Archive for the ‘immigration policy’ Category

More white Americans now die than are born

June 13, 2013

For the first time in modern history, more white Americans are dying than being born. This suggests that so-called ‘minorities’ and newcomers will play an increasingly important role in fueling any population growth in the United States.

The number of non-Hispanic white Americans who died in the year ended June 2012 exceeded the number born during that year by 12,400, the first ‘natural’ decrease for this group. Even during the great influenza epidemic of 1919, there was no such ‘natural’ white decrease.

The big driver in this phenomenon was not rising death rates but significantly lower white births, which declined about 13 per cent last year from the 2000 figure.While a majority of American children under five years old are still white – 50.1 per cent – this proportion is expected to decline because the majority of births have been minority children for two years in a row, a trend driven by Hispanic and Asian births.

As the nation’s white population ages, there are fewer white women of child-bearing age – a trend that is unlikely to change.At the same time young adults, whether white, black or Hispanic, are having fewer children. America’s replacement level – how many children it takes to keep population constant – is approximately 2.1 births per woman. The fertility rate of U.S. women is approximately 1.9.

This implies thst U.S. population growth depends entirely on immigration. There are now 14 states where the majority of children under 5 are non-white. In 2000, only the District of Columbia and four states had minority ‘toddler’ populations.

Sooner, rather than later, there will be no meaning to the majority-minority designations of America’s diverse population.

Hat Tip: Neil Shah, ‘More White’s Dying Than Being Born’, The Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2013

Obama confronts a bleak second term

April 30, 2013

Barack Obama ran a carefully orchestrated 2012 re-election campaign. For any one who bothered to read or to listen carefully, however, Obama had remarkably little to say on what he would do during his second term, should he be re-elected.

So it comes as no surprise to discover that Obama has only one policy initiative – immigration reform – that stands even a remote chance of passing into law, unless the House of Representatives falls into Democratic Party hands in November 2014. The optimism about immigration reform stems not from any leadership from Obama, but from concern within the Republican Party about losing Hispanic voters, many of whom should find a natural position within the GOP.

After winning a marginal tax rate increase on individuals earning in excess of $400,000 per annum, Obama’s economic policies are in disarray. The sequester, that he had signed into law was allowed to take place, so far with minimal harm to the economy. His attempt to use his presidential powers to impose maximum harm on U.S.citizens – a strange presidential tactic do you not think – failed when a vote-conscious Congress moved to protect the flying public and Obama had to confirm their intervention. He has no chance whatsoever of imposing any additional taxes on Americans – rich or poor – unless he accepts major tax reforms designed to bring down rates while eliminating exemptions. And that he will not do.

His ineffectual attempt to tighten gun laws, even following the gift-horse of the Newtown massacre, has ended in ignominious defeat in no small part at the hands of Democratic members of the Senate. That policy will not be revived certainly prior to 2015.

His parody of a foreign policy is collapsing before his eyes as Bashar Al-Assad openly flaunts the use of chemical weapons jeering at Obama’s non-existent red-line. His shift of emphasis away from the Middle East to Asia is stymied as long as the Syrian civil war results in cataclysmic death rates and as al-Qaeda watches hopefully for chemical and biological weapons’ pickings from the disintegration of what once could be called a country.

Sadly for the United States, President Obama looks increasingly like a man in an empty suit, bereft of ideas, unwilling to take time out from fund-raising to do the heavy lifting of policy formation is a divided government. The President, in short, has decided to coast through his second term.

Bring on the clowns!

Hat Tip: Edward Luce, ‘All Obama’s manoeuvres lead back to impasse’, Financial Times, April 29, 2013

Bum-Square now rules the United States

January 26, 2013

“The principle of distributive justice, once introduced, would not be fulfilled until the whole of society was organized in accordance ith it. This would produce a kind of society which in all essential respects would be the opposite of a free society – a society in which authority decided what the individual was to do and how he was to do it.” F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Routledge & Kegan Paul,1960

“Since it is impossible to maximize with respect to more than one point of view, it is natural, given the ethos of a democratic society, to single out that of the least advantaged and to further their long-term prospects in the best manner consistent with the equal liberties and fair opportunity.It seems that the policies in the justice of which we have the greatest confidence do at least tend in this direction in the sense that this sector of society would be worse off should they be curtailed.” John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Revised Edition, The Belknap Press, 1999

The first of those two quotations effectively summarized Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in January 1981. The second effectively summarized Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address in January 2013. Ronald Reagan was elected in a landslide vote in 1980. Barack Obama was re-elected by a slim majority in 2012. Nevertheless, a sea change has occurred in the composition and attitudes of the U.S. electorate over that period of 32 years.

