guys: Avoid marriage. It is a bad deal.

About 25 years after the marriage ended this guy gets his alimony payments upped from $65 per week to $700 per week. How incredibly immoral. The youngest son of the marriage is 25 years old.

Two years ago, Niro’s youngest son graduated from college, ending child support payments and leaving his former wife with alimony of $65 a week. “The next thing I know, I get summonsed to court for alimony adjustment,’’ he says. A probate court judge increased the alimony to $700 a week even though the couple had divorced nearly a quarter of a century ago — five times longer than they were married.

Guys, if you want to get married investigate the family and divorce laws of your state. If you intend to marry some day but haven't met the girl of your dreams then move to a state with better divorce laws and look for her there. Or consider moving abroad. Also, a prenuptial agreement is a good idea. Won't entirely eliminate your risk of getting shafted. But better than nothing.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 18 02:19 PM  Cultural Wars Marriage
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2010 July 17 Saturday
Georgians Want Arizona-Style Immigration Law

68% of the registered voters of Georgia want what Barack Obama wants to make unconstitutional. The gap between the elites and masses on immigration is the widest gap of any political issue in the United States. The elites keep fighting for what they want in spite of this.

The poll commissioned by the Georgia Newspaper Partnership asked registered voters across the state whether they would support giving "state and local law enforcement the power to ask people already stopped for possible violations of the law to show proof they are in the country legally and then arrest those that could not provide such proof."

A large majority -- 68 percent -- said they would support doing so, while 24 percent said they would not. The rest were undecided.

Local police could round up the vast bulk of the illegal aliens in a year or two if alls states passed laws like Arizona's and if the feds would take illegals from local police and deport them. Immigration law is enforceable. It just takes political will to enforce the law.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 17 09:15 PM  Immigration Policy State Local
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2010 July 16 Friday
Celebrate The Foot Long Burger

Okay, America is in decline. I do not deny that. In fact, I draw attention to all the reasons (most notably, the Great Dumbing Down) that this is happening. Tragic. But in the face of this unfolding tragedy there are still going to be high points, examples of greatness that we should enjoy in the moment even as the empire declines. Yes, we are on a road analogous to the path that led to the sacking of Rome. But right now great accomplishments are still possible. Granted, they will become rarer and less effectual. But they should still be savored and enjoyed. With that thought in mind: the foot long triple burger makes its debut at Carl's Jr and Hardee's restaurants.

A cheeseburger sold as a foot-long sandwich, with three burgers and three cheese slices, is being tested at 50 Carl's Jr. restaurants in Southern California and 50 Hardee's units in Indiana. That's the same chain that introduced the world to the 1,400-calorie Monster Burger and the Monster Breakfast Sandwich, with 47 grams of fat.

47 grams of fat? Like so many other great things about America that evil liberals deride, fat is good when properly packaged. Supposedly evil fat can do great things when properly packaged with natural substances. We could construct a high fat and high health burger. We could very healthily make like an ape man.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 16 05:55 PM  Cultural Wars Western
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2010 July 14 Wednesday
Press Coverage Favors Higher Housing Prices

An article in Forbes about the real estate price double dip illustrates a recurring problem with housing market press coverage: Forbes covers housing prices from the vantage point of sellers, not from the vantage point of buyers.

U.S. housing values will fall 3% in the coming year, with the heaviest blows dealt to Las Vegas, Portland, Ore. and Seattle, Goldman predicts. With an eye toward high home-vacancy rates or rising mortgage delinquencies in these cities, the bankers projected values there would drop 4% to 12% in the coming 12 months.

Even if the darkest forecasts don't come true, the slippage so far this year is discouraging. Many homeowners had been hoping that home values would rise again this spring like they did in the spring of 2009 (they rose 8% between March 30 and mid-August, by Radar Logic's measure). That clearly hasn't happened during the most recent house-hunting season.

Why is a decline in prices a dark forecast? In most markets if prices fall this is seen as a boon for buyers. But in housing higher prices for sellers are treated as unalloyed good news and the flip side of higher prices for buyers is ignored.

If buyers pay more that does not mean they are getting more. Higher prices do not offer buyers any benefit. Higher prices mean that buyers have lower buying power. Higher prices mean lower living standards.

