2:00PM Water Cooler 6/25/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I got a later start than I had hoped, because I had to put on my yellow waders and look at Nigel Farage. More shortly, though do note a topic of interest: The Brand New Congress immigration proposed policy I’ve already posted under “Realignment and Legitimacy.” –lambert UPDATE 4:05 All done. I didn’t mark updates, because there were a lot.


“The first round of tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese technology and other goods might not even be in place yet, but it’s already time for round two: investment restrictions and export controls. The Treasury Department is expected by the end of the week to roll out its plans, which are aimed at protecting U.S. dominance in industries such as robotics and information technology where China, through its “Made in China 2025″ initiative, is trying to become the global leader” [Politico]. • So, we have an industrial policy?

“[M]ultinational corporations, like global monopolist Amazon and data-mining giants Facebook and Google, are trying to use NAFTA renegotiations to lock in new powers and protections on issues the original NAFTA did not even cover, such as e-commerce and internet governance. Their goal is to establish NAFTA rules that stop governments from creating new domestic policies to protect their citizens’ privacy, personal data and security as new technologies emerge. These mega corporations have considerable sway over officials in all three NAFTA nations. As a result, under the guise of “modernizing” the 24-year-old agreement, officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico are negotiating new “digital trade” rules that mirror dangerous “electronic commerce” provisions that were included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)” (PDF) [Public Citizen]. • It’s like the clique of expensive lawyers and Sherpas who run these negotations have big stacks of boilerplate that they just shuffle around… Most of it bad

“U.S. manufacturers that use parts made abroad face tough choices in the face of sweeping tariffs coming into force next month. The efforts by companies sorting out the impact of the levies on imports offer a window into the complex connections of global trade…, where components made in one country get assembled in another and may even be transported and sold back into the first country” [Wall Street Journal]. “General Electric Co. fears higher costs for its $19 billion business making magnetic resonance imaging machines, many of which are assembled at U.S. plants. Nearly $1 of every $5 in components for the scanners is imported from China. Experts say the stakes are especially high for companies like GE that own the factories producing their imported parts since they face the costs of resetting supply chains while coping with factories that the tariffs have rendered economically unviable.” • And GE was already in trouble…

“On Trade, Should Allies Treat the United States as a Rogue Nation?” [Council on Foreign Relations]. “Should U.S. allies consider the use of “smart sanctions” against U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies—sanctions that would target the president’s assets directly rather harming U.S. consumers and businesses through tariffs? That the question is even being asked highlights the strange and perilous time in which we find ourselves… However tempting such an approach might be, though, it would be a huge mistake for Canada, Europe and other U.S. allies. The goal of their trade retaliation is not simply to force Trump to relent and remove the U.S. tariffs—the aim is to persuade the U.S. government to appreciate the harm that will come from abandoning the rules-based system for global trade that has been built, under U.S. leadership, since the end of the Second World War. So far, these countries have designed their retaliation to hew as closely as possible to international trade rules even as the United States is flouting those rules. Sanctions aimed at the Trump Organization directly would have the opposite effect.”



“Don Jr. storms the midterms” [Politico]. “Absent a visit from the president himself, a fundraiser or event with Trump Jr. is fast becoming red-state Republican hopefuls’ favorite way to boast Trump’s support…. The president’s 40-year-old son, who remains a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, is using the trips to establish a political identity independent of his father’s. It’s fueling speculation that he’s eyeing elected office himself someday, though allies say he‘s happy serving as a liaison to his father’s base during the run-up to 2020 and building out a noncandidate role in Republican politics.”


“Primaries 2018: Can Grimm go from prison to Congress? Will Oklahoma OK pot?” [USA Today]. “Battles will also be settled between the establishment and activist wings of the Republican and Democratic parties as voters head to the polls for primaries in Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah, and for runoff elections in Missisippi and South Carolina.”

“Polls of Senate Races Boost GOP Prospects for Retaining Control” [Bloomberg]. “The prospect of Republicans retaining control of the U.S. Senate are looking better, according to polls of races in Texas, Florida and Arizona by CBS News conducted by YouGov and published Sunday.”” • One poll, so I probably shouldn’t even link to it, and start following the averages…

“Reversal of fortune: Obamacare rate hikes pose headache for Republicans” [Politico]. “Obamacare premiums are once again poised to spike by double digits in 2019, causing heartburn for politicians as voters will head to the polls within days of learning about the looming hit to their pocketbooks. But unlike recent campaign cycles, when Republicans capitalized on Obamacare sticker shock to help propel them to control of Congress and the White House, they’re now likely to be the ones feeling the wrath of voters.”

“How soybeans — yes, soybeans — could impact the midterm elections” [CNN]. “But in southern Minnesota, where generations of soybean farmers and pork producers are already used to economic uncertainty, Trump’s tough talk on trade has been demoralizing.

The same tariffs that Trump touted on Wednesday have left these growers as collateral damage in an escalating fight with China. Tariffs beget tariffs in the fight, and the Chinese have targeted both American staples, pushing down commodity prices and sinking farm values.

As Republicans and Trump eye Minnesota as a key state for 2018 and beyond, they run the risk that the same tough talk on trade that made Trump so popular in the state might backfire on some of his most loyal supporters.” • And in September the harvest begins…

MO Senate: “Senate Candidate Josh Hawley at Stanford: an Academic Columnist with Big Ideas and Big Plans” [Medium]. • And the backing of squillionare Peter Theil…

CA: “California split: “Cal 3″ campaign epitomizes Golden State’s pay-to-play initiative process” [Salon]. • Another squillionaire with bright ideas (Tim Draper)….

NY: “In Tuesday’s primary, four New York Democrats face challenges on their left” [WaPo]. “‘Who has New York been changing for?’ Ocasio Cortez asked in a campaign video that drew national attention [and well it should have]. ‘It’s time we acknowledge that not all Democrats are the same; that a Democrat who takes corporate money, profits off foreclosure, doesn’t live here, doesn’t send his kids to our schools, does not drink our water, does not breathe our air, cannot possibly represent us.’… If the veterans win and their party snatches control of the House in November, New Yorkers would control some of the House’s most powerful committees, including Appropriations, Foreign Affairs and Judiciary.” • And to what purpose?

NY-14: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fights the Power” [The Nation]. ” Though they nominally belong to the same party, Ocasio-Cortez represents an ascendant enthusiasm for economic justice that has helped make Senator Bernie Sanders the most popular politician in America. Crowley represents a status quo that seems to believe America’s already pretty great, except for that one guy, Donald Trump.” • Evil entered the world on January 21, 2017… .

NY-14: “Political Newcomer Shakes Up Congressional Primary in New York” [Wall Street Journal]. “[Ocasio’s] campaign is interesting in that it’s really centered on canvassing, which is necessary for a campaign like this,” [Jessica Baldwin-Philippi, an assistant professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University] said.” • If Ocasio wins, I’ll be very surprised, but canvassing — one-on-one contact with real people, instead of Mook’s algo — is the way forward, IMNSHO. DSA brakelights clinics are an even more powerful implementation of the same idea.

WV-03: “Candidates in WV’s 3rd District race discuss policy issues” [Charleston Gazette-Mail]. “Carol Miller is running for Congress, but she won’t say what she plans to do if she gets there. On a range of issues from health care, to the opioid epidemic, to energy policy, Miller, the majority whip in the state House of Delegates and Republican candidate in the 3rd District, said she’ll figure it out…. When asked how to fix health care markets, Miller balked at the question. ‘Do you really think I could give you an answer on that?’ she said in a telephone interview. “I mean, it’s been going on, and the ACA just complicated it even more.’ … The Democrat running against Miller could hardly stand in starker contrast. For better or for worse, Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, leaves nothing to the imagination about his platform. He regularly hosts forums on social media where he takes questions in real time. ‘I don’t know everything, I am not a liar, I do live videos because I want to let people know where I stand, but I also let people know that if you disagree with me, I want you to come on there, let’s debate,’ he said. In an interview this week, he made no bones laying out his policy positions. He said he is opposed to repealing the ACA. Instead, he said the program should be fixed by offering a public buy-in option for Medicare to build more competitive markets.'” • Oh gawd. Ojeda’s for a faux Medicare solution. I thought he was some kinda firebrand… But we’re all neoliberals together!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Immigration Platform Announcement” [Chardo Richardson, BrandNewCongress]. (Richardson is a Democrat candidate, endorsed by Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, in FL-07, a district we are tracking.) • There’s a lot to like in this proposal, which is worth reading in full. I don’t question Richardson’s good faith. But I have questions. First, if this proposal in its essence widely accepted in the migrant justice movement, why in the name of all that is holy doesn’t it form part of the discourse? It’s possible my Twitter feed is improperly curated, but this announcement is from February 15, 2018, and I don’t see any sloganeering or signage or sound bites remotely resembling it. Second, this:

After endless struggles and setbacks, we as Americans have managed to unite hundreds of millions of people under a shared national identity. This should be a source of deep pride, but we must never forget that the purpose of a nation is to build unity and deconstruct division. We must always remember that the founding of a nation isn’t a destination, but a stepping stone to deeper human unity. Towards that end, we must build deeper connections with other nations and peoples. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “No document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.”

OK, take this as read. What is the role of the state? And is there any reason to be citizen of this or any state? For example:

Undocumented Americans currently pay $17.6 billion in taxes each year. Yet, in all but a few cities, they have no right to vote, and no undocumented American in the United States is able to vote in federal or statewide elections. This is taxation without representation, something our nation was founded in opposition to…. Therefore, undocumented Americans who pay their taxes should be able to vote in local, state, and federal elections.

If you cross out “Undocumented Americans” and write in “Non-citizens working in America,” this passage becomes a little more problematic, surely? Now, I suppose I could extrapolate Richardson’s proposal to an America where all you need to do in order to enter the country and stay — as long as you work — is identify yourself (no doubt biometrically). That would make America into a sort of enormous Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong, or, more to the point, a lot like the Roman Empire after the Edict of Caracalla. (Note that such a vision is not necessarily incompatible either with #MedicareForAll or with a #JobsGuarantee, believing as I do that there is a virtually infinite amount of work to be done and resources to be created). So I’m willing to listen, if this is what “open borders” means in practice, but I certainly don’t see a case being made for it by Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats, DSA, or any other political entity I’m aware of (though since it’s such a big country, and I’m one person, there may be migrant justice activists who have been proposing all this for years.

