Wednesday Highlights

G’day.

  1. Not Crazy, more specifically defined.
  2. Mr Obama apparently imitates one of my favorite Calvin/Hobbes cartoons (use your own words). Immigration will help businesses “to locate”, yah. Whatever you pretend that means I guess.
  3. Some more detailed remarks, apparently the speech was very, if unintentionally, humorous.
  4. Tech notes.
  5. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
  6. Faith and action.
  7. More Democrat Senators who haven’t been to a drug store to price condoms in quite some time.
  8. India “perplexed” that the US is bug-nuts crazy. I am too I guess.
  9. What to do? You mean besides learning to like red-beans+rice and/or split-peas with spam?
  10. “Science” apparently confused which kids are fat, uhm, duh.
  11. Speaking of childhood obesity … it’s not necesssarily permanent.
  12. Palinquin lady.
  13. ‘Cause industrial Carbon in the 11th century was omnipresent. Alas, the seas rose and killed everything (just after it had been turned into a newt). But, “it got better.”
  14. Stupidity in schools.

23 responses to “Wednesday Highlights

  1. Re: #14, the negative comments re: the ACLU are misplaced. The ACLU is more likely to side w/ the mother than the school.

  2. Cause industrial Carbon in the 11th century was omnipresent. Alas, the seas rose and killed everything (just after it had been turned into a newt). But, “it got better.”

    I notice this site does nothing but cherry pick it’s data points. Was the globe as a whole warmer in the 11th century or not? The data for the entire northern hemisphere on (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period) doesn’t appear to support the climate skepticism hawked by this site.

  3. Immigration will help businesses “to locate”, yah. Whatever you pretend that means I guess.

    Businesses tend to locate either near their customers or near the workers they need to make their products or services. All things being equal more people in the US means more businesses will ‘locate’ in the US. If Antartica suddenly got millions of people living there I’m sure businesses would locate there.

    I’m not really seeing why this is a difficult concept for Republican orientated people to understand. To me it seems rather banal and obvious but perhaps intellectual decay among the right is enterting an expodential path.

  4. Mr Howard,
    I did not make any remarks regarding the ACLU, but I think they are not as predictable as your (or the linked post) might think. The original article (linked by the linked post) does not refer to the ACLU.

  5. Boonton,

    Businesses tend to locate either near their customers or near the workers they need to make their products or services.

    Ok. So you’ve defined “to locate” a business moving to where the customers are. Alas that makes no sense at all in the context of the President’s statement. How will immigration reform cause people to move to Antarctica or elsewhere.

  6. The article you linked in #14 contains this remark:

    “I think the ACLU is mobilizing their assault unit to surround the school and ensure that no child is exposed to any secondhand Jesus.”

    That seems unfair to the ACLU. That’s all I’m saying. While the ACLU has steadfastly fought against schools’ attempts to proselytize and/or endorse particular religions, it has also stood up for the religious freedom of individual students:

    http://www.aclufightsforchristians.com/

  7. Mr Howard,

    I’m not disagreeing. My interest in linking the article was the “stupidity” of a school administrator deciding an autistic kid couldn’t read a Bible during free time at school.

    If memory serves there have been cases involving the ACLU (on the “wrong” side as it were) in which after school Christian clubs (Bible study/prayer groups) were shut down or disallowed but Wiccan (and perhaps Muslim?) clubs were not.

  8. Ok. So you’ve defined “to locate” a business moving to where the customers are.

    Locate is a verb. One meaning is ‘to find’ as in “I can’t locate the Starbucks you told me to meet you at!”. Another meaning is ‘to decide where to put something’. As in “We will locate the new Starbucks in the town of Smallville because their population has doubled and we think they will have enough customers to make ths worth while”. I suppose you can also use that in the context of moving a business so if the population of Smallville England emmigrated to Smallville NY they may say “We should close the Starbucks in England and move it to NY”.

    Why you’re not getting that is strange.

  9. Boonton,
    Immigration reform is normally a discussion about how to handle the non-legal residents. Why you (and Mr Obama) think that has something has to do with large movements of population to formerly uninhabited places only makes sense if Mr Obama is planning to set up internment camps and wants business to sell stuff in them, I guess.

    I understand what “to locate” means. I don’t understand it in the context of immigration reform w.r.t. to businesses.

