Unions ‘Own the Democratic Party’

Contrarian author, blogger, and senatorial candidate Mickey Kaus on interest-group politics, immigration, and the Velvet Underground

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Kaus: Reconquista is a little—a little extreme. If you talk to people in Mexico, I’m told, if you get them drunk in a bar, they’ll say we’re taking it back, sorry. That’s not an uncommon sentiment in Mexico, so why can’t we take it seriously here?

reason: Do we worry about Germany taking back America?

Kaus: No, Germany isn’t next door. This is like a Quebec problem if France was next door to Canada.

reason: Question: During the ’90s and most of the 2000s, immigrants went to places that had lower than average unemployment because they go looking for jobs.

Kaus: Right. 

reason: They don’t go to places with sick economies. How did, say, San Francisco not benefit from an influx of immigrants, whether it’s legal immigrants from other parts of the U.S. or from Mexico? Crime rates did not go up. Welfare rolls did not go up. Most illegals, in particular, are kept from being on the welfare rolls.

Kaus: I’m not one who stresses that illegals lead to crime and welfare and bankrupt the state, but they definitely had a bad effect on education.

reason: In what way?

Kaus: Because they don’t speak English, a lot of them, and you have to send your kids to class with people who didn’t speak English. And as a result, there was a demand for bilingual programs, which we recently managed to get rid of a bit.

reason: With the help of Latinos.

Kaus: Right. No, but it’s still, if you have a kid, you would rather he goes to school with people who already speak English.

reason: You’re talking to somebody whose mother didn’t speak English until she went to grammar school, and I’m not sure she was speaking English at the end of her life either. I mean, seriously, so immigrants did not cause an unemployment problem. People did not lose wages.

Kaus: People did lose wages.

reason: No, no, at a very, very small level because of the level of unskilled workers. Who was cutting the grass in California before Mexicans?

Kaus: All economists agree overall, whatever happens with immigration, maybe it’s—

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  • Max||

    Please be my porn

  • ||

    Hey! The unions don't OWN the democratic party! That is offensive to even suggest!
    The trial lawyers do!

  • George Soros||

    No, I do. I have the receipt.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Yes unions own the Democratic party.

    And in other breaking news, the sun rises in the east.

  • ||

    And management owns the GOP.

  • Matt from CT||

    No, Management owns whoever is in power at the time...they just buy them off.

    Note that the politicians ARE management for the largest employer of union workers. And we won't mention who owns 60% of GM.

  • Chad||

    TEH EXTERNALITIES!!!1!!

  • Thorbie||

    Haven't you been watching the GOP primaries? Management doesn't vote. lol.

  • ||

    If that were only true!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And water is wet, at least at temperatures over 32 degrees.

  • MNG||

    And I was in favor of calling the health-care mandate a tax, before I was against it.

  • Highway||

    What is this, Nick Gillespie schools Mickey Kaus? I mean, it's good, but seems like an odd interview if you're telling him he's wrong and what he should change, Nick.

  • ||

    Fear the drunken brown hoards that will trun America into a third world country.

    Yeesh, does it really matter if he's pro-pot and anti-SEIU? With friends like this who needs Democrats?

  • Warty||

    Mickey Kaus' name is either really unfortunate or really awesome.

  • slutmonkey||

    m-i-c, k-e-y, k-a-u-s tic!
    mickey kaus!
    mickey kaus!
    m-i-c, k-e-y, k-a-u-s tic!

    doesn't quite flow the same.

  • ||

    Mickey Kaus is one of my favorite Democrats. His views are a mixed bag, but he's articulate and doesn't just apply a rigid ideology to every possible topic, like many people do.

  • ||

    He'd be better if he actually was firm in ideology. I think Gillespie changed Kaus's mind about 4 times in that piece.

  • jj||

    If I was to summarize PapayaSF's rigid ideology, it is the desire to not have a rigid ideology.

  • ||

    I think any ideology, applied to everything to the Nth degree, yields absurdities. E.g.: Tom Hayden's old Berkeley commune, where they had a big house argument about whether people should close the bathroom door while using it. (Bourgeois notions of "privacy," you see.)

    I think libertarianism is a good basic guide to government, but to me a "libertarian utopia" would not have, say, a privatized Army and personal possession of nuclear weapons. And in a democracy, stepping back from the extreme cases helps defuse arguments against the more reasonable and doable steps in a libertarian direction.