Finally, there’s this:

Establish Legal Immigration Centers Around the World: It’s time for us to finally be proactive about our immigration policy, not reactive. We should establish American immigration centers around the world to recruit working people from around the world to join the American family.

While compatible with a post-Edict of Caracalla vision, I don’t see this suggestion playing electorally without a great deal of work. For example, I’m a US citizen, and in the depths of the Crash, I certainly would have welcomed being “recruited” by firms who could use my skills. Things worked out OK, but it was pretty sketchy for me, for awhile, in my flyover state, and I certainly wouldn’t have welcomed a discovery that non-citizens were being “recruited,” while I was not (H1B visas aside, of course, where non-citizens are already being “recruited,” and for cheap labor, too). Not exactly building unity and deconstructing division, eh? I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re going to appeal to the international working class, then you need to appeal — on both moral and pragmatic grounds — to the entire working class, and that includes U.S. citizens. “What’s in it for me?” is a perfectly legitimate question the Democrat base asks itself all the time.Why not the rest of us?

“Donations, volunteering surge at border asylum-seeker center” [Associated Press]. “One by one, around Father’s Day, the surge of Amazon boxes containing shirts, pants, underwear and many other items began arriving at an asylum-seeker rest center in the border town of McAllen, Texas…. “All of the sudden they started getting like a thousand boxes a day and then more and then more. And they had to come and secure space here and that filled up and they got another space and that filled up,” said Natalie Montelongo, a native of nearby Brownsville who flew in from Washington, D.C., to volunteer at the center. She set up an Amazon wish list with items needed by the shelter and posted the link on social media. Now, the immigrant respite center run by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley has received so many boxes that it had to rent additional storage space.”

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“How did Gov. Paul LePage get elected? He was the beneficiary of Maine voters’ famous independent streak” [David Warsh, Economic Principals]. “LePage won the GOP nomination in the Tea Party year of 2010, with 38 of the primary vote. Five months later he won the general election with 38 percent of all votes cast, defeating independent candidate Eliot Cutler by barely 7,500 votes. Cutler had been hoping to replace Gov. Angus King, who had served two unaffiliated terms. Democratic Party candidate Libby Mitchell trailed with 19 percent of the vote.” • Warsh is just wrong. If Mitchell had thrown her votes to Cutler, as Democrat internal polling must surely have told her she should do, then Cutler would have won. It wasn’t Mainers’ “independent streak” that defeated Cutler and elected LePage; it was the Iron Law of Institutions operating in the sclerotic Democrat Party apparatus. (This post is about RCV, but I wanted to correct the record.)

“White Extinction Anxiety” [Charles Blow, New York Times]. “This is at the core: White extinction anxiety, white displacement anxiety, white minority anxiety.” Nauseating, giving that life expectancy is actually (granted, on the average but especially for many whites). It’s wonderfully clarifying to see what Stoller noticed immediately after 2016 — “On Mocking Dying Working Class White People” — make its way from the Democrat loyalist base into the Manhattan offices of the New York Times. Organic damage on a broad scale always has political effects, for good or ill; #BlackLivesMatter; #MeToo. For a much more extreme example, think of the trenches of World War I, and 30’s Germany. Or for a more positive result, think of the UK’s victory in World War II, followed by the introduction of the National Health Service.

Big Tent (1):

Big Tent (2);

Occupation as a tactic. Thread:

Here it is:

First sentence: “All Americans….” Second sentence: “Support teenagers….” No doubt some Democrat apparatchik hit up somebody in the donor class for a grant to register a demographic they feel will help them win. All very well, unless you take the view that voter registration should be a core party function 24/7, and that the Democrat base should be expanded thereby. One-time, throwaway, vertical silo efforts like this don’t cut it. Worse, they’re a sign of bad faith, if you wish to believe that the Democrats wish to, or are capable off, serving the public.

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, May 2018: “Manufacturing’s unusual decline in May pulled the national activity index, at minus 0.15, into the negative column for the first time since January this year” [Econoday]. “Yet the results look skewed. Production indicators pulled the index down 0.29 points which ultimately reflects a sharp downturn in factory hours during the month, but this decline is tied to a fire at an auto supplier that disrupted the supply chain in the auto sector. Other factory indicators were mostly positive.”

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, June 2018: “A sharp rise in the general activity index as well as for inflation pressures contrast with slowing in production” [Econoday]. “A major indication that production may begin to reaccelerate is another increase in new orders which are at 29.6 and the highest level of the year. And strength in orders isn’t hurting the company outlook which rose to 33.2 for the highest level in 12 years…. Though production is slowing this month and is a reminder of last week’s downward pivots in the Philly Fed and manufacturing PMI, there are still plenty of indications in this sample consistent with very strong, and perhaps unsustainable, rates of growth. Much of this strength is coming from high oil prices which if they continue to climb could make for even greater strength in future Dallas reports.” And: “This survey remains in positive territory with new orders improving and unfilled orders significantly improving – and both in positive territory. Even though this survey declined, our opinion is that this was a stronger report than last month” [Econintersect]. And but: “The single month index which is not used for economic forecasting which unfortunately is what the CFNAI headlines. Economic predictions are based on the 3 month moving average. The single month index historically is very noisy and the 3 month moving average would be the way to view this index in any event. There was insignificant revision to the last 3 months of data. In the table below, see the three month rolling average for the last 6 months – it shows an moderately growing economy” [Econintersect].

New Home Sales, May 2018: “Prices are weakening and are helping to give a lift to new home sales” [Econoday]. “Beneath all the volatility in this report is a new home market that continues to climb at a strong and perhaps unsustainable rate, moving from the 625,000 area to 675,000 so far this year. The drop in prices is also telling, suggesting moderation for what had been one of the strongest areas in the economy.”

Retail: The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision enabling states to collect sales tax from all online purchases may raise the profile of e-commerce logistics and delivery services. The court ruling’s impact on digital commerce will take time to play out…. as states figure out if and how they will collect sales tax from out-of-state merchants. But online retailers eventually will lose a financial advantage they have over brick-and-mortar stores, particularly for big-ticket items like electronics and furniture” [Wall Street Journal]. “That edge has already diminished as online retailers, particularly Amazon.com Inc., have traded in the sales-tax advantage for fulfillment operations closer to customers. With new state sales taxes likely to narrow the price difference between store and online sales, online merchants may pitch customers more on the convenience of rapid delivery and turning to stronger warehousing and logistics operations that make it happen.”

Shipping: “Truck orders are up but it may not all be for capacity expansion” [Logistics Management]. “There are some questions out there relating to the capacity imbalance in tandem with a heightened state of demand…. [W]hile truck orders are at a very healthy level, some industry stakeholders maintain they are for replacing existing capacity instead of adding new capacity. ‘Based on what we have heard per CEOs of public truckload carriers, the majority of these new truck orders are for replacement and to address the issues of an aging fleet,’ said Mike Regan, chief relationship officer for TranzAct Technologies…. Many people refer to this situation as ‘what is the market clearing rate?’ i.e. the rate at which I need to pay drivers in order to attract a sufficient number of drivers based on what the demand numbers look like or are likely to look like,” said Regan…. Based on various industry estimates, the number is somewhere between $68,000-$72,000. ‘But now the average driver median pay scale is in the mid $50,000s for drivers and the narrative that nobody wants to be a driver remains. My point is I can buy all the equipment I want, but if I cannot find drivers then the equipment is for naught and that supports the thesis that FTR and I have said that these class 8 sales cannot robustly expand capacity. What we are really looking at is replacement capacity, expanding by a single digit percent in the 5%-8% range.”

Shipping: “In the first half of the year, retail imports shipped to major U.S. ports are expected to reach 10.2 million 20-foot equivalent units, a standard measure for container cargo—an increase of 3.8% over the same period last year, according to the National Retail Federation” [Wall Street Journal]. “Strong economic growth is pushing more goods through supply chains, straining U.S. logistics providers from truck fleets to warehousing operations. Volume also is surging as companies, anticipating the coming changes to U.S. trade policy, have ramped up orders for parts and products from their overseas manufacturers to reduce the financial impact of new tariffs.”

Shipping: “UPS, Teamsters agree to cut use of rail, rely more on sleeper team drivers” [DC Logistics]. “The tentative five-year contract agreed to late last night by UPS Inc. and leaders of the Teamsters union’s small-package division calls for a significant reduction in intermodal use in favor of expanding the number of two-person ‘sleeper team’ drivers operating over the road. Under the tentative agreement, UPS will switch ‘many loads’ currently moved by railroads to what the union, in a communiqué last night, referred to as a significant number of ‘newly created’ sleeper teams. UPS’ sleeper teams will be paid at levels that far surpass what any teams receive elsewhere in trucking, the union said. The proposal would create 2,000 full-time Teamsters jobs, according to the union. Atlanta-based UPS has operated with over-the-road sleep teams for a number of years. Depending on the amount of converted volume, the provision could be a blow to the nation’s railroads. UPS has long been one of the largest, if not the largest, individual users of intermodal services. The company would not comment on how much traffic moves via intermodal…. Sleepers are in higher demand now after the implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which requires strict adherence to driver hours-of-service regulations. Unlike a solo driver, who must pull off the road after 11 hours of continuous driving (with a 30-minute break after 8 hours), in a team one of the drivers can take the wheel after the other exhausts his or her available hours. The supply of available two-person teams is very tight, however.” • Sleepers, wake…

Shipping: “The Wrong A-gender” [Splash 247]. “What if I told you that there was something you could do, which required no increase in capex or opex, and which could enable your company to outperform its competitors by up to 26% over the next six years. Interested? Good. Well here it is. Put me on your board. Actually it doesn’t have to be me, although I’d like to think I’d be an excellent choice. It just has to be someone with two X chromosomes, or—as they are more commonly referred to—women. According to a six-year study of 2,360 companies by the Credit Suisse Institute those with women on their boards outperformed those without by up to 26%. So if you haven’t got a woman on your board, get one. And if you’ve got a couple, get a couple more.”