The obvious needs to be stated: the second round in housing price decreases now underway will make housing affordable to millions of people for whom home buying was previously not possible.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 14 10:10 PM  Economics Housing
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2010 July 12 Monday
Elena Kagan Future Activist Judge

Orrin Hatch explains why he's voting against the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court:

Ms. Kagan told the Judiciary Committee that “I think you can look to my whole life for indications of what kind of a judge or justice I would be.” That review provides several important categories of evidence. First, she has written and spoken generally about the role judges play in our system of government. In her Oxford University master’s thesis, for example, Ms. Kagan wrote that “new times and circumstances demand a different interpretation of the Constitution” and that judges may “mold and steer the law in order to promote certain ethical values and achieve certain social ends.” Several years later, as a law professor, she wrote that “the judge’s own experience and values become the most important element in the decision” of most Supreme Court cases. “If that is too results oriented,” she wrote, “so be it.”

The US Supreme Court is a powerful national legislature of 9 people with no court of appeal. It is irresponsible for the US Senate to confirm anyone to that legislature who is inclined to just find ways to express their own values to remold the country to fit their preferences.

One wonders which social ends Ms. Kagan feels most strongly about and whether she'll find 4 other justices some time in the next few decades who share her desires to achieve those ends.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 12 07:45 PM  Politics American Constitution
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2010 July 11 Sunday
Eric Holder Threatens Racial Profiling Suit Against AZ

Immigration is the issue where the desires of the elites conflict most severely with the will of the masses. The elites are very keen to defeat the will of the masses. We aren't supposed to notice that illegal immigrants from Mexico are Mexicans.

Washington — Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, the nation's top law enforcement officer, said Sunday he might sue Arizona a second time if he finds its tough-on-illegal-immigrants law leads to racial profiling.

News flash for Eric Holder: The vast majority of illegal aliens from Mexico look like they are from Mexico. If the local police in Arizona start pulling over blue-eyed blondes and ask them questions about where they were born then they might occasionally unearth a woman from Sweden or Norway here on vacation. But it'll be a big waste of time unless the cops want to try to seduce hot tourists.

One core fact has to be kept in mind in the Arizona immigration law enforcement flap: Barack Obama and other top leaders in the Democratic Party do not want immigration law enforced.

When the Obama Administration talks about the Arizona law as interfering with federal immigration law enforcement that's really cheeky. Arizona can't interfere with what the feds aren't doing. Obama is trying to cut spending on immigration law enforcement. The state and local governments are compensating for federal passivity in the face of large scale law violation by illegals.

Here's part of Arizona's response to the federal suit.

iii. SB 1070 does not conflict with federal law

“[C]onflict preemption exists when ‘compliance with both State and federal law is impossible, or when the state law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.’” Ariz. Contrs. Ass’n v. Napolitano, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96194, at *39 (D. Ariz. Dec. 21, 2007), aff’d sub nom. CPLC, 558 F.3d 856 (quoting Mich. Canners & Freezers Ass'n Inc. v. Agric. Mktg. & Bargaining Bd., 467 U.S. 461, 469 (1984)). Plaintiffs allege that SB 1070 interferes with federal interests and that an actual conflict exists between federal law and SB 1070 with respect to registration, transportation, and harboring, work authorization, and state and local law enforcement officers’ arrest authority. However, an analysis of SB 1070 in connection with plaintiffs’ claims demonstrates that plaintiffs are misconstruing or misapplying the Act.

a. SB 1070 does not interfere with federal interests

Plaintiffs assert that SB 1070 conflicts with “federal government interests.” Compl. 144-46. However, the question in any implied conflict preemption analysis is whether the state law “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment … of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.”29 SB 1070 is not only consistent with federal objectives, but it expressly (and in effect) serves to reinforce existing federal laws. See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1304(e), 1306(a), 1324(a)(1)(A), 1324a. In the words of Judge Learned Hand, “it would be unreasonable to suppose that [the federal government’s] purpose was to deny itself any help that the states may allow.” Marsh v. United States, 29 F.2d 172, 174 (2d Cir. 1928). 28 See also 8 U.S.C. § 1373(c) (requiring the federal government to respond to inquiries by state and local police officers seeking to verify the immigration status of any alien); 8 U.S.C. § 1644 (prohibiting restrictions on state and local government entities in “sending to or receiving from the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an alien in the United States.”).

