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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

THE FAUX WAR ON THE MIDDLE CLASS

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You wouldn't normally think of comedian Drew Carey as the ideal person to take on Lou Dobbs and his nightly reporting on the "War on the Middle Class."  Dobbs uses this running theme to justify his rants against immigration and free trade so while Carey's video report for the Wall Street Journal does not directly mention immigration, it really tells a lot about why Dobbs is banging this particular drum.

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  1. 's Avatar
    Lies, damn lies and statistics. This piece us as bad as the rot on CNN with its selective use of statistics. Comparing the relative price of technology over a 108 year period and claiming that applies to the relative cost of living for Americans over the last 20 years is just plain wrong.

    A better measure is to ask how much average families have been able to save in inflation adjusted terms over the last fifty years. The middle class are not saving.

    Showing all the idiots up at my local lake in Castaic is also very wrong. Here is how the good folks of the Santa Clarita valley got to buy those Hummers and boats: house prices rose from an average of $180k in 2000 to $750k in 2007. They took that money out as line of home equity, with teaser rate remortgages etc. Looking around now we have houses that have been reposessed by the bank that had been entirely paid off by the occupants, but they remortgaged to buy these frivolous consumer goods.

  2. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    "" - Please note that while I indulged you last go around, it's good etiquette on this forum to use a handle and not post without a name.
  3. DJ's Avatar
    Sorry. First time poster.

    DJ
  4. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    DJ - The point of the piece was very, very valid when it comes to the changing definition of the middle class. Just an example from what you've pointed out. A few generations ago, home ownership was largely the domain of the rich and not the working class. Most people rented. And the size of our houses and the furnishings are dramatically more than even 25 years ago. As we've gotten wealthier as a society, luxuries have become "needs" and not just "wants." How many television sets do you really need. Is having cable or satellite really a need? Most people can't imagine not having it. Same for Internet access and having a computer. Ten years ago, most Americans got along fine without either. Now they can't imagine not having them. We have all tremendously increased the number of things that are "must have". And that's a good sign of how much wealthier we are today.

    As for the repossessions, this is largely a re-run of the 1980s savings and loan crisis. The US economy's greatest strength is its lack of over-regulation and excess protectionism. And that will ensure that we do just fine in the long run (unless folks like yourself grab the reins and drive us in to a long term downward spiral in the name of protecting the few.
  5. Beta_mle's Avatar
    Awesome piece. Very badly needed perspective that we don't get from the media and politicians. While we are busy talking ourselves into a recession, more people need to see this.

    Of course there are issues, people not saving enough, etc but this is a point well taken. Things are not as bad as they say. Thanks Greg!
  6. R. Lawson's Avatar
    The answer is simple: personal debt. These people may be able to get the credit needed to purchase such goods - and if they were one of those who made a smart real estate deal earlier this decade perhaps they could pay cash.

    But you are on crack if you think the majority of Americans live like that. My guess is that if you did more than a superficial interview at the lake and looked at the finances of these people, they would be heavily in debt. In short, they are living beyond their means. I doubt their retirement accounts look very good.

    I wouldn't expect good research from a comedian, so I'll give Drew Carrey a pass.
  7. DJ's Avatar
    I really shouldn't post on blogs after taking allergy medication, but anyway...

    I'm not arguing the Lou is right or that Drew is wrong. Immigration has nothing to do with my annoyance with the piece (personally I am for completely open borders and fast, easy, cheap ways for anybody who wishes to become American to become American - so I'm really not a Dobbsian apologist as you suspect).

    My problem with the piece is its use of evidence to support the thesis - which I don't necessarily disagree with. It was grossly unscientific, used selective statistics and interviews with people on extended credit. It undermined any validity the argument may have. As bad as anything I've seen on Fox.

    Societal wealth is relative. The fact that technological trinkets have become cheaper due to scientific and manufacturing progress is not (in my opinion) something that indicates an individual has got wealthier. How easy is it for people to afford a University education today as compared to the eighties and nineties? How about getting health coverage? Raising children?

    DJ
  8. Another voice's Avatar
    Good piece, optimistic thinking is always a better way to look at life!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    DJ, Drew is a comedian, so yes, his evidence is somewhat anectodal, and I can't blame him for that. Yet, he included an economist opinion, and this guy knows what he is talking about. He could as well be comparing the prices to 1970 or 1950 - the picture would still be the same (because the dramatic improvements in productivity did not slow, rather, increased in the last 20 years).

