Economics, Trumpism and Migration

by John Quiggin on August 11, 2018

It’s obvious enough by now that support for Trumpism in the US and elsewhere is motivated primarily by racial and cultural animus, and not (or at least not in any direct way) by economic concerns. Still, to the extent that Trumpism has any economic policy content it’s the idea that a package of immigration restrictions and corporate tax cuts[1] will make workers better off by reducing competition from migrants and increasing labor demand from corporations. The second part of this claim has been pretty thoroughly demolished, so I want to look mainly at the first. However, as we will see, the corporate tax cuts remain central to the argument.

For this purpose, I’m going to start with estimates presented to the US Senate by the restrictionist Centre for Immigration Studies, which draw mainly on the work of George Borjas at Harvard. These estimates have been the subject of vigorous criticism, but, AFAIK, no-one has suggested that they overstate the benefits of migration. So, for the sake of argument, it makes sense to start here.

The CIS estimates that the effect of migration is ” In short, the winners from immigration gain $594 billion and the losers lose $531 billion, for a net gain for $63 billion.” The winners in this estimate are business while the losers are native-born workers. The losses in the estimate are concentrated on low income workers, while some of the benefits probably go to high income workers like finance professionals (whose incomes will generally be correlated with profits). All gains and losses are in terms of annual income.

As would be expected, the CIS calculation disregards benefits to non-native born workers and their families, whether they are naturalized US citizens, legal residents or undocumented. In the CIS view, if you weren’t born in the US, you don’t count for anything.

To understand what’s going on here, it’s critical to observe that the discussion isn’t about migration flows but about the cumulative effect of migration, represented by the entire non-native population. That is, up to a first approximation[fn1], the CIS is comparing the current situation to one in which immigration had been held to zero throughout the lifetime of the current workforce (say, since the 1950s).

Now let’s look at the Trump corporate tax cuts. They benefit companies and high income earners to the tune of $2.3 trillion over 10 years or about $230 billion a year. That’s nearly half the amount transferred from workers to capital from all the immigration in living memory, as estimated by the CIS. And, of course, Trump’s tax cuts come on top of a string of tax cuts and other policies all of which have harmed labour and helped capital.

On the other side of the coin, suppose that Trump succeeded in deporting all undocumented workers and banning new immigration altogether. The estimates I’ve seen suggest that about 20 per cent of non-native workers are undocumented and that legal immigration (around one million per year) is equal to about 1.3 per cent of the current non-native population (around 60 million). Relying on the CIS estimates, it would take 20 years of such draconian policies just to offset the Trump tax cuts.

In practice, nothing like that is likely to happen. Anyone who voted for Trump on the basis of economic concerns about migration, or globalization more generally, has been taken for a ride. The same is true of voters for Brexit and for the anti-migrant forces that are now taking over, or marginalizing, old-style hard neoliberal parties on the political right around the world.

Turning the argument around, the CIS estimates suggest that immigration is hugely beneficial to corporations operating in the US. That implies that a combination of expanded immigration and higher corporate tax rates, along with higher minimum wages, would leave corporations better off, while also benefiting workers and allowing for higher public expenditure. The usual arguments about capital mobility don’t apply here. The only way corporations can benefit from migration to the US is to operate in the US.

I don’t suppose arguments of this kind will make a lot of difference given the prevalence of overt racism on the right. But, to the extent that racial appeals are being used to divide the working class, it’s important to be clear about the fact that, economically, the common interests of native-born and immigrant workers far outweigh the potential competition between them. This is an argument that the left has had to make repeatedly throughout the history of capitalism, and that we will probably have to make again in the future.

1. This doesn’t take account of the US-born children of immigrants. However, given that US immigration peaked around 2000, most children of immigrants are still too young to be in the workforce, while representing sources of demand for goods and services produced by US workers.

{ 73 comments }

1

Murali 08.11.18 at 7:29 am

They benefit companies and high income earners to the tune of $2.3 billion over 10 years or about $230 billion a year.

Don’t you mean 2.3 trillion?

2

John Quiggin 08.11.18 at 7:45 am

Thanks! Fixed now.

If I could make my routine errors of that kind work in my favor, I’d be a squillionaire by now!

3

Salem 08.11.18 at 7:56 am

This argument rests on the unstated assumption that the gains to high income earners from the tax cuts are somehow costs (of precisely the same magnitude!) to low income earners. That doesn’t seem at all obvious.

4

J-D 08.11.18 at 10:48 am

TM has posted a comment in the currently running Brexit thread describing how Swiss unions have found that restrictions on immigrant labour are bad for local workers, because they make immigrant workers chary of organising to support demands on employers, whereas immigrant workers with securer positions are more prepared to join in, and therefore strengthen, organised demands on employers; and also mentioning how Swiss unions have found ways to take advantage of a freedom-of-movement system to secure effective protections against wage-dumping. (I hope I’ve characterised that correctly; click on the link to check on me.)

5

Matt 08.11.18 at 11:38 am

This is good, and seems mostly right, but shouldn’t it also have something in it about tariffs? It seems like those are a large part of “Trumpism” as an economic policy, insofar as we can make sense of such a thing at all.

6

BenK 08.11.18 at 12:03 pm

Let’s say “motivated by cultural and social concerns.”

7

steven t johnson 08.11.18 at 3:18 pm

“It’s obvious enough by now that support for Trumpism in the US and elsewhere is motivated primarily by racial and cultural animus, and not (or at least not in any direct way) by economic concerns.”

The core of support for Trumpism is rich people, who are not driven especially by racial and cultural animus in my opinion, but by a triumphalist sense that the old liberal politics is done and they can have their way if they have a Trump bossing the show, short circuiting the vestiges of the Popular Front politics (aka New Deal) they no longer feel a need for. But even so, I would dare say they are highly motivated by direct economic concerns, even (or especially) rivals like the Kochs.

The real change in politics isn’t a white backlash but the owners unleashing their media on Trump’s behalf. If they didn’t actively want Trump he would have been ignored like Bernie Sanders. The networks sell viewers. Puffing Sanders would gotten mere ratings, puffing Trump stroked their real customers, the owners who buy advertising.

No doubt it’s pissing in the wind, but stop and think. Maybe you wouldn’t get it wrong from the first sentence….

8

WLGR 08.11.18 at 5:14 pm

This kind of First World left-liberal rhetoric about the economics of racism and global South-to-North migration has a persistent way of missing the forest for the trees.

To a true First World white racist ideologue, the point of maintaining domestic racial discrimination and immigration restrictions goes far beyond the specific people they’re directly repressing, it’s about maintaining their ideological consistency in favor of the much farther-reaching ethnonational boundaries of the entire global capitalist system, especially the division of labor and wealth between the Global North and the Global South. If they let themselves admit that those boundaries between “people who deserve better lives” and “people who deserve worse lives” can be crossed en masse, or even worse that those boundaries aren’t actually based on anything of real concern to the human soul at all, then they’re essentially admitting that all the cheap Third World labor and resources from which our First World societies continually benefit (including the more “enlightened” left-liberal portions of those societies) are fundamentally ill-gotten gains.

They may not necessarily like handing their domestic boss all sorts of extra repressive political tools he can use to make their lives harder, but if that’s what it takes to maintain the inherent disparity between them and the children who work 14 hour shifts 7 days a week for pennies an hour to stitch the T-shirts they buy for $5 at Walmart, then from their perspective that’s just the price they have to pay. And as racist and repugnant as that perspective may be, it’s still more consistent both internally and with global economic reality than the “enlightened” left-liberal position, that racism is just plain-and-simple false consciousness and doesn’t really benefit anybody outside of a tiny elite.

9

nastywoman 08.11.18 at 5:20 pm

@
”Turning the argument around, the CIS estimates suggest that immigration is hugely beneficial to corporations operating in the US. That implies that a combination of expanded immigration and higher corporate tax rates, along with higher minimum wages, would leave corporations better off, while also benefiting workers and allowing for higher public expenditure”.

That argument might have to be turned around again – as Sahra Wagenknecht – the woman who had the idea for a new ”Movement on the Left” in Germany – called ”Aufstehen” (roughly translated as ”Standing up” – and already welcomed by over a third of all Germans) – has argued – if ”benefits of expanding immigration” are mainly understood as getting ”qualified workers” from poorer countries it’s cynical.

Like something Dean Baker sometimes suggests with the ”import of doctors from low wage countries” in order to get Health Care Costs down in our Homeland“

Sahra Wagenknecht (rightly?) sees it as just another play of playing refugees or poor immigrants against the ”own” Poor and nothing but another ”instrument” for ”wage-dumping”

And a ”speciality” of -(my words) – ”Anglo-Saxon Capitalism”?

