Open Thread

Purchasing the Presidency

Artist - Rob Tornoe

In other news, anti-immigrant sentiment is now at its lowest point since Gallup began tracking it in 1965.

That's bad news for the Republican party platform which tells Americans that immigrants are stealing our jobs and robbing the safety net (neither of which are true).

  • GrafZeppelin127

    [comment deleted; posted in wrong place]

  • villemar

    Dey turk err jurbz!!!

  • joseph2004

    As usual, Ashby, you’ve missed the likely basis for the “positive” view more Americans have toward immigration, locked in your “illegal and legal immigration are the same thing” baloney.
    The link to the link at Gallup makes it fairly clear that past negativity toward immigration was linked in large part to illegal immigration and the perception that it was out of control. The CA reference, for example. Currently we’re hearing that self-deportation is a reality, that more Mexicans for one thing seem to be leaving for home than are coming to the US.
    The poll suggest, too, that most Americans, including Republicans, have no problem with legal immigration, although it’s true that what kind of immigration system we should have (economics-based; family-based, … on so on) is being debated.
    A few nights ago, Fareed Zakaria had a special on immigration which included a discussion of Canada’s system. In Canada, 2/3 of immigrants are allowed in to fill an economic niche. They deliberately target the skilled and the educated. It works very well for them, apparently. It’s a pro-growth and vitality approach.
    In the US, on the other hand, 2/3 of legal immigrants are allowed in for what amounts to family reunification reasons, regardless of whether they can be expected to add much to our economy or not. Our major corporations are screaming for a model more like Canada’s. Microsoft, to get around the paucity of skilled foreign labor here, sets up offices in Canada. Canada fills the niches, gets the tax revenue from these legal workers. But not the US.

    At the end, Zakaria summed up the problem the US has had coming up with comprehensive immigration reform by noting that conservatives are stuck on the secure border/take care of illegal immigration question, and liberals refuse to give up the family reunification immigration policies now in place.

    Surprisingly, I find myself agreeing with Michael Bloomberg on several issues, one being that when foreign students graduate from our universities with desirable degrees (eg., science, engineering), they ought to be given a green card on the spot. Another being that economics-niche based immigration policy is what the US should pursue. Family-reunification policies should be phased out in favor of needs-based policy. By not doing so, the US risks decades of stagnant economic growth.

    • bphoon

      ‘Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
      With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
      Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
      A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
      Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
      Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
      Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
      The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
      “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
      With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
      I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”‘ – Emma Lazarus

      I wonder what happened to that sentiment?

    • JMAshby

      As usual, I miss the “likely basis,” yet you hang on my every word anyway.

      Illegal and legal immigration are not the same thing, nor have I ever implied that they are. Anti-immigrant sentiment is largely racist sentiment, however. Either directly or indirectly informed by stereotypes and misinformation.

      Regardless, a decrease in anti-immigrant sentiment -is- bad news for the conservative platform that demonizes immigrants. It will mean they have to change their rhetoric.

      You don’t seem to have disputed that at all though. So please, continue delivering your concerns.

    • ninjaf

      “Microsoft, to get around the paucity of skilled foreign labor here, sets up offices in Canada.”

      This should tell you that we do not need a better immigration policy to allow for skilled workers but, with unemployment as high as it is, rather a need to extend higher education to more and more citizens who are currently unable to afford it. Microsoft is not going to Canada because they have better educated immigrants. They are going to Canada because they are finding a better educated work force. Short changing and cutting education now is cutting off our nose to spite our face. We are not going to be able to compete into the future (or even the present day) without graduating better students. We don’t graduate better students with austerity or vouchers.

