The Towers! They Do Nothing!

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An update from the ever-less-bitter immigration wars:

The government is scrapping a $20 million prototype of its highly touted "virtual fence" on the Arizona-Mexico border because the system is failing to adequately alert border patrol agents to illegal crossings, officials said.

The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced his approval of the fence built by The Boeing Co. The fence consists of nine electronic surveillance towers along a 28-mile section of border southwest of Tucson.

This just two months after feds admitted they couldn't even finish building the useless thing. More hilarity from the dry run:

Agents began using the virtual fence last December, and the towers have resulted in more than 3,000 apprehensions since, said Greg Giddens, executive director of the SBI program office in Washington.

But that's just a fraction of the several hundred illegal immigrants believed to cross the border daily near southwest of Tucson.

It's not a secret that the Bush administration was engaging in kabuki here. It did the same thing on the non-virtual, brick-and-morter fence that'll never be built.

Headline explained here.

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  1. Was there any constituency for a “virtual fence”? Other than the Boeing Corporation of course.
    This is yet another example of why government is worse than useless.
    Some people want a border fence so the government can either build one or not . The State opts for a third choice, spend the money to not build the fence.

  2. C’mon!

    The GOP doesn’t care about COMPLETING projects – just funding them for their corporate benefactors.

    There is no money in benchmark payments and such – that would imply progress (too close to ‘progressive’)….

  3. Remember when the immigration wars were going to be the future of American politics? Politicians were preparing to throw themselves at any cause that could symbolically demonstrate how tough they were on teh illegals. And our martyrs in the border states were going to lead the charge.

    Everybody bought into it – the mainstream media, the liberal media, the conservative media (Lord knows), but it just sort of fizzled.

  4. You still haven’t finished your economics lesson from yesterday, shrike (https://reason.com/blog/show/126133.html#comments). Don’t you want to go on to the 4th grade with the other children?

  5. This virtual fence is a failure. It’s not even keeping virtual immigrants out — I had to deal with several Mexican tauren in Arathi Basin this week.

  6. Although, it was pretty funny to hear the Koreans yelling at them to “speak engrish!!”

  7. People who need the headline explained need to get off the internet because they’re 12, or Amish.

  8. Immigration has direct massive negative consequences on today’s and yesterdays economy.
    Are you now living from paycheck to paycheck, wondering how your going to feed your family, making your mortgage payment.
    You need to be aware of how much Uncle Sam is secretly skimming off your taxes and diverting into government freebies
    for immigrants and illegal foreign nationals.

    This is a document that should disturb you, because the globalist open border, free traders do not want you to see it. This is an thoroughly researched analysis of immigration costs, that the hierarchy of the U.S. government and special interests groups do not want you to read.

    Now you can read the disturbing details in the new 70-page document called “The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Immigration” by Edwin S. Rubenstein (www.eagleforum.org/sources). A Manhattan Institute adjunct academic with a mile-long scholarly resume, he has been doing financial analysis ever since he directed the studies of government waste for the Grace Commission of 1984.

    Did you know that taxpayers are supporting immigrants to the tune of $9.000 each. That means your subsidizing each family of four with $36.000.

    More than 37 million immigrants in the United States, both legal and illegal, cost the federal government more than $346 billion last year, twice as much as the nation’s fiscal deficit, according to a report released yesterday. The loss estimates, the report said, included $100 billion in federal taxes lost “from the reduction of native incomes caused by immigrant workers.” He also stated that even programs that are not usually associated with immigration, he said, have actually added financial burdens to the taxpayers.

    Our students are short-changed in overcrowded classrooms, because teachers must spend more time with illegal immigrant children.

    The financial burden immigrants inflict on education starts with the 3.8 million K-12 students enrolled in more-expensive classes for the non-English-speaking. When we add up the costs of hiring specialized teachers, training regular teachers, student identification and assessment, and administration costs, the total amounts to an estimated $1,030 per pupil, or $3.9 billion. Of the 48.4 million public school children, pre-K through 12th grade, 9.2 million or 19 percent are immigrants or the children of immigrants. In the next few years, immigration will account for almost all the increase in public school spending.