10

MisterMr 08.11.18 at 7:47 pm

The point is that anti immigration policy is based on a sort of triclkle down mindset.

Suppose that all income is produced by a certain number of job creators, and workers, while they appear to be working and thus producing income, in reality are just sucking the income produced by the awesome job creators.
While this is a parody, this mindset is natural to a certain degree in a capitalist society because, in lived experience, I have a wage only because my employer kindly choose to employ me and not another person.

In this view, it’s only natural to think that if more people come in more people will be sucking income from the job creators, so there will be less income for me to suck.

If we on the other hand assume that workers produce income, and that capitalists get a fraction of it in form of profits, the story changes because now the immigrants are taking a part of the income that they themselves produce.
If immigration causes an increase in profits by lowering the wage share, by a logic of trickle down (that is assumed true when we speak of tax breaks) capitalists will invest more and there will be more jobs, so immigrant will lower wages only for a very short period.

The real problem, IMHO, is that this kind of trickle down (capitalists investing more because of higer profits) only work up to a certain point, so this boom effect doesn’t lead to an economy with employment and wages so high that people would recognize as “full employment”, because labor laws changed in the last decades in a way that workers have low bargaining power even in booms.
This is true with or without migration but, since people are led to believe that a capitalist economy naturally does reach that level, and the real world economies are not reaching that level, people will then believe that someone is stealing their lunch, and in countries with migration this someone will be the immigrants (in other countries it could be faceless government workers, or other scapegoats).

11

likbez 08.11.18 at 7:52 pm

Still, to the extent that Trumpism has any economic policy content it’s the idea that a package of immigration restrictions and corporate tax cuts[1] will make workers better off by reducing competition from migrants and increasing labor demand from corporations.

The emergence of Trumpism signifies deepening of the ideological crisis for the neoliberalism. Neoclassical economics fell like a house of cards.

IMHO Trumpism can be viewed as a kind of “national neoliberalism” which presuppose rejection of three dogmas of “classic neoliberalism”:

1. Rejection of neoliberal globalization including, but not limited to, free movement of labor. Attempt to protect domestic industries via tariff barriers.

2. Rejection of excessive financialization and primacy of financial oligarchy Restoration of the status of manufacturing, and “traditional capitalists” status in comparison with financial oligarchy.

3. Rejection of austerity. An attempt to fight “secular stagnation” via Military Keysianism.

Trumpism sent “Chicago school” line of thinking to the dustbin of history. It exposed neoliberal economists as agents of financial oligarchy and “Enemy of the American People” (famous Trump phase about neoliberal MSM).

See, for example, a good summary by Sanjay Reddy ( Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research) at https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/trumpism-has-dealt-a-mortal-blow-to-orthodox-economics-and-social-science.html

It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.

First, there is globalization as we knew it. Mainstream economics championed corporate-friendly trade and investment agreements to increase prosperity, and provided the intellectual framework for multilateral trade agreements. …

Second, there is financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proleterianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class.

Financialization also led to the near-abandonment of the ‘national’ industrial economy in favor of global sourcing and sales, and a handsome financial rentier economy built on top of it. Meanwhile, automation trends led to shedding of jobs everywhere, and threaten far more.

All of this was hardly noticed by the discipline charged with studying the economy. Indeed, it actively provided rationales for financialization, in the form of the efficient-markets hypothesis and related ideas; for concentration of capital through mergers and acquisitions in the form of contestable-markets theory; for the gentrification of the city through attacks on rent control and other urban policies; for remaking of labor markets through the idea that unemployment was primarily a reflection of voluntary leisure preferences, etc. The mainstream political parties, including those historically representing the working and middle classes, in thrall to the ‘scientific’ sheen of market fetishism, gambled that they could redistribute a share of the promised gains and thus embraced policies the effect of which was ultimately to abandon and to antagonize a large section of their electorate.

Third, there is the push for austerity, a recurrent trope of the ‘neoliberal’ era which, although not favored by all, has played an important role in creating conditions for the rise of popular movements demanding a more expansionary fiscal stance (though they can paradoxically simultaneously disdain taxation, as with Trumpism). The often faulty intellectual case made by many mainstream economists for central bank independence, inflation targeting, debt sustainability thresholds, the distortive character of taxation and the superiority of private provision of services including for health, education and welfare, have helped to support antagonism to governmental activity. Within this perspective, there is limited room for fiscal or even monetary stimulus, or for any direct governmental role in service provision, even in the form of productivity-enhancing investments. It is only the failure fully to overcome the shipwreck of 2008 that has caused some cracks in the edifice.

The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.]

Finally, interpretations of politics were too restrictive, conceptualizing citizens’ political choices as based on instrumental and usually economic calculations, while indulging in a wishful account of their actual conditions — for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities.

Mainstream accounts of politics recognized the role of identities in the form of wooden theories of group mobilization or of demands for representation. However, the psychological and charismatic elements, which can give rise to moments of ‘phase transition’ in politics, were altogether neglected, and the role of social media and other new methods in politics hardly registered. As new political movements (such as the Tea Party and Trumpism in the U.S.) emerged across the world, these were deemed ‘populist’—both an admission of the analysts’ lack of explanation, and a token of disdain. The essential feature of such movements — the obscurantism that allows them to offer many things to many people, inconsistently and unaccountably, while serving some interests more than others — was little explored. The failures can be piled one upon the other. No amount of quantitative data provided by polling, ‘big data’, or other techniques comprehended what might be captured through open-eyed experiential narratives. It is evident that there is a need for forms of understanding that can comprehend the currents within the human person, and go beyond shallow empiricism. Mainstream social science has offered few if any resources to understand, let alone challenge, illiberal majoritarianism, now a world-remaking phenomenon.

12

MisterMr 08.11.18 at 8:21 pm

I’ll try to explain my previous comment from another angle:

I’ll take the wage share on total income as the main index of worker’s bargaining power.
The wage share depends on two factors:
1) there is a cyclical factor, when the economy is booming unemployment falls and the wage share rises, when the economy is depressed the opposite;
2) there are structural factors that depend on how redistributive is taxation, the power of unions etc.; these structural factors depend on law and policy, not on technology.

A big part of the “neoliberal” policy is the concept of trickle down, that can be summarized in (1) hope that the economy will go very well and will be in permanent boom by (2) lowering the wage share structural components, by making workers more flexible etc..
In this kind of policy (that was followed also by center left parties) the fall in the strucural component of the wage share is supposed to be compensated by the increase of the cyclical component, so that, in theory, workers should not be worse off.

But in reality, trickle down doesn’t really work (we can argue why), so that the overall wage share fell.
Workers (and voters in general) then expect the economy to be in a situation of permanent boom, a boom so big that it surpasses the fall in the structural component of the wage share; but this never happens, and probably cannot happen for a sustained period.

So voters assume that someone is stealing their lunch, and they blame someone. Immigrants are supposed to lower worker’s wage share, but influencing the cyclical component, not the structural one; instead we have an assumption that immigrants are lowering the structural component of the wage share, that is a nonsense, because voters have to blame someone.

Contemporaneously, we have policies that try to create a sort of permanent boom by trickle down, such as lowering the tax rate on high incomes. These policies resemble keynesian policy but in reality are strongly pro-cyclical, so in some sense are the opposite of the traditional keynesian policy.
This happens because these policies appease both workers (with the promise of a boom and thus an increase of the cyclical component of their wage share) and capitalists (because the government is pumping money in their pockets).
But these policies are also very pro-bubble.

From this point of view, Trump’s policy (but also for example many policies of the current Italian government) are just a beefed up version of the neoliberal policy.

The hate for immigrants, as other nasty developments of international policy, are the effect of the fact that in reality trickle down cannot really create booms as big as to justify the weakening of the structural component of the wage share, so someone has to be blamed somehow; also trickle down is linked, culturally, to the concept of job creators, and the idea that workers only have an income because of the awesomeness of said job creators, which leads tho the idea that immigrants are also so to speak eating from the same dish, and thus robbing workers from their income.

13

Peter K. 08.11.18 at 8:44 pm

I think part of it is that Democrats and the center left have abandoned the white working class, making it easier for the right to demagogue economic issues. Trump ran on culture war nonsense and rightwing populism & xenophonbia not tax cuts for the rich.

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/08/07/what-democrats-still-dont-get-about-winning-back-the-white-working-class/

14

Collin Street 08.11.18 at 11:09 pm

If we on the other hand assume that workers produce income, and that capitalists get a fraction of it in form of profits, the story changes because now the immigrants are taking a part of the income that they themselves produce.

