Thursday, August 15, 2019

Mass Immigration is not Necessary for Economic Growth or Funding Social Security Benefits

Mass immigration, a staple of modern left wing politics, is not necessary for future growth or funding of social security benefits. Case in point: Japan, despite shrinking in population by 3.5 million people over the past decade, is still experiencing economic growth albeit at a very low 1.2% rate. Of course, everyone understands that increasing the labor force isn't the only way to raise labor productivity; things like automation and artificial intelligence can do this just as the industrialization of farming at the turn of the 20th century raised crop yields while also shrinking the agricultural labor force. At the turn of the 20th century about 40% of Americans were still employed in agriculture, today it is less than 2% (and could be even less without the farm bill). The same is true of manufacturing, which at it's peak employed more than 1/3 of the American labor force, but now employs less than 9% of the current labor force. Even though employment in both sectors declined steadily labor productivity in both sectors also grew. Much of our aging work force will not need to be replaced by younger workers because their jobs will likely by automated. Perhaps as much as 47% of current jobs, mainly low skill and blue collar but some white collar jobs as well, will be automated in some capacity in the next 25 years. Why import more people to do jobs that won't exist? More importantly why import unskilled labor from countries like Guatemala and El Salvador, people with less than a high school education, when almost all future job growth is in fields that require either a four year college degree or vocational school education?

A separate but equally false claim peddled by the pro-mass immigration left is that we need more immigrants to pay into social security to support our ageing population. This claim rests on the false presumption that social security taxes fund social security benefits. This type of thinking is a remnant of the gold standard era. Taxes do not fund spending at the federal level; they drive aggregate demand (for federal reserve notes) and curb inflation. If the federal government needed taxes to fund spending it would have already become insolvent by now; our entire national debt exceeds both net federal revenue and GDP. The national debt is the private assets of federal reserve banks and foreign countries not something our grand children will pay back in the future to god knows who. Furthermore, the current array of programs for the elderly such as SSI, medicare, and medicaid could be replaced by a basic income guarantee for senior citizens without needing to tax the wages of the working age population or fulfilling a multitude of applications and eligibility requirements.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Income Inequality Linked to Mass Shootings

Sources: Income inequality, household income, and mass shootings in the United States and Socioeconomic factors and mass shootings in the United States

Several regression models of strain theory reveal a positive correlation between income inequality and mass shootings as well as an interaction effect of higher median household income and higher income inequality with higher incidents of mass shootings. Strain theory posits that communities which experience relatively high levels of economic deprivation and a lack of opportunity for social mobility create hostile environments conducive to high rates of violent crime. Several previous studies have found a significant relationship between income inequality, class salience and violent crime without specifically focusing on mass shootings, operationally defined as shootings involving four or more victims and excluding gang and drug related shootings. The particular model in this study found that a one standard deviation increase in income inequality (using the post-tax Gini Coefficient) and a 0.53 increase in household income predicted a 0.46 increase in incidents of mass shootings. Demographic controls such as population density, median population age, and proportion of minority population were also positively associated with incidents of mass shootings.

Using this assessment, we can see that the availability and ease of acquiring firearms is not the sole risk factor for mass shootings, and thus should not be the be all end all of the discussion. In order to properly address the mass shooting epidemic we really need to address widening disparities in social class, economic deprivation, and the policies that create it. Much of income inequality stems from the government's fiscal and land use policies: regressive taxes at state and local level (e.g. sales taxes, property taxes and court fines) and rents outpacing wages, making the poor poorer, due to artificial and natural scarcity in housing stock and a lack of diversity of housing options (due to exclusionary zoning). Combine these state and local policies with low interest rates, which being inverse to stock and bond prices make the rich richer, and you have a recipe for growing income inequality. Of course, remedying the causes of growing income inequality would not completely prevent mass shootings, but it would eliminate environments that foster these incidents.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tennessee slaughterhouse owner charged for employing illegal aliens

Source: NTD News

James Brantley, owner of Grainger County slaughterhouse near Knoxville, Tennessee, was charged with tax evasion, wire fraud, and hiring illegal aliens to work in his meat packing plant, after an ICE raid on April 4, 2018 led to the arrest of 86 workers (97 in total) who had entered the country unlawfully and were employed in the plant without authorization. Brantley was given a lenient sentence of only 18 months in prison and 3 years of probation. The motive for employing illegal aliens was obvious: cheap labor. The plant owner was able to save millions in overhead costs, for the past three decades (since at least 1988) by skirt labor regulations and paying starvation wages under the table to illegal aliens. In fact, Brantely saved $1.3 million alone just by avoiding payroll taxes. This case isn’t an isolated incident either. In 2018 alone, the Homeland Security Investigations department of ICE, which is in charge of work site enforcement of immigration laws, arrested 800 employers and 1500 illegal aliens, a 640% increase from the previous year.

Document fraud, social security fraud and other forms of identity theft are not the only damage caused by illegal immigration. Undermining American workers by paying illegal aliens below minimum wage, under the table, is yet another and perhaps even greater problem. Illegal aliens are less than 5% of the workforce, but constitute 24% of agricultural workers, 24% of maids or house cleaning workers and 15% of construction workers and contractors. No American can comfortably live off of six dollars an hour, as the workers in this slaughterhouse were paid; there is no county in this country in which that would afford a minimal standard of living unless they were accustomed to living like peasants in crowded and sub-par housing barely suitable for human habitation like most Central American migrant workers. The survival of low skilled and blue collar labor cannot be protected without cracking down on employers who knowingly or unknowingly hire illegal aliens Making participation in E-Verify mandatory and giving longer prison sentences and steeper fines to employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens would remove much of the incentive for illegal immigration itself.