    • IrishGrrrl

      I don’t buy the argument that family-reunification based policy = stagnant economic growth. For example, unemployment in AZ peaked at about 338,000 people in 2010 when they passed SB1070. Two years later, they have estimated that 200,000 immigrants self-deported from the state to other parts of the US and back to Mexico. How many of those 200,000 worked? Could be anywhere from half to one quarter so that would have been anywhere from 100,000 to 50,000 job openings when those immigrants left the state. Okay, that’s almost one third to one sixth of the entire unemployed population in AZ. Over the last two years AZ has only gained 64,000. So all those job openings should have been a boon for the AZ economy, right? It wasn’t. Americans did not rush to fill the jobs those immigrants left behind. So, the self-deportation of those reunified families certainly didn’t help the State economy.

      Furthermore, those immigrants lived in a cash based economy where they paid rent, groceries, utilities, cable, etc all with cash and all of it with a sales tax on it (yes, even the food in metro Phoenix). So all those people left and so did their cash. Did that help the AZ economy? No.

      Now you will say, but they weren’t replaced by the kind of “desirable” immigrants we should be allowing. And that is true, you know why? Because AZ can’t recruit and keep jobs for those kind of desirable people. Google opened an office in 2006 in Tempe that had openings for hundreds of engineers and it closed two years later. Motorola, Intel, American Express, etc. all the of the “tech” driven companies that had substantial presences in the state have all shrunk in size (and they started doing so LONG before the current Recession). One could argue that was the fault of national policies and outsourcing and that would be true. But even IF we had had the “desirable” immigrants you propose, these companies would have still outsourced because it will always be cheaper to pay COL to someone in Bangladesh than in Arizona.

      So, no, I don’t buy that turning away family-reunification immigrants is a way improve our economy.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    OK, OK. I know I said I was going to stay away from the HuffPo comment threads. And I will, I swear. It’s getting so depressing I need to stop reading below the main article just for my own mental health. Why I keep reading and posting there I have no idea.

    But, could I get some opinions on this thread? Click to expand under Roger Ramjet’s comment to see my contribution. I thought I was making headway with this person, but….

    Anyway, if anyone feels like wading through it and has thoughts, please share. Has anyone else made any headway figuring out how to talk to these people? Appreciate any insights. Thanks.

    • joseph2004

      That was a good discussion. I’ve thought for some time that, while the big banks like Goldman’s created a lot of the mischief, if the powers that be (regulators and law makers) had not been in bed with them, much of the disaster we saw through 2009 might not have happened. Taibbi in he Griftopia takes aim squarely at Greenspan (and his faction of henchman like Larry Sommers), whose expressed opinion about the growth of financial instruments (derivatives and the like) was that it was a good thing. He viewed the increased “diversity” of financial/market options as a means of protecting the markets from failure by spreading the risk. Clearly he was wrong.
      I blame government and the regulators first when thinking about the Great Recession. It starts with them. If they don’t do what they are there to do but instead play footsie with private sector bad actors, what can we expect in the end.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        I blame government and the regulators first when thinking about the Great Recession.

        Of course you do.

        • joseph2004

          Yep. It starts there. It certainly ends there, does it not? After all, where do we go to fix the problems ultimately? We go to our elected (and appointed) officials to set the game right.

          • mrbrink

            So, you’re arguing for more regulations, or rules, and more cops on the beat, right?

            If that’s the case, you should stop voting for right wing Republicans who argue that it is the federal government which corrupts the private sector, therefore we must disband government functions to save the wingnutty soul of America.

        • Razor

          Eh, he kinda has a point. Why should we expect the private sector to play by the rules when they’re fingerbanging the referees?

          • IrishGrrrl

            But if we don’t elect people who are at least willing to attempt to create regulation so that there is less legal fingerbanging, the fingerbanging will continue unabated. Furthermore, by electing the kind of people that believe government can and should be a part of the solution, we are also more likely to get SCOTUS justices who won’t give us capitalist wet dream decisions like Citizens United, which is the overall point.

          • Razor

            Agreed, but in terms of assigning “blame,” there’s plenty to go around in regards to the recession and the government certainly deserves a good deal of it.