    Look at the $1.5 billion cost of incarcerating 267,000 criminal aliens in federal prisons. That’s not the worst of it; prison capacity is limited, so 80,000 to 100,000 other criminal aliens have been prematurely released to prowl our streets. Then their is the expenditure to hunt down 676,847 fugitive warrants by (ICE) and special agents. Actual cost for incarcerating illegal foreign nationals since 2001, over $1,407.798.965 dollars.

    The Manhattan Institute report includes all sorts of costs that pundits conveniently ignore, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. EITC gives an average cash payment of $1,700 per year to 25 percent of immigrant households.

    The emergency medical treatment given ‘gratis’ to illegal immigrants is another enormous cost, causing many border state hospitals and emergency rooms to close. Emergency means any complaint from morning sickness to athlete’s foot, gunshot wounds to AIDS.Even after some restrictions were imposed in 1996, 24.2 percent of immigrant households still receive Medicaid, whereas the figure for native-born Americans is 14.8 percent.The stiudy calculates that Hispanics account for 19.2 percent of Medicaid enrollment, while they are 13.7 percent of the U.S. population.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg about these outrageous costs.

    Please go to (www.eagleforum.org/sources) and know what your taxes are paying for…?

  9. “shrike’s 3rd grade economics teacher”.

    Right. Your “supply is infinite” notion looks worse by the hour. And “food is cheaper than ever” has been refuted today on Reason’s H&R.

    I posted a WSJ article in there that crapped all over the “Asian rice is higher solely b/c of ethanol subsidies” conspiracy theory.

    Go find it and tutor yourself.

  10. shrike’s 3rd grade economics teacher,

    Dude. Do you hate me, or what?

    Come on, I retire in a couple years. I don’t need this.

  11. Nine bucks a head, and $36 a family. Doesn’t seem to much to me.

    Oh, I see now, my mistake. Why can’t you use comma delimters like a real american?

  12. Poor, poor shrike. I see we’ll also need to have a remedial lesson on telling the truth. No one was claiming that Asian rice is more expensive “solely” because of corn prices.

    Your question was “What do ethanol subsidies (admittedly a bad idea) have to do with the price of rice or soy in Asia?” – in other words, how are they connected at all?

    Some students just can’t be taught, and some assholes just can’t admit when they’re clearly wrong. Which one are you, shrike?

  13. shrike’s 4th grade economics teacher,

    I don’t think you have to worry – at this rate it will take a lot longer than a couple of years for shrike to get to 4th grade. Based on his current competency I don’t see how he made it through 2nd grade economics.

    Poor, poor shrike.

  14. Wtf is The Boeing Company doing building (and operating!? are they some kind of “virtual law enforcement agency now?) “virtual fences” in the first place? Another richly deserved embarrassment for them. Wasting focus, capital and engineering talent on garbage like this is why the company managed to squander what should have been an insurmountable lead in commercial airplane sales to Airbus. Granted, Airbus, overly emboldened by its sudden prosperity, decided to return the gift by embarking on the A380 fiasco . But still, Boeing should stick to what it knows — building airplanes — instead of issuing turd-polishing statements highlighting the number of immigrants they helped arrest. Bill must be spinning in his grave.

  15. Jersey McJones is gone.

    We no longer see Dan T.

    Is shrike a new troll or just a new handle?

  16. Please, can we save the smarmy hating on each other for Lonewacko (who will be here in a flash to save the day), Donderooo, and Neil, please?

    really. I’m tiring of the petty one-up-manship.

    I vastly prefer the humous, vicious, cruel insults of people who really really deserve it. My M.O., that is.

    I just can’t stand the middle way

  17. wait.

    I just read some more of shrike’s “population bomb” posts.

    I retract the above. Mock away. Con vigor!

  18. Rice prices are up mostly due to –

    Demand
    Energy prices
    Hoarding
    Protectionism
    Rising Asian aflluence
    Pest outbreak in Vietnam
    etc

    Ohhhh, but I stepped on the “God who loathes US ethanol subsidies” and his pet project…. despite allowing for the absurdity of such practice. Asians prices are not up 140% in a year due to US corn ethanol conversion. Prove it, idiot.

    For crying out loud – you’re a fucking juvenile because you lost the argument.

  19. Asians prices are not up 140% in a year due to US corn ethanol conversion. Prove it, idiot.

    actually, you’re right. Although they certainly dont help. See the below.

    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11050146

    Man, I dont know who to mock on this one.