b. SB 1070 concurrently enforces the documentation
provisions of federal law

Plaintiffs allege that A.R.S. § 13-1509(A) “conflicts with federal law and enforcement priorities.” Compl. 99. This provision, however, precisely conforms to federal law: “In addition to any violation of federal law, a person is guilty of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document if the person is in violation of 8 United States Code Section 1304(e) or 1306(a).” A.R.S. § 13-1509(A).30 A.R.S. § 13- 1509(A), (H) further impose the same misdemeanor penalties as federal law imposes for violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1304(e) – a maximum fine of $100 and a maximum imprisonment of 30 days. “Where state enforcement activities do not impair federal regulatory interests concurrent enforcement activity is authorized.” Gonzales v. Peoria, 722 F.2d 468, 474 (9th Cir. 1983) (emphasis added), overruled on other grounds by Durgin v. De La Vina, 199 F.3d 1037 (9th Cir. 1999)). Where “[f]ederal and local enforcement have identical purposes,” preemption does not occur. Id. Because A.R.S. § 13-1509(A) prohibits precisely the same conduct that is prohibited by 8 U.S.C. §§ 1304(e) and 1306(a), Arizona law and federal law are in concurrence.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 11 06:34 PM  Immigration Elites Versus Masses
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America To Become Pawn In Next Great Game?

America's standing relative to other major nations is in decline. Some of that decline was unavoidable because China and India have so many people and they are industrializing. Other aspects of the decline are self-inflicted by elites who insist upon an immigration policy which will substantially lower per capita GDP in coming decades. Steve Sailer speculates on whether the US will align with China or India and how Chinese, Indian, and Jewish ethnics in the US will push the US in one or the other direction. My guess is we'll choose a course that is contrary to our best interests. That's been the intensifying pattern in recent decades. The punditocracy will continue to offer really impressive rationalizations for why we should do stupid things abroad and domestically. Such is life in a declining empire.

The American colonies had a smaller GDP than the mother country during the American Revolution, for example, but Ben Franklin talked the French government into bankrupting itself for American independence. (He was quite the charmer.) In WWI, Germany, despite having tens of millions of German farmers and engineers in America, did not charm America, and thus lost. Israel, to cite a more recent example, has done quite well for itself strategically despite a limited GDP and being up against Arabs and their oil money.

So, the obvious card to play in the coming China vs. India global struggle is for influence and control over the fading Anglo-Euro world, especially because Anglos don't like to think about themselves being played.

When looked at from this perspective, India's chances against China in 2100 don't look so awful. Indians are better at learning English, and better at marketing ideas in English than Chinese. (One American marketing consultant in China has said that to Chinese factory owners, "marketing" means shouting "Real cheap! You buy now!")

Let's look at the leading Anglosphere countries and which way they are likely to tip (or be tipped):

Australia: China
Canada: I don't know. It could be close.
Britain: India
America: That's the big question

There are lots of Chinese in America. The Chinese have lots of money and will have even more in the future. Over several generations, the emotional distinctions between China and their neighbors and/or enemies like Vietnam, Korea, and Japan might fade, leaving a unified East Asian v. South Asian division from the perspective of the U.S.

On the other hand, I have a vague sense that the East Asians in America might wind up playing the role of Midwestern German-Americans in early 20th Century America, who were outmaneuvered by Anglophilic Eastern elites.

America's best bet would be to become less involved. But rather like Britain keeps wanting to punch above its level America's elites will try to play the Great Game as pawns (they'll imagine they are more than that of course) in order to have the feeling of exercising power. Plus, we'll have ethnic groups internally pushing us to act in their perceived interests rather than in the real interests of the majority.

Consider US involvement in the Middle East over the last 20 years. Take the money that we've spent on military intervention, foreign aid, and maintaining a navy capable of operating that far afield. That same money would have bought us something close to independence on imported oil if we'd instead channeled the money toward hybrids, electric cars, shifting home heating from oil to ground sink heat pumps, and other efforts to get off of oil.

Steve goes on to speculate on how the Jews will try to win favor with India and China. I do not think the Jews can afford to ally with one of those two countries against the other one. India is closer to Israel but China will be much wealthier. He also looks at a Jewish organization that looks at which long term strategies are best for Jews. What's left of the Anglosphere ought to do the same for themselves even though other ethnic groups would prefer that we didn't.

America's decline will not be rapid enough to avoid becoming a target for intense ethnic group machinations. My dreams of a return to isolationism will remain just that - dreams.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 11 09:12 AM  Politics Grand Strategy
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2010 July 09 Friday
Obama Hypocrite On State Preemption

Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder recently sued the state of Arizona for having the temerity to try to enforce federal immigration laws. The elites of Democratic Party are keen to import as many future poor and therefore Democratic voters as possible. When state and local governments try to enforce the federal immigration laws this is poses an obstacle to their plans. Well, on other issues Obama is very keen for states to enforce federal law and to make policy on the same topics as the US government makes policy.