  • ||

    This is the same conversation I have every day with liberal (and conservative) co-workers. They can't justify any of their positions and get destroyed on the facts so they quickly change the subject and I school them on that and so on just like Gillespie gave this bozo his fuckin' lunch. I'm actually angry that he ever made $82,000 a year.

  • Rudan||

    "It would drive down wages for unskilled Americans."

    And remember kids, that's a bad thing.

  • Rudan||

    Also:
    "They have to come up with some excuse. They have to say what they say to me when they stop me. You know, your taillight’s out."
    Oh the cops are gonna have a lot of creative fun with this.

  • ||

    Cuz no cop has ever abused a taillight with a billy club when he felt like being a major asshole.

  • slutmonkey||

    Saying the cop has to find an excuse doesn't address the fundamental problem. A cop can ALWAYS find SOME reason to pull you over. You basically can't go outside with out subjectively breaking SOME law or other all he has to do is point out which one.

    The immigration law is just adding heat to an already broken situation where the fourth amendment only applies when both the policeman and the prosecutor are incompetent...

  • Videovexa||

    All laws can be abused, that doesn't mean there shouldn't be a law. Just because I can give a baby a cigarette, does not mean we should ban all cigarettes just because of the "possibility" of abuse. That would give all laws no meaning. Having illegals breaking the law and not allowing the states to govern their own borders is a problem. I don't think we should have the National Guard running around patrolling for the states either. That's a little spooky. The states should be allowed to deal with the illegal immigration problem however they deem fit for their state.

  • ||

    I think they should make a movie about how he got the Velvet Underground to play at his high school.

  • ||

    Aside from Germany not "taking back the US" as it never owned it to start with, the ethnic Germans who came here were socially or socioeconomically squeezed out of Germany and while happy to celebrate their heritage, most wanted to BE American and they had little or no connection with the German nation state. The same is not always the case with our southern neighbors.

    It is very easy to sit in your publishing office and lookout at your company and then spout some Libertarian tripe poo pooing wage depression in the unskilled market. You have money. You have a profitable skill set. What would you think about the issue if you didn't?

    We have generations of kids coming up who are going to struggle for the rest of their lives simply because liberals (and their useful idiots, like Nick) want to pander to the Hispanic vote by flooding our country with people who are unskilled and who are easily manipulated by passing out the goodies from Uncle Sam.

    Nick, really, leave the East Coast once in a while. Come out to the middle of the country and look at cities like mine that have functioning economies, but are basically economic deserts for unskilled American labor.

  • ||

    Funny, I live about 10 miles from the Mexican border in Arizona and I don't see any of that going on...nor did I see it growing up in the Midwest, where we had a large immigrant presence from Mexico. How about providing some evidence to support your claims about the damage "unskilled" immigrants are doing instead of just blurting out cliched ad hominem attacks about East Coast bias?

  • ||

    Hmm, I've seen plenty of it here in CA. Whole sections of towns turn into little bario's. Gangs come in, crime goes up.

  • ||

    My youngest is not college material. He is struggling to get into any kind of a job that can lead to better things or even a paycheck that is >minimum wage. There are about 20 people I know who are basically not engineers, or physicians/nurses who are struggling to get anything going here in Omaha (where our unemployment rate is 1/2 the national average).

  • JoshINHB||

    BRM

    Don't you realize that in libertopia everyonw is far above average. Most are in the top 10%

    IN Libertopia everyone is a journo list, doctor, lawyer or engineer.

  • ||

    So it would seem. A political philosophy that grew up in economically segregated suburbs and developed in Liberal Arts programs never has to encounter people who work their backsides off and still struggle to make the money last the month. Therefore, their "paradigms" never take these people into account and never deal with establishing a work model that allows people to move up.

    My grandfather lived in Boystown, he worked his way up to a teaching degree. He was able to get a decent job, which he blew on booze. My grandmother and my father were impoverished. My Dad worked full time from age 14 to age 67. When I was a baby, he worked two jobs and went to night school so he could get ahead.

    I am a physician today because there was a pipeline for guys like my Dad, an unskilled worker, to make a living and better himself. Were it not for that, I wouldn't exist as my parents would never have met.