  20. Immigration has direct massive negative consequences on today’s and yesterdays economy. [… blah blah blah — lengthy ripped-off passage omitted].

    Dave, take your plagiarized spam someplace else. If you can’t think or write for yourself nobody here is going to be all that impressed with your cut and paste skills.

  21. “Asians prices are not up 140% in a year due to US corn ethanol conversion.”

    Again, no one claimed this – obviously ethanol subsidies aren’t the only factor, and no one said they were. But you couldn’t understand how the corn and rice prices could even be connected at all. It’s better if you just fess up, have a good cry, and move on.

    Poor, poor shrike. Completely unwilling to admit the obvious, even when it’s quoted back to you at 7:57 PM and available for everyone to see on the previous thread. I’ll have to have a word with your science teacher about whether you’re still trying to argue that the sky isn’t blue.

  22. TallDave, what Battlegroup are you in, if I may ask? Horde or Alliance?

  23. Hey shrike I’ll help you cheat on the test

    You left out a rice price factor. Kind of important in economics land

    Supply

    As in the supply not produced when farmers plow rice fields to grow corn.

  24. Oh, and, uh, immigrants and stuff. Yeah. Gubmint waste, and, uh…whatever. Dey took our jerbs.

  25. “As in the supply not produced when farmers plow rice fields to grow corn.” – SIV

    Right, because Vietnamese farmers are plowing up rice fields to grow agri-corn, which is heavily mechanized, to ship to the US?

    I don’t mind you guys who are on the wrong side here clandestinely toying with me but this is a serious topic.

    Read this – (WSJ)

    http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=10583

  26. quoting shrike: “What do ethanol subsidies (admittedly a bad idea) have to do with the price of rice or soy in Asia?”

    Still not willing to admit what an ignorant question this was, eh shrike? You can hold your breath for a while, but eventually you’ll have to give in to reality.

    You’re absolutely right about one thing at least – your complete ignorance of basic economics, to the extent that it’s shared by other adults, is a serious topic.

  27. Suckers.

    Free! I’m free!

  28. I recall my 3rd grade economics teacher. I had detention a lot.

  29. “What do ethanol subsidies (admittedly a bad idea) have to do with the price of rice or soy in Asia?”

    Its a perfectly legitimate question of which the answer is – NOT VERY MUCH.

    Its like this question, “What did their back-up catcher have to do with the Red Sox winning the World Series last year?”

    I may be an asshole but you are an asshole loser, TallDave.

  30. If you want to keep illegals out you don’t need towers or walls. You need this.

  31. Jim Bob,

    Alliance on my main 70 lock. I think we’re Vengeance battlegroup. I have 29 twinks on both horde and alliance (always fun to join the same bg as the opposite faction and slaughter the noobs whose incompetence is making you lose) but I don’t play them much anymore.

    They all lead every just about every bg in dmg. Dot, hide and run ftw!

  32. Dey took our jerbs.

    lawl

  33. If we lock TallDave and Shrike in the same phone booth, would we get a massive release of high energy photons akin to a matter/anti-matter reaction, or would it be more like mixing hydrocloric acid with sodium hydroxide leaving just a puddle of warm saltwater?

  34. Actually, I’m not his main adversary here. I just supplied the comic relief.

    I’m guessing Shannon Love is the 3rd grade teacher, but I don’t really know.

  35. “Up And At Them!”
    No Wolfcastle, it’s “Up And Atom”

  36. Right, because Vietnamese farmers are plowing up rice fields to grow agri-corn, which is heavily mechanized, to ship to the US?

    No, because American farmers aren’t growing rice.
    The suckers opted for the “sure thing” on corn but I bet they wish they didn’t breach the dikes and ditch the fields now.

  37. It’s not a secret that the Bush administration was engaging in kabuki here.

    Ugh. IMO, it’s nasty when a guy does that all over somebody’s face. Unless she’s into it.

  38. as an actual practicing economic analysis on food prices, amongst other thing, i have now decided shrike and his nemesis are both serious douche bags.

    Seriously, whats the quote? A little information is a dangerous thing?

  39. pardon – ‘analyst’

    ferkin typos

  40. TD,

    Cool- I’m leveling up a lock right now (have a retired 70 shadow priest), 60 atm. Horde side, but I’m on Whirlwind. I hear Vengeance is rough.

    I knew I wasn’t the only person who played WoW on H&R.