Just this past April, the Solicitor General submitted a vigorous anti-preemption amicus brief in the Supreme Court in Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America.  The case requires the high court to determine whether the motor vehicle safety standards established by the federal government effectively preempt a products liability claim under state tort law.  The Court of Appeals of California would not let the case proceed, ruling that the plaintiffs’ claims were preempted under federal law. The government’s brief argued strongly against preemption, urging the Supreme Court to grant discretionary review in order to overturn the finding of preemption.  Among other things, the government argued that the mere fact that auto manufacturers must comply with federal law when installing seat belts does not preempt a state law tort action.  Simply put, the Solicitor General “did not agree” with the “broader theory of implied preemption,” that some lower courts have advanced.  The government’s anti-preemption brief has been described as “blistering” by some commentators.

But that’s not all.  On May 20, 2009, President Obama issued a sweeping Presidential Memorandum on Preemption, which was delivered to all executive department and agency heads.  Seeking to curtail the broad invocation of federal preemption, the memo expresses alarm that “executive departments and agencies have sometimes announced that their regulations preempt State law, including state common law, without explicit preemption by the Congress.”  Most relevant to the Arizona litigation, the memo explicitly advances the view that “State law and national law often operate concurrently to provide independent safeguards for the public.”  The memo goes on to say that preemption of state law “should be undertaken only with full consideration of the legitimate prerogatives of the States and with a sufficient legal basis for preemption.”  Recognizing that the states serve as “laboratories of democracy” and often are the most aggressive defenders of public health and safety, President Obama advocated a  presumption against preemption unless a contrary intention is expressly contained in the relevant federal statute.

Our enemy in the White House thinks the US Constitution should mean whatever he wants it to mean on a case by case basis.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 09 10:36 PM  Immigration Policy State Local
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2010 July 08 Thursday
Terror Attacks Less Coordinated But More Groups

Fewer coordinated attacks.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The deadly, coordinated terror strikes in London five years ago - the 7/7 transit attacks - reflect emerging global trends, reports the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), based at the University of Maryland.

These trends include the rise in the number of new terror groups and a continued drop in the number of coordinated attacks, which are usually far more lethal. The report is based on START's unclassified Global Terrorism Database, the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.

Lots of entrepreneurial start-ups in terrorism. Seems like reason to be bullish on the future growth of terrorism.

NEW PERPETRATORS: The report notes the rising number of new terror organizations world wide - on average 41 new organizations per year since 2000. The number of new organizations increased each year since 2004.

"This emergence of new groups, with no past history of terrorist attacks, is a discernible global trend in this decade," the START report says. "This trend is similar to peaks evident in the late-1980s - an era of high levels of terrorist activity."

Most start-ups fail. But with so many start-ups some are bound to recruit some talent and to come up with innovations that make highly lethal attacks easier to carry out.

We could take steps to protect ourselves. But it is hard to protect yourself from something if you can't even name what it is.

Meanwhile the US fights 2 wars that do nothing to make American people safer.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 08 08:27 PM  Terrorists Activities
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Public And Private Positions On Immigration

Michael McGough of the LA Times (or should I save "of what's left of the LA Times after so many white newspaper readers moved out of SoCal) says both sides of the immigration debate have official positions which are at odds with their private beliefs.

What (some) mainstream supporters of comprehensive immigration reform say: "We believe that illegal immigrants should pay a penalty and go to the back of the line of citizenship seekers." What they mean: "We don't really want to punish 'undocumented citizens' (as one activist put it in a Freudian slip), but we have to throw the yahoos a bone to in order to enact what we won't call amnesty."

I do not see a moral equivalency here. The amnesty crowd lie like mad and have been doing so for decades. From their dominant positions in the press, academia, and think tanks they vilify and marginalize immigration restrictionists. While the restrictionists debate with facts and logic the open borders amnesty crowd debates with mythology and character assassination.

On the other side is the mainstream anti-illegal-immigration mantra.  What they say: "I have nothing against legal immigrants. America is a melting pot and rightly so." What they mean: "Why do I have to choose 'English' when I call my bank or make a deposit at the ATM? What has happened to my country?"

Don't expect people (or politicians) to fess up to these covert positions. But don't discount them.

Speaking for myself: There's not much difference between my public and private thoughts. I think immigration into the United States ought to be stopped entirely (except for hot model babes good looking enough to pull in at least a half mill a year). All illegal aliens should be deported. Muslim citizens ought to be paid to leave. Muslim non-citizens with permanent residency should have their residency rescinded. Babies of illegal aliens should not be entitled to citizenship. Babies born here to tourists should not be entitled to citizenship.

