May 10, 2011

WTF is causing rising disability

David Brooks writes:
As my colleague David Leonhardt pointed out recently, in 1954, about 96 percent of American men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked. Today that number is around 80 percent. One-fifth of all men in their prime working ages are not getting up and going to work. 
According to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States has a smaller share of prime age men in the work force than any other G-7 nation. The number of Americans on the permanent disability rolls, meanwhile, has steadily increased. Ten years ago, 5 million Americans collected a federal disability benefit. Now 8.2 million do. That costs taxpayers $115 billion a year, or about $1,500 per household. ...

Fortunately, Dave has a long list of suggestions about how to Win The Future:
It will probably require a broad menu of policies attacking the problem all at once: expanding community colleges and online learning; changing the corporate tax code and labor market rules to stimulate investment; adopting German-style labor market practices like apprenticeship programs, wage subsidies and programs that extend benefits to the unemployed for six months as they start small businesses. 

A reader comments:
Wow, a fifth of men out of the workforce. Dave is waxing speculative about redirecting some huge tranche of resources from the welfare state as a result. What's the one huge factor, which would have a much cheaper solution, that he dare not mention? 

I don't know ... Sunspots? Continental drift? Fluoride? I'm as baffled as Dave. What could be causing all these American guys to develop bad backs who are expected by people like me and Dave who type for a living to compete with illegal immigrants for $9 per hour jobs lifting stuff? Mercury in vaccines? It's a complete mystery. Global warming? Yeah, it's usually global warming.
Really, are establishment Republicans so cowed that touching the Medicare third-rail looks better than coming to Jesus on immigration and the national question?

Well, it looks like a lot of Republican politicians are developing cold feet on privatizing Medicare for under 55s. But, yeah, cowed is the right word.

Meanwhile, President Obama is crowing about the success of his plan to discourage new illegal immigration through high unemployment and how therefore the health of the economy depends upon putting illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship and voting Democratic. Or something like that. Frankly, beginning in 2001, every couple of years (e.g., 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2011) the President announces some gibberish about how it's a national priority to amnesty illegal immigrants, so we can Win The Future.

WTF is the right acronym.

81 comments:

Inkraven said...

Like the man said, it's great that you got OBL and all that, Mr. President, but I paid $4 for gas yesterday and still don't have a job.

Anonymous said...

I'm voting for Donald Trump. I assume if he's willing to put a 25 percent tarrif on Chinese goods, he might show sanity on the immigration issue. Trump has also showed admirable willingness to go to the mat with Obama.

Funny thing is that a lot of the establishment Republicans (party operatives and leaders, National Review, Weekly Standard) want Jeb Bush to run. Seriously... another Bush. WTF.

anony-mouse said...

'labels: illegal immigration'

Can I add a label? 'Unwillingness to move'.

Unemployment rates:

next door states

CO: 9.2
NE: 4.2

KY: 10.2
VA: 6.3


(almost next door)

RI: 11.0
NH: 5.2

CT: 9.1
VT: 5.4

(sort of next door)

CA: 12.0
HI: 6.3

MI: 10.3
MN: 6.6

(one state separated):

MS: 10.2
OK: 6.1

ID: 9.6
ND: 3.6

That's right 3.6% unemployment. And 'Fargo' was a good movie.

Tanstaafl said...

Cowed? Is that why comments where I put the words "genocide" and "immigration" together usually get spiked?

Anonymous said...

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/the-struggles-of-men/

The median wage for American men has fallen 28 percent since peaking in the 1968-1973 era.

Wes in the House said...

My advice to my Middle American brothers is to take all you can from the system while the getting is good. We are now entering into a kleptocracy that won't last forever. Keep on working if that makes economic sense for you, but get your share anyway you can, everyone else is.

Anonymous said...

While immigration certainly has not helped this percentage of prime age men in the workforce, the biggest reason for the huge drop over time for this particular statistic is undoubtedly the enormously increased incarceration rate.

RKU said...

ell, a huge batch-run is going, so I think I'll inject a slightly related point into this discussion...

I think it's perfectly fair to describe America's ruling elites as corrupt, parasitic, and incompetent, perhaps even "hostile" as well. So the fact they they overwhelmingly support mass-immigration can clearly be framed in a very negative light. But I discovered something pretty shocking in yesterday's morning paper.

As elites go, I think you could make a case that those of Singapore are the polar-opposite from our own. The Lee family and their political leadership group are extremely intelligent, exceptionally competent, quite nationalistic/patriotic, and arguably among the most "benevolent" ruling group anywhere in the world. These very positive traits, together with the excellent raw material of an overwhelmingly Han population, have made Singapore one of the most remarkable success stories of today's world, moving from a tiny dirt-poor island with no resources to now having among the highest standards of living, lowest crime rates, and best educational test scores.

Furthermore, it's clear that Lee's huge success played an important role in persuading the China government that under the right circumstances, free market policies were well suited to a Chinese population, and thereby helped spark China's astonishing transformation of the last thirty-odd years. Perhaps you could argue Lee's sometimes been a bit politically heavy-handed in running his country, but by any measure Lee stands as one of the towering figures of the second half of the twentieth century, though few elite Westerners, from the WSJ to the NYC to the Oslo Clique would willingly admit this.