I’ve mentioned this before, but people-on-the-right seem to have a lot of difficulty with second-order effects of any sort.
You cut government spending -> government outgoings fall [predicted] -> economic activity and tax incomes fall [not predicted].
You cut wages -> business outgoings fall [predicted] -> business incomes fall [not predicted]You ban drugs -> drugs become more expensive [predicted] -> drugs become a massive criminal venture [not predicted].
You increase defence spending -> your army becomes better [predicted] -> other countries increase their military spending too, leading to no net increase in military capacity [not predicted]
And so forth: migration is just another example. There seems a real weakness in predicting how other people will react to your policy changes and how this will impact the environment you’re acting in.

[I’ve also set out a hypothesis as to why, but you don’t have to agree with the latter to agree with the former]

15

ph 08.12.18 at 12:38 am

Hi John, I read your piece yesterday and wanted to let your observations settle. I’d broadly agree with your paragraph:

“Anyone who voted for Trump on the basis of economic concerns about migration, or globalization more generally, has been taken for a ride. The same is true of voters for Brexit and for the anti-migrant forces that are now taking over, or marginalizing, old-style hard neoliberal parties on the political right around the world.”

in so far as the implied economic benefits were intended to redistribute wealth down. I’d say that’s not the case. The economic benefits include those non-monetary benefits identified in @11 and also by Obama repeatedly, all of which you seem to dismiss as “overt racism” or cultural/racial animus.

I’ve been quite open about my lack of quantitative chops, but I was well-trained in mixed-method research and feel very confident about my qualitative skills. And this is where your argument, and the arguments of the left break down so often. I don’t, for example, believe you harbor any particular cultural animus of your own towards your fellow Australians, but plenty of other ‘leftists’ make no secret of their contempt for the working classes. No need to dwell on this at any great length.

Fairly clearly the failure of the CT community as whole to observe and anticipate Brexit and the Trump victory points to some significant blind spots, as a number of principals have observed (Holbo stands out, but you, Chris, and Henry have responded soberly for the most part).

These blind spots are still in place, from what I can tell. My own modest experience in union organizing/activities taught me that even overt racists are extremely responsive to almost any persuasive economic argument if that argument is presented without the preaching and insult that too many feel is part and parcel of ‘being a better person.’

Culture matters more/as much as cash because most people understand (intuitively at least) that culture is what provides access to cash. Which is why support for Brexit and for Trump is rock solid. My own included.

16

Faustusnotes 08.12.18 at 1:27 am

None of the three points in comment 11 happened under trump. He hasn’t rejected free movement of people, just non white people (he himself said he wanted more Norwegians). He has reinstated the financial oligarchy, unless you think mnuchin and bannon- venture capitalists and movie financiers – are working people. And he has doubled down on austerity, with all his failures in this front due only to incompetence or democratic resistance.

The same is true of brexit, which is basically a scheme to protect Moggy’s offshore assets and hide bojo ‘s money laundering. It’s typical of the boosters at naked capitalism – and the people with good “qualitative skills” (haha) like kidneystones – that they would believe such nonsense. You’ve been played.

17

Omega Centauri 08.12.18 at 3:00 am

There are economic gains/loses as seen by the analytical few, and then there is the authoritarian mindset. The later does not think of policy as something to be optimized, but as something that continually tweaks their-own worldview. Authoritarianism gains strength from being seen to be hostile to analysis, and especially to experts. So nothing that happens on this site, has any relevance to those possessing that mindset.

I would tend to be in disagreement with Steve @7. At least numerically, the number of calculating Oligarchs is not large. They did opportunistically accept Trump as a way to accomplish their economic ends, but they wouldn’t have done that if Trump didn’t have enough appeal to the ethno-authoritarians in the country, that he could actually deliver the goods. Clearly their support is important, as it provides plenty of cash to run the political apparatus, but without sufficient followers among the general population, that support would have been in vain. I think the disproportionate media attention to Trump versus Bernie, was almost entirely driven by the quest for eyeballs. And Trump delivers far more eyeballs than Bernie ever could.

18

nastywoman 08.12.18 at 3:57 am

@15
”Culture matters more/as much as cash because most people understand (intuitively at least) that culture is what provides access to cash”.

As the only commenter on CT who is culturally connected to ”the working class” –
(because I know how to deconstruct a Harley Davidson Motor) –
I understand ALL of the above -(my own comment included) – hopefully rightfully? – as a joke –

Which is why support for Brexit and for Trump is NOT rock solid. My own included.

It’s just a temporary lack of cash –
Right – Ph?

And when ”cash is back” we don’t have to vote for morons and idiots anymore –
Right Ph?

Which somehow makes me think – that the theory that support for Trumpism in the US and elsewhere is motivated primarily by racial and cultural animus has to be… a bit amended? – by… by… ”cash” -(aka: Some type of economics?)

And isn’t that what a typical ”Trumpist” like ph writes over and over – while at the same time in Berlin Malaika Mihambo won the European Championship in Broad Jump –
(for Germany)

Can you guys imagine ”Malaika Mihambo” – what a poetic and beautiful name for German ”culture”? (and by the way – a currently pretty satisfying culture for ”cash”)

And just look at Malaika – guys – and especially dudes like ph – and start believing that culture for sure will matter much more than cash in the future and in the most positive NON-Trumpists way!

19

nastywoman 08.12.18 at 4:11 am

and about@11
”for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities”.

How true – how true –
(and didn’t I write that when Von Clownstick won? – and hardly anybody in economics believed it?)

and then there is this:
– ”financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proleterianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class”.

So we might have to talk one day about if it truly is ”obvious enough by now that support for Trumpism in the US and elsewhere is motivated primarily by racial and cultural animus, and not (or at least not in any direct way) by economic concerns”??

20

Person_XYZ 08.12.18 at 9:10 am

Re: Number 11

That line of thinking on the naked capitalism blog was delusional in November 2016 and is actually hilarious now. People on the left who allow themselves to believe such nonsense politically self sabotage. When they don’t get everything they want from the centre left party, they just kind of …give up. Some even become followers of charlatans. These are the people who complain that the ACA was a neoliberal bailout of the insurance industry and not a massive step in the right direction.

21

J-D 08.12.18 at 11:51 am

Peter K.

The article you link to makes an argument about what Democrats (with some exceptions) are doing wrong, from a strategic or tactical point of view, but it’s not ‘abandoning the white working class’, as you describe it.

22

steven t johnson 08.12.18 at 4:39 pm

Omega Centauri@17 argues that Bernie Sanders could never deliver as many customers to advertisers as Trump. Aside from being a counter-factual, I think the real objection is still that the first audience, the owners who buy advertising, favored Trump, and disfavored Sanders. They didn’t favor Trump in his first (undeclared) run, when he was selling birtherism, and got buried. I still say it’s the topmost class that’s turned hard to the right.

The implicit argument is that the unwashed masses wouldn’t have supported Bernie even if Bernie got billions of dollars in free publicity. That’s a counterfactual, so evidently hard to refute. But I will point out that the billions of free attack ads against Clinton for emails/Benghazi/Clinton Cash while Trump’s whole shady career lay discreetly in the shade was a thing too.

So yes, I still incline to think that savage attacks on the evil people for electing Trump (falsifying an Electoral College victory as an electoral majority when it’s not even a voting plurality) is acceptable because it 1) diverts from the real change and b) continues the anti-politics theme which is to say, anti-popular majority definition of democracy.

23

hc 08.12.18 at 8:23 pm

The relevant criterion is whether or not the original US residents are better-off since the immigrants are revealed better-off by their destination choices. According to your analysis workers lose (hardly surprising!) and capital gains. Immigration shifts the functional distribution of income towards capital though the revenue rectangles here vastly exceed the gains-from-trade triangles. A bit strange given your long-standing distributional concerns that meagre efficiency gains make it to the winner’s post on this occasion!

No mention of the need for enhanced and increasing-cost infrastructure needed to accommodate the newcomers (Australia, for illustration, now has a desal plant in every capital city and faces expressway expansion difficulties in all cities). Of course immigrants gain an unpaid share of the existing stock of existing congested infrastructure. No mention, in fact, of either congestion and other environmental costs – these are enormous in Australia $3b+ aggregate congestion costs in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Along with most, John, you seem to want population to increase indefinitely on the basis of minuscule alleged net gains – the net gain you allude to of $63 billion is shared among 300 million people so annually its about $180 which presumably has to be offset against the human costs mentioned above. From a viewpoint that encompasses the welfare of non-human species the costs of continued human population growth costs are huge.

Overall the evidence you cite provides a very weak argument for increasing an already huge US population still further. I post here rather than your Australian site as, despite many attempts, I cannot access the latter.