  10. So in the context of the Dream Act, we have people who’ve grown up here, in some cases don’t even speak Spanish, yet are technically illegal. Many graduate high school, some even college. Yet because they are not legal, their ability to work is greatly constricted, their ability to conduct normal day to day business is likewise greatly constricted.

    If those people had an option to obtain legal status that would not increase the opportunities for new and existing businesses to expand in the US? Taking millions of people and holding them down is not causing any drag on our economy?

  11. Here BTW, is the statement:

    Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let’s get immigration reform done this year.

    Is this really a perplexing statement? Really?

  12. Boonton,
    How do you connect immigration reform, i.e., deciding what to do with illegal residents, business location choices?

    If those people had an option to obtain legal status that would not increase the opportunities for new and existing businesses to expand in the US?

    But unless you’re moving population centers there is not “location” of the type you were pretending (example: millions moving to Antarctica so car dealerships and WalMart follows them to the land of big formally dressed birds). Business already domestic are not “locating” here. They might grow, but that’s a different verb. “To locate” is not a verb normally associated with business growth.

    Yet because they are not legal, their ability to work is greatly constricted, their ability to conduct normal day to day business is likewise greatly constricted.

    So if these illegals were naturalized … what does that have to do with “And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture …”? That is a sentence about actual legal immigration, not naturalizing illegal residents. Is this a vague reference to the abysmally stupid notion of open borders?

    So. Yes. It is a perplexing notion. The 2nd to last sentence has no logical relationship to immigration reform and illegal residents. It’s only about legal immigration, which isn’t being discussed.

  13. Boonton,
    I guess the most likely thing is that he is talking about the H1-B tech visas (which business leaders do want, not so much labor, faith and law enforcement) and in doing so is intentionally misleading you by talking about those while allowing you to think he is talking about illegal residents. This is deceitful and, see, he fooled you. But then you normally believe him or are deceived when he’s trying to deceive or lie.

  14. Boonton,
    Note the normal ‘cost/savings’ budgetary expansion which refers (normally) to 10 years is doubled to 20. That way a 50 billion can inflate to a trillion. But, I doubt economists predict any H1-B visa reform is doing to yield $50b in taxes each year (or that any given naturalization plan will do so either). If it’s just the illegals (11 million estimated, say a really optimistic naturalization reform gets 50% of them to naturalize … and they each pay 10k in taxes per year after that). Pipe dream dude.

  15. Immigration reform would probably include both the Dream Act, possibly some expansion of the H1 program and possibly increasing the quotas for legal immigrants. In terms of ‘locating’ businesses you’d have businesses that would locate in the US to serve additional consumers plus those who would come here to start businesses (or businesses that would locate to tap workers here).

    But, I doubt economists predict any H1-B visa reform is doing to yield $50b in taxes each year

    Assuming 40% tax rate and $100K in salary you’d need only 1,250,000 to generate $50B. That’s huge for the H1 program to do by itself but there’s be multiplier effects since the $60K in take home pay left over would likely be spent inside the US becoming other people’s taxable income. The Dream Act would probably expand the earning potential of people already here so that’s additional tax money and so on. Not quite unreasonable.

    Of course a $50B decrease in the deficit can come from spending reductions as well as additional tax payments. An expansion of GDP reduces gov’t spending as it means fewer people collecting unemployment/foodstamps/Medicaid etc.

  16. Boonton,
    In 2012 65k H1B visas were issued. But hey, 1.2 million and 65k are almost the same.

    Immigration reform would probably include both the Dream Act, possibly some expansion of the H1 program and possibly increasing the quotas for legal immigrants.

    Ok. Cite some articles which talk about all three. Immigration reform typically in current discussion means dealing illegal resident and it has not mean legal immigrant quotes or H1B programs. The President was intentionally misleading you by citing the terminology used to talk about the illegal residents and referring to benefits of the H1B, which while technically also related to immigration is not what is meant currently when you say “immigration reform”. Remember, he fooled you. You had thought it was about illegal residents but on inspection you are now thinking it’s mainly about H1B.

  17. In 2012 65k H1B visas were issued. But hey, 1.2 million and 65k are almost the same.

    1.2M is a rough estimate. It assumes that the only value is the Fed. Income taxes that someone who gets a H1B visa would pay. I suspect there’s a multiplier of at least 4 to 5 so even just 65K visas probably get you halfway to that magic figure.

