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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh please please please...

Posted by: Jambo / 12:11 PM

From Mickey Kaus:

Republicans are deemed to be in deep trouble in the Congressional midterms--and searching desperately, without obvious success, for a hot-button issue (gay marriage? flag-burning?) that could mobilize conservative "base" voters. But is it possible they've now found one hiding in plain sight--a tough anti-illegal immigration bill?

Immigration has several characteristics that suggest it's a good locomotive for GOP victory in November: 1) Voters say it's an important issue; 2) A majority wants some sort of border-control action; 3) The GOP base feels intensely about it; 4) Many Congressional Democrats are--by ideology or interest group pressure--locked in to a pro-immigrant, non-tough stance (or if they strike a tough pose it seems just that). In all these respects, immigration resembles welfare reform, a key hot-button base-mobilizing issue for Republicans in the 1994 midterms.

Yes please please crack down hard on immigration but don't throw me in that there briar patch. By pushing hard for a punitive anti-immigrant law called Proposition 187 Republican governor Pete Wilson so pissed off Latinos in California that he handed the state to the Democrats for a generation. I'd love to see congressional Republicans in 2006 do the same thing for Florida, New Mexico, and, dare to dream, Texas. The parallel from the Democrats was when Lyndon Johnson signed the civil rights bills and claimed he had just last the south for a generation. As it turns out it's looking like more than a generation but I'm much prouder to be part of a party that loses votes for doing the morally decent thing than I would be to be part of one that loses them by doing something as morally dubious as immigrant bashing.


Jambo, I'm with ya here...I really don't get the freak-out over immigration. Having lived and worked in the southwest (AZ, NV and SoCal) it's pretty clear their economies would collapse without illegals. The majority of illegals pay taxes, have FICA withheld under a SSN (not necessarily theirs). I audited large construction companies, and all required somebody's SSN before hiring.

Sure, there's some strain on ER's and to a lesser extent schools, but I've got to believe those can be dealt with in other ways. I smell fear and loathing of those who look and speak differently than me...

On the other hand, I'm almost convinced I want the R's to lose at least one house of Congress...we need a little old-school gridlock.

By Blogger Captain Liberty, at 1:34 PM  

Of course I'd like to see them lose BOTH houses but that's just me. I think there really is an ugly strain of thought in a lot of the anti-immigration legislation tho I won't pretend that there are not some real economic costs involved with the issue. Paul Krugman had a good piece in the NYT the other day that admited as much, pointing out that illegals did have a small but real effect on wages and to some degree use more services than they pay for in taxes (something that is true for all low paid workers, whatever their legal status.) Here are some letters he got on the topic along with some comments from him and a link to the original article. All or part of it may be behind the subscription firewall but if you, or anyone else reading these comments, would like to read it I can paste it all into an email for you.

By Blogger Jambo, at 3:38 PM  

It's behind the subscription wall.

I read Krugman's article, which was very informative. It seems to me that we have the worst possible immigration policy. We heavily rely on an illegal workforce. Wages for illegal workers are depressed further by their illegal status, which means wages for legal workers are depressed as well.

By Blogger Hammer, at 8:07 AM  

I think there is some truth in the wage-depression argument, but I also believe a lot of the jobs illegals do would simply disappear if they were all rounded up and shipped back over the border. Some can be more fully automated, like fruit and vegetable picking, poultry processing. Others are luxuries that people would simply give up rather than pay a lot more for - housekeeping, lawn, pool, etc. services. No one is going to pay a guy $15 per hour plus benefits to run a leaf blower, native-born or not. Reducing illegals is not going to open up higher-paying jobs for natives in those industries.

By Blogger Captain Liberty, at 10:51 AM  

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