    The nation fails when it fails to remember that the driver that made us rich was to abandon European class structure and allow people to rise up based on their own work. Without a chance to move up, unskilled Americans will fall into the same class trap that 19th century Europeans fell into. Look what that brought us.

  • EMp||

    Bingo - hear, hear. There are many on this board that like to wax poetic about undoumented laborers but do not like to acknowledge that this is being done for a larger profit margin. The same non-acknowledgement blinders are firmly in place because there is- their minds- no chance that the economic laws and social structures could change even with the geometrical demographic (i.e. political) make-up in this country rapidly morphing into a 'Napoleonic'/ plutocratic culture before their eyes....

  • ||

    Like Hollywood, where 1% of the entertainment industry makes 95% of the money and the rest scramble to pay the rent.

    We just can't afford to allow our society to be ruled solely by people who have never worked in their lives and don't know anyone who hasn't gone to one of the Ivy's. Barry, you listening?

  • EMp||

    Exactly....

  • Garrison Keillor||

    So true. All the ex-wives used to be above average too, but now they are filthy Scandi scum.

  • ||

    Summer teen unemployment is at an all time high. Simple enough for ya

  • Thorbie||

    Actually I'm pretty sure Nick lives in Los Angeles. The Reason office is off the 405 around Culver City I think.

    I'll say I disagree with the notion of "open borders," because I think borders do serve a legitimate function, I simply have a problem with immigration quotas and the extremely high difficulty associated with immigrating here, but you are wrong about unskilled labor. We already have businesses which seek cheap unskilled labor in other countries all over the world, because it's too expensive to hire people here. Having more immigrants won't make it any worse. It will only make those countries which can't afford to hire people here, start hiring more people here (assuming we can get rid of minimum wage). With free trade, we should have already experienced all the problems you are worried about, yet America has been doing fine (except for maybe the current recession which is unrelated to immigration).

    I live in Los Angeles, and I'll say there has been less opportunity in recent years, but that's not due to illegal immigrants. It's due to the Keynesians in Washington and California's bloated welfare state. If anything, we need less jobs handed to people here. While many of us are suffering during this economic meltdown, those who work for the state get virtually guaranteed employment for life no matter how lousy they are at their jobs. Nick and Klaus were talking about immigration and unions. Let me tell you, unions are the ones wrecking the state, not illegal immigrants.

  • ||

    And yet Hispanics overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, who support the big government Keynsianism you decry. So you are supporting massive immigration of people who will contribute to those very problems.

  • Thorbie||

    Women and minorities also vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. We're not going to deport them are we? Should we raise the quotas for Cubans since they tend to vote Republican? No.

    That isn't a good reason to be against a rational immigration policy. I'm simply asking for America to be a nation of private property, not public property. Given I already said I'm not for open borders, I think you're picking a fight with someone you'd rather have on your side.

  • ||

    I'm not picking a fight, just pointing out that massive immigration is helping tilt things in the Democrat/union direction.

  • JoshINHB||

    With free trade, we should have already experienced all the problems you are worried about, yet America has been doing fine

    CA's 24% U6 UR and 40% drop in RE values is doing fine?

    What's doing great look like to you?

  • Thorbie||

    Are you saying the economy only started tanking in CA due to free trade? California still had one of the top 10 strongest economies after NAFTA passed. It started tanking due to housing crisis which was due to our welfare state and entitlement society. It has nothing to do with free trade.

  • ||

    This notion that illegal immigrants from Mexico are a "huge benefit" is flat wrong, and you can only get to that conclusion by cooking the books, and leaving out important costs. Kaus is dead right on this.

    I am from Southern California. Educating the children of illegal immigrants, most of whom are illegal themselves (not born here) and cannot speak English, costs us a huge amount of money in this state. Huge.

    And the notion that "illegals are kept off the welfare rolls" is also flat nonsense that sounds lovely when you assert it, but it obviously, factually, not true. My wife is a therapist, and she worked for outfits that took public money to provide mental health services to the poor, and specifically, those on one form of state welfare or another.

    Eventually, she was moved to another department, because they required that you be Spanish bilingual to have her job, due to the enormous number of illegals on their rolls.

    My wife ended up losing a good paying, educated job thanks to illegals, and they were most certainly taking state money, since one of the things she was required to do was to document their mental status with the appropriate agencies.