24

Orange Watch 08.12.18 at 8:58 pm

stj@22

I assume you mean “second (undeclared) run”?

25

CDT 08.13.18 at 2:41 am

@likbez—

That’s a good critique of the electoral disaster that the Democrats brought upon themselves by adopting neoliberal economic policies at the dawn of the DLC. But it’s delusional to think that Trump’s restoration of gilded age economic policies will help working people, white or otherwise.

26

Jerry Vinokurov 08.13.18 at 2:49 am

IMHO Trumpism can be viewed as a kind of “national neoliberalism” which presuppose rejection of three dogmas of “classic neoliberalism”:

1. Rejection of neoliberal globalization including, but not limited to, free movement of labor. Attempt to protect domestic industries via tariff barriers.

2. Rejection of excessive financialization and primacy of financial oligarchy Restoration of the status of manufacturing, and “traditional capitalists” status in comparison with financial oligarchy.

3. Rejection of austerity. An attempt to fight “secular stagnation” via Military Keysianism.

Trumpism sent “Chicago school” line of thinking to the dustbin of history. It exposed neoliberal economists as agents of financial oligarchy and “Enemy of the American People” (famous Trump phase about neoliberal MSM).

Imagine being so lacking in understanding of American politics that you, even writing under a pseudonym, type out the above. The Martians are real, and they comment at Crooked Timber.

27

likbez 08.13.18 at 3:12 am

@Person_XYZ 08.12.18 at 9:10 am

When they don’t get everything they want from the centre left party, they just kind of …give up. Some even become followers of charlatans.

This is a good description of phenomenon, known as “Demexit.” When the ideology the Party profess (“soft neoliberalism”) became discredited, several interesting things follow.

One is the level of cynicism about Party leadership ( deligitimization ). At this point Bill Clinton’s idea that unwashed masses “have nowhere to go” and will vote for Dems anyway stopped working. When one view Hillary as a crook and unscrupulous warmonger, it is much easier to vote for somebody else.

I would agree with @steven t johnson 08.12.18 at 4:39 pm

The implicit argument is that the unwashed masses wouldn’t have supported Bernie even if Bernie got billions of dollars in free publicity.

I would say more: Clinton wing of Dems preferred Trump to Bernie.

28

Marfrks' No1 Fan 08.13.18 at 3:59 am

40% of Sanders voters in the W VA primary voted for Trump

29

nastywoman 08.13.18 at 4:39 am

@26
”The Martians are real, and they comment at Crooked Timber”.

I very much doubt that –
as:
”Martian” –
Definition:
”Some one who sees the world on a multidimensional level,yet has the understanding that everything and everyone is interconnected like a single organism. Many martians smoke weed and/or use psychedelic drugs to further enhance their knowledge,creativity, and understanding of the universe”.

So – before we don’t have proof that ”likbez” hasn’t smoked a ”doobie” before he wrote what he wrote – he is NOT one of my ”Martian” friends!

30

nastywoman 08.13.18 at 4:54 am

– and as Dipper -(and Von Clownstick) made me think – that we perhaps have to look at Migration, Trumpism and thusly economics in a completely new way?

Like the Trumpists way who like to say’s that ”France isn’t France” anymore or that Germany already has been taken over by some ”Islamic Hordes” – as if France really isn’t France anymore and Germany has been taken over by some ”Islamic Hordes” and London already is just some type of assembly of the United Nations – how wonderful that nobody can ”invade” anybody anymore as it already has happened?

Like Germany is now ”Turkey” -(with a much stronger currency than Turkey) – and Great Britain isn’t ”Great Britain” anymore – it’s a suburb of Poland – and thusly ”Poland isn’t Poland anymore” – as we know that a YUUGEST part of Poland is in ”Great Britain” –

How wonderful – together with all these Rich Greeks -(and poor Indians) – who don’t want to see another Mamma Mia return and having Cher singing a Spanish Fernando?

31

John Quiggin 08.13.18 at 4:56 am

Matt @5 I started to write about tariffs, but it will be too long for a blog post, so I’ll pitch it as a magazine piece, then link when it’s done.

Shorter JQ: Even if you don’t buy the market liberal case for free trade, Trump’s tariff policies are crony capitalist and harmful to (nearly) everyone, including most US workers.

32

steven t johnson 08.13.18 at 3:45 pm

Orange Watch@24 is correct. I did indeed forget Trump’s first run.

likbez@27 agrees that the real argument is that the disgusting white people of this country wouldn’t vote for Sanders (or his ilk) because they are Trumpian racists who like Trump for his racism. But to clarify, I don’t think this is true at all, because I do believe that the decades of media demonization of Clinton and the deliberate decision to to ignore Trump’s past as much as possible did in fact play a huge role in the election. It’s why likbez is so sure that Clinton is somehow a bigger crook than Trump. That is just crazy.

Marfrk’s No1 Fan@28 refers to the WV primary. There was a limited access campaign meeting in which Clinton honestly admitted that the policies proposed, including action against global warming, would further diminish employment in coal mining. She promptly added that the ineffective and inadequate policies of retraining etc. would be used. She seemed to think this was proof of benign intent. It isn’t too unreasonable to suggest that this is indeed why Clinton lost the primary to Sanders. Trump ran unopposed but the Republican turnout was larger than the Democratic turnout.

A truly competent crooked politician would have simply lied of course. This is exactly what Trump did. There are people who really do believe that the EPA/Obama “War on Coal” was what depressed the market for coal. Supposedly, somehow, the market—not even for low-sulfur met coal!— wasn’t affected by the drop off of demand from Japan etc. due to the world economic crisis. It is not an accident that Trump could BS about how he’d save coal, because media supported this false narrative. It’s not an accident that coal operators tried to pressure employees to vote Trump (personal report from a family member.) And even more, it is the deliberate choice of news media to give Trump a reputation as an honest man, by burying his career as much as possible, that made him believable.

So, no, I don’t think even in such a particularly concentrated example of economic distress perceived to be at the hands of Democratic Party neoliberals or whatever as WV that the media support for Trump didn’t play a key role.

33

nastywoman 08.13.18 at 8:48 pm

– and I really (still) wonder how long will I have to hear from this Clinton-Person?

As long as when I grew up and very, very old people told me about WW2?
Or even worst – when I had to sit in school through ”Lessons from the Untergang of the Roman Empire”

Guys!

In times where – of all people ”Rich” Americans can’t afford to live in their own country anymore and one can buy an apartment in Istanbul for peanuts – and it just takes a few random tweets of a complete Moron about not ”liking” them British too – to get me an apartment in Bath for peanuts too – and economists still haven’t learned – that it isn’t the level of ”employment” which is admirable – BUT the level of ”livable jobs” – in such times – which are great if one happens to earn her or his dough in Euros -(and NOT in any Mickey Mouse Currency) – in such times this Clinton-Person is such ancient history that only very, very nostalgic dudes -(or dudettes) are allowed to bore US – but only if their comments come with some Abba songs.

And did this Clinton person ever sing Mamma Mia?

There are no useful lessons learned from Hello!! – we are living in times where

34

likbez 08.13.18 at 9:37 pm

It’s why likbez is so sure that Clinton is somehow a bigger crook than Trump. That is just crazy.

He was just not the neoliberal establishment supported crook, or pretended to be such;-) That was enough for many people who are fed up with the system to vote for him. Just to show middle finger to neoliberal establishment personalized by Hillary Clinton.

On a more serious note, while I do assume that voting for Trump was a form of social protest against the current version of neoliberalism in the USA, I do not automatically assume that the social system that will eventually replace the current US flavor of neoliberalism will be an improvement for bottom 90% of population.

35

CDT 08.14.18 at 4:09 am

Cheap natural gas killed coal. At current prices, it does not make economic sense for large power plants to burn coal, even if they are allowed to externalize pollution control costs.

36

faustusnotes 08.14.18 at 6:04 am

Marfrks’ No 1 fan is citing a completely mythical and stupid lie, based on an exit poll from the 2016 Primary in West Virgina which found that 40% of Sanders voters planned to vote for Trump. Unfortunately, WV primaries are open, and the most likely explanation for this is that a bunch of Trump voters joined the primary to vote against Clinton.

In fact exit polls from the 2016 federal election showed that 92% of Democrats voted for Clinton. So either those Sanders-voting primary voters were lying, or they didn’t turn up to the General, or they were actually Trump voters trolling the primary.

Of course we must never, ever allow anything to interfere with the false idea that Trump is really the candidate of the working man and Clinton is the favourite of Wall Street. Never ever let that myth die!