Supply Chain: “High tech logistics managers faced with new challenge: workforce slavery” [Logistics Management]. “[A]mong many of the new risks logistics managers must confront these days is that of forced labor. A recent report issued by KnowTheChain, a supply chain consultancy based in San Francisco focuses chiefly on leading Silicon Valley multinationals that often extoll their progressive ‘human rights’ policies. According to its 2018 Information and Communications Technology Benchmarks Report, the technology sector is guilty of widespread abuse. While 35 out of 40 companies have published a commitment to address forced labor in their supply chains, there is often a disconnect between the policies that companies have in place and evidence that those are effectively implemented.”

Supply Chain: “Americans currently buy just 2% of their food online, typically packaged products with long shelf lives. Perishables delivery is much more developed elsewhere, and roughly 6% of food sales in the U.K. are online” [Wall Street Journal]. “Getting to that share in the U.S. will mean building much more logistics infrastructure—like the 20 new warehouses that will come in the Kroger-Ocado deal. That suggests competition in the grocery business may become more focused on distribution networks than on supermarket aisles.”

The Bezzle: “How self-driving cars are poised to move into the mainstream and upend the automotive industry” [Business Insider]. “Self-driving cars are coming; there will be fully autonomous cars on the roads in the US in 2018, and adoption will just take off from there.” • BWA-HA-HA-HA!!! Fooled ya. This is from “Mar. 2, 2017.” Oopsie.

The Bezzle: “Vendors Left Gasping After Burst Bitcoin Bubble” [Sixth Tone]. “These days, business is sluggish for those selling cryptocurrency-cracking machines — especially in the city’s bustling electronics hub, Huaqiangbei. Since the Chinese New Year in February, many shopkeepers in 71-story skyscraper SEG Plaza’s packed electronics market have closed down or resumed their stabler — though less lucrative — gadget trades. Du’s doors are still open, but the demand for these machines has declined sharply. ‘In the past, it was normal to receive orders asking for over a thousand machines; now an order of 200 machines is considered a big deal,’ a bespectacled Du told Sixth Tone. Prices currently range from 1,000 to 5,000 yuan ($160 to $780) — a drop of around 60 percent from last year, according to Du — but even this can’t seem to bring in customers. ‘We can barely cover our rent these days,’ said Du, who runs a store called Node Technologies on the third floor of SEG Plaza. “In the past two weeks, we’ve sold fewer than 1,000 machines.'” • This is a very big deal.

The Bezzle: “Investors who paid attention to GE’s accounting saw trouble coming” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch]. “General Electric Co.’s decline over the last year feels, to paraphrase Hemingway, like it came slowly and then all at once, but investors who were paying attention to its financial reporting over the years shouldn’t have been surprised…. GE’s accounting issues date back years. They were evident under the high-profile Jack Welch and continued under his successor, Jeff Immelt, but the cult of personality around Welch likely discouraged anyone from questioning reports that he’d signed off on… It seems no one is giving the company the benefit of the doubt — anymore.”

Transportation: “Flying Cars Are No Longer Science Fiction” [Safe Haven]. “For the first flying cars, we won’t be pilots—we’ll be passengers, and everything will be controlled by a complex GPS* system and a brand new air-traffic control concept…. Last week, the German government signed a letter of intent that effectively gives the greenlight for testing of the flying taxi in and around the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, the hometown of Audi. Audi has teamed up with airplane maker Airbus and design house Italdesign to unveil Pop.Up Next, a reworked version of the two-seat autonomous vehicle concept, unveiled for the first time at last year’s Geneva Motor Show…. When we’ll start seeing commercial production, though, is anyone’s guess. That depends on quite a few variables, starting with testing in Germany. Airbus and Italdesign believe it could be somewhere between seven and 10 years. For now, this project is about preparing the public mindset for what is to come—and it’s about fierce tech competition.” • Between “seven and 10 years” reminds me “another three months” in software projects…. NOTE * The GPS had better improve on Google Maps, which is accurate to within meters, at least in the frontier and Third World areas where I travel.

Gentlemen Prefer Bonds: “File This Under Calling BS on Bankruptcy Fearmongering” [Credit Slips]. “As anyone familiar with bankruptcy would have predicted, the dire predictions of disaster for municipalities seeking bankruptcy protection have proven to be … let’s just say exaggerated. Bloomberg is out with a notable story this morning on Jefferson County’s healthy return to the bond market, carrying an investment-grade rating of AA–within five years of emerging from municipal bankruptcy. This squares with similar accounts of consumers rehabilitating their credit within two to four years of a chapter 7 liquidation-and-discharge (see, for example, here and here).”

Five Horsemen: “All of the Fab Five are down Monday morning as trade tensions intensify” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen June 25 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index recovered to 52 (complacency) on Friday’s modest market gain” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania panic index June 22 2018

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record high, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 180. It’s quiet. Too quiet.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Alexandria renames Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway” [WaPo]. About time.

Class Warfare

“How West Virginia Activists Organized a Solidarity Fund for the Uprising” [Labor Notes]. “During their two-week strike, West Virginia’s salaried classroom teachers still got paid, because superintendents closed schools. The days missed were treated like snow days to be made up later. But workers paid by the hour or day—such as substitute teachers, teaching aides, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers—weren’t getting paychecks. Few had much savings to fall back on. ‘These folks were on the picket line and supporting the strike, but stood to not be able to pay their rent or heating bill,’ said Stephen Smith of the West Virginia Working Families Party. So he and a few other local activists set up an online appeal to help cover lost wages. Seven thousand people from all over the country gave an average of $48 apiece, totaling $332,945.”

“How Income Equality Helped Trump” [Wall Street Journal]. “Frenzied rhetoric about income inequality was a larger theme in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign than in any previous American election.” • Holy moly. Oh, Phil Gramm. Let me just skip this one. What was I thinking?

News of The Wired

“For God’s Sake, Margaret: Conversation with Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead” [Oikos]. Anybody remember CoEvolutionary Quarterly? I do.

The old urbanism:

Commercial art, but Manhattan by way of Van Gogh:

Speaking of Rome:

I believe this is a Dad Joke, for some definition of “Dad”:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TH):

TH writes: “Dahlias are one of my favorite flowers. I’ve never noticed they have much of a scent, but they certainly are pretty!”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Pavel

      With Nigel Fromage, one of those yellow Hazmat suits would be more appropriate. He seems to me a classic Little Englander type of grifter. In another life he would be selling second-hand cars. Instead he managed (along with David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Theresa May and assorted others) to destroy the UK economy and possibly break up the union. Well done, Nige!

    1. sierra7

      Not enough Americans can make the “connection” between our foreign policies, the NSS, and the influx of immigrants coming into the US “illegally”.
      In Occupy (my town), I carried a sign for weeks (lots of weekends): “War is a Racket”; “Dismantle the National Security State”.
      The more we carry out foreign policies as we have particularly in the Central/South American regions over the past many decades, crushing any social/labor initiatives, establishing real “democratic procedures” all to protect the major corporations that operated within the more those areas succumb to violent rule, spread of brutal gangsterism and people flight. Don’t know how many of readers were alive or remember when Nixon went to Venezuela in 1958 his motorcade was attacked and he barely escaped with his limo. We will reap what we sow.

  1. Summer

    RE: “While compatible with a post Edict of Caracalla vision, I don’t see this suggestion playing electorally without a great deal of work. For example, I’m a US citizen, and in the depths of the Crash, I certainly would have welcomed being “recruited” by firms who could use my skills. Things worked out OK, but it was pretty sketch for me, for awhile, in my flyover state, and I certainly wouldn’t have welcomed a discovery that non-citizens were being “recruited,” while I was not. Not exactly building unity and deconstructing division, eh? I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re going to appeal to the international working class, then you need to appeal — on both moral and pragmatic grounds — to the entire working class, and that includes U.S. citizens. “What’s in it for me?” is a perfectl legitimate question the Democrat base asks itself all the time.”

    Exactly. The United States already has open borders within the country (which has regional differences, even if the language and currency is more unified). Without a criminal case, one is “free to move” state to state (and being caught up in the penal system is a whole other type of entrapment for citizens and immigrants – kaching!). And there still aren’t the type of mass re-location efforts being implemented that are supposed to be so economically beneficial to people.

    But there is money to be made in processing immigrants (as more govt functions are privatized)…that is what I’m gathering from the elected officials’ urgency. They only get really urgent about things there big donors want. As sympathetic as people are to children, I don’t think that has changed as the primary motivating factor in the Beltway and other govts.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      You raise a point that gets to the nub of the matter. One huge difference between the working class (i.e. most people) and the governing class is that, speaking in generalities, the governing class is a global class with no particular allegiance to any particular locality (though a strong interest in a certain kind of “global city” that caters to their needs and whims) while the working class is grounded in actual communities. Again speaking in generalities, the vast majority of people would have no interest in relocating from their home communities if they believed they could live satisfying, meaningful lives in those communities. (Not that Sherwood Anderson didn’t have a point.)

      The entire open borders idea runs directly counter to the interests of most people and, I would argue, the social institutions needed to allow (non-selective) human flourishing. Certainly a critical aspect of any “progressive” agenda, IMO the critical aspect, is a political program that would allow people to flourish in their home communities and countries. Yet open borders is all about people flowing to the jobs and “opportunities” where they exist. Are we really all supposed to move to the Bay Area? Or Shenzhen?

      1. Summer

        Exactly. And people being forced from their country of origin are often traumatized in a way someone choosing to emigrate by their own calculations at their own pace is not.
        But I guess they see dollar signs in “treating” the trauma. See privatization again. Traumas often aided by US foreign policy.

        1. 4corners

          How, specifically, are would-be immigrants being “forced” from their counties of origin by U.S. foreign policy? Yesterday, NPR was showcasing a Guatemalan lady fleeing domestic violence, seeking refugee status– not in Mexico but the U.S. No wonder the system is overwhelmed.

          Seems like the economic migrant arguments, “they just want a better life” and “they’re doing the jobs that American’s won’t do” were wearing thin. Now, everyone is a refugee.

      2. Kevin

        “..while the working class is grounded in actual communities.”

        ‘Zactly, which is why sites like AEI despise “society” – they feel society is unnecessary.