  41. Don’t sell your own douchebaggery short, GILMORE.

    As a self-described “expert” – your sum total contribution fell flat.

  42. TWC,

    Holy shit thats cool. I do worry about a civilian version however. I can just picture it used at road blocks.

  43. Stevo Darkly, you rule.

  44. as an actual practicing economic analysis on food prices

    Wouldn’t a real practicing economic analyst know how to spell his own job title?

    Jim Bob,

    Yeah, locks are the best for bgs. Once you get the hang of it you have the biggest impact of any class.

    I keep hearing Season 4 is about to start. I’m wondering if I should save my arena points for S4 gear.

  45. TallDave –

    yes, see above about the spelling thing. We can also talk about the basra situation whenever you show up next

    shrike | April 23, 2008, 11:19pm | #

    Don’t sell your own douchebaggery short, GILMORE.

    True. but i already have a rep here. you are making due with what little you have to offer. I was trying to throw you a bone.

    I didnt even know which side you were on in the “asshole vs. asshole” debate. I’d love to contribute if either of you fellas reads the economist piece i posted and has something to contribute other than backbiting.

    really, the problem here is that usually we talk about issues, and not about each other, except for lonewacko and Donderoooo. we dont need any more distracting dicks, so long as you never prove to be one

  46. More than 37 million immigrants in the United States, both legal and illegal, cost the federal government more than $346 billion last year, twice as much as the nation’s fiscal deficit, according to a report released yesterday. The loss estimates, the report said, included $100 billion in federal taxes lost “from the reduction of native incomes caused by immigrant workers.”

    Finally, we have the source (PDF) of this nonsense.

    The $100 billion starts with a result from a 2003 paper (PDF) by Borjas that says a 10% increase in immigration results in a 3.5% decrease in native wage. (If you go to the Borjas paper, it’s actually 3%, but who’s counting…)

    Rubenstein then uses that result to proportionally decrease the tax revenue from native income — coming up with $100 billion.

    But that was early work by Borjas that didn’t consider a number of factors. He updated it in a 2005 paper (PDF) to account for adjustments in capital as a result of the immigration. When those are considered, the effect of immigration on the average native wage is not a decrease of 3%, but an increase of 0.1%.

    Using Rubenstein’s “quick and dirty” method on these new numbers as he used them on the old numbers, we find that the purported $100 billion loss due to decreased native taxes is actually a $3 billion gain due to increased native taxes.

    Furthermore, if we consider that the average native wage increase is 0.1% even in the presence of a 4.8% decline in the wage of the native high school dropout, we realize that the unequal payment of taxes by higher earning natives means the net tax revenue gain from native workers due to immigration is much higher still.

    The claimed $100 billion in federal taxes lost is a complete and utter fiction.

  47. As a further example of the fiction of that Rubenstein report, I give you his conclusions after the calculated cost to the Treasury that includes the $100 billion debacle…

    American economists have made relatively little effort to measure the overall economic effects of immigration. But when they have, the answer is clear: immigration does not contribute much to economic growth. The consensus: the economic surplus (benefits less costs) generated by immigrants and accruing to native-born Americans is very small–about one-tenth of one percent of GDP.

    One-tenth of one percent of GDP translates to a $12.5 billion immigration surplus. But if immigration imposes a fiscal loss on native taxpayers of $169 billion–as we calculate above–its net economic impact is a negative $156 billion.

    Uh… I hate to bring this up… but… don’t you think that those studies that come up with a net contribution of immigration to native-born Americans have… I don’t know… already included all the fiscal effects you are pretending to derive?

    I mean, call me silly, but by subtracting someone else’s grand total from a subtotal that you (poorly) construct, aren’t you subtracting twice?

  48. I agree with MikeP, but even if the $12.5b surplus figure does not include the (purported) fiscal loss, you can’t simply subtract the amount of tax dollars lost to get “net economic impact.” The amount of tax dollars lost is not a resource cost–it’s money transfer, which has no bearing on economic efficiency.

    For example, if the government initiates a tax cut that increases GDP by $x but decreases tax revenue by $y, the net effect on GDP is not $(x-y)… it’s $x because $y is simply money taken from one person and given to another with no effect on GDP. So it makes no sense to subtract the two figures stated above.