37

john c. halasz 08.14.18 at 10:34 pm

38

ph 08.15.18 at 1:27 am

John’s critique of Brexit and Trump in the OP seems sound. The main beneficiaries of Trump’s policies will be the ruling class, at least in monetary terms. But that should come as no surprise. The 50k to 100k group can also expect some modest improvements as wages and demand for labor have increased.

The main distribution changes from the rich/elites to the lower orders have been cultural, rather than monetary. Academics, the media, and elites are still earning a good living, but many are profoundly embarrassed that a vulgarian and his grubby supporters have somehow managed to occupy the oval office. No matter that Bush lied America into Iraq, and Obama expanded the Cheney-Bush security state and prosecuted wars of choice through his entire tenure. Forget that the economy is robust and unemployment among minorities is at historic lows. Sensibilities are offended. That’s what’s truly unbearable.

The media (contra claims here) did everything possible to disqualify Trump, but found themselves outfoxed by the reality TV pro. Had the media focused exclusively on Trump’s very spotty business success record, they might have made him less electable. But he offered them tweets and inflammatory rhetoric which offered greater short-term outrage returns – revenue from clicks, so instead of dull analysis. Snookered, the media got ad revenue surges and Trump got 2 billion in free air time. Virtually everyone focused on the bright shiny objects.

This is lesson one, btw, in selling used cars and ‘smart’ folks are the easiest to manipulate, because there’s nothing a bubble-head likes quite so much as pontificating from a seat of moral authority. Rubes.

I’m watching the Ken Burns documentary on Viet Nam. Misunderstanding the importance of culture can have very serious consequences. Burns argues that administration relied primarily on quantitative data to formulate policy. That’s what happened in 2015-15 over Brexit and in America. And that’s what’s happening now. Trump’s position is extremely strong at the moment. His core supporters are primarily interested in cultural returns, whilst the public as a whole, including key members of the Dem coalition, are happy with the material and other results of his presidency.

I can’t see a majority choosing risk and inexperience in 2020. A pure majority of voters may support a different candidate, as they did in 2016. That’s a problem.

39

steven t johnson 08.15.18 at 2:42 am

likbez@34 calls Clinton the personalized establishment, adding “neoliberal” but she was in my opinion publicized as the personalized liberal establishment. This is the version of reality where, for example, Clinton dominated the DNC instead of a sitting president. Notions like this are the work of pervasive persuasion by mass media. Establishment figures aren’t dogged by decades of accusations of murder, drug running, theft, corruption, treason, or worse, lesbianism. Establishment figures get their sins overlooked. Trump is an establishment figure. Being a vulgarian doesn’t make you antiestablishment.

CDT@35 is correct to a great extent about power coal. That’s why Trump’s attack on environmental standards will merely help coal operators profit margins but not really restore the coal industry. Nonetheless, a good part of coal production has always been for making coke, met coal for short. And that has little to do with the price of natural gas. But the anemic world recovery does.

faustusnotes@36 is incorrect about WV primaries being open. Independents can choose which party ballot to vote if they wish, but registered Democrats and Republicans get their party ballot. The greater turnout for Trump in the primary was due to enthusing Republicans. They are still not the majority party in WV party rolls. Clinton got fewer votes in WV than Obama in 2012. I think that was largely because incumbents gets more votes, which she was not, and because “Wall Street” bought advertising from media which conducted a relentless campaign of vilification. What you cannot do is attribute this difference to racial animus…which is the nonsense leading off the OP.

40

Marfrks' No1 Fan 08.15.18 at 4:14 am

https://michaelmoore.com/trumpwillwin/
“I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: “PRESIDENT TRUMP.” “

41

anonymousse 08.15.18 at 11:04 am

Then logically….
If immigration is good for a country, then presumably emigration would be bad for a country.

If that’s the case: shouldn’t we discourage emigration from the third world (in the US case, generally Central/South America) and encourage immigration to those countries, in order to improve the economies (and thus lives) of citizens of those countries?

In other words: from a global (and not US) perspective: wouldn’t improving the economy of Mexico be better than harming the economy of Mexico and improving the economy of USA? By your argument, we should discourage emigration from Mexico to USA in order to do so. In fact, in the interests of fairness: we should encourage emigration FROM the USA and immigration TO Mexico Perhaps as a first start; undocumented workers should be encouraged to go to Mexico-for their, and Mexico’s, own good.

anon

42

BJ dubbS 08.15.18 at 7:49 pm

It’s amazing that JQ can read the mind of Americans from all the way down in Australia, but let’s compare Australia and the US. In Australia, the minimum wage is $13.16 USD. In the US, the minimum wage is $7.25, even though per capita GDP in the US is higher than in Australia. Even in California, the state with the highest minimum wage, it reaches only to $11, $2 less than Australia. It looks like Australia’s restrictive immigration policies are benefiting the low-wage workers in Australia.

43

John Quiggin 08.16.18 at 3:43 am

“It’s amazing that JQ can read the mind of Americans from all the way down in Australia”.

I keep forgetting the cultural norms here. Americans are so respectful of other countries they would never dream of commenting on their political arguments or suggesting how they should be run, let alone invading them and overthrowing their governments as we Australians do all the time.

And, of course, Americans are well-informed about the world, unlike us insular Aussies. So, despite appearances, I’m sure BJ dubbS is well aware that the proportion of foreign-born Australians is approximately twice that in the US (27.7 vs 14.3).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_immigrant_population

44

John Quiggin 08.16.18 at 3:58 am

@41 You’ve ignored the benefits to the migrants themselves, and to family members in their home countries who benefit from remittances. Globally, there’s a massive net benefit from more freedom of movement, both permanent and temporary.

45

ph 08.16.18 at 4:32 am

To echo JQ migration and globalization has had an immensely positive effect worldwide, reducing the percentage of the world’s population living in absolute poverty from 35 percent in 1990 to 11 percent in 2013 (The caveat being that the most dramatic improvements in living standards are not distributed equally.)

@39 Clinton not the establishment candidate? Huh? Nepotism? Check. Crony Capitalism? Check. Ivy League pedigree? Check. Favored candidate of Dem donor class? Check. If you’re actually interested in reasons for anti-Hillary sentiment, those who dislike Trump but voted for him anyway reported that they haven’t liked her for decades – since the Sixty Minutes interview back in the early 90s. Personally, I couldn’t care less about her negatives, what scared the hell out of me was her faith in failed policies and unwillingness to learn from mistakes – especially her own. I supported her in 2007 over Obama. I’d be astonished if any/many Trump voters could care less about her sexual orientation.

That percentage of the population who regards leaving a young volunteer to drown in a car driven by the Cowardly Lion of the Senate, a lifelong drunk and sexual predator, as morally indefensible regards Hillary in the same light. But, like the Lion of the Senate, and other assorted cartoon characters beloved by the media, Hillary has been widely disliked by many for decades, its only since her husband left office after two-terms as president, that Hillary really started to stand out as the face of the Democratic establishment, along with Pelosi. Not a good look. Trump is a member of the establishment. True – but his birther phase made him a pariah.

Btw, there’s a move afoot to have anyone who works in his administration denied any invitation to speak by academic institutions https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/no-academic-normalization-of-trump-by-dani-rodrik-2018-08

This seems particularly stupid for the reasons I’ve already outlined above. Trump won’t be defeated until he’s normalized, only then will people focus on his record, and by then it will probably be too late to stop him in 2020. I’m willing to accept that 2018 may see Dems gain some seats. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if Trump turns out his base. In which case it may be 2016 all over again only this time with larger margins.

46

faustusnotes 08.16.18 at 5:15 am

Haha where do these people come from? Australia’s restrictive immigration policies? Particularly ironic in a comment about JQ’s ignorance! And what exactly is the relationship between minimum wage and immigration? Is there some ironclad law of physics that if immigration goes up governments must change the minimum wage? Perhaps BJ dubbS thinks that the minimum wage is determined by supply and demand?

Given that Australia’s immigration rate is approximately twice that of the USA, if BJ dubbS is sure that minimum wage and immigration are related, does that mean he or she now has to conclude that higher immigration drives minimum wages up?

47

Matt 08.16.18 at 5:23 am

In other words: from a global (and not US) perspective: wouldn’t improving the economy of Mexico be better than harming the economy of Mexico and improving the economy of USA?

In addition to what John says, there are a few other things about this statement/question that need to be picked apart.

First, most people don’t really like moving far from home and family. And, most people don’t move. In that way it does seem like it would be better to “improve the economy” of Mexico than to have a situation where Mexicans, to improve their economic situation, must move to the US. (Note how this might be so even if there was free movement between the US and Mexic0.) But, how to do this isn’t super clear or easy. That would be so even if there was perfect cooperation between the US and Mexico. So, even if this is the 1st best thing to do, and even if the US and Mexico wanted to do it together, it’s not clear that it could be done, at least not well or quickly. That suggests that some movement is still going to be desirable. This is even more clear when we know we are not in the 1st best situation posited.