To put this shift into perspective, the last presidential candidate prior to Barack Obama’s second-term bid, who chose to run from the left-wing of the Democratic Party was George McGovern in 1972. He lost in a major landslide to Richard Nixon, picking up only 38 per cent of the popular vote. Barack Obama, running on an almost identical left-wing agenda, won with 51 per cent of the popular vote.

In part, this shift in voting patterns is driven by demographics. Immigration policy has tilted for many years against Europeans and in favor of South Americans, systematically biassed against the able and the well-educated in favor of relatively under-qualified new entrants.Second it has been driven by social policies – social security, medicare, medicaid most significantly – designed to make individuals dependent on D.C.. Third, it has been influenced by a media seemingly blind to the old-fashioned American ideals of rugged individualism, desire for freedom from government, and the Protestant work ethic, and seduced by the rhetoric of socialization of all risk. Fourth, it has been aided by the cult of political correctness that insists on never calling a spade a spade when it might conceivably tilt against the Rawlsian concept of the difference principle.

The outcome, on January 21, 2013, is that a newly-elected president of the United States could get away with handing over the White House to bum square. Viewed from that perspective, Obama’s entire address was a calculated insult to the Founding Fathers, delivered only because he knew that the attending press were pattsies for a bum square program of welfare relief and immigration ‘reform’ designed to take the United States on an irreversible road to economic and moral decay.

The Second Coming

January 22, 2013

The crowd was smaller, the cheers more muted, the media less adulatory. Nevertheless, many of the true believers gathered for a second occasion on the Mall yesterday,to glimpse their Messiah, even to touch his hand, or to reach out for his robe, in expectation of deliverance from all mortal afflictions, and the promise of eternal paradise. By His words, the Messiah lived up to all their expectations. They will know fours year on, whether those words were true promises or whether they were false rhetoric floating on the frosty midday air, whether indeed this was the true liberal Messiah, or just another in a long legion of false, self-seeking prophets.

‘I am the government, and I am here to command you’ was the message to the gathered multitude. ‘I promise you, my subjects, that I shall deliver ever more government throughout the coming quadrennium. I warn all those skeptical of my authority, or careless of my commands, that I shall not hesitate to dispatch you, as I dispatched Cain before you, to the land of Nod, on the East of Eden.’

Barack Obama’s inaugural address, as I expected, reflected personal hubris intermingled with disdain for the political opponents whom he had decided to bait. His words were not those of a unifying leader of a divided nation, but rather those of a spokesman for a minimum winning coalition of 51 per cent of the electorate. Almost as surely as the sun rises in the east, hubris is followed by nemesis and that vision is outlined in the column that I posted on the day of the Second Coming. Americans of all views must now brace themselves for four bitter years as the vision of the Founding Fathers will be tested again, as it was tested throughout the second disastrous term of FDR – 1937-1940.

“Democratic government has the innate capacity to protect its people against disasters once considered inevitable, to solve problems once considered unsolvable.” FDR Inaugural Address, January 1937

There then followed four years of indiscriminate government intervention and a consequential collapse of market confidence, that extended the Great Depression in the United States years beyond that suffered by any other nation on the planet.

Put not your trust in a politician’s campaign promises

January 13, 2012

While walking down a street one day, a well-known  United States Senator is hit by a truck and dies.  His soul arrives at the gates of Heaven, where he is met by St. Peter.

‘Welcome to Heaven,’ says St. Peter.  ‘We do have a problem in your case.  We seldom see former politicians in these parts, so we are unsure quite what to do with you.’

‘No problem Pete, just let me in,’ says the Senator.

‘Unfortunately, my Boss has ruled that out for the moment,’ responds the Saint. Instead, you are to spend one day in Hell and one day in Heaven. Then you can choose where to spend your eternity.

The Senator is then deposited in the down escalator which takes him to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a club house surrounded by many former politicians who had worked with and for him before passing on. They welcome him effusively, reminisce about the good old days when they became rich at ther expense of others. They dine on lobster, caviar and champagne, dance with beautiful and adoring women, and mix freely with the Devil, whom everyone clearly reveres.

Reluctantly the Senator enters the up elevator which returns him to Heaven and to St. Peter. In Heaven, the Senator becomes bored, joining a group of  complete strangers who play the harp and sing, rather than reminiscing about politics.

St Peter returns and asks the Senator whether his eternity shall be Heaven or Hell. ‘For Satan’s sake, there is no comparison,’  responds the Senator. ‘Hell is the place for me!’