As for having to choose English at the ATM: I absolutely hate this. Though it is not the major reason I want to end immigration. I see immigration as lowering quality of life by many measures (quality of schools, population density, pollution, taxes, corruption in government, etc). I think the US government should serve its existing citizens first and foremost.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 08 07:45 PM  Immigration Politics
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2010 July 07 Wednesday
Quarter Of California Children Never Saw Dentist

Here in the Third World dental care is becoming more rare.

Lack of dental care continues to be a significant problem for American children, who miss about 1.6 million school days each year due to dental disease.

A new study published in the July issue of the journal Health Affairs reveals that in California, nearly 25 percent of children have never seen a dentist and that disparities exist across race, ethnicity and type of insurance when it comes to the duration between dental care visits.

The study, "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Dental Care for Publicly Insured Children," examines barriers to dental care among California children age 11 and under, using data from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey. The study contains data on nearly 11,000 children.

Imagine what it'll be like when all the whites have left the state.

Even getting them dental insurance isn't enough to get those kids into a dentist's chair. What to do?

Researchers Nadereh Pourat, of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Len Finocchio, of the California HealthCare Foundation, found that Latino and African American children with all types of insurance were less likely than Asian American and white children to have visited the dentist in the previous six months — or even in their entire lifetime.

Similarly, researchers found that Latino and African American children in public insurance programs, including Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), went to the dentist less often than white and Asian American children with the same insurance coverage. Overall, children with private insurance saw a dentist more often than those with Medicaid or CHIP.

"The findings suggest that having insurance isn't always enough," said Pourat, Ph.D., director of research planning at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. "We need to address the other barriers that keep children from getting the help they need."

What could be causing result? Who would have predicted it? (outside of the reality-bound HBD community I mean)

By Randall Parker 2010 July 07 10:01 PM  Immigration Societal Decay
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2010 July 06 Tuesday
Roissy On Independence Day

Roissy looks at the decline in patriotism, its causes, and the likely outcome.

On this 4th of July, We the post-Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 People should spend a moment to reflect on the tenuous grasp the inheritors of the great American tradition have to their homeland. When you wave your sparklers with your kids this holiday weekend, cast a wary eye at your neighbor. A disease has metastasized in huge swaths of the American population and threatens to suffocate the grandiose and noble idea that ironically nourishes their trite impudence. The host which ennobles has become the rotting carcass upon which to feed. Gnawing and chewing parasites dripping venom and toxic bile have replaced the immune boosting white blood cells and defiantly proud armies of red blooded corpuscles of a body politic once happy, grateful, and giddy to be alive. And not just any sort of alive; the kind of exalted living that comes from knowing your good fortune to have been born in a prosperous country culturally superior to so many alternatives. Yes, superior. The very word sends shudders down the spines of the mincing globocrats and mewling equalist butterfucks.

I think the globalizing Left is mistaken to think that the suppression of patriotism will cause people to shift their loyalties toward the whole world. More likely they will shift their loyalties toward much smaller scales like family, gang, and co-conspirators. The pride that comes with patriotism can be and has been very constructive. It makes possible the voluntary clubs and societies that work for civic betterment.

A vector of patricidal vengeance, a boiling plume of acrid anti-native stock spite, travels up and down our coasts, from Miami to Boston, LA to Seattle, in our newsrooms, our boardrooms, our schools, and our social gathering places, carrying a message of spastic hate for America, her founding ideals, and the historically great figures who have traveled her hallowed corridors. Pockets of internal organs are infected, Chicago and Austin. These are not traitors in action… mostly… but their souls are traitorous in configuration. Their feelings are the knee-jerk bleats of a bastard people at growing unease with the country they are required by law to call home. A nation of latchkey kids — stupid in their ahistorical ignorance and frightened of the breaking surf of censored knowledge about to crash on their heads — has been in open revolt against its beneficent parent for generations now, and the opiate of distracting technoporn and glam mags can only hold off the coming reckoning for so long. They live for the comforting swaddle of the trend, and right now every trend is pointing in the direction of dialectic anti-patriotism.

Regards "the breaking surf of censored knowledge about to crash on their heads" I keep getting hints that the truth in undeniable form is near. Anyone know when the key research papers will be published? Any in the next 6 months?

Click thru and read Roissy's whole post.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 06 09:47 PM  Civilizations Decay
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Obama Moves To Block Arizona On Immigration Law

Obama is against local law enforcement - at least when he really doesn't want the law enforced at all.

The Justice Department filed suit Tuesday against Arizona, charging that the state's new immigration law is unconstitutional and requesting a preliminary injunction to stop the legislation from taking effect.

Obama does not want immigration law enforced.