Secondly, it’s not clear that emigration has a completely symmetrical effect to immigration, where the gain for one side is a loss for the other. Often, immigration is a gain for both the host country (for reasons discussed above) and for the sending country, from remittance, from citizens returning with new skills, knowledge, and tastes, and sometimes more local effects. This will especially be so in the 2nd best situation we are in now.

All of this is to say that the statement in 41, while it seems plausible on its face, is more wrong than right.

48

nastywoman 08.16.18 at 10:58 am

@41
”and encourage immigration to those countries, in order to improve the economies (and thus lives) of citizens of those countries”?

– an excellent – idea especially for all Americans who can’t afford to live in our ”homeland” anymore –
but let’s not restrict it to ”Central/South America” -(that’s a bit… let’s call it ”stressful”?) – as a friend of US from California just moved to Croatia – and a cousin of mine will move to Porto – Portugal -(with her husband and her three children) in order to bring their family budget down by 50 percent -(especially the budget for education and health care) – and about:
”In order to improve the economies (and thus lives) of citizens of those countries”?

In the above cases it’s more the other way around – like ”In order to improve the economies (and thus lives) of my US friend – and the citizens of those ”other” countries will do what they can to help them – and do you know that for example Prague has one of the YUUUGEST colonies of Americans in the world –
as the Czech are especially GREAT in improving Americans lives – by a lot.
-(and let’s not even talk about Berlin?)

49

Orange Watch 08.16.18 at 11:59 am

ph@38

This is lesson one, btw, in selling used cars and ‘smart’ folks are the easiest to manipulate, because there’s nothing a bubble-head likes quite so much as pontificating from a seat of moral authority. Rubes.

Oh, the irony.

On a less un-self-aware note, ph is entirely correct that stj’s claim that Clinton was not an establishment candidate is hard to take seriously. The sitting president did not oppose his former cabinet member’s ambitions, and Wasserman-Shultz was entirely Clinton’s. Calling Clinton non-establishment nor pulling the DNC’s strings requires ignoring the financial entanglements and resulting commitments Clinton imposed on the DNC in return for her largesse.

50

Orange Watch 08.16.18 at 12:17 pm

ph@45
There are very pragmatic reasons to prevent administration officials from being normalized. Actions have consequences.

51

steven t johnson 08.16.18 at 3:38 pm

ph@39 works strenuously at making the OP’s case that Trump won the majority of the loathesome mob by pandering to their racism. (And, again, Trump didn’t even get a plurality of the vote, and again, the Electoral College benefits from the reactionary’s selective blindness.)

In this vain effort, ph invents something called “the Dem donor class,” ignoring the massive surge of money and free publicity from the wealthy. Crony capitalism isn’t ph’s personal invention, but that doesn’t make it a thing either. It’s the equivalent of “deep state,” a diversionary tactic to pretend the thing isn’t bad, it’s just the odd way bad people happen to be in a position to misuse it. Rivalry among the rich is not even reformism, much less anticapitalism. The wealthy donate to both parties, even if they favor one over the other. And by the way, donations from the usual suspects surged mightily in the late stages, as I understand it. Campaign finance is much like the parents having sex, they try to be very discreet so the children don’t catch on.

Nepotism is not particularly objectionable to the establishment, even when you use such a conveniently nebulous term. Inheritance of property is also nepotism, or it would be called such, were it not too candid for the tastes of the owners, and ph. Nephewism is always objected to when people realize its not their nephew. But again, this is not opposition to the principle of nepotism. Thieves fighting over the swag is not opposition to bank robbery either.

The proposition that the opposition to Clinton was the 50+ year old voters who remembered the 60 Minutes interview is unexpected. The proposition that they weren’t affected by endless reams of Whitewater corruption that lost the Clintons money, or by allegations that she murdered Vince Foster, or that she ran coke through Mena airport, or, or, or, or is not. ph’s story is much more self-flattering.

Again, the free publicity given to Trump this round was the owning class shifting to the right. The producers and the money men are the first audience. If they didn’t approve it, they would have pressured the media. ph knows that Trump’s birtherism made him a pariah earlier. ph somehow thinks Trump couldn’t do an end run around the unwilling establishmentarians in the media then but, somehow, without the establishment changing, Trump could somehow manipulate the mediacrats this time.

I say that’s nonsense, that it’s the audience of advertising purchasers who’re steaming hard to starboard, and what was unacceptable then was something they wanted to sell, hard, with billions in free publicity. And, again, if fireworks were all that’s necessary, Sanders could have been puffed up to make a horse race. Instead, Sanders was minimized at the expense of those supposed big bucks the media couldn’t pass up.

As for ph”s belief that anti-gay feelings have disappeared since gay marriage, I think that’s the equivalent of the proposition that racism has disappeared since Obama was elected. That is, a proposition intended to define away a problem, so that it need not be addressed. Can’t prove it, because, queerbashing like racism is something you share with your friends.

Last, ph pretends that normalizing Trump is the road to sanity. Trump is currently unilaterally launching economic wars. The notion that this is not ever going to lead to problems presumes Trump really is a stable genius. For my part, I’m not at all sure that Trump won’t have his own version of an October surprise. Rally the people behind a short, victorious war? My assessment of the situation is that one of the biggest obstacles to Trump is the reluctance of the generals to guarantee victory, after the man has explicitly said he’d fire losers.

52

anonymousse 08.16.18 at 6:02 pm

“Turning the argument around, the CIS estimates suggest that immigration is hugely beneficial to corporations operating in the US. That implies that a combination of expanded immigration and higher corporate tax rates, along with higher minimum wages, would leave corporations better off,”

Then why aren’t they doing it voluntarily? There is already a great deal of ‘expanded immigration’ in the form of illegal immigration. Corporations could simulate ‘higher corporate tax rates’ by, say, donating to charity the difference between the current tax rate and the ideal tax rate. And Corporations could voluntarily raise the minimum wage.

In other words, Corporations have the means to independently create the better world that you have identified. Why don’t they? Voluntary self-destruction?

anon

53

anonymousse 08.16.18 at 6:12 pm

– an excellent – idea especially for all Americans who can’t afford to live in our ”homeland” anymore –

We can see if your argument holds water in the real world.

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/immigrant-and-emigrant-populations-country-origin-and-destination?width=1000&height=850&iframe=true

Shows immigrants to and from countries. Let’s check your four examples:
Portugal:
Portuguese in USA: 196,000
USA in Portugal: 7,000
United Kingdom:
UK in USA: 768,000
USA in UK: 190,000
Czech Republic:
Czechs in USA: 75,000
USA in Czech Republic: 4,000
Croatia: 2,000
Croats in USA: 44,000
USA in Croatia:

I think your theory needs a bit of, er, ‘refinement.’

anon

54

anonymousse 08.16.18 at 6:15 pm

“You’ve ignored the benefits to the migrants themselves, and to family members in their home countries who benefit from remittances. “

No, I didn’t: you did. I am responding to your argument, in your post, above. Do you recall what you wrote?

“As would be expected, the CIS calculation disregards benefits to non-native born workers and their families, whether they are naturalized US citizens, legal residents or undocumented.”

I didn’t make the argument: I’m simply expanding your argument to its next logical step.

55

J-D 08.17.18 at 1:54 am

steven t johnson

The wealthy donate to both parties, even if they favor one over the other.

If the wealthy favour one party over the other, which one, and (more importantly) why?

56

ph 08.17.18 at 3:51 am

@51 “ph@39 works strenuously at making the OP’s case that Trump won the majority of the loathesome mob by pandering to their racism.”

Actually, I’m not. I very strongly disagree with JQ’s characterization of non-monetary economic factors such as ‘dignity’ and ‘respect for family, community, culture’ as ‘racism.’

I also disagree very strongly with your monolithic view of the right and their ‘support’ for Trump. The search terms: ‘Club of Rome Kochs anti-Trump’ yield a crop of articles confirming that the pro-globalization, no-borders, low-wage migration right invested heavily in opposing Trump’s candidacy, and continues to spend money opposing his policies. Republican voters came home to vote for the Republican candidate in 2016. Why anyone believed they wouldn’t speaks again to the blind spots mentioned above.