Now all this has been well-known to me for decades. But yesterday's newspapers reported that Lee's party had sufferered a serious setback at the polls, with their support falling to a remarkably low 60% and the opposition party winning its largest number of victories ever. Lee's son, the current PM, announced that he recognized the popular discontent, and that he and his colleagues would do their best to regain public trust.

Apparently, one of the biggest public complaints was...Immigration! Apparently, a full 1/3 of Singapore's population is now made up of foreign immigrants, a figure more than double that in America or most other Western countries. I'd been totally unaware of such huge demographic shifts.

So my question is this: if "immigration" is obviously such a terrible thing, why have the Lees and their leadership group been so strongly for it? Obviously, they might just be mistaken. But when an elite leadership as intelligent, competent, far-planning, and "benevolent" as that of Singapore supports a public policy I think you should think long and hard before just dismissing it out of hand...

Anonymous said...

I think white people's brains have been taken over by a parasite that causes them to do everything possible to destroy themselves and the white race.

AmericanGoy said...

Oh man, only in America.

Privatizing retirement pension funds has works SO WELL (for the hedge funds and Wall Street) and the beast (stock market) is always hungry, always looking for more (of your) monies (for hedge funds and scam artists) to play with, that of course social security, medicare and medicaid WILL be privatized.

So that now the clueless American rubes, ages 70 to 90, will not only find themselves joining the Wallmart greeter brigade, they will no longer have to decide whether to spend their monies on food or medicines - simply put, they will no longer have the money.

Neither from the 401K's (so sorry, market has crashed and wiped you out, better luck in next life!) nor from the soon to be privatized SocSec and Medicare.

The future is bright for you baby boomers!

I already see 70 year old ladies packing bags in Dominick's and Jewels' stores I frequent.

I usually tell them to hurry the hell up - they probably voted for Republicans anyways, plus, they are poor, which means they are stupid and God hates them, so screw them.

Wes said...

And disability claims are just one form of being on the take. Heck, the black farmers - many of whom have never had a farm - have taken the federal gov't for $2 billion. Time to wake up, my naive Middle American brothers.

Anonymous said...

In the ghetto quite a few men get "crazy checks".

Here is the Urban Dictionary's definition of "crazy check", which is suprisgly accurate:

crazy check-
An unnecessary monthly payment from Medicaid or S.S.I. which is made purportedly for a disability suffered by the payee. Crazy checks usually go to people already receiving other public assistance checks who have become adept at milking the system for more.

Alarmingly, crazy checks are often approved for simple and common conditions such as a child (usually in a single-parent household) who can't behave in school.

Suprisingly, money from the crazy checks is rarely actually spent on anything associated with treatment of the supposed disability.

The Urban Dictionary provided this example of "crazy check" in usage:

"If my son does bad enough on that standardized test at school, I might be able to get another Crazy Check!! Glory Hallelujah!!"

==================================
I know OF one diabetic in particular who is getting a $700-a-month check because of his problems with that ailment. He doesn't work because he'd supposedly lose the check if he were to be employed.

It'sObvious said...

Brooks hasn't noticed that a lot more women are working nowadays, taking jobs away from men?

Maya said...

Well, I don't have any special insights about american men in their prime, but I can tell you a thing or two about older immigrants. Where I grew up, people who arrived to the United States between the ages of 50 and 65 usually faked mental disability. It was common wisdom that they aren't likely to start new careers or learn English well enough to be useful, so they developed various states of depression which often included suicidal thoughts and obtained medicare/section 8 housing thusly.

Anonymous said...

How about the abundance of law firms that do nothing but push a Social Security disability claim for a couple of years then get an approval after three or four appeals. Their cut is forty or fifty percent of the back amount, which was building since the claim was originally filed. That's a sweet setup for the lawyers and their "help" is almost required to get an eventual approval.
It seems the lawyers are part of the Social Security Administration these days, a symbiotic relationship!
Even as a percentage of the country's population in 1954 I'll bet you find a lot less auto accident lawsuits filed in 1954 as compared to now.
Lawyering,...among other things!

Henry Canaday said...

Yeah, German-style labor market practices with an American population. That's what Walter Reuther tried with the UAW. How did that work out?

Anonymous said...

WTF is causing rising disability?

Bogus disability claims cannot be emphasized enough. A friend, an Emmy-winning sound technician, injured his back 20 years ago, yet he's still collecting 90K in disability a year despite the fact that he hasn't been injured in 19 years. Unbelievable! Why isn't the gov't forcing this deadbeat to return to work?

Chris Anderson said...

The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding

We trace the rapid expansion of SSDI to: (1) congressional reforms to disability screening in 1984 that enabled workers with low mortality disorders such as back pain, arthritis and mental illness to more readily qualify for benefits; (2) a rise in the after-tax DI income replacement rate, which strengthened the incentives for workers to seek benefits; (3) and a rapid increase in female labor force participation that expanded the pool of insured.

Not your fathers disability anymore.

http://www.nber.org/papers/w12436

Maya said...