          • IrishGrrrl

            Fair enough :)

    • MrDHalen


      After reading the discussion, it’s the perfect example of why our political dialog is basically dead in this country. A real debate can’t take place if one side can make up facts not based in reality.

      What’s really funny to me is that if Republicans got their conservative free-market utopia, Liberals would outshine them in it. What they don’t understand is we are already seeing the death of white privilege in a global economy. Multi-national corporations don’t care about preserving anybodies privilege, its only money they care about and the people (no matter the color) who can help them get more of it. Look at where our nation’s economic hubs are located, there in Liberal dominated cities and states.

      Back to your question, there is no talking to Republicans anymore. I still see them as Americans, just poorly informed and scared Americans, but I don’t think to many of them feel the same way about us though, which is scary. The hard left progressives are becoming just as irrational, just not as militant.

      I don’t know what the real cause is for all the stupid, but I can tell you I’m starting to think we as a nation didn’t deserve a Barack Obama at this time and it looks like we’re going to get the Willard we deserved.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        I’m starting to think we as a nation didn’t deserve a Barack Obama at this time

        I couldn’t agree more. We’re about to trade Captain Picard for Grand Nagus Zek.

        • IrishGrrrl

          Graf, here’s your Nerd Badge, wear it proudly! :)

          • GrafZeppelin127

            I just recently re-watched the entire run of Deep Space Nine on Netflix. Every time the Ferengi were featured I thought of the post-Bush GOP. (I also thought of the Bush-era GOP during the early stages of the Dominion war, when there was widespread fear of infiltration by the Changelings.)

            Every time Romney opens his mouth he sounds like he’s running for Grand Nagus, not President. Next think you know he’s going to say that Obama doesn’t have the lobes for business.

    • mrbrink

      Yeah, Graf’, I always admire and greatly appreciate your educator’s sense of patience and poise, but your new pal there is forgetting that the Bush economy was fueled by the housing bubble that began under Bush and burned out when the boom ended in 2006– the same year falsely inflated housing prices peaked and began to undo his whole sham economy. 2006 was the year Democrats got in there and began investigating and holding hearings on: “The Housing Bubble and its Implications for the Economy” and “Calculated Risk: Assessing Non-Traditional Mortgage Products.” That was 2006, under the Democratic congress.

      And, at the same point in President Bush’s term, public sector employment was up 3.7 percent– it’s down 2.7% under Obama. So, Bush had that going for him and his padded employment numbers.

      But the shabby house of cards all began to crumble in 2006 when Democrats began asking questions.

      And of course Bush turned budget surpluses and projected surpluses into massive debt and deficit, much of it hidden in the ballooning, off-the record-costs of two wars and corporate crony giveaways. That’s the legacy of the real Bush economy. A sham economy that from 2007-2010 wiped out 40% of the average American family’s net worth(much of that due to housing price drops). And remember that it was “uniquely American” according to Bush for a woman to be working four jobs to maintain poverty level income and employment in his uniquely American economy.

      I suppose it’s also uniquely American to think the Bush economy was anything other than a fraud based on a fraud.

      If president Obama had Bush’s public sector employee numbers, unemployment would be much lower right now than the 7.8% it was on the day he took office. And the fact that all the growth in national wealth has been captured by the top 2% since Reagan began giving it all away to give the false impression of pro-growth, pro-free market policies should humble any economic hack. And for some historical comparisons, at this point in Reagan’s first term, the unemployment rate was 8%, down from a peak of 10.8%. He was easily re-elected with an unemployment of 7.2%, and the recession he inherited was nowhere near as damaging as the one inherited by president Obama. The great majority of Americans have yet to benefit from all this economic growth. On the contrary, they’ve been punished and blamed for the failures of robber baron capitalism.

      • MrDHalen

        This is where the stupid hits unbelievable levels and you know the national media is done. A barely regulated financial system (House of Cards) comes crashing down bringing the world economy with it and less than five years later a guy from the financial industry can run for president on a platform of “we need LESS regulation for businesses to save said economy”; and there’s a strong chance he could win.