  49. What Larry said. Stevo, yoooo da man!

  50. Best reason blog headline ever!

  51. Someone asked if Boeing, et al, are surrogate law enforcers. In short, yes. From red light cash cam scams to border security, defense hardware companies are diversifying into mundane profitable policing activities.

    Now that the virtual fence is declared no good, we’ll drop more millions on Virtual Fence v.2.

    And the wall building continues; taking productive land in south TX out of private use to effectively move the border, in some areas, several miles inland. Let’s see if our wall is more effective than Hadrian’s or the Maginot line.

  52. We can also talk about the basra situation whenever you show up next

    You mean the one that all the major media have now been forced to admit was a victory?

  53. All of you fools arguing over “what caused” food prices going up missed an obvious reason. I’ll give you a hint though: it’s the thing that caused ethanol subsidies in the first place!

    Are you ready?

    Wait for it…

    Oil above 100 dollar a barrel!

  54. even if the $12.5b surplus figure does not include the (purported) fiscal loss, you can’t simply subtract the amount of tax dollars lost to get “net economic impact.” The amount of tax dollars lost is not a resource cost–it’s money transfer, which has no bearing on economic efficiency.

    To be fair to Rubenstein and his ilk, they are not interested in economic efficiency. They are dividing the population into “us” and “them” and trying to divine the impact of “them” on “us”.

    A money transfer from “us” to “them” is exactly what they are looking for. Paying attention to government fiscal numbers gives them near certain transfers from the wealthier “us” to the poorer “them” without requiring any understanding of how “they” and “we” associate to mutual benefit in the actual economy.

  55. The meme for the headline is a bit off. The actual quote from Radioactive Man is “My Eyes! The goggles do nothing!”—there’s no “they”. See

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=uz27HTFdkYE

  56. Dave, going from way bad back to zero isnt victory, any more than us babysitting a civil war is us ‘winning’ something.

    Winning, is a dead Osama. In pakistan. What war are you fighting again? The imaginary WMD scavenger hunt? The kill the bad people war? Attack everyone except Osama war?

  57. shrike | April 23, 2008, 11:19pm | #

    Don’t sell your own douchebaggery short, GILMORE.

    As a self-described “expert” – your sum total contribution fell flat

    You mean the part where I agreed with you and supplied the economist story confirming it?

    You’re right. I didnt just go, “nya nya nya”, which is the modus operadi these days

    my old gig (before going to a bank) was

    http://www.datamonitor.com/services/info/verticalExpertise/?file=cn#Consumer

    Ingredient supply chain costing for food, particularly agribusiness, consumer price elasticity, formulation cost modeling, and consumer spending on staples vs. luxuries was a main bag. My bio attached there is from 1998, which was 8 years old by the time they actually put up a website.

    FWIW, i havent been there since 2005.

    And what do you do?

  58. scuse me… 1999. and the bio was 5 years old.

    Me any my typoooos

  59. Gilmore,

    What about getting a lot better?

    Now the British press is asking why Maliki was able to do in a month what the British military couldn’t in years.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3671819.ece

    The Iraqi Prime Minister, accused like his predecessor of indecision and a failure to tackle the pressing security problems facing his country, had taken personal control of the operation. It emerged that he ordered the assault weeks ahead of a more carefully planned offensive in conjunction with American and British advisers. Some predicted that the military blunder signalled the end of his unimpressive period in office.

    One month on and Iraq’s leader can justifiably claim to have scored a stunning victory, probably the first of its kind by the post-Saddam Iraqi army. The most notorious areas of Basra are now under government control, the Mahdi Army of Moqtadr al-Sadr has been roundly defeated and the long suffering people of Basra are celebrating freedoms they did not enjoy during the four years of British military rule in the city.

    Related Links
    Men in black vanish and Basra comes to life

    So how did a military novice, using untested troops, succeed where thousands of British forces had failed?

  60. Jesus dave,

    So how did a military novice, using untested troops, succeed where thousands of British forces had failed?

    …how about, “they *didnt*”?

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1726763,00.html

    But of course these are all liberal, untrustworthy analysts

    You make it sound like they won a military victory…after they had to go beg Sadr to call it off, and Iran nudged him saying it was good for them and him to reveal his authority and show the weakness of the government…

    You of course forgot about that in your San Juan Hill version of the Basra mess

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq31mar31,0,3316182.story

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