    Illegal immigrants being giving a path to legality probably are not going to be as dramatic as approx $100K per year in income produced. But there’s a lot more than 65,000 of them. Even if we take a modest estimate of $20K in added income for 2M workers we are talking $16B a year in added income tax revenue and can easily get $50B or more pre year with a modest multiplier.

    The H1B makes for a better illustration. It’s easy to imagine a techie getting paid $100K, moving into a neighborhood buying a house, paying local school taxes, going to eat at the local diner every weekend, buying stuff for his kids at the mall etc.

    In contrast many impacted by something like the Dream Act might have much more modest stories. Moving from an under the table job to a taxpaying one, perhaps being able to buy a slightly better used car from a dealer, etc. These gains don’t serve as much of an illustration but when you put incremental improvements together with large numbers they become serious gains. (Although if you want to have a feel good story, you can always imagine a teenager going to Harvard Medical School and then going on to cure cancer)

    In both cases I think the illustrations and assertions are accurate and correctly reframe the debate away from competition (immigrants supposedly taking some limited set of jobs or businesses from ‘us’) and towards opportunities (the businesses that ‘locate’ either to serve or use immigrants create additional opportunities for the non-immigrant population as well).

  18. Boonton,

    Even if we take a modest estimate of $20K in added income for 2M workers we are talking $16B a year in added income tax revenue and can easily get $50B or more pre year with a modest multiplier.

    That presumes they are making enough to pay income tax at all. Oops.

    And the magic multiplier, riiight. Why don’t you invoke fairy dust to pretend the President wasn’t pulling a fast one. You’ve multiple fast ones being pulled here, the 2 decades vs one (which in itself is deceiving after all who is going to predict 10 years out not to speak of 20), the conflation of H1B and the normal presumption that “immigration reform” refers to illegals, and the “to locate” as a effect at all of immigration reform in and of itself. Great communicator … not he is not.

  19. That presumes they are making enough to pay income tax at all. Oops.

    The lowest income tax bracket is 10% and it applies from $0 to $9075. The standard deduction is $6,200. So unless you’re going to work nothing more than a min. wage job part time, you’re going to end up paying at least some income taxes. Social security, medicare and unemployment taxes apply even if you work and live off of $550 or so per month.

    And the magic multiplier, riiight. Why don’t you invoke fairy dust to pretend the President wasn’t pulling a fast one.

    You need magic to not have a multiplier. consider a person who makes, say, $80,000 a year. He will pay $15,930 in tax. It’s possible there will be no multiplier on him. For that to happen he would have to take the $64,070 in pay he makes, cashes it and keep it stuffed in his mattress and during the entire course of the year pays no rent/mortgage, buys no food or clothing, not even do as much as buy a $1 lottery ticket at the corner delli. Likewise his employer must benefit from his labor exactly $80,000. In other words there is no profit or loss in employing him, he generates only as much for his employer as he costs in pay. Such a person might exist, but he would be quite an eccentric chap.

    Your other choice is to admit that he has a multiplier, but some other countervaling force offsets it. For example, if you invoke the ‘lump of work’ and/or protectionist fallacies, you can argue that some other person lost an $80,000 job because he took it therefore all positive things he generates for the economy is offset by that other person’s negatives.

    the 2 decades vs one (which in itself is deceiving after all who is going to predict 10 years out not to speak of 20),

    In general an economy produces goods and services by combining people, capital and land to make output (GDP). Land is usually ignored in this function since it’s fixed (although Lex Luther sometimes challenges tha tnotion). Things can go wrong but generally if you want more GDP you need more people and capital to make it so adding to the population and labor force is generally increases GDP which decreases the deficit. I suppose you could argue that any measurement of how much it will decrease are somewhat arbitrary. But hey deficit scolds have been using multi-decade Medicare and Social security projections for quite a while now. I’m willing to disarm if yoru side will. Otherwise you’ve failed to argue this point.

    the conflation of H1B and the normal presumption that “immigration reform” refers to illegals,

    Are you referring to my comment or Obama here? I admit using a $100K per year engineer with a H1B was probably not the best choice. But it was meant to illustrate just what we could reasonably expect to achieve $1T in deficit reduction spread over no more than 20 years. But as I stated pretty early on in this discussion:

    Immigration reform would probably include both the Dream Act, possibly some expansion of the H1 program and possibly increasing the quotas for legal immigrants

    I was pretty clear, you began this discussion wasting a lot of time pretending you didn’t understand what it meant for a business to ‘locate’ in the US abenst some type of mass exodous of people from one place to another.