Curiously, the federal government has produced a huge mountain of laws over the last 40 years in areas that were historically the prerogative of states. Yet Obama or most of the Left don't seem to think they should be restrained by the constitution as they violate the constitution. They just appoint judges who will disregard the letter of the law.

The lawsuit says the law illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives, invoking as its main argument the legal doctrine of "preemption," which is based on the Constitution's supremacy clause and says that federal law trumps state statutes. The Justice Department argues that enforcing immigration laws is a federal responsibility and says an injunction is needed to prevent "irreparable harm" to the United States.

What form does this "irreparable harm" take? Illegal immigrants will be deported. Some people who would otherwise enter the country illegally will decide not to break US law. How does this constitute "irreparable harm"? Arizona's law is designed to empower local police to enforce federal law. It isn't designed to empower local police to undermine federal law. Rather, enforcement of the Arizona law will undermine federal undermining of federal law.

Look at federal drug law. Imagine that police stopped busting heroin dealers. The federal government would throw a conniption. The federal government has no problem with local enforcement of federal law when the federal government really wants the law enforced.

Where does it say in the constitution that the states can't enforce immigration law? Where does it say that states can't enforce federal laws?

"The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

By Randall Parker 2010 July 06 05:03 PM  Immigration Policy State Local
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2010 July 05 Monday
NASA For Raising Muslim Self Esteem

Once upon a time in a now lost civilization the likes of Werner Von Braun graced NASA hallways. NASA's mission today? In an interview with al Jazeera, Barack Obama's NASA administrator Charles Bolden reveals what Obama tasked him to do with NASA: Inspire children, improve US foreign relationships, and boost Muslim self esteem. No mention of studying the planets, finding large dangerous asteroids on collision courses with Earth, launching satellites that can collect better data on climate trends, development of space telescopes, or development of better space launch vehicles.

"When I became the NASA administrator, [Obama] charged me with three things," NASA head Charles Bolden said in a recent interview with the Middle Eastern news network al-Jazeera. "One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."

Obama is such a lightweight. But he continues to surprise. I obviously haven't lowered my estimation of the man far enough. Time to adjust downward.

Charles Bolden comes off looking like a lightweight as well. He's in charge of NASA (which, um, is supposed to put people into space, do space science, and also study Earth from space) and he managed to seriously say that raising Muslim self esteem about their scientific abilities is his chief priority. This shouldn't be on his priority list at all. A NASA administrator ought to have enough gravitas to avoid saying something so obviously silly.

The Muslim nations are a great untapped resource for space exploration?

"It is a matter of trying to reach out and get the best of all worlds, if you will, and there is much to be gained by drawing in the contributions that are possible from the Muslim (nations)," he said. He held up the International Space Station as a model, praising the contributions there from the Russians and the Chinese.

Can't we get some serious supervision in the US government? These people sound like grade school teachers indoctrinated in self esteem teaching ideology. Is this the result of the feminization of politics? Charles Bolden should be interviewed by Oprah or Dr. Phil about how science should be done in massive joint undertakings that enable everyone to feel they are scientists equal to the greatest minds in history.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 05 09:15 PM  Civilizations Decay
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2010 July 04 Sunday
Andy Grove On Declining US Manufacturing Base

Former Intel CEO Andy Grove has written a piece arguing that the US is losing a long term competitive advantage by outsourcing so much manufacturing abroad.

Today, manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is about 166,000, lower than it was before the first PC, the MITS Altair 2800, was assembled in 1975 (figure-B). Meanwhile, a very effective computer manufacturing industry has emerged in Asia, employing about 1.5 million workers—factory employees, engineers, and managers. The largest of these companies is Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn. The company has grown at an astounding rate, first in Taiwan and later in China. Its revenues last year were $62 billion, larger than Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Dell (DELL), or Intel. Foxconn employs over 800,000 people, more than the combined worldwide head count of Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Intel, and Sony (SNE) (figure-C).

Foxconn will inevitably end up doing more steps of the value generation process. Some of the companies now using Foxconn will get wiped out by Foxconn.

In an earlier era a successful American company like Apple would have generated a large number of American jobs. Nowadays a successful American company generates a large number of Chinese jobs for a different company.

Some 250,000 Foxconn employees in southern China produce Apple's products. Apple, meanwhile, has about 25,000 employees in the U.S. That means for every Apple worker in the U.S. there are 10 people in China working on iMacs, iPods, and iPhones. The same roughly 10-to-1 relationship holds for Dell, disk-drive maker Seagate Technology (STX), and other U.S. tech companies.