Your assertion that I claim ‘anti-gay’ feelings have disappeared borders on mendacity. I make no such claim, nor would I. What I said was animus against Hillary, based on my readings of fellow Trump supporters, had nothing today with her being a lesbian. The modern right is generally relatively tolerant. Recall that both Hillary and Obama opposed gay marriage until fairly recently. There’s a sizeable literature already on the anti-Hillary anti-Trump voter who voted for Trump. She continues to work hard to demonstrate that she’s neither honest, nor competent. That’s not all the result of right-wing propaganda.

Hillary and Obama rigged the Democratic primary. That’s a matter of public record. The DNC chair DWS was forced to resign at the podium during the ‘perfect’ DNC convention for just that. But that’s largely a sideshow at this stage.

JQ’s analysis of the economic impact of Trump’s policies is largely sound in my view. The absence of real policies for change from Democrats has them grasping at straws, such as the DSA. Trump has produced economic policies that work for the majority of Americans – that’s a bitter pill for many to swallow.

I don’t recall any implicit/explicit promise from Trump that wealth was intended flow from the rich to the poor, simply that if businesses faced fewer regulatory challenges, had better people working for business in government, and lower taxes, the knock-on benefits would improve the lot of the majority. There seems to be evidence to support that case. I don’t dispute for a second that the principal benefits go to the wealthy. Twas ever thus.

I’m Canadian. I don’t see Trump being any nuttier than other US president. I don’t believe any of them are evil, or motivated by a desire to do harm. Obama did his best, just as Hillary did, and would have done her best. It’s a results business, and the results of the Obama economy did not produce the promised benefits to significant subsections of his own coalition such that nearly 200 of the 700 counties Obama won twice went to Trump in 2016.

That’s normal. Trump is normal. Democrats can only beat Trump by coming up with better policies, better arguments and better candidates. That’s also normal. To date, we’re not seeing much beyond hysteria and hyperbole. Three guesses how that turns out.

Also normal.

57

nastywoman 08.17.18 at 5:52 am

@53
”We can see if your argument holds water in the real world”.

It really does – as an American Family from California really can reduce the family’s budget by around 50 precent by moving from Asheville to Porto –
and by moving from California to Croatia – there is a problem if you are into surfing –
but otherwise – you will get a fantastique shelter for about 40 percent less – and the costs for wining and dinging goes down at least 30 percent –
and so – the question if it is an ”excellent idea” or not – has not that much to do with past number of migration and more with a real world where even Americans now have to realize that Denmark – indeed (or a lot of other European ”Social-democratic” States indeed – offer a much better idea of a Happy Life than our ”homeland”.

And so your ”sad” point – that there are still so many people who do this Migration-thing the other (silly) way around – might be is changing faster and faster – with every day another American realizing – that she or he actually can’t afford to live in her or his ”homeland” anymore?

58

floopmeister 08.17.18 at 5:52 am

In Australia, the minimum wage is $13.16 USD. In the US, the minimum wage is $7.25, even though per capita GDP in the US is higher than in Australia. Even in California, the state with the highest minimum wage, it reaches only to $11, $2 less than Australia.

All good so far, then…

It looks like Australia’s restrictive immigration policies are benefiting the low-wage workers in Australia.

Repeat after me: ‘Correlation is not Causality’… ‘Correlation is not Causality’… ‘Correlation is not Causality’…

59

nastywoman 08.17.18 at 6:33 am

– and about some data-games for @53 –

there is this estimate that about 500 000 Americans live in Germany and about 500 000 Germans live in America – that doesn’t say much about who had the better idea –
but as the numbers of Americans who immigrate to Germany are rising ”bigly” –
(and the numbers of Americans who even want to become ”Germans” are nearly doubling) – there is reason to believe that YOUR idea – of doing this Migration-Thing the other way around -(OUT of TEH homeland)
indeed –
might be thought of as – ”an excellent idea”?

60

J-D 08.17.18 at 7:03 am

anonymousse

“Turning the argument around, the CIS estimates suggest that immigration is hugely beneficial to corporations operating in the US. That implies that a combination of expanded immigration and higher corporate tax rates, along with higher minimum wages, would leave corporations better off,”

Then why aren’t they doing it voluntarily? There is already a great deal of ‘expanded immigration’ in the form of illegal immigration. Corporations could simulate ‘higher corporate tax rates’ by, say, donating to charity the difference between the current tax rate and the ideal tax rate. And Corporations could voluntarily raise the minimum wage.

In other words, Corporations have the means to independently create the better world that you have identified. Why don’t they? Voluntary self-destruction?

I’m not sure whether you think you have some basis for excluding the possibility that corporations are choosing to behave in a way which leads to their own destruction. People sometimes choose to behave in a way which leads to their own destruction, so I can’t think of any reason why corporations might not do so as well.

However, in this case the possibility John Quiggin was exploring was that the benefit corporations obtain from immigration is so great that they would still come out ahead even if they also had to bear the burdens of higher tax rates and a higher minimum wage.

So, the answer to the question ‘Why don’t corporations encourage immigration?’ is ‘They do encourage immigration’; the answer to the question ‘Why don’t corporations share out the benefits of immigration more widely by contributing more in wages and taxes?’ is ‘They don’t want to share the benefits more widely and won’t unless they’re compelled’.

“You’ve ignored the benefits to the migrants themselves, and to family members in their home countries who benefit from remittances. “

No, I didn’t: you did. I am responding to your argument, in your post, above. Do you recall what you wrote?

“As would be expected, the CIS calculation disregards benefits to non-native born workers and their families, whether they are naturalized US citizens, legal residents or undocumented.”

I didn’t make the argument: I’m simply expanding your argument to its next logical step.

I hope you don’t think that ‘CIS’ stands for ‘John Quiggin’. John Quiggin observed the CIS tactic of ignoring benefits to migrants and their families, he didn’t endorse it. Consistently, he objected to it when the CIS did it and he objected to it when you did it.

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steven t johnson 08.17.18 at 3:49 pm

Orange Watch@49 unites with ph by the simple expedient of changing “the establishment candidate” to “an establishment candidate.” The claim about Clinton being “the” establishment candidate is always about supporting the insurgent Trump. To be sure, of course Clinton was an establishment candidate. But then, so far as imperialism is concerned, so was Sanders. But Clinton was not “the” establishment candidate. That idea is grotesquely wrong, symptomatic of derangement, to be charitable.

The notion that the DNC was in the position it was in vis-a-vis Clinton is also deranged. It was Obama who reduced the supposed party leadership to that state. It was what he wanted, not what Clinton made.

After reading this, it isn’t surprising Orange Watch seems to put stock in the importance of keeping the security services as they are. Empires need them. The existence of people like Brennan who try to McCarthy-ize Trump, to paint him as a traitor, just reminds us that trying to criticize Trump from the right is taking a position on the right. Just like it was when the security services hung Clinton out to dry on email servers and Clinton Foundation and most of all Benghazi, when she lied to cover their sorry asses.

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BJ dubbS 08.17.18 at 5:35 pm

Faustus, you are aware that Australia is highly restrictive of low-skill immigration, right? I wouldn’t be able to migrate to Australia because I don’t have the skills. So while immigration to Australia might affect high-income wages, it doesn’t tend to affect wages at the bottom. In fact Australia hates low-skill immigrants so much that it forced Donald Trump to take some of its human rejects on the island of Nauru. So I guess that means Trump must love immigrants more than Australia does.

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anonymousse 08.17.18 at 5:57 pm

“I hope you don’t think that ‘CIS’ stands for ‘John Quiggin’.”

Certainly not. But your whole post is, essentially, ‘CIS argument proves that immigration is good for recipient country.’ You may value the economic benefit to immigrants themselves, but the CIS argument (and your support of that argument) didn’t depend on the economic benefit to immigrants-because, as you mentioned, they didn’t even quantify it.

Ergo, it seems logical that immigration would benefit countries other than the United States (and, as I mentioned, would be detrimental to countries yielding emigrants). Unless you believe that the third world (Mexico in my example) exists to benefit the United States, you should also be arguing that the third world (Mexico) would, and should, enjoy the benefits of immigration.

Am I wrong? Do you believe that immigration is beneficial to recipient countries, thus the third world should devote itself to making the USA richer?*

anon

*note I’m being slightly flippant-but even if you don’t accept my argument, there is an undeniable element to this. When skilled labor comes to the US, it deprives its host country the benefits of that labor. The most obvious example? Doctors from India. Every doctor that leaves India to work in the US is one less doctor in India (typically educated in India, then perhaps performing residency in the US). You think this is a good thing?

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John Quiggin 08.18.18 at 1:16 am

@anonymousse If you are arguing in good faith, you are deeply confused. I haven’t got the time to straighten you out. Nothing more from you please on this thread.