  20. BTW, if you peruse http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/04/robots-will-make-more-immigrants-obsolete.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_morning&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_morning&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet#url=/articles/2014/02/04/robots-will-make-more-immigrants-obsolete.html you’ll note the proposal is along the lines of what I said. You have not only a path to legalizing some people here illegally but also increased quotas for both high and low skilled workers.

    David Frum’s concern about ‘robots’ is, of course, idiocy. If robots do end up doing all the work then why do you have to worry about finding a job for yourself or an immigrant? Why wouldn’t we be able to enjoy the goods and services made by the robots? And if the robots couldn’t make everything….well there’s your jobs! Duh!

  21. Boonton,

    And if the robots couldn’t make everything….well there’s your jobs! Duh!

    Putting your unskilled (illegal residents) with no job even if legalized.

    Social security, medicare and unemployment taxes apply even if you work and live off of $550 or so per month.

    You’re pretending assistance offered doesn’t pay out more than the tax. Is that a “divider”.

    You need magic to not have a multiplier.

    And you need magic to estimate it. Let’s see, you estimated 1.2 million H1B because that made your numbers tick … you were off by a factor of 50 (if you pretend your multiplier is 50 … you need more fairy dust).

    But we’re digressing. The objection was that suddenly if we “reform” immigration (naturalizing foreign illegal residents) then lots of foreign firms will suddenly want “to locate” their business in the states. This is rampant silliness. I didn’t pretend the “to locate” required mass movements of people. That was your first suggestion. That it was silly is true. But that is because it was your suggestion.

    But hey deficit scolds have been using multi-decade Medicare and Social security projections for quite a while now.

    I’ve seen single decade estimates by scolds and the cheering sections. I’ve loathed the inflation of numbers by that method for one decade. Suddenly it’s two. Which is at best twice as bad.

    Things can go wrong but generally if you want more GDP you need more people and capital to make it so adding to the population and labor force is generally increases GDP which decreases the deficit.

    But for immigration reform the people are already here. So the impact is going to be not so much.

  22. Putting your unskilled (illegal residents) with no job even if legalized.

    Child care, elder care, home cooking, cleaning, fast food prep, serving, these are jobs often classified as ‘unskilled’ yet there seems to be plenty of them. Aside from the romba doing some vacuuming, robots don’t seem anywhere near touching them. If anything robots are a threat to the moderately skilled job sets.

    Anyway robots cannot in theory destroy overall jobs. If tomorrow you get an army of robot doctors, you may lay off a lot of human doctors but it doesn’t create a shortage of jobs in the economy. If anything it would create more jobs as the hundreds of dollars people were spending on doctor visits now gets spent at Starbucks, WalMart and other things. Granted the doctor whose now out of work may not be comforted to know there’s a 100 open positions doing things that he considers to be less important than being a doctor, but those are 100 positions that benefit 100 people who otherwise weren’t benefitted.

    But let’s go simple here. If you think people are a problem, they will take the precious few jobs not taken by the robot revolution, then instead of arguing against immigration you should be arguing for emmigration. You should ask for incentives to encourage people to leave the country.

    You’re pretending assistance offered doesn’t pay out more than the tax. Is that a “divider”.

    Again you should encourage people to leave then. Let them move to Canada or England and let their unemployment and medical insurances handle them in old age.

    And you need magic to estimate it. Let’s see, you estimated 1.2 million H1B because that made your numbers tick … you were off by a factor of 50 (if you pretend your multiplier is 50 … you need more fairy dust).

    Assuming reform consisted of nothing but H1B visas. As I pointed out the other legs of reform, working with those already here and opening the doors to more regular immigrants, do have the potential to impact millions of people rather than just tens of thousands of H1B visa.

    And H1B visas aren’t the magic you depict. They tend to be utitlized for limited technical jobs that employers supposedly cannot find US workers. The people are ‘tied’ to those jobs and have to leave if they get fired or laid off. If you start expanding that into millions of people I think you start running the danger of creating a pseudo-serf class in the US. And then you do endanger jobs since workers here have to compete against virtual indentured servents for jobs.