You could say, as many do, that shipping jobs overseas is no big deal because the high-value work—and much of the profits—remain in the U.S. That may well be so. But what kind of a society are we going to have if it consists of highly paid people doing high-value-added work—and masses of unemployed?

Plus, we make it worse by importing millions of low skilled peasants from Mexico and Central America. How stupid are we? Very stupid. Our political leadership and opinion makers are incredibly foolish.

Grove says the ratio of money spent to jobs created has soared. Silicon Valley has ceased to be a jobs creation machine for Americans. The cost of that job creation has gone from a few thousand dollars initially invested per eventual job created to $100k per job.

Grove says that we are losing the technological ecosystems needed to stay on the technological edge. The innovations for improving manufacturing efficiency end up being made abroad. Engineers in America effectively cease to be in the loop. We can't stay on the cutting edge in design and product development or in the development of manufacturing equipment if we have no manufacturing industry. He criticizes economists who think that the work moving abroad has a low value added. Grove sees the models of economists as overly simplified and not how the real world works.

I strongly urge you to read the whole article.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 04 09:59 PM  Economics Trade
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British Accept Need For Austerity

An essay by David Kynaston in the left-leaning UK Guardian about the need for austerity in Britain and how the new Conservative government of David Cameron are set implement austerity illustrates a recognition on both sides of the political spectrum in Britain that the country has been living well beyond its means and an extended period of austerity is necessary. This contrasts sharply with the mood in America where the political class has not yet accepted a need for austerity.

Like Charles Ryder at Brideshead or Bob Dylan on Highway 61, we've been here before. "No sooner did we awake from the six years nightmare of war and feel free to enjoy life once more than the means to do so immediately became even scantier than they had been during the war," lamented Anthony Heap, a local government official living in St Pancras, in his diary at the end of 1945. "Housing, food, clothing, fuel, beer, tobacco – all the ordinary comforts of life that we'd taken for granted before the war, and naturally expected to become more plentiful again when it ended, became instead more and more scarce and difficult to come by." In fact peacetime austerity had only just got going, and it was not until July 1954, more than eight dreary, make-do-and-mend years later, that rationing finally ended.

Of course, the Brits could have bounced back more rapidly if they had let prices rise and ended rationing sooner after WWII ended. But leave that aside. There was a willingness then and a willing now for government to spend less and pay down debt. There is an acceptance that government can't make the economy right again, that an extended period of pain is unavoidable. America is nowhere near that realization.

Why this difference? I see a few reasons. In spite of a lot of immigration in recent years Britain is still a much more racially homogeneous society. Therefore, whether they are consciously aware of this or not the British people feel genetically closer to each other. They feel a greater sense of common identity. Also, Britain is a smaller society. This means two things. First off, consensus needs to be achieved over a much smaller number of people who have more in common in terms of culture and occupations and interests. Second, as a smaller society it is more vulnerable to economic pressures originating outside its borders and they are aware of this.

The US government acts as if no external forces, economic or military, can constrain it. The American people mostly believe a myth of American triumphalism which the political class on both sides of the political spectrum finds advantageous to encourage. Whether the subject is foreign adventures or perfection of the society thru social programs the political class wants the public to believe the country is so special that it can do anything. This works against accepting the need for austerity and for scaling back how much the government does. Leaders on the Left would have us believe we can maintain plush retirement benefits for government workers and high pay-outs for Social Security and Medicare. Leaders on the Right would have us believe can maintain a huge military and do foreign adventures.

In the United States we've got a multi-racial president who wants to redistribute between the races. He does not want to find his agenda under fiscal constraints due to financial bubbles. He wants to add major new accretions to the welfare state to transfer more to his base. He wants the effects of debt bubbles, stagnant economy, lack of wage growth, and the like to be very short term. He wants a quick return to brisk economy expansion that will generate the tax revenues he needs to fund his plans. He wants a new Great Society.

The problem with Obama's agenda is that even before Peak Oil and the aftermath of the housing bubble slammed the brakes on economic growth the US government had already over-promised entitlements for old folks, promised more to veterans, made big promises to federal employees, and expanded its role in education at considerable expense. Then it added on very expensive foreign adventures, hundreds of billions of dollars worth of dubious mortgage loans funded by government agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (to help Obama's base of poor non-Asian minorities), and expanded other government programs. This all occurred under a succession of presidents of both parties.