        1. SinFronteras

          “Open Borders” is NOT going to happen! Avaya Chomsky’s book, “Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal” is quite clear about how the US indentured labor market in agriculture relies on the illegality of the immigrant work force. Well worth reading if you are not familiar with the details. Verification? Reagan’s 1986 Immigrant Amnesty caused almost all of the affected people to leave farm work.

          “Open Borders” would eliminate the illegality of the work force, and thus the ability to pay them below market wages. It’s a delicate balancing act, and Trump seems to have ramped up the enforcement “too much”, but this has happened in the past too. Anyway it’s part of the price our system pays for keeping intact a terrorized labor force which is actually terrorized. Kind of like whipping slaves: every so often one died or was disabled, thus endangering the master’s “investment”. But occasional terrorizing is required to keep a terrorized workforce intact: otherwise they might do things like ORGANIZE (which they do anyway).

          As I write this, I am starting to think that the Open Borders issue is a way to terrorize white folks. But I haven’t really developed that thought in detail…

          Oh, and if you would like some coverage of immigration not fixated on “virtue signalling” and “pearl clutching”, here is a group that is currently being targetted:
          No More Deaths.

          I myself work with Tucson Samaritans

          Both groups hike the Mexican border around Tucson, leaving food and water, and providing medical aid. About 141 recovered human remains in this Border Patrol sector last year, which was pretty typical. Oh and we were never big on Obama aka Deporter in Chief, but Trump has escalated and the impact is quite visible on people.

          1. Summer

            “Open Borders” would eliminate the illegality of the work force, and thus the ability to pay them below market wages.”

            In clearer terms: Deportation held over the heads of a captured work force as a means of exploitation. And it’s not just the big businesses….see treatment of some household help.

            ” Verification? Reagan’s 1986 Immigrant Amnesty caused almost all of the affected people to leave farm work.”
            Did not know that, but I’m not surprised.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              We could let in 500 hundred million Chinese and 500 million Indians/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis and drop the market level for wages so low that
              no wage would be “below market wage” . . . no matter how low.

          2. 4corners

            Certainly, authorities are obligated to render aid on humanitarian grounds. But don’t you think you’re actually enabling a dangerous situation by leaving food and water? The more the U.S. sends mixed messages to illegal border crossers, the more they (and coyotes) are encouraged to make the dangerous journey. Things like sanctuary cities become beacons to induce people to run the gauntlet, and changes in border policy have encouraged a wave of unaccompanied minors.

            In a way, I think a zero-tolerance policy is the most humane. In any case, the lack of political leadership, consistency, and clarity all contribute to a festering problem that makes matters worse for everyone involved.

      3. Summer

        Actually one of biggest mass migrations happened within the USA, last century. Black people from the agricultural south to the industrialized North. Any indications of early success were quickly rolled back.
        Still in the Reconstruction here.

      4. Summer

        And another thing to point out. Rhe govt we currently have doesn’t govern now as much as they administer what they call public-private contracts. So much has been contracted out for profit that crisis after crisis just becomes a way to make profit and even slower to correct when policies go wrong because corporate heads aren’t elected representatives.
        So all this talk the questions about what the “government” will do becomes a laugh riot. The questions should be directed to all of these corporations lining up to profit from processing, detaining, medicating? etc. migrants or immigrants.

      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        I took a look at the Chardo Richardson website and a picture of the candidate himself. I am guessing he would call himself “white” if asked. He would let you know how very guilty he feels about that.

        I wonder how America’s Black Americans would feel about his plan to establish Immigrant Labor Recruiting Offices all over the world to bring in yet more new jobseekers while millions of Black Americans go jobless in this No Money = You Die society that we have here. How many millions of Indians, Chinese, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indonesians, Etceteristanis, etc. would he like to bring here? Fifty million? A hundred million? Five hundred million?

        What will he do if large gatherings of Black demonstrators picket his appearances with signs saying ” Black Jobs Matter!”

        He sounds like a domestic Obradorian agent seeking to operate under Congressional cover. He makes me think that the stories about Obrador calling for mass invasion of the United States are true. I am disappointed that the Justice Democrats and so forth consider a performative display of so-called “anti-racist” virtue stuff-strutting is more important than enhancing survival prospects for 315 million American citizens already here now.

        If this is what the Young Bernista movement comes to, it will end up limiting its appeal to those few Clintonites and Obamazoids who can forgive them for not having voted for Clinton to begin with.
        It appears to be the early Suicide by Self-Immolation of a movement which offered some promise.

        If I lived in his district, I would certainly vote for the Storm Trumper. Why? Because we got a good thing going, see? And we don’t need no more people coming in here to muscle in on our racket, see?

    2. Charlie

      It is a bit disingenuous to compare moving from country to country as analogous to moving from state to state in the US. Every person in most countries can move from province to province quite easily, but need some sort of documentation to go from Argentina to Chile, for instance.

      I don’t know why people keep using this comparison despite its lack of validity.

  2. Angie Neer

    Lambert, with the utmost respect for your work, I think it is time to accept and formalize the fact that when you work on your meticulously-crafted original posts, you cannot prepare a meticulously-crafted Water Cooler. I think that instead of an apologetic Dear Patient Readers message, you should be able, without stigma, to declare a Yellow Wader day and switch to an alternate or abbreviated format for the Water Cooler (I was going to abbreviate that WC, but changed my mind).

      1. flora

        an aside: I think when things are ‘moving fast’ – especially across multiple and different areas – there is much struggle happening under the surface between the central controlling status quo and change. Just my opinion of course.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yes indeed. There are enormous currents going on that we try to discern (like Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi) from the swirling water on the surface, which waters are still, the trees, the floating branches, how and where the river has reconfigured its flow, etc….

      2. Angie Neer

        I hope I didn’t give the impression of asking for less meticulous craftsmanship, or criticizing your pace. No, I hope you will continue thinking things through, unlike all the blatherers and spouters infesting the ‘net.

        Side note: some time ago I was browsing NC on a computer that was not yet all cookied up with tracking information about me, so Google was making some unusually wild guesses about my consumer preferences. Right after looking at NC it served me an ad for WADERS at Cabela’s. I think you can take credit for that ;-)

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          No no, I didn’t take it that way at all. The thing is, I feel that if I have not written about something, I haven’t thought it through. And there is a good deal to think through just now.

          So long as I don’t disturb people’s schedules too much…

      3. tegnost

        re: ISTM that over the past year the russia narrative has been used to cover up the recalibration of wag the dog policy, and now “they” have figured what they’re going to do. Russia will get dropped til the election a possibility you pointed out the other day and now we’ll switch to guest workers. As I read some state reports on farmworkers (links 6/25 around 2pm) I learned that it’s been hard for farmers to get labor for many years now. Is it possible that the immigration crisis is a solution looking for a problem, i.e., create a giant mess that must be cleaned up now, and which would be a major benefit to the many republican farm owners/conglomerates, and the dems are playing the foil as they do so well. So in a sense I have a rare disagreement with flora that now that things are moving we’d better pay double attention because
        “‘Come, Watson, come!’ he cried. ‘The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!’”
        Maybe ditch the waders once in a while for some herringbone tweed?

  3. ACF

    Is there a politics of DJIA composition? Reading this:

    “This time around S&P Dow Jones Indices said GE’s flagging share price made its membership in the blue-chip gauge untenable: “Walgreens Boots Alliance’s share price is higher, and it will contribute more meaningfully to the index. It will also help the index better represent the U.S. market and economy.”

    makes it sound like it’s about manipulating the index to create a ‘wealth effect’ vibe. But I’ve no idea if that’s true. This is wikipedia’s history of dow components: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_components_of_the_Dow_Jones_Industrial_Average


    1. Tim

      My thought is if your a long term investor, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Buy a DJIA 30 ETF and forget about it.

      If you are anybody else, you don’t pay any attention to the DJIA, just pay attention to the S&P 500 or the Wilshire 5000 if you care at all.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And if you are retired or unemployed or get paid barely enough or not quite enough to live, and have no money to invest, what’s the best way to take part in the long rise of the Market?

        1. ambrit

          Not really snark, though it would sound like it, but, for the ‘lower orders’ the best way to share in the wealth generated by the ‘investment regime’ is to steal it from those that have so benefited.
          If one lives in a kleptocracy, become a better kleptocrat. Apply the basic rules of entrepreneurship. This is the world the elites seem to have made. Now make them live in it to the fullest.
          It almost feels like a nihilist manifesto.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            But the investment regime isn’t generating any wealth. It is only gathering and concentrating money. It is using the concentrated money to buy power and using the concentrated power to buy more money. And it is using the power and money to monetize and buy all possible heretofore-unmonetized wealth away from the rest of us, individually and/or collectively and/or both at once.

            The kleptons are better at klepping than we will ever be. I don’t see how we will ever outklepp them. But perhaps we can keep certain unprivatized things unprivatized . . . and immune to their money-mediated invasion and takeover. Any municipal water system not sold to privatizers is an investment opportunity denied to the kleptons. For example. Anything bought from a small bussiness is money denied to a big bussiness or a huge bussiness. Anything bought from Not-Amazon is the price-of-that-thing as measured in money denied to Amazon. And so forth and so on.

            People who think they can outklepp the kleppers and outbezzle the bezzlers are welcome to try. They can even form a TAG ( Theory Action Group) to work out ways to do it and put those ways into practice.

            People who think they can starve and parch and attrit and weaken the kleptons through a creeping denial of investment opportunities and a creeping dry-up of money flows and revenue streams might form a TAG to do THAT . . . . if they think they can. If I were to join a TAG, that is the sort of TAG I would join. A TAG of people who think they can degrade and attrit the kleptons through slow deprivation and strangulation. Or who at least believe in giving it their best long-term try.

    2. Jim Haygood

      By popular institutional demand, modern stock indexes are capitalization weighted. In fact, beginning in 2005, S&P went even further and introduced “free-float weighting,” meaning shares held (typically) by founding families — and not for sale — are excluded from the stock’s market cap. About ten percent of Alphabet, for example, is locked up in the hands of its founders.