Oh, and i just thought of something else. Again, not men, but still people in their prime who are very tragically disabled. I grew up in a community largely comprised of the fresh of the boat eastern europeans, asians and to lesser extent middle easterners. Though, we were much louder, dirtier and worse behaved than our neighbors to the north, many people worked hard to make their foreign diplomas valid and pass the professional exams or acquire new careers, so there was a heavy upstream flow of people who succeeded to become our neighbors to the north.
What people don't realize when they meet all those chinese/indian/russian dentists and engineers is that for every one of them there is also the stupid sister or cousin. You think if the Tiger Mom had a flaky aunt, she'd take financial responsibility for her instead of hanging her on the state? I have one of those aunts, and I personally know many of such aunts of other people. They tend to be divorced single moms who never did too well in school. Almost all of them are divorced back in the old country, before the family dragged them across the ocean. At first, they are usually resentful about being uprooted, so they put minimal effort into those first few critical of the boat years. They come because they are unable to solve any major medical/financial issues without the help from their parents/siblings, so they can't stay in the home country alone. Quickly upon arrival, they are somewhat consoled by the U.S. offering them all kinds of perks for being single moms. Social workers love them because the korean/ukrainian/persian welfare queen do care about their kids a lot more than your normal inner-city ghetto dweller. Little Nikolai gets hell for missing a homework assignment and teenaged Yasmin isn't allowed to go out on a school night, after 9:00pm or with people amma doesn't know. The social workers feel that they have real success stories on their hands. These women can't imagine doing any kind of work, and their cultures won't allow them to have more random kids to extend their lucrative single motherhood, so when their youngest turns 18 (usually in their early-mid 40s), they too develop mental disabilities, most often depression. Then, they just stay in their section 8 housing and keep their food stamps and medicare. Sometimes they have to move to a smaller place, but often their social workers just let them stay where they've already decorated to avoid extra anxiety. The end.

slumber_j said...

You indicate something not at all funny, and you're funny doing it. Well done, Mr. Sailer.

Anonymous said...

When democrats can take solidly republican districts because the republican basically acknowledged the fact that non-discretionary spending takes up all federal revenues and then some, yea they are going to back off of that one.

Luke Lea said...

"expanding community colleges and online learning; changing the corporate tax code and labor market rules to stimulate investment; adopting German-style labor market practices like apprenticeship programs, wage subsidies"

I think he has those parts right. Let's hope this is the beginning of a new intellectual trend.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you would be sick to your stomach if you saw a random sampling of names applying for, and getting, permanent disability in socal. We're talking non-english speaking (or very broken english), foreign born Mexica...er, I mean, undocumented workers. I estimate 50% of my cases are like this, with only about 10% being Anglo names, e.g., Joe smiths. The remaining 40% are black, Russian, Armenian, Hungarian, etc... w/ the latter groups running hustles w/ medical sources who happen to have similar sounding last names.

America, you're getting SCREWED by by parasitic foreigners through the permanent disability system.

Which is a tragedy, since this particular program is one of the few that genuinely tries to distinguish between the deserving and undeserving poor. Unfortunately country of origin isn't a factor, and you, we, are being taken advantage of.

Dennis Dale said...

He proposes
...a broad menu of policies attacking the problem all at once.

We've moved past "anything but immigration" to "everything but immigration".

We should probably count ourselves fortunate we haven't the money or will for this policy-scrum he imagines--one benefit of being broke.

Anonymous said...

In The UK there was a huge increase in disability welfare in the old mining and heavy industrial areas when they were closed down. The local doctors did it to help people out - although maybe it didn't really help long-term.

Kiwiguy said...

The Economist has also been pondering "Why ever fewer low-skilled American men have jobs"

"A second explanation is that American men have let their schooling slide. Those aged between 25 and 34 are less likely to have a degree than 45- to 54-year-olds. As David Autor of MIT points out, they are also less likely to have completed college than their contemporaries in Britain, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain. In recent years America’s university graduation rates have slipped from near the top of the world league to the middle. Men are far likelier than women to drop out. Their record at school is bad too. This educational decline has a racial edge. Black and Hispanic boys are far less likely to graduate from high school than white or Asian youths. A smaller fraction starts college and a larger fraction drops out."

http://www.economist.com/node/18618613

Anonymous said...

The largest increase in disability claims is for mental illness, which cannot be objectively diagnosed. See The Last Psychiatrist:
http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2010/11/the_terrible_awful_truth_about_1.html

Anonymous said...

"The median wage for American men has fallen 28 percent since peaking in the 1968-1973 era."

Despite the huge increase in productivity caused by computerization.

Anonymous said...

"if "immigration" is obviously such a terrible thing, why have the Lees and their leadership group been so strongly "

Give me one reason why we benefit from Somalis in this country?

Heck, In Europe they probably pay for the plane fare and then give them free housing so the Somalis can prowl the streets of Stockholm raping the daughters of their neighbors. Then they apologize to the Somalis for causing them to rape because they weren't welcomed and made to feel at home.

Rev. Right said...

I don't think excess labor resulting from mass immigration explains a five-fold increase in men not participating in the work force. You get what you pay for. There are simply so many sources of disability income - the government, employers, insurance companies - that make it possible to not work. All faciliated by a multi-billion dollar trial attorney industry and the general cultural decay, including the weakening of the Protestant work ethic. The easier it is to get by without working, the more people you will have not working. It's as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

"A friend, an Emmy-winning sound technician, injured his back 20 years ago, yet he's still collecting 90K in disability a year despite the fact that he hasn't been injured in 19 years."

What? I can't go on reading this site because if I do I will lose my mind. I had computer problems for a couple of days and was much happier not reading about the insanity of this country.

Anonymous said...

"Really, are establishment Republicans so cowed that touching the Medicare third-rail looks better than coming to Jesus on immigration and the national question?"