        In the old western words of Taggart, “Well I am depressed!”

      • GrafZeppelin127

        your new pal there is forgetting that the Bush economy was fueled by the housing bubble that began under Bush and burned out when the boom ended in 2006

        It’s not that; he’s convinced that both the housing bubble and the collapse thereof are entirely Democrats’ fault. The “IBD piece” he hept touting like it was the Bible is actually a reprint from one of the most far-right sources out there, The American Thinker. It’s a long and elaborate hit piece that purports to catalogue decades of Democratic/liberal malfeasance, all of which directly caused the housing crisis. The same for the Heritage and YouTube links he provided; crude propaganda, designed not to inform or explain or understand what happened, but to blame everything on Democrats.

        It’s remarkable that in his last comment he insists that he provided “all the empirical evidence [I] requested” when he did no such thing and didn’t actually respond to any of my requests, and accuses me of “shoot[ing] the messenger rather than the message” when all I did was point out that the “message” was bogus and never attacked him personally, as he did at the very end with the “not up to the challenge” crack.

        Ultimately, I don’t think he read or paid attention to a word I wrote. He wound up coming off as completely delusional.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        I’ve also always found it remarkable how much GOP fans admire (or, at least, used to admire) George W. Bush for being so strong, decisive, right about everything, on top of things, the Greatest Leader in History™, yet insist that he was utterly powerless to prevent, stop, fix or reverse all these terrible things that Democrats had done and were doing to the budget and the economy during 2001-2008.

        • IrishGrrrl

          Yes, the contradictions in their belief system is astounding isn’t it. But in all fairness, it kind of reminds me of GG followers and the drone freaks out there. They wanted the President to reverse all LGBT discrimination immediately (or close Guantonomo immediately, pick your cause) by fiat but then when he does use his executive powers for national security reasons by fiat (i.e. the drones) they are all in mortal terror because the President is behaving like a dictator! You can’t demand a President act like a dictator and then complain when he does….just like you can’t say a President is always right and powerful except when he isn’t. Consistency is not the strong suit of anyone on the far right or far left.

    • mrbrink

      And Graf’, your buddy there asks: “Please name an economic policy of George Bush that caused the recession. And please be specific, showing how and why these policies caused such an economic meltdown.”

      That’s interesting.

      Because you can start with his policy initiative that began the housing bubble that the Bush economy lived, lied, and died by:

      2002– President Calls for Expanding Opportunities to Home Ownership

      The inserted applause lines, especially in the transcript that reward his criminal-stupid are just pathetic.

      “As soon as the deliveries are made in the front door, you move the stuff out the back and sell it at a discount. You take a two hundred dollar case of booze and you sell it for a hundred. It doesnt matter. Its all profit.” Goodfellas.

      His policies for greatly expanding minority home ownership, which conservatives touted all along as proof that Republicans care about minorities and that God and Capital, or faith-based economics, are the wave of the future began by circumventing loan standards and dumping the garbage on Fannie and Freddie.

      “And then finally, when theres nothing left, when you cant borrow another buck from the bank or buy another case of booze, you bust the joint out. You light a match.” Goodfellas

      2007- Helping Americans Keep Their Homes.

      The Bush economy was a much like a gangster movie. I think George W. Bush is in some sort of political witness protection program these days as a result.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        None of that matters to this person. That “IBD piece” (actually a reprint from the far-right blog The American Thinker) is his Bible. It’s all he needs to know. It “proves” beyond a shadpw of a doubt that everything is the fault of Democrats, Democratic constituencies, and Democratic/liberal/Keynesian ideas; Republicans, conservatives, supply-side theory, and George W. Bush are completely, entirely, utterly blameless and vindicated. Never mind that they would also have to have been completely inept and utterly powerless for decades, particularly from 2001-06, for that normative belief to have any validity.

        People like this do not know the difference between learning and understanding, and validating their prejudices.