    None of these people were paying sufficient taxes to make up for the services they received. None of them were generating sufficient "economic benefit" to do so either.

    There is a cost associated with the bulk of the poorest population of a third world country moving across your border.

    If you eliminate entitlement programs, which you can't, then I'll support open borders. Until then, the cost outweighs the benefit. Which you would understand if you counted the costs honestly, rather than leaving out anything that doesn't support your hypothesis.

  • Soonerliberty||

    I say let them in to kill the welfare state. Open up cheap labor. We're not afraid of a little competition, are we?

  • ||

    Educating the children of illegal immigrants, most of whom are illegal themselves (not born here) and cannot speak English, costs us a huge amount of money in this state. Huge.

    An argument against public education spending, not immigration.

    My wife is a therapist, and she worked for outfits that took public money to provide mental health services to the poor, and specifically, those on one form of state welfare or another.

    Eventually, she was moved to another department, because they required that you be Spanish bilingual to have her job, due to the enormous number of illegals on their rolls.

    Of course if we didn't have those social programs in the first place, they wouldn't be there for immigrants (or anyone else) to overwhelm, would there? And you do realize the futility of trying to draw sympathy or shock from a bunch of libertarians about a government program that fails, right?

    None of these people were paying sufficient taxes to make up for the services they received. None of them were generating sufficient "economic benefit" to do so either.

    Of course neither are the Americans getting those services. Poor Americans generally pay less in taxes than illegal immigrants.

    If you eliminate entitlement programs, which you can't, then I'll support open borders.

    When you show me a detriment to immigration besides that it kills idiotic government programs (which isn't really a detriment), then maybe I'll accept your position that immigration should be limited. Until then, you're just supporting one ridiculous set of bad laws (immigration quotas) to prop up another (entitlement programs).

  • Annoyed ||

    It shows how Paleocons are not interested is dismantling the Welfare state, they're just pissed that other races can get welfare checks. So instead of attacking the Welfare state they just attack brown people.

  • Dany||

    You cant just dismantle the welfare state with the snap of your fingers. You can reduce its strain on society by limiting the number of people dependent on it. You do realize though, that the more people you have dependent on it, the more you re-enforce it.

  • ||

    Bingo. And the idea that first we get rid of public education spending and the welfare state is politically absurd. It's another example of ideological purity leading you into a blind alley.

  • Garrison Keillor||

    But Papaya, every thing the Feds touch gets devalued. Where in the USSA can a caring parent send their kid to the Gov school, doctor, hospital, clinic, summer camp, public defender, Officer Friendly, IRS website. OK I'll stop, but you get the idea.
    The Feds do not provide a service that is used by anyone who can afford the private alternative. If you must take my money to pay for public education, at least go to an all voucher system.
    Fed programs do not provide a service. They are workfare for reliable Democrat voters. That is all.

  • ||

    Don't get me wrong: I'd be happy with a voucher system. I just think it's politically unworkable to say the solution to illegal immigration is to end the public school system, or the solution to border security is to legalize drugs, etc. It amounts to saying the solution to Problem X is to first solve Problem Y, which is 20 times harder.

  • ||

    What an idiot. The welfare state isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Flooding the country with people that vote for more and more access to my checkbook is insane and just shows how out of touch so called libertarians are on this issue.

  • JoshINHB||

    If you eliminate entitlement programs, which you can't, then I'll support open borders. Until then, the cost outweighs the benefit.

    Heresy

    Don't you realize that Nick gets great deals on maid services, auto detailing and gardening.

    Whatever problems your children have in school are well worth that trade off.

    To Him.

  • EMp||

    THAT will leave a mark - OUCH!!

  • Spencer Smith||

    Bad arguments against immigration- good arguments against unions. This just shows how people can leave logic behind on certain issues while not losing it completely. Immigration is that issue for most people.

  • Tony||

    I still fail to see how this constant drumbeat against unions is libertarian in any way. Do you guys really think union influence is more entrenched in Congress than corporate influence?

  • Soonerliberty||

    No, they both suck. And I have no problems with private sector unions with no favoritism under the law from gov't. Public sector unions is a-whole-nother ballgame.

  • Spencer Smith||

    "No, they both suck. And I have no problems with private sector unions with no favoritism under the law from gov't. Public sector unions is a-whole-nother ballgame."

    Yep. NO FAVORITISM under the law from the government.