If anyone "comes to Jesus" on the topic, you can be sure the mainstream media will say they've "come to Hitler".

Anonymous said...

> America, you're getting SCREWED by by parasitic foreigners through the permanent disability system.

Odd that the media isn't squawking about it. I guess some things'll just never be explained.

Anonymous said...

> A second explanation is that American men have let their schooling slide. Those aged between 25 and 34 are less likely to have a degree than 45- to 54-year-olds.

Huh - wonder if that could have any relationship to demographic change. Probably not, though.

Anonymous said...

The Median wage for American workers has fallen 28 percent since the 1968-1973 era, but housing prices have risen by 25 percent. For a young man growing up today, a house is almost twice as expensive as it was in the late 1960s. It's actually probably even worse than that, as the wage decline seems to be more concentrated among younger workers.

I blame immigration, but I think the outsourcing of our manufacturing base is an important factor too.

Politicians don't understand the problems associated with immigration and deindustrialization because they can't fathom how much the world has changed since they grew up.

nurast said...

Inkraven said...

"Like the man said, it's great that you got OBL and all that, Mr. President, but I paid $4 for gas yesterday and still don't have a job."
u mean lifted him off ice.

Wes is watching ... said...

Anonymous, I was shocked to discover how many people are on disability. What is the minimum standard for being "disabled"? Does the government investigate these claims by Mestizos very closely? Or is it just a wink and a nod?

Anonymous said...

Anon #1: The median wage for American men has fallen 28 percent since peaking in the 1968-1973 era.

Anon #2: ...the biggest reason for the huge drop over time for this particular statistic is undoubtedly the enormously increased incarceration rate.

Which begs the [obvious] question of whether these doom-n-gloom statistics have been adjusted to account for the [tidal wave of] change in demographics.

If you're comparing IQ 100 white males of 1968 to 1973 with [incarcerated or ex-con] IQ 80 black or Mexican males of 2006 to 2011, then there would have to be a collapse in [more or less] every [possible] indicator of economic well-being.

Anonymous said...

A friend, an Emmy-winning sound technician, injured his back 20 years ago, yet he's still collecting 90K in disability a year despite the fact that he hasn't been injured in 19 years. Unbelievable! Why isn't the gov't forcing this deadbeat to return to work?

Uhh, why are you still calling the guy your "friend"?

And why haven't you reported him to the appropriate authorities for felony fraud?

Anonymous said...

Can I add a label? 'Unwillingness to move'.

Unemployment rates:

next door states

I notice that your high unemployment states are states with an awful lot of people in them, such as California, while your low unemployment states are places like Hawaii and Vermont, with the total population of a mid-sized town.

Anonymous said...

A second explanation is that American men have let their schooling slide. Those aged between 25 and 34 are less likely to have a degree than 45- to 54-year-olds.

Yes, because there are so many jobs out there for guys with degrees!

Anonymous said...

The number of Americans on the permanent disability rolls, meanwhile, has steadily increased. Ten years ago, 5 million Americans collected a federal disability benefit. Now 8.2 million do.

The population is growing rapidly, and aging at the same time.

Besides, unless all the people on disability are men, what's this got to do with the topic of male labor-force participation?

beowulf said...

Social Security Disability is no gravy train-- it is much less generous than what the VA pays service-disabled veterans (and they certainly don't make out like bandits) and Congress imposes a two year "thin the herd" delay before those receiving disability checks are eligible for Medicare coverage.

I'll second the, well, second comment, how could you not vote for Trump? He's the only candidate who's talking about fixing our trade deficit, which is a much bigger deal than the budget. The budget deficit is always huge when unemployment is high and shrinks as the economy improves, but the trade deficit never changes (which is why no one else wants to talk about it). Trump also has the right idea about immigration: “You either have a country or you don’t, you either have a line and a boundary or you don’t, something has to be done“
(Bill Oreilley) “What?!”
“You put soldiers on that line...
I know many incredible people — from South America, from Europe, from Asia — they can’t get into the country. They went to the best colleges, they went to our colleges, they want to be here, they want to work, they want to create jobs. We don’t let them in...
But sadly, if you’re a criminal, a sex offender, a rapist, a murderer, or quite frankly, somebody who has never ever achieved anything — and you’re able to cross the border and stay in our country — in some case with benefits and never leave. What is going on?”

http://thetrumpcard2012.com/militarizing-border-trump-security-immigration/

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

One thing I dislike about Brooks's stats is that they show no consistency. He compares the percentage of men ages 25-54working in 1954 to those working today. Then he cites the a 64% increase (5 million to 8 million) in the number of men and women on disability since 2000(ish). Timefram, gender, age - he's all over the place. But then not being a neocon I don't expect much from Brooks.

His stats are all over the place, so it's hard to draw any conclusions from them.

First, the LBJ Great Society did not exist until 1965. That certainly reduced the number of men who worked.

Second, the crime rate soared in the 60s, and has never recovered to its 50s-era level. That means more men incarcerated or unable to get a job due to a criminal record.

Third, the number of women in the workforce soared. That's been a huge boon to lazy men who'd rather not work.

Fourth, the age distribution of those men in the 25-54 range has almost certainly shifted to the right (i.e., older) meaning greater likelihood of genuine disability or even, gasp, early retirement.

Fifth, the underground economy, grown larger due to illegal immigration.