      Underlying market cap weighting is the idea that there needs to be enough stock for indexers and others to trade. While equal-weighted indexes (including an equally-weighted S&P 500 with a tracking ETF) exist, if such indexes became too popular, a change in the smallest-cap constituents would send new members soaring and dropped companies plunging as trading demand overwhelmed the quantity of shares available for trading.

      So far, S&P Dow Jones has not mustered the courage to change the DJIA’s arithmetic scheme, dating from the 1890s when the only practical way to calculate indexes was to add up the prices of the constituent stocks and divide by the number of members. This scheme randomly assigns a high weight to high-priced stocks and a low weight to low-priced stocks. Even more bizarrely, when a 2:1 stock split occurs, the weight of the split stock gets cut in half, though its capitalization hasn’t changed.

      S&P Dow Jones is going to milk the DJIA franchise for as long as they can, since they earn licensing revenue from ETFs and futures based on the Dow. But the current scheme in which Boeing (share price $330) gets nine times the weight of Pfizer (share price $36), despite Pfizer being the larger company, defies all logic.

    3. Angie Neer

      A peeve of mine is that all the mainstream financial outlets occasionally run a piece about how the DJIA is meaningless, and watching its daily fluctuations is worse than futile—and then they go back to leading every report with it.

  4. dcblogger

    Booman of all people:

    If those elections do not translate into actual political power for the left, and particularly if people feel that widespread shenanigans are to blame, that’s when we should anticipate a breakdown in law and order. That’s when you might see the White House surrounded.

    I don’t make these observations as some kind of threat. I’m simply issuing a warning based on observing human nature. If people believe they have a fair shot to throw an immoral government out of power by constitutional means, then they will pursue those means. If they are stymied in that effort, they will not simply give up. They will explore the avenues that are still left to them, and those will not be traditional political tactics. They will not all be legal tactics. The participants will not recognize the legitimacy of the arms of law enforcement responsible for suppressing their dissent.

    People who are lamenting the breakdown in civility and the fact that Trump officials can’t eat in peace should be mindful of how fragile our system becomes when it begins to transgress with impunity. Uneventful lunches and dinners are the least of what they stand to lose, and soon.


    1. Arizona Slim

      ISTR reading that the antiwar chants — of protestors outside the White House — were deeply disturbing to LBJ and his family. Especially when the crowd chanted “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”

      1. Oregoncharles

        LBJ chose not to run again, essentially resigning, so those chants were more effective than the protesters realized.

        Booman is recalling 1968; there was very real social breakdown, with bombs going off and rioting in the streets, during that time and the years right after.

    2. JTMcPhee

      The thing is, “throw the b@st@rds out” has been reduced to “throw Trump out,” as if that will accomplish any kind of change in the direction of improving the general welfare. May satisfy some immediate blood lust and all, but the CIA and Congress and the Pentagram and the NSA and the rest of the imperial government will all be still in place, doing what they do every day. And installing Pence in the Oval Office, what’s that going to fix, from the mopes’ standpoint? From bad to worse is not a good outcome.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      So if the 10%, as personified by Democat loyalist Booman, decides to storm the White House instead of having brunch, I’m supposed to regard that as some sort of win? For whom? It could be an opportunity, the start of something, but am I really to regard tribal warfare in the Beltway between the Reds and the Blues as revolutionary? And if so, what sort of revolution? Show me some sans culottes in the District — I think we can both imagine where they are to be found — and I might be more enthusiastic. The French Revolution wasn’t entirely provincial lawyers, after all…

      1. Steely Glint

        No, it will take place on the streets. As Atrious says; we’ll take the taco trucks, and you can have Cracker Barrel

    4. Summer

      Yes, which brings to mind that alot of what is being discussed in terms of “distribution of wealth” may at root be about “distribution of power.” Fortunes are lost every day and in every era, the distribution of power would ne the hardest change.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Didn’t Booman support Clinton and Obama and stuff down the years? Wasn’t Booman the person who wrote something like . . . ” there was once a land of chocolate waterfalls and technicolor unicorns bathing in the pots of gold at the end of the rainbows. Grow up. You don’t live there” . . . ? Or was it some other blogger who wrote that thing?

      The people who elected Trump feel they preVENTed an immoral government by eLECting the LESS immoral candidate. If Booman wishes to egg on the NOT MY PRESIDENT! crowd to hold vast hate-rallies around the White House, he is free to do so. Before the situation devolves into Mob versus Mob, Booman and his readers might well wish to consider the following question . . . who has most of the guns and ammo: the Storm Trumpers or the Pink Pussy Hatters?

      Since I myself have no guns and no ammo at all whatsoever, if things devolve to Mob versus Mob, I will try to find a safe room or a safe cave or somewhere to hide in for the duration. Not very brave of me, I know.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Peter Rabbit, the PhD know nothing, steps in to save the market with feckless professorial jaw-flapping:


    But why would anyone believe him after Trump ranted on Saturday, “You will see things happen over the coming months that are going to really shock you. Because for so many years we felt so badly, our jobs have been taken, our companies have been taken like we are a bunch of babies …Those days are gone. They’re gone!”

    When businesses are threatened with “shocking” changes, they slash capital investment, fire employees, and hunker down to survive. Bubble III fades … and it’s gone!

    1. skippy

      “Because for so many years we felt so badly, our jobs have been taken, our companies have been taken like we are a bunch of babies”

      Taken – ?????

      If memory serves I remember everyone and their dog falling over themselves to get first mover advantage in the biggest untapped market on the planet.

      Proverbial case of what wouldn’t you sell thingy….

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Wall Street couldn’t give them up until the Catfood Clintonites worked with the Republicans to pass and sign the legal authorizations ( Free Trade Agreements) for Wall Street to give up the jobs.

  6. Carolinian

    Re Undocumented Americans–I was in a restaurant the other day and overheard a poor woman telling her date she had type 1 diabetes and had to get a job just to pay for her insulin and she was thinking of moving to Canada where drugs don’t cost so much.

    Clearly this will work out if she just describes herself as an “undocumented Canadian.” In fact we all should try it. However rumor has it the Canadians don’t let anyone in unless you have an advanced degree.

    The immigration mess in this country certainly needs to be rationalized but there are a lot of people in the business of exploiting immigrants who don’t want that to happen–something you rarely hear about from the MSM. The public discussion of this problem is a mile wide and an inch deep.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You need points to emigrate to Canada. She has to be the right age and have the right skills; French would help in Quebec, which as a nation runs its own immigration policy. When I had a longish visa there, I was able to register for a Medicare Card, having paid taxes. But when my visa ran out, I would have had to leave, medical needs or no.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Yours Truly wasn’t too happy about the rise of Reagan. So, I thought about emigrating to Canada.

        During a summer 1980 trip to Canada, I learned that it would be well nigh impossible for me to get landed immigrant status. So, I went back to the States.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      What would Canada do if millions of illegal Americans all surged across the border at once? ( That question won’t be hypothetical when Global Warming makes a lot of America as well as Mexico and Central America and etc. physically uninhabitable. Then Canada will face a seething mass of millions of illegal Americans and illegal Mexicans and illegal Central Americans and etc.)

  7. chuck roast

    We “…should establish American immigration centers around the world to recruit working people from around the world to join the American family.” The American family! What, is this guy completely deluded?
    And allow undocumented immigrants to vote in elections? The next logical step would be to allow urban absentees who abandon their expensive seasonal digs for the sunny tax-free climes of their second and third homes to vote.
    Well, the lot of them can kiss “…the deeper human unity…” of my snowbound, Irish buttocks.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Seriously, just tell me my citizenship is worthless and quit messing around with it. At least the Trumps are putting a price on Green Cards, instead of giving them away for free!


      If we’re going to take the whole open borders thing seriously, and I’m not clear that we should, it should be treated like nuclear disarmament and negotiated carefully and slowly and democratically (yes, by actual citizens).

      If your the chump who unilaterally opens up, you’re a lot like the chump who unilaterally disarms.

      Also, think about what this means for elections and election fraud. If an important election looks close, just imagine the billionaire class flying in 100,000 people from country x to swing things their way.

      1. anonymous

        Regarding elections:

        In California, illegal immigrants can legally obtain a California driver’s license. When one applies for a California driver’s license, one is automatically registered to vote (after being asked if one is here legally), and one’s name then subsequently appears on the registrar’s list of eligible voters for each precinct / district.

        If some hostile agent wanted to mess with elections, it would be fairly easy to use such a route to provide large numbers of people with the seemingly legal right to vote in an election, no?

          1. anonymous

            “In a bid to improve voter turnout in California elections, Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed legislation to automatically register to vote anyone who has a driver’s license or state identification card.

            The measure was pushed by Democrats, whose candidates and causes typically benefit from higher turnout elections.

            Assembly Bill 1461, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, will require the state to register adults to vote when they get or renew a driver’s license, unless they opt out. It will make California only the second state, after Oregon, to proactively register people to vote unless they decline.”


            1. marym

              According to the links in my comment, and a quick look at the California DMV website, it’s a different process with different ID requirements, for a regular license and an AB60 license.

              From the Politifact link:

              Jessica Gonzalez, spokeswoman with the California DMV, said she’s contacted several of the websites making what she called “completely inaccurate” claims and asked for corrections. One, the Daily Mail, had pulled down its story, another updated its article, while she said Fox News did not immediately correct its article.

              “Undocumented Californians are not eligible to register to vote at the DMV,” Gonzalez told PolitiFact California. “And we have programming measures in place to prevent that from occurring.”

              At DMV field offices, Gonzalez said, technicians will not be able to key in any voting information for undocumented customers seeking AB 60 license renewals.

              As soon as a technician types in AB 60, the voter information section automatically gets “greyed out” and can’t be typed into and can’t be bypassed, the spokeswoman said. She added that the same safeguards are in place for online and mail renewals.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Yes, snowbunnies can vote; I assume they choose one residence or the other to register in. Or maybe both, if they’re into that sort of thing. So there’s a kernel of sense in looking for people who are registered in multiple states, if it were done properly.

      This is a potential problem with absentee or mail-in voting in general. In Oregon, ballots are mailed to your address of record, with forwarding forbidden; but you could defeat that if you had someone picking up your mail.