  • Tony||

    Non-union labor is just icky.

  • Spencer Smith||

    Sure, and unskilled workers forcing other unskilled workers to pay a monthly stipend to the union leaders is much better than being icky. Union states are failing. Nonunion states are growing.

  • Tony||

    You're a homophobe, otherwise you wouldn't be talking to me like that.

  • shrike||

    I still love you, Tony. Together, we can beat these fucking right-wingers, if we just keep hammering at them.

  • Amakudari||

    As an ex-Californian, I can guarantee you that unions are far, far more influential in the Golden State than corporations. Don't get me wrong--all rent-seeking is bad--but unions in Cali exist for the sole purpose of rent-seeking.

    $120k per year train operators, cops and firemen retiring at 30 with full inflation-indexed pay, some of the highest-paid teachers in the nation and some of the worst-performing schools. Hell, even after Vallejo filed for bankruptcy because of the aforementioned pension schemes, the city still didn't reduce them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avB_iFEURY4

    I have no problem with interest groups airing their concerns. I do have a problem with interest groups demanding handouts.

  • ||

    "$120k per year train operators, cops and firemen retiring at 30 with full inflation-indexed pay,"

    I've heard of cops retiring at 50, but never at 30.

    Anyway, agreed that it's out of control. Public servants live like kings while we struggle to pay the taxes.

  • Amakudari||

    I've heard of cops retiring at 50, but never at 30.

    Sorry, I meant after 30 years of service. 50. In several cities, you get 3% each year, which means 90% of your final salary after 30 years. It's inflation-indexed, and you can also "spike" it by saving PTO until the last year and cashing it out.

    (Damn threaded comments.)

  • ||

    Surely then, you'd agree that there is no place for state laws requiring one to be a union member. All right-to-work-all-the-time, right?

  • Spencer Smith||

    "All right-to-work-all-the-time, right?"

    YES.

  • Spencer Smith||

    "All right-to-work-all-the-time, right?"

    YES.

  • shrike||

    NO. All people with jobs should be forced to join unions.

  • Spencer Smith||

    Ha.

  • Amakudari||

    I've heard of cops retiring at 50, but never at 30.

    Sorry, I meant after 30 years of service. 50. In several cities, you get 3% each year, which means 90% of your final salary after 30 years. It's inflation-indexed, and you can also "spike" it by saving PTO until the last year and cashing it out.

  • ||

    More libertarian foolishness about this insane, completely cynical policy of both parties of importing an underclass from the failing state on our southern border-- for what social benefit none can say.

    Aside from the stupidity of the elite's "we need their labor" mantra -- riddle me this: in what alternate universe does scarcity coexist with a decline in the market-clearing price for a good? -- the devastation of one after another CA institution is made plain by a simple review of the data.

    The reason why CA public school achievement, for example, has fallen off a cliff in the last 25 years is obvious to anyone who spends a few minutes with the California DoE's publicly-available STAR test database, which aggregates test scores by ethnicity, language, etc for students across the state and at every single public school.

    You don't need to live in California, or in the US for that matter, to spot the pattern in the carpet here. The data make clear that the unmistakable driver of California's dreadful school performance is the abysmal scores of hispanic or latino students, who are now a majority of CA public school students. Consider:

    In 2009, Asian students made up 9% of the total. Over 75% of Asian students in CA public schools scored in the two highest categories (either "Proficient" or "Advanced") on both Math and English Language Arts; 25% were below Proficiency, ie failing. http://tinyurl.com/ylrajub

    African-Americans: 7% of total CA public students in 2009; ca. 35% scored Proficient or Advanced; 65% scored below proficiency, ie failing.

    Hispanic students: 50% of total, ca. 32% scored Proficient or Advanced; 68% below proficiency ie failing.
    http://tinyurl.com/yggv9om

    Now, the hispanic students' scores have increased in the last two years from their traditional 75-80% failing rate (for example, see 2003, when 81% of hispanic students were below proficiency, or failing), but it's obvious that the rapid increase in hispanics' share of the California public school population-- about 1 percentage point each year since 1990-- over the last two decades explains the astonishingly rapid decline in CA public school student achievement during that period.

    Even the most quantitatively-inept journalist or commentator can see that no amount of funding, no redesign of curriculum or pedagogical approach, can overcome a semi-literate or illiterate imported underclass that now constitutes over half of the student population and that cares little about student achievement.