Sixth (for the increase in disability claims), the mid-90s welfare reforms encouraging people to find other ways to get on the dole.

Seventh - a point Steve implictly makes - the failure of the market to reward labor with wages that can compete with the bennies supplied by the welfare state. All I can say is that if a $9/hour job doing heavy labor were the only option I had, I'd find a way to finagle a disability check, too.

We've reached the point in this country where honesty and integrity are not conducive to getting ahead, especially not for the leats educated among us.

Wes working for Big Brother said...

I've been assigned by the government to watch RKU because of his insightful commentary, which threatens our power structure. A fellow agent is messing with his batch process right now. We are watching him stew in real time, via our thermal imaging satellite feed and having a good laugh.

By the way, has anyone ever wondered if your TV is secretly watching you?

Thomas said...

For a vivid depiction of what the noxious intersection of a collapsed economy, a rampant, debt-funded welfare state, and uncontrolled mass immigration look like in practice, Victor Davis Hanson files another report from his home in California's Central Valley. What was once the most productive agricultural zone in the world now rivals Appalachia or the ghettos of Detroit in poverty and malaise.

http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson051011B.html

Fred said...

"So my question is this: if "immigration" is obviously such a terrible thing, why have the Lees and their leadership group been so strongly for it?"

A few differences between Singapore and the U.S. when it comes to immigration:

1) Singapore pretty much demands its residents know English.

2) Singapore has a zero tolerance policy toward crime. Immigrants who can't behave themselves get their asses whipped with a cane; drug dealers get the death penalty.

3) Singapore has a much, much stingier welfare system than we do. No one is immigrating there to game their system.

That said, the Economist article I linked to there says,

"Native resentment is also growing against the influx of migrant workers: 35% of the workforce of 3m is now foreign. It is often cheaper for companies to import semi-skilled and unskilled workers—there were 680,000 at last count—than to hire locals, who require pension contributions. Official reassurances that migrants create growth do not convince those competing for scarce jobs. Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father and still its "minister mentor" has maintained that ambitious migrants help to keep citizens on their toes. In an interview given to National Geographic last July he said that if native Singaporeans lag behind “hungry” foreigners because “the spurs are not stuck on [their] hinds”, that is not the state’s problem to solve."

Wes who fears you know too much said...

Thomas, nice article by Victor Hanson ... I wondered about two of his comments:

most of my friends in the ascendant Mexican-American middle and upper-middle classes, many of whom are becoming quite conservative.

I would bet most of those middle and upper middle class Mexican-Americans were mainly European and very little Mestizo or Indigenous in makeup.

History’s revolutions and upheavals ... are rarely fueled by the starving and despised, but by the subsidized and frustrated, who either see their umbilical cord threatened, or their comfort and subsidies static rather than expansive ...

Great point. Look at the reactions we just saw to cutting back the public unions in one state ... near riots. We may be about to live in interesting times.

eh said...

WSJ: Disability Claims in Puerto Rico Get New Scrutiny

The Social Security Administration's inspector general is sending a team of fraud investigators to Puerto Rico, following a Wall Street Journal article Tuesday that revealed unevenness in the way disability benefits are awarded around the U.S.

Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, is one of the easiest places to secure payments from the Social Security Disability Insurance program. In 2010, 63% of applicants there won approval, four percentage points higher than New Jersey and Wyoming, the most generous states.

Puerto Rico's 00725 ZIP Code includes more people who receive SSDI benefits than any other. Indeed, nine of the top 10 U.S. ZIP Codes for beneficiaries are in Puerto Rico.


I guess life is tough in Puerto Rico. So tough it leaves you disabled. Maybe that's why, historically, so many people wanted to leave. But now they can just get on disability, so why leave? It's a new paradigm: Soon Puerto Rico will see an upswing in immigration that will bring 'diversity', a new 'vibrancy', etc.

Anonymous said...

"Really, are establishment Republicans so cowed that touching the Medicare third-rail looks better than coming to Jesus on immigration and the national question?"

Two things the GOP leadership will never do: upset their own donors, or the other party's base. Going contra the interest of their own base is entirely acceptable.

One of the big GOP arguments for the 2006 and 2007 amnesty proposals was that Republicans needed to win the "growing Hispanic vote."

Hispanics are only about 7% of voters and vote overwhelmingly for liberals, even after Republicans supported the 1986 amnesty proposal. Virtually all non-Cuban Hispanic elected officials are Democrats. Nevermind that - the Republicans can't anger them, or reduce their rate of growth. Increasing their share of the Hispanic vote would mean a net pickup of maybe 1% of all voters, not accounting for the Republicans they lose by favoring amnesty.

Seniors, OTOH, are a far larger share of the population than Hispanics, are more likely to vote, are also growing rapidly, and actually lean Republican. Losing a small percentage of seniors would counteract any gains in Hispanic support by a wide margin.

I can understand that Medicare needs reform. You can't get to a balanced budget without doing so. A $1.3 trillion deficit means that nearly everything needs to be on the table - Medicare, defense, foreign aid, welfare, Head Start and, yes, tax increases. Everything.

So what will Republicans put on the table? Immigration enforcement, for one, which was cut by over $200 million in the last budget deal; and Medicare. Not defense; not the wasteful, pointless wars in Iraq or Afghanistan; and certainly not the $3 billion foreign aid to Israel.