      And Oregon also has motor-voter registration; not sure what they do about non-citizens. I assume there’s some effort not to register them – and of course, it’s still a serious crime for them to vote.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      ( Just so people know, Geoff Lawton is the permaculture designer who made the movie about Moroccan Food Forests).

  8. HotFlash

    According to a six-year study of 2,360 companies by the Credit Suisse Institute those with women on their boards outperformed those without by up to 26%. So if you haven’t got a woman on your board, get one. And if you’ve got a couple, get a couple more.

    Ah, very nice! But wait, which is cause and which effect?

  9. Oregoncharles

    Chardo Richardson, Brad New Congress: ” we must never forget that the purpose of a nation is to build unity and deconstruct division.”
    No, we must not take that as read. It’s a bit subtle, but that is statism, not progressive at all. The alternative answer is: “to serve the needs and interests of the people in it.” A sense of unity is merely a tool.

    It’s an alarming statement, in basic philosophical terms. Taken seriously, it leads to authoritarianism, the worst trap the left can fall into.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you.

      E pluribus unum, IIRC, refers to a salad of mixed ingredients bound together by a dressing. It does not mean a mush created by dumping everything into a blender and pressing Pureé.

      By “take it as read,” I meant “Assuming, arguendo….”

      1. Oregoncharles

        The quoted line contradicts his conclusion, so the statement is actually incoherent.

      2. Andrew Watts

        I had a different slogan running through my head before you referenced the Edict of Caracalla above.

        “Ein volk, ein Reich!”

        Admittedly, I don’t believe that Richardson is acting in good faith or deserves the benefit of the doubt. The bobos love to claim the moral high ground while they wage class war on behalf of capital.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes, and maybe bobos is David Brooks’s acorn.

          1. Andrew Watts

            Brooks isn’t responsible for coining or popularizing the term bobo. It’s an old taunt used by French leftists to mock champagne socialists and high class society liberals.

    2. Andrew Watts

      The liberals and progressives who’ll never have to suffer from the consequences of their policy prescriptions will inevitably resort to authoritarianism, They won’t be able to implement these policies through any democratic means because the working class, socialist or otherwise, would never support them.

      The upper classes are the only people who stand to gain from these policies in the short term. Over the long term importing foreign workers to displace economically insecure and underemployed citizens from the labor pool is only going to escalate domestic tension.

      I guess nobody learned anything from Trump’s election.

      1. marku52

        Yes, You can have open borders, or you can have a democracy. A polity is never going to vote to increase competition for scarce resources, whether they be housing, food, or government services like health care or unemployment insurance.

        And the fact that we are now on the downslope of the “growth forever” curve, where resource limits of all types start to bite, makes this even more implausible.

        The upper 10%ers who think this is great virtue signalling, are as usual (Free trade anyone?), advocating a virtuous position where somebody else gets to pay the cost.

        But they are “deplorable”, I suppose, so it’s OK.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The Deplorables voted for Trump and the Despicables voted for Clinton. I’d most rather be neither, but if I am forced to choose I would rather be deplorable than despicable.

  10. Left in Wisconsin

    ‘I don’t know everything, I am not a liar, I do live videos because I want to let people know where I stand, but I also let people know that if you disagree with me, I want you to come on there, let’s debate,’ he said. In an interview this week, he made no bones laying out his policy positions. He said he is opposed to repealing the ACA. Instead, he said the program should be fixed by offering a public buy-in option for Medicare to build more competitive markets.’” • Oh gawd. Ojeda’s for a faux Medicare solution. I thought he was some kinda firebrand… But we’re all neoliberals together!

    Maybe this is naivety on my part but another way to look at this is that he is open to being educated on this issue. “I don’t know everything” is not the way most neoliberals introduce themselves.

    1. edmondo

      Isn’t a buy in to Medicare just back door Medicare for All?

      Who in their right mind would pay United Healthcare for a shitty insurance policy when Medicare would be available for $125 a month? Even Bernie promoted moving to a Medicare buy-in for those 55 years of age or older in 2009 (It died when Joe “Momentum” Liebermen killed it during a cloture vote.)

      1. sleepy

        I’m 67. Medicare part A is hospital insurance and costs nothing. Medicare part B is medical insurance and costs $120.00/month. Part D, drug coverage, can range from $20/month to $100/month and also has copays. None of those plans cover everything.

        Both parts have steep deductibles and 20% copays which are not capped. To avoid those costs, you must purchase a private supplemental policy. In my case, that runs another $160/month.

        In total, I pay over $300/month, and so does my wife. Iow, while on medicare and social security our total premiums are about $650/month, far better than the private market, but not anywhere near the standard for universal healthcare.

        A family that has two adults and two kids would, under the present medicare system, pay more than $1200/month in premiums with the “buy-in” deal.

          1. crittermom

            I have read that SS average figure repeatedly.
            SS is based on your prior income history, isn’t it?
            So that would be an average combining both & women, correct?

            The fact is, women currently collecting SS generally earned far less than men in the workforce, so our SS is less. (Currently not equal pay either, but the gap is narrowing)

            When you also take into consideration that more women were able to spend some years at home raising children ‘back then’, as compared to most families being two-income now, that reduced our income even more over our working lifetimes in regards to SS.

            So while the ‘average’ SS may be $1,372 mth, most all of the women I know (including myself) receive much less, while men receive more, thereby obtaining that average.

            I’d like to know what the average SS income is for men & women separately, but I’ve never seen those figures. Do they exist?

            I guess what I’m trying to say is that women have even less ‘disposable’ SS income to pay for additional health care policies.

  11. Oregoncharles

    ” With new state sales taxes likely to narrow the price difference between store and online sales, online merchants may pitch customers more on the convenience of rapid delivery and turning to stronger warehousing and logistics operations that make it happen.””
    IOW, they would turn into Sears, Roebuck. Then their chief advantage over local stores is the length of their list – their catalog. And, I suppose, not having to leave the house, a boon for shutins.

    1. Andrew Watts

      And, I suppose, not having to leave the house, a boon for shutins.

      Not necessarily. When a senior citizen asked me to describe Amazon in terms he could understand I told him it was a mail order catalog that could only be accessed through electronic means or devices. He started buying his groceries online with a little help due to mobility issues.

      Agoraphobic people of the world unite!

  12. Summer

    Re: Cal Split

    Indeed it’s another squillionaire ready to break up government after it has been used to get their squillion.
    But it could have unintended consequences.
    A Cal split could make “California” a swing area (3 new states) by the 2020 election. That would have the potential of shaking up where all the energy is usually concentrated during a presidential election.

  13. Oregoncharles

    “Anybody remember CoEvolutionary Quarterly? I do.”
    I just discovered that I still have a lot of copies – probalby a complete run. (We’ve been cleaning out our “barn,” aka storage shed.)

    1. David in Santa Cruz

      The publication was called Co-Evolution Quarterly not “co-evolutionary” — Brand’s point being that the object of the evolution is us, not the quarterly…

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I have some Co-Evolution Quarterlies. And I have some Whole Earth Reviews from when Stewart Brand became obsessed with computers and changed the magazine’s name to Whole Earth Review. I also have some of the Whole Earth Catalogs.

  14. Summer

    Re: Flying cars/ self-driving cars

    Why not cut to the sci-fi chase and put all minds on deck for teleportation (as seen in “The Fly” remake back in the 80s)?

  15. Bugs Bunny

    Re NAFTA renegotiation – “It’s like the clique of expensive lawyers and Sherpas who run these negotations have big stacks of boilerplate that they just shuffle around”

    It’s “like”? rofl

    That’s _exactly_ how it works. Been there. Done that.

    1. Sid_finster

      Oh, that rascally Putin, the same man who with his own hands conferred Russian citizenship on black people on multiple occasions, he’s just doing a headfake so HRC can’t virtue signal her way into office!

  16. marym

    Re: Immigration Platform Announcement

    I’m pro-immigration for a lot of reasons, and even agree it’s unfair that undocumented workers pay taxes without representation (the remedy would be a path to citizenship), but this is ridiculous.

    This “announcement” dated 2/15/2018 isn’t reflected on either the Immigration Policy page of Brand New Congress (Link), and there’s nothing about immigration at all on Chardo Richardson’s Issues page (Link).

    It’s on the BNC website under the Media Hub tab, News and Blog section (Link).

    Whatever that means.

    1. Chris

      even agree it’s unfair that undocumented workers pay taxes without representation

      Maybe a few of them could get together and dump a load of tea into Boston harbour…

  17. Summer

    “Establish Legal Immigration Centers Around the World: It’s time for us to finally be proactive about our immigration policy, not reactive. We should establish American immigration centers around the world to recruit working people from around the world to join the American family.”

    Family? The one that wants me to die as fast as possible if I’m not working or broke?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It beams Pink Pussy Hat Clintonite.

        It beams DLC Wall Street Obamazoid.

        How did this creature ever get an endorsement from Justice Democrats? Or is this actually what Justice Democrats actually secretly stand for? Or have the Justice Democrats been penetrated by Clintonite agents and subversives?

  18. Steely Glint

    McAllen TX asylum-seeker center;
    As I started to say, my spouse read about this & the problem seems to lie with red-tape of distribution drivers (UPS, etc.) Even if they can get through the red-tape, the for profit centers still charge the same amount, even if they are getting personal care products for free. Grifters

    1. Steely Glint

      I also noticed this on a recent visit to a hospital. The check in personnel were obviously paid, but the people who walked you through the hospital & manned the waiting rooms were mostly older volunteers. In other words, for-profit hospitals got a lot of help from volunteers. Stretch this out to Medicaid recipients having to work or volunteer, and you get a lot of under-paid or free labor, and no break on prices.

  19. Tomonthebeach

    “Should U.S. allies consider the use of “smart sanctions?”

    Is this really and either or situation? Why not attack Trump on both fronts?

  20. mMukluk

    While I enjoy Naked Capitalism’s discussion of many issues, I’ve felt a great deal of sadness about the basic structure of immigration discussion on the site this week. The treatment of the immigration issue has, to me, 1) preferred to privilege alienation over solitary with workers, 2) has ignored the practical realities of our last several decades of immigration policy, 3) has pretended that the US is simply a “nation” and not an empire, 4) and has expressed a tolerance for further militarization of our country, etc. So, instead of my usual lurking, I felt compelled to offer a few thoughts:

    As Lambert has mentioned many times, to be on the left is to be for the Working Class. To me, it is fairly obvious, that undocumented immigrants are working class members of our communities. They wash the dishes, clean the hospitals, plant and harvest the vegetables, kill the hogs, etc. The vast majority of undocumented immigrants (66%) have lived in the US for a decade, so they are very much a permanent part of our communities. My priors are to feel solidarity with the working class of my community.