    Remember that popular statistics "men in their 30s today are worse off than their fathers"? Is not that the ultimate validation of the incomes falling? In fact, it is not. Guess what happened to all women and all men over 40? Exactly - this is just a spin on a perfectly positive trend of increasing real wages.
  10. R. Lawson's Avatar
    "The fact that technological trinkets have become cheaper due to scientific and manufacturing progress is not (in my opinion) something that indicates an individual has got wealthier. How easy is it for people to afford a University education today as compared to the eighties and nineties? How about getting health coverage? Raising children?"

    As someone with children who pays for daycare ($800/mo) and someone who has a small business paying our own healthcare ($8k a year/family) not to mention all the overhead associated with a business and a house - even though I make six figures I don't FEEL like I make that much. Six figures today isn't what it was just 10 years ago. The first figure needs to begin with at least a 2 now days ;-) College costs - figure $20k a child for tuition and books with the prepay program we are in. Also include our own student loans - thanks to my father not thinking ahead as I have done for my own children.

    I would LIKE to go and buy a boat (actually, taking flying lessons so would like a plane) but I'll probably wait on a big purchase until the economic tea leaves look a bit better. With $3.50 a gallon for avgas, and insurance - flying is just about out of reach also. Renting is about $100 an hour these days.
  11. R. Lawson's Avatar
    FYI, the reason I mentioned flying is because my father was a pilot - and he could afford to fly out of college. So in that aspect, my father had it easier.

    I make more than my father today, but that is because I take risks he can't stomach. He has a nice government engineering job with little risk and a pension plan.

    My generation can FORGET about a pension. It's all about the 401k now. We don't have the govt to bail us out. Medicare and Social Security? I'll be absolutely surprised if those benefits aren't long gone by the time I retire.
  12. George Chell's Avatar
    Look at this racist clown in denial...

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YmZiNWI2NjBmNGIyYTFiYzdjZTQzMGQzOWU3ODRkMWI=
  13. 's Avatar
    George, what did the guy say that you find racist? Other than not agreeing with you on immigration issues - what racist thing did he say?
  14. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "My generation can FORGET about a pension. It's all about the 401k now. We don't have the govt to bail us out. Medicare and Social Security? I'll be absolutely surprised if those benefits aren't long gone by the time I retire."

    Oh, what a horror! No pension, no Social Security!

    Well, those things (pensions, Medicare, Social Security) have been around since 1930s, which, compared to the history of human kind, is like a nano-second. Somehow, for generations, people survivied without them, that makes me think, and we will survive, too.
  15. drew from immigrants list's Avatar
    Drew (not me the funny one) has been getting more political as of late. Apparently he's a libertarian and pro-immigration - http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/drew_carey_reason_tv/2007/10/16/41344.html . I apologize for linking to newsmax
  16. George Chell's Avatar
    "George, what did the guy say that you find racist? Other than not agreeing with you on immigration issues - what racist thing did he say?"

    Go and learn more about the Center for Immigration Studies that he heads, where they get their funding from and then get back to me!

  17. R. Lawson's Avatar
    "Oh, what a horror! No pension, no Social Security!"

    You are right - this is horrific. It has been around since the 1930s and something WE HAVE PAID FOR in each and every pay check. So of course we expect to get the benefits we have already paid for. This is a staple of our society.

    And humans use to live in the stone age and shit outside. Maybe we should go back to that as well!

    So your position is that we chuck all the old people onto the streets. Swell.
  18. George Chell's Avatar
    "Sic Semper Tyrannis"? No. Sic Semper Antis!

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/07/romney.campaign/index.html

    Kirkorian will still insist that people want to be tough on immigration. I dont give a damn what people say. I do give a damn what people do. They elected McCain and only ignoramuses dont know that McCain was (is) for amnesty. To Mark Kirkorian and Rahm Immanuel my response is simple. McCain won, get over it! Third Rail of American Politics? What a joke! It was not even an issue among the GOP!
  19. 's Avatar
    "Go and learn more about the Center for Immigration Studies that he heads, where they get their funding from and then get back to me!"

    Don't toss out inuendo. If the CIS is rasist and gets their funding from racists - provide proof. I'm too busy to go and dig up dirt on every conspiracy theory you come up with.

    The CIS has different immigration positions than you - that isn't racist in and of itself. Demonstrate how they are racist or stop pulling that card.
  20. George Chell's Avatar
    "So your position is that we chuck all the old people onto the streets. Swell."

    Some antis want exactly that. Richard Lamm the former governor of Colorado wanted to the seniors to roll over and die. FAIR and CIS want to double the wages of nurses so that insurance wont cover many sick and old people and they can be out on the streets. Great people these antis!

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