@bjdubbs It’s amusing that, having started by complaining about Australians commenting on US matters (on which we are, perforce, well-informed since what happens in the US directly affects us) you are demonstrating your complete ignorance of Australia. Unlike anonymousse, I have no doubt about your bad faith, and no interest in setting you straight. Nothing more from you please – this applies to all posts by me.

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Orange Watch 08.18.18 at 1:43 am

stj@61:

The notion that the DNC was in the position it was in vis-a-vis Clinton is also deranged. It was Obama who reduced the supposed party leadership to that state. It was what he wanted, not what Clinton made.

Obama may have wrecked the DNC, but he didn’t install the quisling DWS or impose external control on the DNC in exchange for cash. Nor did he decide the DNC should siphon away state party funds into Clintonian coffers. Obama broke it, but buying it was all the handiwork of “Madame Secretary”.

After reading this, it isn’t surprising Orange Watch seems to put stock in the importance of keeping the security services as they are.

Citation please. If you insist on making things up from whole cloth, someone might think you’re… what’s that term you throw around so very freely? Deranged?

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Orange Watch 08.18.18 at 12:13 pm

(Since “Citation please” is perhaps too cryptic, let me state for the record that I personally want to see the CIA disbanded, large swathes of its former employees given the exciting opportunity to defend themselves from criminal charges in (open) court, and Langley plowed under with the ground salted. I’m on the fence about whether the NSA merits the same, but as a start I want its damned charter declassified and published. I suspect that on seeing that I’ll probably happily advocate for it getting identical treatment, though.)

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steven t johnson 08.18.18 at 2:28 pm

Losing track, missed J-D@55 “If the wealthy favour one party over the other, which one, and (more importantly) why?” The Ins of course, because the Outs are less able to deliver services. Losers in the bidding wars for the Ins may temporarily favor outs. Most local constituencies are effectively one party, and that is the party the wealthy tend to favor.

Nationally one party tends to dominate, with the leading Ins carrying out the minimal joint program of action for the ruling class (including distasteful compromises with the evil racist scum who hate refinement and education and enlightenment so much.) Even that party never gets all the wealthy because there’s never enough money to make them all happy, so there are always some who think they might get something from the Outs.

I suspect J-D has silly ideas about yeah, there are real class differences, political principle differences blah blah blah, and thinks this is a gotcha question. Like a creationist looking for gotcha questions about evolution.

ph@56 tells us of course his friends aren’t racist and homophobic. Well, all you have to do to believe that is to take your friends words for it. He’s obviously got me there. He also tells us John Quiggin showed us Trump’s economics is working to help the common man. JQ can speak for himself. The The opposition to Trump’s policies hasn’t ph sees is very limited. The supposed opposition has conceded that Trump somehow has the executive authority to launch trade wars on him whim. Anybody seriously opposed to trade wars interfering with global trade will go there. Didn’t tariffs used to be set by legislation? Even Jefferson got an Embargo Act passed by Congress.

Orange Watch@65 seems to think Obama putting the DNC up for sale has nothing to do with Clinton buying it. I say a sitting president could have auctioned it, or sold it in parts, if he wanted. Again, this kind of nonsense is very much like people whitewashing Obama by pretending the Secretary of State ran foreign policy when Clinton held the office. The last Secretary of State who might be justly claimed to run foreign policy was John Foster Dulles, whatever Kissinger would like to believe.

Orange Watch@66 claims to be very anti-CIA, and wonders how I could possibly have gotten the impression there was no great interest in the CIA being brought to heel. I guess I have to apologize for the sin of reading in context. The existence of another thread on the CIA on the current home page of CT no doubt is entirely irrelevant. Trump taking Brennan’s security clearance, implicitly threatening any serving member with security violations if they communicate with Brennan, seems to me a way of trying to limit his speech. And the idea that courts can get involved in security issues instead of blindly accepting “national security” at every turn seems like a tiny step forward. Given OW’s intense feelings I await the post in that thread.

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J-D 08.19.18 at 12:18 am

steven t johnson

“If the wealthy favour one party over the other, which one, and (more importantly) why?” The Ins of course …

I don’t understand what you mean by ‘the Ins’, so I still don’t have an answer to my question.

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Orange Watch 08.19.18 at 4:27 am

stj@67

I guess I have to apologize for the sin of reading in context. The existence of another thread on the CIA on the current home page of CT no doubt is entirely irrelevant.
[…]
Given OW’s intense feelings I await the post in that thread.

If this is the level of seriousness you propose to offer, you’re simply trolling and deserve to be treated as such. You’re not “reading in context”, you’re explicitly inserting and replacing context, then waggling your eyebrows suggestively at the amazing connections doing so creates ex nihilo. If that wasn’t bad enough, you’re now also playing the sophist’s gotcha game of “If you care about X, why haven’t you said anything about this example of X over here? You obviously don’t care about X!” If all you’re capable doing is trolling and preening, we’re done here.

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Faustusnotes 08.19.18 at 10:33 am

Fascinating that orange watch calls DSW a quisling when there is an actual quisling in the White house.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.19.18 at 11:58 am

There is no evidence yet that Trump’s economic policies are working better (for the US majority; the super-rich are doing well) than Obama’s. The graph lines for GDP, employment, wages are all on a straight line upward since 2010. (There is a slight hitch downward seen at 2015-16, coincident with a worldwide stock market downtick at that time).

Likewise there is no increase yet in the rate of US manufacturing employment. It’s on the same trend since 2010.

If Trump were helping the economy, these lines would suddenly BEND further upwards at the time-point of his inaugural, or at the time-point of his tax cuts. (If you passed high-school geometry, you would then say that the lines inflected upwards at those points, to have a higher slope, reflecting a greater rate of growth.) They do not: there are no changes of slope upwards in these lines.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/

Since some of the arguments in this thread above are suffused with puerile juvenilities such as, who is the “establishment” candidate, it’s possible that some of you are so young that you haven’t gotten to high-school geometry yet.

If the Trump tax cuts were on course to help growth & business expansion, more jobs, etc., — then we ought to see a suddenly higher slope in the lines on the business investment graphs upon the tax cuts’ arrival, reflecting a higher rate of business investment, thus a higher rate of business expansion. So far we do not see that either. Instead the tax cuts have gone into stock buybacks, inflating the rich and helping to produce the present bubble in equities.

The stock markets are disconnected from the real economy; they are a worldwide gambling casino, not unlike cryptocurrency.

We can add this equities bubble to the per annum federal deficit bubble (re-ballooning to 5% of GDP in a mere year or two, after Obama got it down over his 8 years from Bush’s 10% of GDP to 2% of GDP) and to the corporate debt bubble, building for years and which may pop soon due to the retail apocalypse and to higher interest rates.

So far, Trump’s special economic successes, his inflections upward, are all in debt and in equity-inflation, but without increases in the rates of real growth.

It’s happening at such a huge scale and it’s boggling the minds of the preschoolers, so if things don’t pan out, he ought to be able to blame it on something else, like immigration, or globalization, or China, or the Fed.

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Orange Watch 08.19.18 at 2:53 pm

Gosh, FN, it’s almost like more than a single quisiling can exist in the world at once! Amazing! Equally amazing, that something worse exists somewhere else does not make something bad good! Whataboutery is rhetoric, not logic? Whodathunkit?!?!

Also, re: Trump, the evidence is not in that he’s a quisling. He might instead be an authoritarian fellow traveler, a Putinista useful idiot, or an obscenely corrupt opportunistic oligarch profiteer benefiting from his political mechanations. Most likely he’s a little each from columns A, B, C, and a whole lot from D. But again, the evidence isn’t in so while I assume he’s “all of the above”, I lack your breezy confidence in your perfect knowledge of the world.

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Faustusnotes 08.19.18 at 10:32 pm

Perhaps,orange watch, you don’t know what a quisling is? Is that why you throw the word about just now? Or are you hoping to distract from the growing evidence that all the movements you support are traitors? You’ve called DSW many things before but never a quisling. Interesting that you up the rhetoric just days before the quisling in chiefs quisling aide is convicted of fraud with foreign money. Interesting too that just like Trump you are still fighting two year old battles. DSW and Clinton are gone, but you’re still litigating their flaws even as the man you support burns the world down on Putin’s orders.

Interesting too that you litigate Obama’s international failures but never care about trumps. No word on the reimposition of sanctions on Iran (hmm, but Sanders supported sanctions on Iraq and you’ve never criticized him for that …), the tariffs that are destroying turkeys economy,his support for the blockade of Qatar and the war in Yemen. It is still all Obama’s fault isn’t it, two years after Putin’s demented agent took over.

For how many years do you have to recite RT talking points and Republican rhetoric before you, two become a traitor?

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