Yep, granny's gunna get her Medicare cut so that we can continue sending billions to Israel and spending a hundred billion on two failed wars.

That people keep voting for Republicans simply boggles the mind. I'm conservative, but going forward I demand COD before voting for them. That means policies that benefit me and mine. That means those policies now, before pushing through yet another tax cut for the rich. But even after getting slaughtered in 2006 and 2008, and after the widespread rejection of establishment Repubs in 2010, the party still reveals itself to be more concerned about the interests of Wall Street than of Main Street.

I predict one of two things will happen (and possibly both):

1) The new Republican majority won't last long. It will be gone by 2016, especially if a Republican wins the White House in 2012. The policies of the GOP establishment are still the failed policies of the Bush Era. They won't reverse the decline.

2) A viable third party will arise, also by 2016.

eh said...

Norm Matloff: Welfare Use Among Elderly Immigrants

Despite their Model Minority image, approximately 55% of elderly Chinese immmigrants were on welfare, a striking contrast to the 9% figure for native-born seniors...The immigrant Chinese senior welfare recipients do not need the money. This is true by definition, because at the time a senior immigrates, his/her children must demonstrate to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that they have the financial resources to be able to support the parent.

More Norm Matloff

In 1994 there were nearly seven times as many elderly immigrants on welfare as in 1982 - a seven-fold increase in the short timespan of 12 years! One analyst has calculated that each American family will have to pay $3,000 in taxes in the next ten years just to cover the welfare used by elderly immigrants.

I'm sure none of these trends have changed all that much.

I remember how, in 1996, I could not help but overhear as a colleague at work spent a lot of time on the phone trying to arrange, in his pigeon English, necessary appointments etc so that his just-off-the-boat parents could cash in. All courtesy of family reunification immigration.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I think white people's brains have been taken over by a parasite that causes them to do everything possible to destroy themselves and the white race.



Check out this video for a good analogy (be sure to watch to the end). That caterpillar is like (White) America. I'll leave it up to you figure out which group the parasitic wasp larvae are analogous to.

Simon Newman said...

The British experience is that the prevalence of working age men on disability benefits is due to the availability of disability benefits. Strange as it is for some to believe, many people would prefer to be paid for not working than be paid for working, especially when the sums involved are similar.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Tyler Cowen's all over this one too, Steve.

I'm glad you link to MR. That's how I discovered this bizarr-o world of Panglossian economists perplexed that all the cheap ethnic food they crave might have some associated costs.

You seem to have steered some more objective commenters there. It's funny to watch Tyler post what strikes him as some Really Big, Difficult Question ("Why don't more men work harder to pay more taxes?" "How come societies with wildly diverse population groups periodically erupt into civil war?"). A few posts by people who still have some grasp of the obvious, and the conversation stops.

Svigor said...

So my question is this: if "immigration" is obviously such a terrible thing, why have the Lees and their leadership group been so strongly for it? Obviously, they might just be mistaken. But when an elite leadership as intelligent, competent, far-planning, and "benevolent" as that of Singapore supports a public policy I think you should think long and hard before just dismissing it out of hand...

I'll answer your question with a couple suggestions of my own:

When an elite as intelligent, competent, far-planning, and benevolent as that of Japan supports a public policy of infinitesimal immigration, I think you should think long and hard before dismissing it...

When an elite as closed, ethnocentric, mediocre and lotto-dependent as that of Saudi Arabia supports a public policy of heavy immigration, I think you should think long and hard before accepting it...

Anonymous said...

Pidgin, not "pigeon."

jz said...

Large swaths of American men are disabled resulting from their morbid obesity. They wear out their knees, their hips, and their pancreas. They have sleep apnea and use CPAP machines at night. They are genuinely medically disabled.

Kylie said...

"America, you're getting SCREWED by by parasitic foreigners through the permanent disability system."

And it's not just the foreigners who are parasitic. I was an anomaly in my old neighborhood because I earned my own living wasn't receiving any form of welfare, SSI, etc. In fact, my neighbors thought I was kind of dumb to pass on all that free money.

You wouldn't believe how easy it is to game the system.

No Workee said...

Agree with two of the anonymous clan. Disability recipipiemts winning because

1) lawyers keep winning cases, many of which are not one-shot deals but rather expand the range of acceptable claims;

2) larger range of mental illness claims being accepted.

If trend 2 continues, watch out. 20% of people have a serious depression sometime in their life (it is said) amd the length of time time that depression will last cannot be predicted at that time, which can be written up in a way that would constitue an eligible claim. As people start catching on to this, claims will increase.

Of course people in white collar or decent-paying blue collar jobs will prefer to go back to work if they can rather than live at a can-I-afford cable? level.

Anonymous said...

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father and still its "minister mentor" has maintained that ambitious migrants help to keep citizens on their toes...he said that if native Singaporeans lag behind “hungry” foreigners because “the spurs are not stuck on [their] hinds”, that is not the state’s problem to solve."

That's it, you see - it's the state's job to ensure the spurs are planted deeply into your hind side. That's the American dream. You wouldn't believe how many so-called "conservatives" would concur. Certainly Grover Norquist and the Chamber of Commerce do.

That, of course, excludes the hind sides of billionaire heirs and heiresses, who deserve to have every penny of their daddys' fortunes passed down to them unmolested by the IRS.

Maya said...