        • mrbrink

          I think what I love most about your new friend is how he condemns Keynesian economics, and yet seems to have no idea that Reagan pumped up military spending in basic Keynesian 101 fashion, and Bush pretty much did the same.

          It’s been Keynesian for the wealthy– program cuts and trickle down for the working poor.

          The worst Keynesian president we have had in the past 30+ years is the one who is supposed to be the socialist! (Half-kidding)

          • IrishGrrrl

            mrbrink, I have heard cons actually defend Reagan’s Keynesian military spending as being “okay” since it was for the purpose of forcing the Russians to spend money they didn’t have and that was what helped bring down Communist Russia. So, in the cons book Keynesian is okay so long as it is to defeat leftist ideas and regimes, but not okay to save our country from economic ruin.

          • mrbrink

            The shit works, man. Government military and defense spending is a prime example of evil twin Keynesian economics at work. Some people might accurately refer to it as, “Military Keynesianism.”

            I was just catching up on Krugman and he’s got a post titled: “Crony Keynesianism“(doing policies whose logic calls for government spending, but take the form instead of incentives to favored private-sector interests)about Britain’s austerity architect that I think helps illustrate the mental divide conservatives far and wide stubbornly fail to bridge at the expense of the sane and just world.

            It’s not Keynesian! It is “Subsidizing private investment through loan guarantees!” or some such wordplay bullshit. Just don’t call it Keynesian! even if it’s subsidizing private investment in public infrastructure. Not Keynesian! Blah, blah, blah, I am not listening to you Leftists!!!

            Krugman writes:

            So why funnel the money to private corporations via loan guarantees rather than simply doing the obvious and restoring the huge cuts that have recently taken place in public investment?

            One answer, of course, would be that doing that would be an implicit admission that the Cameron government has just wasted two years doing exactly the wrong thing. It has, of course, and apparently realizes its mistake; but presumably the government hopes that privatizing the process will confuse enough people that it can escape blame.

      • IrishGrrrl

        Exactly, MrBrink. There is a very similar thing going on in AZ. There is a ton of FHA housing fraud where realtors, loan officers, etc all conspire together to help illegal immigrants get the govt loans using false papers of citizenship and income and giving them crappy loan terms that they often don’t understand. The realtors charge the immigrants thousands of dollars under the table to make quick cash. Often the immigrants don’t understand the loan process and may not think there is anything wrong with what they are doing since bribery is so common in Mexico (it’s just an accepted part of life there).

        Once the immigrants are in the house and can’t really afford it (because, remember their income was entirely falsified or inflated so they could qualify in the first place) they often default on the loan. At that point they come under scrutiny by HUD who investigates.

        Who do the wingnuts in AZ blame? a) The realtors and loan officers b) the Federal govt c ) the immigrants or d) the failure to fund federal govt properly so that FHA loan applications can be properly vetted.

        In their mind, it’s not the realtors and loan officers and its certainly not the fault of all the people in AZ who don’t want to pay taxes so the FHA can operate correctly. No, they blame the very existence of FHA in the first place (it’s too enticeing, apparently) and the blame the immigrants who had the nerve to be victims. Assbackwards….

    • IrishGrrrl

      Graf, I read the entire exchange and you’re correct…..he completely accepts the data (aka, lies) from The Heritage Foundation because 1) he wants to or 2) he is ignorant of how to properly assess data. I suspect it is both. Americans aren’t taught how to assess data any more. They think that “Yo mamma” is the height of debate rhetoric

      The only thing you might have done was to disembowel the data from The Heritage Foundation but who has time and space to do that in HuffPosts comments?!

      Ultimately, the volume of lies from the other side is so large in scope and depth that it would take up all of your free time to debunk it and ultimately that time would be better spent elsewhere. Furthermore, even if you had the time and space to debunk the lies the odds are very, very good that he would have used some other GOP false data to prove his point. He WANTS to believe, no matter how much he tries to appear reasonable.