Down the Senator goes, for the final journey to his chosen destination. The elevator doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a barren land, covered with waste and garbage. His friends are now dressed in rags, picking up trash, thin and emaciated by malnutrition.

The Devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. ‘I do not understand,’ stammers the Senator. ‘Yesterday, I was here, and there was a golf course, and a club house. We dined on lobster and caviar, drank  vintage champagne, and danced with beautiful women.  What has happened?’

The Devil looks at him and smiles wickedly as he responds:

‘Yesterday, I was out campaigning.’


Hat Tip:  Arye Hillman

London replaces Washington as the thinking capital

June 6, 2011

“Labour must compete with a coalition that has not stopped thinking.  Figures from both sides of the government (Conservative and Liberal Democrat) are meeting to concoct policies for the second half of this parliament.  These brainstorms for ‘Coalition 2.0’  feature not only ministers but also think-tank bosses and the more cerebral kind of journalist.  Westminster, say old hands, was not always like this.  The stupid party (the Tories) is a thing of the past.  So too is the stupid capital (London).” Bagehot, ‘The thinking capital’ The Economist,April 30, 2011

Sadly, over the past decade, the stupid capital has become Washington largely because two intellectually brain-dead presidents – George W. Bush and Barack Obama – have dominated the political arena.  Leadership matters and when  non-thinkers rule, intellectuals  do not die but slowly fade into the distance.

Let us hope that a politically sensible intellectual makes his way to the White House before Washington sinks into the lowest depths of unthinking inanity.

Rich-Man, Poor-Man in Communist China

January 24, 2011

“The relationship between rich and poor in China is different.  China’s stellar growth has lifted some 500m people out of poverty.  Much of the credit belongs to Chinese entrepreneurs.  Since Mao’s boot was lifted from their necks, they have built marvels, from the skyscrapers of Shanghai to the factories of Guangdong.  Yet mainland Chinese business leaders operate in the shadow of a secretive and unaccountable ruling party.  To get on, many join it.  Some do so reluctantly, to avoid being crushed.  Others do so gladly, hoping to use the power of the state to enrich themselves.”  ‘Asia’s new aristocrats’ The Economist, January 22, 2011

China is governed not by the rule of law, but by the rule of men.  Although individual members of the Communist Party are not completely above the law, there is little to prevent the Party Bosses from abusing their power.  The children of many of China’s leaders have amassed large fortunes in murky ways.  Banks typically lend to the well-connected instead of to the credit-worthy.  Local leaders levy taxes that have no basis in law.

The fact that commercial success often depends on political ties makes the growing inequality in China especially galling to those with socialist inclinations.  During the mid-1980s, Chinese incomes were more evenly distributed than India’s – no doubt because China was at least nominally Communist, whereas India still operated under a caste system.  But now, China is less equal than India, with a Gini coefficient of 0.4 to India’s 0.37.  China now boasts of 800,000 dollar millionaires, while 500m people live on less than $2 a day.

The disparity between rural and urban incomes is the largest of any big country – city-dwellers on average make two-and-a-half times as much as rural Chinese.  This disparity is protected by the implementation of a system of residence permits, called hukou, that resembles the pass system utilized in South Africa under apartheid

Individuals who possess a city hukou can live and work freely in that city.  Those with a rural hukou can come to a city only as guest workers.  In consequence, some 150m rural Chinese work in cities without any right to live there.  Typically, they cannot use public schools and clinics, and they are barred from public housing.  If they protest, they are deported back to the countryside. A rule in Shanghai allows a local man to obtain a hukou for his wife from outside only after 15 years of marriage. 

The hukou system is designed to help the Communist Party to control the people.  As in South Africa, it is building up internal tensions that eventually may topple the regime.

If the hukou system were to be removed, some 250m peasants would move to the cities, clogging up the public schools and building slums on the doorsteps of their more affluent neighbors, while simultaneously competing for their jobs. Income inequalities would erode in response to such migration pressures. But that is a form of equality that high-income members of the Party apparently do not welcome.

Peasants of China unite!  You have nothing to lose except your poverty!

It is rational to fear Islam

January 23, 2011

Free speech is an essential element of any free society. Both Britain and the United States officially provide constitutional protection for free speech. However, as with so many other supposed constitutional protections, free speech is now only selectively protected. In its place, bigots challenge many forms of speech under the guise of political correctness. Surprisingly, in Western nations so recently subjected to Islamic terrorism,  concerns expressed about the danger posed to human life by militant Muslims  meet with increasing hostility by the race relations industry and by politicians who thrive on campaign contributions from such sources.