    Please spend at least a few minutes reviewing the empirical evidence.

    California schools don't have a resource or funding or union problem. They have a Mexican underclass problem.

    Let's hope that the uptick in 2009's hispanic scores represents the start of a turnaround, but there's a hell of a long way to go when half the school population is at a failure rate of 68%.

  • slutmonkey||

    For anyone that cares, white students: 29% of tested students, 80% proficient or above in math, 75% proficient or above in english.

    I realize this doesn't change impact your point about how CA schools are failing because of black & hispanic students. But why should the performance of schools inform immigration policy?

    CA schools aren't serving these two classes very well, but stemming the tide of Mexican immigration isn't going to make the Hispanics who are here do any better in school. I'm sure you already know the usual libertarian answer that we shouldn't have public schools in the first place. If we assume that Hispanic students CAN learn, then we have to assume that the problem is either with the school or the culture in the home. Public CA schools are ok with failing because this it makes it easy to get more money. Private schools whose ability to stay in business would DEPEND on helping Hispanic students to learn might fare differently. Innovate-or-die creates a lot more good than stagnate-and-profit.

    As you do above your rant about schools, it's easy to point out how libertarian ideas will fail when implemented only in one area--especially when you compare them to perfection instead of the status quo.

    Other people in this thread have also pointed out how permissive immigration reform could affect welfare, healthcare, the price unskilled labor market and a miriad of other things, and they're all right.

    And they're all missing the point that libertarian ideas, like the ideas of any philosophy, cooperate to produce positive results. Mixing philosophic approaches is like putting a little of each soft drink into your cup at McDonalds. Individually each philosophy has a taste that many people like, but when you mix them all up, almost no one likes the result.

  • EMp||

    And this here, scientifically and objectively is what the open borders advocates refuse to acknowledge, IMO.

  • Brian||

    I dont buy the argument that you're going to have to militarize the border or build huge walls in order to enforce it. We spend billions of dollars on defense. Surely some of that must go into sophisticated cameras, motion detectors, helicopters, etc. Also what about sending undercover officers or paying informants to infiltrate those human smuggling gangs (the coyotes) that bring most of the immigrants over in the first place? If the federal government really wanted to stop it, it could easily do it.

    In fact I have traveled across the northern border with Canada many times and there seems to be more security and high tech equipment up there.

  • slutmonkey||

    "If the federal government really wanted to stop it, it could easily do it." Just like they've stopped all illegal drug use.

    People made it over the Berlin wall while that was still up. Cameras and motion detectors don't matter without people and guns to react to the things they see, and even that isn't foolproof.

  • Brian||

    This is completely different than the drug war. Im with libertarians on the drug war but not on this issue. The drug war is impossible because drug use occurs all over the place. Immigrants coming over the border occurs only in one place, the border. Also, technology has improved since the Berlin Wall.

  • ||

    It doesn't have to be foolproof or perfect, it just has to be better. If a few hundred illegals snuck in every year, nobody sane would care. When it's tens or hundreds of thousands every year, it matters.

  • EMp||

    Yes! Brian and PapayaSF....

  • Brian||

    Oh and Kaus is dead right about pushing down labor costs. In Canada, where they have tight control over immigration, unskilled construction workers can make a pretty decent living, while skilled trades like carpenters or plumbers make insane amounts of money (up there with doctors) because there is so much demand.

  • ||

    "Bob Shrum, the Democratic consultant, said, “Have you ever been to Latin America?” Latin America, if you’re middle class or rich, you live in an apartment building and there’s a guy with a machine gun on every floor. I don’t want to live in that kind of society. We would immediately have the inequality of Rio de Janeiro in Los Angeles."

    As an American who has lived more than a decade in Latin America, particularly Colombia, Mexico and Argentina, I take issue with this statement. I think he is failing in identifying causality. It should be noted that guns are outlawed for individual use in most of LAC, so if you want to have protection the sole option is private security. That is combined with a War on Drugs that has radically worsened security to the measure that it's applied by creating a rent captured by organized crime. These issues are far removed from inequality as a cause of crime per se. They have to do with very poor policymaking. Where I am right now they just enacted a knife ban. All fruit vendors must cut their fruit at home. No kidding. Do you think this deters criminals? Hell no!