I finally have have a comment about regular honest-to-god americans and disability. From what i constantly observe, a lot of things are disabling nowadays. People receive public assistance for obesity, ADHD and school yard induced PTSD. A classmate in college was on disability for infertility! I'm not sure how it works because I know a lot of people with extra chunk, learning disabilities, PCOS and bad childhood experiences who earn a living just fine. In fact, a very close friend of mine comes from a horrible family environment, is an orphan on both sides, put herself through college working full time, earned a BS in chemistry with a 4.0 and now is in process of having her ovaries removed due to large cysts. She is having a hell of a time trying to secure several weeks off work to recover from surgery without losing her job.

not a hacker said...

I'm with It's Obvious. Though I hadn't seen him say it before, with this piece Steve seems to believe that immigration has taken heavy lifting-type jobs away from white males. But those jobs mostly went away in the '80's. These days, the replacement troops are women.

Anonymous said...

So my question is this: if "immigration" is obviously such a terrible thing, why have the Lees and their leadership group been so strongly for it? Obviously, they might just be mistaken. But when an elite leadership as intelligent, competent, far-planning, and "benevolent" as that of Singapore supports a public policy I think you should think long and hard before just dismissing it out of hand...

Singapore's situation is unique. The Han TFR is 1.08, whereas the Malay (Muslim) TFR is 1.82. Bottom line, they need foreign immigration to keep the Malay (Muslim) contingent from becoming a bigger demographic presence in the country. We have a similar problem stateside - we need foreign immigration to keep this country from becoming a supersized version of Jamaica.

Anonymous said...

adopting German-style labor market practices like apprenticeship programs

Another example of how people go astray by not knowing enough opera.

In the first act of Die Meistersinger the second tenor David sings a difficult aria in praise of his master Hans Sachs the cobbler. Sachs, David says, is so good he hardly ever beats him.

Apprenticeships were a form of indentured servitude. Not as severe as chattel slavery or serfdom, bur bad enough. When I was in Ireland the silversmith explained to me that a boy was an apprentice for seven years during which time he slept on the floor under his bench. The same sleeping arrangements were common for apprentice chefs - they ate, slept and lived in the kitchen.

The modern world began in 1453 with Gutenberg. The printing press made men free. No longer did boys have to endure years of exploitation so as to learn a trade. They could just read up on it in a book.

The apprentice system is dead. Good.

Albertosaurus

Luke Lea said...

Anonymous: "The Median wage for American workers has fallen 28 percent since the 1968-1973 era, but housing prices have risen by 25 percent. . .

I blame immigration, but I think the outsourcing of our manufacturing base is an important factor too."

Don't forget automation. There are three factors all pushing in the same direction: (1) mass low-skill immigration, mostly from Mexico; (2) mass imports from low-wage countries like China; (3) labor saving technologies in the workplace and the home (don't forget home appliances which released women into the workforce).

When a problem has three causes, the pundit class plays three-card monte: it's not trade, it's changing technology; or it's not immigration it's changing technology. It's trade, immigration, AND labor-saving technology.

Answer: higher tariffs, an immigration moratorium, and a shorter working day with time-and-a-half for overtime.

Anonymous said...

"While immigration certainly has not helped this percentage of prime age men in the workforce, the biggest reason for the huge drop over time for this particular statistic is undoubtedly the enormously increased incarceration rate."


How do you figure?

The incarceration rate is only like 2%. And while that is high it doesn't explain the other 15%.

Also, labor participation rates are always for the non-institutionalized population. So, the criminals and mentally affected are not included anyway.

Has to be said...

"He's the only candidate who's talking about fixing our trade deficit, which is a much bigger deal than the budget. The budget deficit is always huge when unemployment is high and shrinks as the economy improves, but the trade deficit never changes."

It does. It shrinks as the economy worsens. Kinda like immigration.

Truth said...

"That caterpillar is like (White) America. I'll leave it up to you figure out which group the parasitic wasp larvae are analogous to."

White bankers?

Formerly.JP98 said...

This follows from one of the Iron Laws:

If you subsidize something, you will get more of it.

Mac said...

A bit OT but I was watching Morning Joe this morning before work and Mika Canteventrytospellherlastname and Mike Barnicle were discussing Barry O's immigration speech in El Paso. They were lamenting tution rates for illegals, lack of health care blah blah blah. Immigration's effect on the native workforce wasn't even discussed. I about tossed my breakfast.

Anonymous said...

"Check out this video for a good analogy (be sure to watch to the end). That caterpillar is like (White) America. I'll leave it up to you figure out which group the parasitic wasp larvae are analogous to.'

Wow, I haven't seen that one. It even protects it. I have seen one that involves ant.

The below involves humans and culture.
http://notexactlyrocketscience.wordpress.com/2007/01/14/brain-parasite-drives-human-culture/

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't just welfare programs and government policies which encourage dependency mentality among too many Americans but changes in the medical community which labels EVERYTHING as a mental or physical disease or disability.

Hmm, this gives me ideas. Since 'racism', 'homophobia', 'xenophobia', and 'antisemitism' are now considered to be mental diseases, maybe we should all quit out jobs and apply for disability(on the basis of mental illness)and live on the government dole.

Maybe I should walk into welfare office and scream, 'Ahhhh, Jews, gays, illegal aliens, and Negroes, they are everywhere and freaking me out. I can't function anymore!! I need help. I need free food. I need free drugs. I need free medical care to be rid of this illness.'

Truth said...