A recent example of such attempted speech suppression was a statement delivered last week in Britain by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a Conservative member of the House of Lords, and a Muslim.  In an address delivered at Leicester University, Baroness Warsi attacked the growth of Islamophobia in Britain, arguing that its flames were fanned by bigotry and religious ignorance.  The Baroness is entitled to her opinion. In my judgment, however, she is dangerously ill-informed.

If  Islamophobia means anything at all, it means an irrational, baseless and pathological terror of Islam, the religion.  Those of us who currently enjoy the many freedoms provided by western democracy have every reason to fear Islam as a religion.

Theocratic Islam is incompatible with democracy, demanding supremacy of  sharia (Islamic law) over the democratic rule of law.  It imposes upon society a patriarchal suppression of women, including their inequality under sharia law.   It  demands medieval punishments for apostasy, adultery and even theft, including death by stoning and the severing of limbs. It insists upon a cruel form of animal slaughter.  It calls for violence and anti-Semitism from within its so-called sacred texts.   In its most extremist manifestations, it calls for a permanent jihad against all non-believers, until they are terminated.

A recent British study by Policy Exchange shows that 37 percent of British-born Muslims, aged 14-24, advocate the imposition of sharia law across Britain,  37 percent would like to send their children to Islamic state schools, and 36 percent believe that any Muslim who converts to another faith should be punished by death.  These numbers demonstrate dramatically that Islamic enemies of individual freedom are already well-embedded across Britain.

What many non-Islamists feel is an entirely rational anxiety or fear of Islam for the beliefs that it upholds and for the mayhem that some of its adherents are willing to impose on non-believers. Care and caution in watching closely over the behavior of Muslim conclaves, especially those who frequent mosques known to be led by fiery Imams, is rational and wise.  For, unlike Christianity, Islam does not advocate that those who suffer perceived harm should turn the other cheek. Islam is a violent, not a peaceful religion as it is interpreted by extremist factions. And extremist factions are tolerated, if not lauded, across the Muslim populations of Britain and the United States.

Hat Tip: Minette Marrin, ‘It’s not a phobia – it’s rational to fear Islam’, The Sunday Times, January 23, 2011

Is Barack Obama another comeback kid?

December 18, 2010

“The greatest mistake Ronald Reagan’s opponents ever made – and they made it over and over again – was to underestimate him.  Same with Obama. The difference is that Reagan was so deeply self-assured that he invited underestimation – low expectations are a priceless political asset – whereas Obama’s vanity makes him always needing to appear the smartest guy in the room.  Hence that display of prickliness in his disastrous post-deal news conference last week.  But don’t be fooled by defensive style or thin-skinned temperament.  The president is a very smart man.  How smart?  His comeback is already a year ahead of Clinton’s.”  Charles Krauthammer, ‘Comeback Kid?  Obama Leaves Clinton in Dust’, December 16, 2010

Charles Krauthammer was trained as a professional psychiatrist.  It is interesting that he imposes on Barack Obama the personal characteristics that have defined his own career as a columnist. For Krauthammer has always prided himself on being the smartest man in the room, the smartest talking head among all those dreadful talking heads in the nation’s capital. He also manifests that thin-skin that leads smart men into unpleasant public interchanges with better-balanced opponents. Interestingly, Krauthammer confronts the same personal dilemma as the President. For Krauthammer, like the President, in reality is a declining force, a once-soaring Roman candle that has now largely expended its attraction and is falling, slowly and unspectacularly to the ground.

So the Messiah has redeemed himself by signing on to a 2-year extension of President George W. Bush’s grand design to lower the tax burden on working Americans?  Does that represent a Third Coming?  For, if Obama is now back in harness as the Messiah surely his despised predecessor, W, must have represented the Second Coming!  Maybe Barack Obama is the harbinger of Armageddon?  Pull yourself together, Charles Krauthammer. All God’s souls are not yet risen again and walking on this Earth. And if they were, just think of Al Gore’s anguish at the pollution of the Planet.

By helping to extend the tax cuts, has the GOP confirmed Obama into office for a second term?  Has the GOP reinstated Obama among the 80 percent of Americans who do not adhere to socialist ideology?  Has the GOP prevailed upon the President to abandon Marxism for laissez-faire capitalism?  Even a  psychiatrist surely does not anticipate such a miraculous transformation.

Barack Obama is a deeply committed progressive socialist, understandably prepared to bend to an occasional adverse wind in order to pursue his ideology into the longer term. A significant majority even of a rationally ignorant electorate has awakened to that reality.  That is a major reason why such a vote majority threw so many socialist bums out of office on November 2, 2010.  Sensible individuals know that leopards usually do not change their spots. They also know the damage that a second-term President can inflict on a poorly-functioning market-place, as he contemplates, without electoral penalty, his future glorification in the Hall of Progressive Socialist Fame.