  • ||

    The Dems are owned, lock, stock and barrel by labor unions. If in doubt, refer to the follwing site.
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?order=A

  • ||

    That's a nice link.

    For me, I don't really cares who owns them, nobody should own them. (Or we all should.)
    Also the effective difference between team red and team blue is nominal. They both ride the same big gov't bus.

    I guess what I'm saying is, regardless of who owns whom, they both suck. Maybe you could make the argument that blue team would be better if they weren't owned by labor unions. But labor unions only really care about one thing (protecting labor); they don't care that much about freedom, liberty, drugs, guns, police, taxes, war, whatever. So 90% of the stuff they do to us (or allow to be done to us) isn't really union-influenced.

    For the purposes of this interview, though, no doubt they hate immigrants, both legal and illegal, so Kaus should get along with them much better than he does.

  • ||

    Nick could never change my mind on illegal immigration because his arguments are simplistic, dishonest nonsense. For him to claim there is no downside to massive illegal immigration is absurd.

    What if Mexico was not a failed state? What if massive numbers of illegals were *not* coming here? Would that be bad for the US? Would our economy have collapsed long ago for lack of uneducated, low skilled workers? Every time I start liking Libertarians I read stuff like this and I realize how asinine some of their positions are.

    Perhaps Mr. Gillespie should go to AZ and talk to the folks on the front lines. Talk to some public officials whose communities are going broke because they don't have the funds to build schools for all of these people. Talk to law enforcement or health care providers who are getting ripped off by illegals who get care and have no intention to pay the bill.

    For Gillespie and Co. to be right, then all of the people who are dealing with this problem every day are all full of crap and just dislike Hispanics. I don't believe that, sorry. It is amazing also that most Libertarians are very economically literate, yet claim an increase in the supply of labor does not depress wages. Of course it does, any time you increase the supply of ANYTHING prices go down.

  • Spencer Smith||

    It's not about downside or upside. It's about rights and freedom. It's about the illogical and unsupportable practice of making someone a criminal based on the geographic lottery of birth.

  • ||

    What you consider "illogical and unsupportable" has been traditional for millennia. On Hayekian grounds alone, I am reluctant to toss out the concept of national borders because someone decides they are "illogical" or immoral or whatever. If you want to immigrate, get in the line and get vetted.

  • Spencer Smith||

    Your ides that the concept has been traditional for millennia is incorrect at best. There were NO immigration rules for anything but citizenship when the US was founded. In fact, the only thing required to become a citizen was to have lived here for 2 years without incident. Nothing was mentioned as to getting here in the first place.

    Also, inertia is not a rational argument. Just because something has been is not a good reason for it continuing to be.

  • ||

    I'm saying the concept of national borders, and the right to decide who enters, is traditional. And it's more than just "inertia" to think that having tens of millions of poor and unvetted immigrants might not be a wonderful idea.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Myths of Immigration:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcBwPyDPW54

    Milton Friedman on Immigration PT1:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eyJIbSgdSE

    Most immigration arguments are grounded on either superstitious economic beliefs, or the maintenance of the nanny state.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    One more, done by Reason themselves:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

  • ||

    unions are like the mafia, and historically infiltrated by the mafia. they care zero for any citizens not a member of their group, and will adopt any tactic to hold those citizens up for money. and, the vig is never enough, whatever they get, they will come looking for more. in 1904 unions were a good idea. today, they are corruption distilled, like a cancer, like a blight on america....

  • Mike Laursen||

    Who was cutting the grass in California before Mexicans?

    I can answer that one. My parents. They were part of what you might call a demographic of post-World War II "okies" (although, technically, they were from a failed farm in Nebraska, not Oklahoma) who emigrated from the plains to the cities, taking the same kind of jobs you see Mexicans taking now. My dad was a gardener, my mom was a cafeteria lady, and we had a janitorial business at night.

  • ||

    He does not seem to know much history. Israel flourished before the wall, will it still flourish? It's too soon to tell. And China's wall did not work that well, China was dirt poor for most of its history, in fact they didn't become that rich until after the Manchus came over the wall and took over.

  • ||

    Is'nt that newsie!

  • ||

    Who was cutting the grass in California before Mexicans?

    Neighborhood kids, high school kids, college kids, self-employed handymen. My father, who could afford to hire someone else, cut his own grass as does my husband who also can afford to hire someone else. Just like I do my own housework. What a concept.