"No longer did boys have to endure years of exploitation so as to learn a trade."

Oh yes they do, only now the exploitation is called "college loans."

Tanstaafl said...

"Since 'racism', 'homophobia', 'xenophobia', and 'antisemitism' are now considered to be mental diseases..."

Thanks for the laugh.

Unfortunately these mental diseases are special. Ordinary mental diseases serve to excuse the afflicted. These justify demonization. This isn't funny at all, just like most of what comes up around here.

K(yle) said...

Oh yes they do, only now the exploitation is called "college loans."


Wow, I rarely agree with Truth but I took note of this supposed book-learning system as well.

'Apprentices' can learn their trade from a book, but they'll need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get a piece of paper with a stamp on it saying that they have done so.

So everyone who doesn't have tens of thousands of dollars can indenture themselves to the bank by borrowing it, except that the new master doesn't gaurantee you with the labor and associated wage with which to earn your freedom.

Or you can simply fail at life. We do have on-the-job learning apprenticeship programs usually via trade unions. They aren't reall super easy to get into, and I'm sure no one is asked to sleep under a bench.

RKU said...

K(yle): So everyone who doesn't have tens of thousands of dollars can indenture themselves to the bank by borrowing it, except that the new master doesn't gaurantee you with the labor and associated wage with which to earn your freedom.

The whole student-loan system in America really is totally crazy. Combine it with the huge growth of worthless and corrupt "for-profit" colleges, and the result is double-crazy.

With the job market so bad and student loans exempt from bankruptcy discharge, I think the result will be to shift the bulk of the entire population into permanent "debt-peonage," basically the sort of thing that caused so many European peasants to flee to America back in the 19th century, and not too different from what caused the Southern slaves to follow the Underground Railroad to the North.

Maybe the next generation of young Americans will attempt to flee oversees to escape their unpayable debts, and the Washington Post (i.e. Kaplan Schools) will hire ruthless slave-catchers, er, "student-loan servicers" to track them down wherever they hide and return them back to bondage...

eh said...

Pidgin, not "pigeon."

Thanks for that -- you are absolutely correct.

Georgia Resident said...

Disability is relative. Many of these men who are out of the workforce probably occupy the low end of the bell curve, and are losing their only means of employment as low and semi-skilled labor is outsourced to foreign countries, and they simply can't hack other, more intellectual, lines of work. If we didn't have massive outsourcing, my guess is that many of these men could lead productive working lives. But that would, of course, require the government to act in the interests of its own citizens.
And, of course, as the government imports more low-skilled, low-IQ immigrant labor, this unemployment problem will only get worse.

Dutch Boy said...

Immigration+women working+outsourcing+ADD (3-5% of boys)+autism (1 in 58 boys)+incarceration (millions)=
not employed

corvinus said...

The blow to Singapore's government is in line with the move in Europe and the pushback in the USA against mass immigration. Nothing new, really. An extra problem with Singapore, though, is that their birth rate is so low they are in a quasi-Children of Men situation, worse even than Europe.

As for Hispanics... given that Sharron Angle got one-third of the Hispanic vote (I think IIRC she did better among Hispanics than Asians!), it seems to me that pandering to Hispanics isn't really about pandering to Hispanics, but rather to powerful SWPL liberals. The right half of the Hispanic IQ bell curve sees themselves, and votes, as white.

In other news, Germany reported recently they got 30,000 immigrants from the USA in 2009 -- the same number as from Turkey -- while sending the usual 10,000 here. Canada is also reporting increased American immigration; until recently, about 3x as many Canadians would move south as Americans moving north. And not just to other industrialized countries; several young people I know are talking about moving to various parts of the Third World (Costa Rica, even Ghana). The job market is getting so bad here that we're starting to become an immigrant-sending country like Britain. People would rather hold their noses and move to Orwellian police states like Canada or Germany because there are jobs there (for the moment).

Anonymous said...

"Since 'racism', 'homophobia', 'xenophobia', and 'antisemitism' are now considered to be mental diseases..."

"Thanks for the laugh."

Make an appointment with a doctor, psychologist, or social worker, and just say you've been having funny ideas lately:

1. That the notion that anal sex invovling a non-sexual but excretory organs among men is not the biological or moral equivalent of healthy normal sex involving proper sexual organs, and therefore, 'gay marriage' is a ludicrous idea.

Diagnosis: homophobia.

2. That races do seem to exist and racial differences account for certain facets of social reality, such as higher success among Jews and greater social maladies among blacks.

Diagnosis: racism.

3. That, at tail ends, men seem to do better in science and math than women while women seem to have greater verbal aptitude and can have babies, which men cannot.

Diagnosis: Sexism.

4. That in a nation defined by rule of law, illegal immigration is a subversive and damaging idea, especially if most illegals are of lower IQ. Also, the so-called DREAM ACT should really be called the ILLEGAL ACT.

Diagnosis: Xenophobia and maybe racism too.

5. That Jews have disproportionate power and influence over us, and that most policies favored by most Jews are not good for white Americans. Also, Jewish dominated foreign policy isn't good for Amerian interests.

Diagnosis: antisemitism.

Given these are mental illnesses, people afflicted with them should be considered as victims deserving of pity than as villains deserving of condemnation. They shouldn't be dragged off to sensitivity classes but be showered with sensitivity, hugs, support, and compassion.

In other words, I want my disability check right now!