    The historic US immigration system, as far as I can tell, is a long history of employers enthusiastically accepting undocumented labor (with its lower wages, fear of law enforcement, inability to unionize, etc) with a knowing wink from the federal government. Undocumented labor can be used to destabilize and replace documented labor, achieving the goals of large employers and corporations (an outcome happily accepted by both political parties as well). There has, therefore, been a de facto position of accepting (indeed encouraging) undocumented immigration for a long time. It is no surprise that immigrants from countries that the US has ravaged have availed themselves of this technically illegal but tacitly approved opportunity. The result is that there are 11 million undocumented immigrants who are working class members of our communities (and they really are tied to communities). Immigration politics, then, is the drama that plays out on top of this stable, bipartisan immigration policy, with the goal of 1) politically mobilizing the ethnonationalist right and 2) keeping undocumented labor fearful and unable to fight for better wages and working conditions.

    It is this underlying policy of creating a double stratum of working class of documented and undocumented labor, both alienated (but to different degrees) and each used to alienate the other class further, that the left needs to confront. My view is that if you want to support the working class, both documented and undocumented, of the United States, you have to fight for amnesty. The undocumented working class will be underpaid and will therefore drag down the wages of the documented working class. The undocumented working class will have no labor rights and this will drag down the labor rights of the documented working class. There are only two solutions to this issue: 1) full scale amnesty that will eliminate the undocumented working class by uniting them with the documented working class, allowing for a unified labor class, or 2) full scale deportation of 10 million people with the formation of a massive police state, huge concentration camps, and the utilization of the surveillance state on a town-town, neighborhood-to-neighborhood basis (and likely enormous economic devastation as well). I know which one of those options I prefer.

    A second policy I would support POST-amnesty is the penalization of employers for hiring undocumented labor. This is a policy that is explicitly pro-worker and would likely be far more effective than building walls, increasing border security, or otherwise militarizing our country further. In fact, I think it is highly instructive that such a proposal has never been seriously proposed (it indicates the degree to which our immigration system is at the behest of corporate employers). Currently, only certain people are allowed to be illegal (workers), while others always have impunity (employers). From the leftist perspective, we should have aim to have solidarity with workers and fight against the real enemy, which is the corrupt corporate class.

    A few additional thoughts: First, I do think immigration is necessary in this country. There are parts of the country that have significantly aging populations that will not be able to take care of themselves. Northern WI and MN, which I know best, are facing an imminent disaster – there won’t be any labor there in a decade or two. Secondly, I do believe in the right of asylum (particularly, since the US has signed treaties on this issue). The current crisis on the border is really about the US government’s refusal to abide by asylum laws and its extreme maltreatment of those who seek asylum. The people currently being imprisoned and split up at the border aren’t “undocumented labor,” they are refugees who we have a legal responsibility to admit to the country. As someone who has significant doubts about the stability of the US political system (and the long-term safety of those who are on the left), this destruction of asylum law is, in fact, a personal threat.* Thirdly, the US governments has responsibility for the destruction we’ve fostered globally. We are the empire. The whole “nations exist to support their own citizens” chorus breaks down when the “nation” in question has operated a global empire for 70+ years, fostered an enormous number of coups, dictated the policies of other countries, and caused massive environmental destruction that will soon make some of these countries unlivable. The US has done so much to make Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico unlivable – I feel a visceral anger towards the proposal that we can simply wash our hands of these societies we’ve destroyed (Central America, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Vietnam, Yemen…well, the list is long). The borders of a nation, naturally, becomes porous when it acts as an empire.

    *Hannah Arendt, in the Origins of Totalitarianism, is particularly good on how the end of the right of asylum is consequential for the rest of society.

    1. todde

      as the Empire breaks down, so will the calls for ‘globalization’.

      Globalization is always the call of Empire, you can’t have Empire without it.

        1. todde

          Read “The Oath of Alexander the Great” and see the similarities between what was said then and now.

          It’s a power play, that is all

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            FWIW, here is said oath:



    2. RUKidding

      Thank you so much. Well written and I agree (fwiw).

      Just to expound on 2 issues:

      Number 1: the whole penalizing Employers for hiring undocumented workers (whether now, as in: today, and/or after some potential amnesty) – this has long been my rally cry. I get so infuriated when the usual propaganda wurlitzer goes on and on demonizing the “illegals” but says nary a peep about those who employ them. It’s WELL KNOWN that many businesses in the USA not only knowingly hire undocumented workers, they go to Mexico, Central and South America to actively RECRUIT them, pay for them to come here, and hire them for pennies on the dollar to work in usually unsafe and unhealthy conditions. When ICE comes a-knocking, these workers get kicked out often without getting their last paychecks, but the employer doesn’t even get a tap on the wrist.

      This whole situation is well-known and documented. Yet here we are in 2018, constantly demonizing undocumented workers as the sole and only cause for concern, action, etc.

      When or IF this policy changes to practices whereby the Employers get REAL consequences for their actions, I have to stand on the side of undocumented workers. I also agree that they form a part of our working classes and deserve the support of those who call themselves Leftists.

      Speaking only for myself, I don’t believe in a totally Open Border, which is the propaganda being promulgated from the White House these days – that all “Democrats” and leftists want a totally open border with no laws or controls. Democrats may be feckless, but at least amongst those that I know, this is simply a LIE and not the case. But some sort of sense and sensibility around the whole undocumented worker situation would be helpful, to say the least.

      Number 2: I also agree that what’s mostly happening at the border presently is people seeking asylum, mainly from countries where the USA has meddled in the politics and helped very much to create untenable and dangerous situations. These people are presented as “criminals” who are simply trying to come here to “take away jobs from good red-blooded Americans.” That’s mostly not the case. They are legitimate asylum seekers who are following legitmate procedures, which are now being upended. On top of which the current POTUS has chosen to abrograte Due Process which I find alarming, to say the least.

      I get it that the USA is not now, nor ever has been a “Democracy,” but stopping Due Process sends off shrieking sirens in my head, and no amount of Trump’s twitter baloney can take away from what he’s attempting (and mostly succeeding) to do. This really cannot stand.

      I know that we’re already a Third World Country and mostly a Police State, but it could get so much worse from here.

      I don’t have any hard and fast solutions, other than whatever protests one can engage in. But this is seriously concerning me, as well as some friends of mine who happen to be immigration lawyers.

      Caveat Emptor. Who’s next to be on the chopping block?

      1. anonymous

        “I also agree that what’s mostly happening at the border presently is people seeking asylum”

        I think it’s anyone’s guess how many people at the border are legitimate asylum seekers and how many are economic refugees.

        It would take considerable effort to sort that out.

        I don’t think all or even many folks opposed to illegal immigration are demonizing undocumented immigrants.

        I also think illegal immigration has spawned a significant secondary market full of folks with a vested interest in maintaining their immigrant-dependent employment. Immigration lawyers are one example.

        1. marym

          Who’s Really Crossing the U.S. Border, and Why They’re Coming

          FY1995 through FY2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FOIA request
          Total U.S. Border Apprehensions by Nationality
          Central Americans as a Percent of Total Southwest Border Apprehensions
          Hometowns of Apprehended Central American Family Units
          Percent of Female Central American and Mexican Migrants

          2013 – 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Protection link provided in post
          Apprehended Unaccompanied Minors and Families Along the Southwest Border

          2012 through 2016 Executive Office of Immigration Review download link provided in post
          U.S. Asylum Cases Received by the Executive Office of Immigration Review

    3. Lee

      The problem lies in that it appears that the benefits of illegally employing the undocumented accrue mainly to the owners of capital at the expense of those who either work for a living or are unemployed. Is this appearance an illusion?

      As to the debt we owe to nations that have been victimized by our elites. Consider this:

      Some folks are born made to wave the flag
      Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
      And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”
      Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord
      It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son
      It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no

      Camus states, “democracy is when we are all guilty.” To which I would respond, we aren’t quite there yet.

    4. Left in Wisconsin

      Extremely thought provoking. Some initial thoughts:

      1. So much of anti-immigrant feeling is nostalgia for a world that is gone. I would guess that northern WI and MN are strongly anti-immigration – well, not the dairy farmers, which I think supports the point. In many places, what is voiced – concern about immigrants “stealing our jobs” – is in reality derivative of the primary complaint, rarely now voiced, that “the good jobs have gone.” Trump gets this, Ds don’t.

      2. As with free trade, we are presented with two sides of the same coin. Neither Ds nor Rs are serious about preventing employers from hiring illegal labor – even if there is occasional theater in this regard.

      3. Agriculture is a whole nuther world. As Wuk… points out, paying California farm workers real wages would dramatically change the structure of the industry. I don’t know if anyone knows what it would do to produce prices/profits and I’m not sure anyone is prepared for the potential fallout.

      4. In all of above, working class solidarity is a casualty. It is worth noting, without attributing excessive contemporary meaning, that the working class solidarity that was built in the 1930s and the general (but not total) economic prosperity that existed in the early post-WW2 era was in a low-immigration context. Immigration and working class solidarity are very uneasy bedfellows.

      5. Policy is politics. There is (almost) no left in this country. I don’t think a policy of amnesty as part of a comprehensive immigration policy is a non-starter on the left. But in our politics it is very difficult to think comprehensively.

      1. anonymous

        “So much of anti-immigrant feeling is nostalgia for a world that is gone.”

        Here in Los Angeles and much of California, immigration is front and center, daily. 1 in 5 undocumented immigrants reside in California.

        LAUSD is 74% Hispanic, with a large contingent of undocumented students. Separately, about 13% have at least one undocumented parent.


        At the California State University level (not to be confused with the UC system), many campuses are majority Hispanic. Many of the students are first generation. So significant resources are devoted to immigrant students.