    The objection was that suddenly if we “reform” immigration (naturalizing foreign illegal residents) then lots of foreign firms will suddenly want “to locate” their business in the states. This is rampant silliness

    Not sure where you’re getting ‘rapidly’ from, in his speech you criticized him for talking about a 20 year baseline. Nowhere does he imply the benefits from immigration are a short time scale thing. Neither does he say ‘foreign firms’, as I pointed out ‘to locate’ a business is simply to decide where to put it. An American opening a McDonald’s franchise in Smallville because he sees an increasing population and the lines at the local Burger King getting longer and longer is ‘locating’ a business here even though it didn’t exist before. You created this imaginary fiction that Obama was promising businesses would close in foreign countries and relocate in the US. Nothing in the speech said that, if read by a normal English speaking mind rather than a hyperpartisan.

    I’ve seen single decade estimates by scolds and the cheering sections. I’ve loathed the inflation of numbers by that method for one decade. Suddenly it’s two. Which is at best twice as bad.

    I think deficit reduction is the least important reason to favor immigration reform since the deficit is not a problem for us. But you’ve talked about ‘demographic suicide’ due to low birth rates, were you using a single decade estimate/projection? I think not. You probably had to go out not two decades but five to ten decades! In itself that’s not a horrible thing. We should think about the long term as well as the short term. Think about the Lincoln tunnel in NJ. Here you had something built over 100 years ago and yet today it’s used by a huge number of cars every day to get goods and people between NJ and NYC. Would it have made sense for people back in 1900 or so to only consider one or two decades of benefit from the work it took to build it?

    A lot of capital is gone after a few decades. But people generally are not. People who were your coworkers 20 years ago are probably still working (at different places but only a minority died, retired, or otherwise totally dropped out of the workforce and are unable to re-enter).

    But for immigration reform the people are already here. So the impact is going to be not so much.

    So here’s your opportunity to test deregulation. For people that are already here, they are working with a huge handicap of regulation in the form of various ‘papers’ regimes that leave only a few jobs they can do (if any at all). By everything you’ve said before deregulation (defined as removing restrictions on market decisions here) should open up a lot of potentical productivity. Why the cold feet all in the sudden?

    Regardless, as I pointed out the reforms proposed are a mix of things that not only impact people already here but those who want to come here.

  23. Boonton,

    Anyway robots cannot in theory destroy overall jobs.

    Bull. We put in $50-100k automation every month with a 3-6 month payback on the investment … that payback is in reduced labor costs. This is exactly what you say cannot “in theory” be done. Perhaps it can’t be done in theory, but I’m in the business of doing it in practice.

    Assuming reform consisted of nothing but H1B visas

    Yah. Assume is not the thing we are talking about all the time.

    Nothing in the speech said that, if read by a normal English speaking mind rather than a hyperpartisan.

    You have that backwards. If you read it as a normal English speaker (non partisan) it is misleading (talking about “immigration reform” which in common parlance is about illegal most-Hispanic alien residents and not H1B visas but then talking instead about the effects primarily of H1B type visas and bringing highly educated immigrants in). You have to be the hyper-partisan to read it in such a way to contort what he said to pretend it makes sense.

    Neither does he say ‘foreign firms’,

    He says locate and “over here”, I thought.

    And H1B visas aren’t the magic you depict.

    Interesting. First there were millions (for a program which has 64k people) then it doesn’t do “the magic”. Well if it doesn’t are you pretending we get highly educated skilled work out of illegal resident aliens?

    I’m sorry the 20 year thing wasn’t because immigration reform will “have effects” that last two decades. It was to make a 50b inflate to 1 trillion. It’s the same (stupid) reason that budget mavens on both sides decide to talk about 100billion in savings (small type over a decade) instead of 10 billion. We know the budget is about 1 trillion. 100 billion makes the casual reader think it’s a 10% effect not 1%. The decade is not chosen because those effects make sense over generations “because they involve people” and but to inflate the numbers. Obama picked a larger timescale because he wanted to inflate it even more than usual (as we’re getting used to the 10 year inflation … let’s go to 20 … that will make it sound even better). It’s just akin with the Madison avenue “99” instead of 100 to make the number seem smaller, cause $99 seems (apparently) psychologicall more than $1 smaller than $100.

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