    I must say Kaus comes off a lot better than the interviewer. Open borders has to be one of the really stupid crazy policy positions. Seriously.

    I haven't been down there recently myself, but I hear LA gets more like Rio all the time. I do know it has the most expensive, worst performing school district in the state. On one level at least it's understandable since having to deal with large concentrations of non-English speakers is quite expensive and time consuming. Surely that's one of the reasons we don't have the resources to improve education for black kids.

    You do notice South American cities look the way they do even though they’re not big on immigration, right? I mean, it may be something that has to do with South American social, political, and economic structures, rather than American ones...

    Exactly. And these days we're having to deal with large numbers of immigrants (legal and il) who have no interest in the "melting pot" but merely want to relocate their native (largely failed) cultures to greener economic pastures. This is a big problem, a very big problem.

    Finally, it can't have escaped your notice that San Francisco is different than SoCal. The greatest influx of immigration to SF has come from Asia, mainly China. And that's a whole different breed of cat.

  • ||

    SF does have a problem with various Hispanic gangs.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Neighborhood kids, high school kids, college kids, self-employed handymen.

    Well, of course, some people have always cut their own grass or hired a kid from the neighborhood. But, largely, a lot of the yard work that is now done by Hispanic workers was done by Japanese workers.

    I mention above that my dad had a gardening business. He was one of your self-employed handymen at that time. But before that he got his start by working for a Japanese nursery, Eto's, that landscaped a lot of the homes in the beach cities of Los Angeles.

    And, by the way, because my own family history is so similar to what current Mexican immigrants go through, I sympathize with them and think open borders are a great idea.

    Maybe it's not the borders but the fact that we have a public school system that is the root of the problem.

  • Thorbie||

    I think this whole "who cuts the grass" back and forth is bullshit.

    We're on Reason's forum, we know this. If you can't find someone to cut the grass you charge more. I agree that illegal immigrants will be more willing to do it for less, but that alone is a dumb and condescending reason to be in favor of open borders or at least a less regulated immigration system. Immigration is generally good and everyone who isn't diseased should have the opportunity of freedom.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Coming across a little grouchy there, bud.

  • ||

    Can someone please explain how libertarians, who are for private control of resources/property (to avoid the tragedy of the commons) can logically be for open borders (i.e. increased mass immigration) into the overall commons (The United States) Increasing our population to the projected 400 million by 2050 (immigrants and their descendants are projected to be over 80% of the increase) seems like a sure fire way to degrade the commons.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Don't have time to give an in-depth answer tonight, but think on the difference between control over what's done with a parcel of real estate controlled by an individual or small group of individuals vs. control of a continent-wide territory and the difficulty of all people in that territory deciding how it should be used. Do you see a qualitative difference related to the massive difference in scale between the two situations?

  • ||

    Well, what do you think the national consensus would be for border enforcement to stem the flood of illegal immigration? It's probably 70%+, a landslide in most elections. And yet it doesn't happen. Democrat elites want poor and uneducated future voters who can be used against capitalism and the white power structure. Republican elites want cheap labor. Many of the tiny libertarian faction wants open borders out of (IMHO) misguided idealism, a lack of a sense of proportion ("immigration is good, so more is always better!"), and because they ignore social factors that don't show up in their economic analysis.

  • Mike Laursen||

    So, now you're talking about deciding things by majority vote, and then finding a bunch of trustworthy people in some central command center to run the border enforcement. So, a lot of those people voting have no personal experience with immigration or immigrants, and they don't know the politicians who are operating the whole system for them, and the scale of the whole thing is so huge that the politicians are virtually totally unaccountable.

    Contrast that with the other end of the scale, where individuals are making decisions what to do with their own property/own life situation, based on first-hand knowledge of them.

    Now, we've set the stage for talking about the problem realistically.

    Have to write more later...

  • ||

    Clearly a difference in scale is evident, but I think that there is a greater commons here in the form of the nation-state.

    A minority (business owners, vote seeking democrats, etc), benefit a lot for each new immigrant with lower labor costs and a vote, and everyone else loses a bit with more pollution, more traffic, lower water quality, increased land cost. It seems to me the same as adding more animals to a grazing common...someone gains a lot, and the rest lose a bit for each additional animal grazing.

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