The gap between promises and means is far bigger than it looks. Current deficits and accumulated debts and projections of debt over the next few years doesn't begin to tell the whole story. Even calculations of unfunded liabilities (e.g. projected future pay-outs for Social Security, Medicare, and government worker retirement benefits) fall short of showing the full gap between the promises and the means to fulfill the promises. Why? Mainstream economic analysis assumes an eventual return to Business As Usual for economic growth. But Business As Usual is nowhere in sight due to Peak Oil and America's deteriorating demographics.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 04 01:45 PM  Culture Compared
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2010 July 03 Saturday
Goldman Major Guilty Party On Housing Bubble?

With so much effort put into attacking Goldman Sachs over profiting from the housing bubble you might think that Goldman Sachs actually caused the bubble. Goldman is being held responsible for AIG's foolish bet that bubble era mortgage securities were sound.

WASHINGTON — A congressional commission pressed Goldman Sachs executives Wednesday to spell out how much their company has earned from its exotic bets against the housing market, including $20 billion in wagers that helped force a $162 billion taxpayer bailout of the American International Group.

It takes two to tango. Goldman couldn't have bet on a collapse of the housing bubble without AIG there to bet that This Time Is Different. Of course, AIG was betting the same way that the US government was betting at the time. Goldman is being blamed for betting against the conventional wisdom of the day.

Many of Goldman's trades with AIG offset protection it wrote for clients on mortgage securities, but McClatchy reported Tuesday that Goldman wagered its own money on some swaps purchased from AIG.

But I have a question: Who decided to have a big housing bubble that would inevitably collapse whether or not Goldman bet against mortgage securities? Who created the conditions that made Goldman's bet possible? Was it Goldman? Nope, not really. So who did the dirty deed? Top inflators Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led the charge. Fannie and Freddie are creations of Congress. Congress is part of the government.

Countrywide Finance, Washington Mutual, and a whole host of other retail banks (and Goldman is not a retail bank to any appreciable extent) did the field work of generating the mortgages to sell to Freddie and Fannie.

The US government promoted the housing bubble. George W. Bush and Congressional Democrats were united in their desires to see more poor NAMs take on more mortgages regardless of their credit worthiness. The Federal Reserve supplied the liquidity to make it happen.

So what is going on here? The guilty are trying to use Goldman Sachs as a fall guy. They are trying to shift attention away from their own culpability.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 03 09:07 PM  Economics Housing
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2010 July 01 Thursday
School Vouchers In Chile Yield Modest Improvements

Small improvements but that beats the vast bulk of educational policies.

RENO, Nev. – With the effectiveness of school vouchers a hot topic of debate, researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chile have completed a lengthy study on the effects of Chile's school reforms in 1981. Along with other school decentralization efforts, the reforms included making Chile the only nation in the world to have a nationwide school voucher program.

Most notably, the study, which looked at students who began school in the early 1970s all the way up through students who began school in the early '90s, showed that the reforms increased high school graduation rates by 3.6 percent, and increased college-going rates by 3.1 percent. It also increased the rate of those completing at least two years of college by 2.6 percent, and the rate of those completing at least four years of college by 1.8 percent. The voucher program also significantly increased the demand for private subsidized schools and decreased the demand for both public and nonsubsidized private schools.

Think of it this way: Chile implemented many a free marketer's dream for how to fund education and the result was a small increase educational attainment. This is not radical improvement. Though it is more improvement than the results of standard left-wing proposals for education: more money focused on paying teachers more and throwing more teachers and bureaucracy at the least intellectually able students.

Earnings reductions due to delayed entry into the workforce canceled out any hoped for gains in income due to higher levels of education.

In addition, although opponents of school voucher programs have long theorized that vouchers would mostly benefit the rich, this study showed that individuals from poor and non-poor backgrounds in Chile, on average, experienced similar educational attainment gains under the voucher program. And, there was also a modest reduction in earnings inequity once the voucher reforms were enacted. However, overall, the reforms did not lead to increased overall average earnings.

"The reform reduced the number of people ages 16 to 25 in the workforce by about 2 percent," explained Sankar Mukhopadhyay, assistant professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Reno, "because more people were staying in school longer. So, the earnings benefits of having greater educational attainment were at least partly offset by the delay in entering the workforce."

Colleges offer far too many majors that do little to nothing to increase productivity. In a rational system where policy was set by a wise and benevolent dictator most college majors would not be eligible for any taxpayer-funded aid.

If governments really want to fund education in a way that would raise living standards then let me make a modest proposal: scale the level of support for college majors based on average starting income of graduates of majors in each subject. Offer no financial aid for majors that get paid the least and the most financial aid for majors that get paid the most. Engineers would get the most financial aid. Not coincidentally, engineers add more economic value to the economy than the vast majority of other occupations.

By Randall Parker 2010 July 01 09:24 PM  Education
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