        Anecdotally, African Americans seem to have been most negatively impacted by illegal immigration in California. Cities such as Compton that were majority African American are now majority Hispanic. Occupations that were dominated by blacks are now dominated by Hispanics.

        Many upscale whites avail themselves of low-cost household labor: childcare, cook, house cleaner, gardener, driver.

        If an immigration policy includes amnesty (as occurred in the 1980s), will the hundreds of million of others from around the world who want to emigrate to the United States also be granted admission?

        Is it fair to those who patiently took a number and got on line?

        Who will fund the costs of education, health care, housing, etc. ?

        Recent articles suggest 40% of ordinary Americans don’t have emergency funds. Many are without homes and health care. Is it fair to them?

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          I was thinking more about places in the midwest where immigration is a potent political issue in places where there are few actual immigrants.

          To your point, what would be the impact of LAUSD losing half its students? It would be a big deal that I don’t think anyone has really worked out.

        2. Lee

          CA estimated undocumented (2014): 12.3% of K-12 students; 9% of workforce; 71% from Mexico. Total number dropped in previous five years by 190K to 2,350,000.

          Over the years I’ve helped a score of people get legal status here in the U.S. from Mexico, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Russia. Now that I have a millennial kid in construction and have seen how he a lot of his friends are struggling to get by while competing with foreign workers on the one hand and contending with the vampire squid 1% on the other, the scope of my compassion and concern has become more localized.

          1. Jean

            Mexican statistics mean little.
            Most ‘migrants’ come from Central America, China, the Caribbean or Africa via Mexico.

            How are local rents and housing availability where there are lots of ‘migrants’ in the labor force?

            The billions in taxes that ‘migrants’ pay are more than offset by police, jail, welfare and school costs and further offset by the $22 billion or so stripped from our local economies via remittances out of the country.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Who will fund the costs of education, health care, housing, etc. ?

          Let’s remember that the Federal government can do this by printing dollars subject to resource and inflation constraints (both of which we are laughably far away from).

          1. mmukluk

            That’s the crucial point! Undocumented immigrants are not creating scarcity in our society. The scarcity is being created by leaders at the top.

      2. Pespi

        A few points
        As for enforcing immigration, I remember when there was a telelphone number you could call to check on someone’s immigration status. Worked well. W Bush scrapped it.

        The surplus value of the low paid immigrant work accrues to capital and maybe the gov if you want to count their uncashed entitlements.

        It creates labor arbitrage.

        And yes yes, empires create refugees and migrants. I’d say most of us are for ending the imperial policy that enriches our oligarchs, so that they have more capital and more power to make our lives worse. That would help slow down the immiseration caused immigration. All of this is connected.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Just as a mental exercise, I was imagining a United States where all immigrants were stopped period and I mean ALL immigrants with every illegal emigrant being given a short path to citizenship. Would that mean that the work would not get done to keep the country running? Probably not because when you work it out, there are over a third of a billion Americans living in the United States alone.
      What it would mean is that wages would have to be increased in order to get people to do the work. And all workers would be by definition ‘documented workers’. Truckers were being cheated of their wages until people stopped becoming truckers so now it has been found necessary to increasing their wages. How about that. This might become true right across the board. Without a constant supply of immigrants to keep wages depressed, corporations would have to compete for workers and that means increased wages and benefits. Investments would have to be made in education and training as you could no longer import what you needed.
      But as I said, this is all a mental exercise.

    6. JBird


      I understand, even agree with much of what you say. Speaking as an American though, why should the American Nation with its 20% unemployment rate allow more people in, especially as that allows the privileged, economically secure Americans to further immiserate everyone else?

      The ruling class conducts endless wars, coups, assassinations, economic sabotage for their benefit. They will be happy to further wage economic warfare on domestic Americans using the foreign victims. Allowing everyone who should be let because of their being destroyed by us will destroy us.

      If I could, I would happily send our political criminal class to The Hague or to the countries that they have destroyed for trial. It would also be nice to have an economic system other than pillaging the weak nations. Actual equal trading instead.

    7. JerryDenim

      100% with you right up until your 5th paragraph and this is where I feel your argument breaks down. You’re not wrong calling for amnesty followed by a crackdown on employers that hire undocumented/illegals. This is where my wife and I both end up every time we discuss the immigration topic, but in a country that has ceased to function as a democracy that now operates as a feudal oligarchy constrained by the dogma of hard-right, anti-regulatory, “free-market” libertarian idealogy, how do you create the massive, expensive, gigantic federal agency that would be required to enforce such a policy? We can’t find the political will to fund public schools or vital infrastructure but yet the powerful business lobby of this country is going to just roll over and allow the US government which they’ve bought to ruin their steady stream of cheap black market labor?

      I can’t see it happening without a complete makeover of our campaign finance laws and our entire political system. Morally, intellectually, you’re absolutely right about everything- I just can’t imagine a scenario where it happens.

  21. Lee

    What is the role of the state? And is there any reason to be citizen of this or any state?

    Great question. There are a lot of countries I wouldn’t want to live in and a few I would rather have been born in. There are some I’d move to but they won’t have me. I’m not rich, talented or young enough (I’m talkin’ to you, Canada). Indeed, with apologies to Mr. Marx, I wouldn’t want to be a citizen of any country that would have me.

    Nation states are the result of long historical processes not easily undone. I’d liken it to over enthusiastic tinkering with genes or atomic power.The possibilities for unforeseen catastrophic counterfinalities are significant. If state power is problematic so are pan-global and non-state power.

    Working classes tend to be culturally and geographically rooted in a way that the owners of capital are not. Most working class advantages have been won or lost within their respective nation states. That’s where power now lies. Moving the goal posts at this point could be vastly destabilizing. An inflow of workers willing to work for less, who do not have recourse to or are not even interested in the system of protections won by the native workforce undermine those wages and protections.

    There are also issues of language, normative behavior and a commitment to a democratic political culture to consider.

    I don’t see how the benefits dissolution of borders would serve some of the great challenges we now face such the maintenance of the basic material benefits of a complex civilization while at the same time preserving the environment.

    1. anonymous

      Polls suggest that approx 150 Million people from around the world want to emigrate to the US.

      Can we assume that a significant percentage want this for economic reasons? And that some percentage may be destitute?

      That suggests that many potential immigrants might work for a slice of bread, if it came down to it.

      How is it possible to maintain a social safety net, minimum wage laws, a social contract, under those conditions?


      1. Lee

        Maybe I’m being paranoid but I’m getting the feeling that real scarcity, as opposed to that which is socially constructed, may be nipping at our heels. Not mine personally necessarily, I’ve logged my 3 score and 10 and am doing OK, but those of my kids and grandchildren, not to mention the world at large. I’m going to take two aspirin, go to bed, and feel better in the morning.

  22. Synoia

    It just has to be someone with two X chromosomes, or—as they are more commonly referred to—women. According to a six-year study of 2,360 companies by the Credit Suisse Institute those with women on their boards outperformed those without by up to 26%. So if you haven’t got a woman on your board, get one.

    Hmm.. Couple of questions:
    Is a Woman or Women on the board the cause of the 20%, or an effect of the culture of the company?
    Is more women a clear multiplier? eg 1 = 20%, 2 = 25% etc.

    1. Summer

      Wait a minute. Two X chromosomes make a woman?
      I thought they stopped teaching that in school, even though it’s science and everything….

  23. freedomny

    So I spent the afternoon canvassing for Ocasio-Cortez. I have to say (although I am easily impressed by technology since I’m pretty lame with it), they had this really cool app that allowed you to document your canvassing efforts. That together with a very grassroots (but incredibly efficient) style makes for what I consider a very impressive campaign. The Queens office was packed…I was easily one of the oldest there (I’m 60 next year). Now I’ve lived in Queens for 20 years and know a lot of the neighborhoods. Of NY-14, I’d probably consider Jackson Heights one of the more gentrified. But still, the whole district is predominately minority/immigrant/POC. Of the buildings I canvased, most were Spanish speaking. What I got out of the whole afternoon was not only AOC’s impressive campaign but….who the heck would vote for Joe Crowley? She says it in her campaign video that he is not representative….and he really isn’t. So what is going on?? I just find it impossible that the average NY-14 resident would vote for him given the demographics/common sense. Tomorrow I’m going to be nearer to a poll site so that will definitely be interesting….

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      Thanks for this report. And thanks for canvassing. Ocasio-Cortez is an inspiring woman. I keep playing her video over and over and over because it’s honest and fills me with hope. Perfect antidote to whatever the latest BOB (big orange baby) outrage. All the best tomorrow.

  24. savedbyirony

    re: 2018 Senate Races

    I have been watching for any news here about the Ohio Senate race between S. Brown and Jim Renacci ( https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2018/senate/oh/ohio_senate_renacci_vs_brown-6331.html ) and have missed the coverage if it has been posted. I know the latest polls look good for Brown but Renacci is a nasty but well connected piece of political work with ties to ALEC and piles of money to spend. His campaign here has already been running TV attack ads for a couple of months and i can see by the “letters to the editors” in local papers his machine is up and running with vigor on the supposed grass roots level. He is a past mayor of the small town i live in (where amongst other works of public service he accomplished for this city, he successfully “sold” our local hospital to Summa Health for a dollar so they could “run” it by proceeding to asset strip it and shut it down). and then gained a House seat thru a convenient gerrymandering move. I hope and locally work that this will not become a close race, but people here might want to occasionally check in on this race because Renacci fights hard.

  25. Mel


    Now, one of the important points at this stage was one that Gregory kept making, that a possible cross-disciplinary mathematical language was available. We never got very far with that because all you could ever get out of people like Wiener was, ‘You need a longer run.’ We used to drive them absolutely out of their minds because they were not willing to look at pattern, really. What they wanted was a terribly long run of data.

    Fascinating gossip. I’m still caught up with Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and his Emissary. The characteristic left-hemisphere bias against knowledge through patterns is still with us. Probably more so. Though what I think won’t matter a hoot unless I go back and read up some of that stuff.

  26. Spring Texan

    Interesting on the immigration platform is: ” Between 1776 and 1926, undocumented Americans could vote in up to 40 states.”

    I was VERY surprised when I happened to learn this about Texas in the early 20th century. I guess it was true in other states too. A very little-known fact.

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