Like President Clinton before him, President Obama’s reputation will improve as a consequence of the GOP corset that will constrain his actions. But it is the corset, not the heaving flesh and flailing arms, that is responsible for good behavior. The electorate understands that reality. And unless Americans lurch once more to the left, President Obama is dead meat in November 2012.

The progressive lie about Japan’s lost decade

November 15, 2010

“In fact, there’s some concern that inflation will dip below zero – into deflation. The Fed, thank goodness, is determined to stop that.  We don’t want to be the next Japan now, do we?” Alan S. Blinder, ‘In Defense of Ben Bernanke’, The Wall Street Journal November 15, 2010

“Nowadays, all we hear are warnings not to repeat Japan’s mistakes that resulted in a ‘lost decade’ of economic growth.  Japan’s cardinal sins, we’re told, were skimping on economic ‘stimulus’ and permitting paralyzing ‘deflation’ (falling prices). People postponed buying because they expected prices to go lower.  That’s the conventional wisdom – and it’s wrong.” Robert J. Samuelson, ‘Avoiding Japan’s fate’, The Washington Post, November 15, 2010

Now it is rare occasion when The Washington Post engages correctly while The Wall Street Journal intervenes incorrectly on a significant issue in economic science. But this is one such. The underlying reason for this reversal of roles is the co-existence of two ‘blind spots’ wherein the Editors of the Post retain the services of Samuelson despite his pro-capitalist stance, and whereby the Editors of the Journal are repeatedly seduced by the blatant progressive socialism of Blinder.

As Robert Samuelson points out in today’s column, Japan’s economic eclipse as the ‘wonder economy’ of the 1980s demonstrates the futility of economic stimulus and the sclerosis of pursuing state rather than laissez-faire capitalism in the wake of a serious financial crisis and economic contraction.

Japan’s economic difficulties originated in huge asset bubbles.  Between 1985 and 1989, Japan’s stock market tripled in value while land values in major cities tripled by 1991. The crash was brutal.  By year-end 1992, stocks had dropped by 57 percent from 1989.  Land prices began to fall in 1992 and have followed a monotonic decline. They are now at early 1980s levels.  Banks – having lent on the collateral of inflated land values – confronted major liquidity problems, many of them becoming insolvent.  The economy sputtered, growing approximately at 1.5 percent per annum throughout the 1990s, down from 4.4 percent in the roaring ’80s.

The Japanese government adopted unambiguously  the policies of John Maynard Keynes.  It increased government spending and cut taxes, allowing budget deficits to balloon.  Gross government debt increased from 63 percent of GDP in 1991 to 101 percent of GDP in 1997. It now stands at 200 percent of GDP.  The Bank of Japan cut interest rates significantly, reaching zero in 1999, a position, with some slight interruptions, that presently endures.

As Samuelson explains, deflation does not explain the persistent economic stagnation. Consumer prices in Japan have declined  in nine out of the past 20 years.  However, the average annual decline was six-tenths of one percent.  Households do not rationally postpone consumption in anticipation of such minute declines in consumer prices. Furthermore, if the Japanese were delaying consumption, then the household saving rate would have risen. Instead, it declined from 15.1 percent of disposable income in 1991 to 2.3 percent in 2008.

As Samuelson correctly surmises, there are two principal causes of Japan’s lackluster economic performance. One is the ‘dual economy’ comprising a highly efficient export sector offset by a regulated and protected domestic sector. Until the mid- 1980s, 20 percent of the economy was carrying the other 80 percent. The appreciation of the yen in the mid-1980s doomed this economic strategy.  Since then, successive Japanese governments have relied futilely on Keynesian economics to pull the economy out of stagnation, while systematically ‘reinforcing ‘ cartels and regulation in the domestic economy.

The second cause is an aging and declining population, with inward migration suppressed for purposes of racial purity. The anaemic economy has discouraged family formation. For men, the age of first marriage is now 35, up from 27 in 1990.  Stagnating wages have also reduced family size, with fertility rates declining from an already low 1.57  in 1989 to a current low of 1,3.  At this rate, the Japanese population is set on a course of long-term significant decline.

Robert Samuelson draws impeccably accurate conclusions from this dismal tale:

“Economic success ultimately depends on private firms.  The American economy is more resilient and flexible than Japan’s.  But that’s a low standard.  Neither the White House nor Congress seems to understand that growing regulatory burdens and policy uncertainties undermine business confidence and the willingness to expand.  Unless that changes, our mediocre recovery may mimic Japan’s.” ibid.