Monday, July 28, 2014

Ted Rall Sells Out

The cartoonist and editorialist Ted Rall has long been one of the better non-corporate cartoonists and political commentators.  A little while back he wrote a column entitled “Immigration Reform is Treason”, where he courageously fought against the cheap-labor lobby to argue the old-fashioned liberal/progressive view that an excessively high rate of immigration has one purpose only, and that is to drive wages for the many down so that profits for the few can increase.

However, as of July 28, 2014, Ted Rall has officially sold out.  I don’t suppose I can blame him, after all, money is tight and with all these third-world refugees flooding in it’s hard to get a job.  I don’t know how he sold out.  Maybe he just caved in to peer pressure and rationalized it all away.  Maybe he was threatened with being blacklisted at his few remaining paying sites.  Maybe he was actually offered a bribe.  I don’t know, and don’t really care.

The following are, in my humble and extremely personal opinion, the major lies in his most recent piece, and my responses.

Lie #1. We don’t need to worry about letting in all those immigrant ‘kids’ because it would only increase our population density from 84 people/square mile to 84.02 people per square mile.

Reality: we are not talking about a few thousand unaccompanied ‘kids’.  We are mostly talking about adults, and accompanied minors.  Many of the ‘minors’ are certainly lying about their ages, and calling a 17-year old MS13 drug gang member a ‘kid’ seems deceptive.  The meme of the lost innocent child is propaganda.

We are talking about a massive ongoing increase that will swamp the country.  One of the chief deceptions that the advocates of massive immigration use is that we don’t need to worry about it because the numbers are so small and it will stop soon anyhow.

In 1965 Senator Ted Kennedy promised that unleashing third-world chain migration would only increase the total population of the United States by a net of about 4,000.  We are past 80 million people and still climbing. 

Recall how just a little while ago we kept hearing that we didn’t need to worry about illegal immigration because it was going to stop soon?  Yeah, that worked out.  Hear any apologies from the people who made these claims?  Didn’t think so.  That’s because they never meant a word of it.

The current lack of enforcement at the southern border is part of a larger picture.  We are talking about hundreds of thousands of illegals just walking over the border no questions asked and being given permanent resident status this year, and next year likely millions, and more after that.  This is in addition to record legal immigration, illegal immigration by Mexicans who cross legally and then just stay, record ‘refugee’ programs, record H1B and other ‘guest’ visa programs, etc.  And all of these third-world refugees have dozens of starving relatives back home who will come here as soon as the vanguard gets established.  And they will all have kids that must be counted in the total as well (look up ‘demographic momentum’ on wikpedia).

No Mr. Rall, we are not talking about trivial numbers.  We are talking about setting in motion a population explosion that will push the population explosion past a billion well before the century is out.

Lie #2. Countries like the UK and Switzerland have high population densities, and they are OK, so we don’t have to worry about adding more people.

First, be careful what examples you pick, Mr. Rall.  Recent third-world immigration has boosted the UKs population density to the highest in Western Europe, and has resulted in great downwards pressure on UK living standards.  For example, old people die in increasing numbers in the UK winters because they can’t afford to heat their homes.  Past a certain point more people = lower wages + higher resource costs.   Outside of the posh districts in London, much of the UK is becoming poorer and poorer.  Hardly a poster child for jamming in more people not being an issue.

Update: if Britain were to join the United States, then based on the physical standard of living (how much you can actually buy on an average wage) it would be the poorest state in the union.

The bottom line: with ever more third-world refugees being jammed into a small island, now malnutrition and chronic hunger are stalking the UK. And the trend is not up.  So much for high population densities being a non-issue.   Mr. Rall, you are a corrupt bastard.  No offense, just stating the obvious.

But the main objection here is that Mr. Rall confuses the population density with the rate of increase.  Economists from Malthus to Mills to Keynes and beyond have known that is it primarily the RATE of increase, not the population density.  Western Europe is still not that bad (for now – jam in another few hundred million refugees and that won’t last), but it took centuries for them to adapt and to build up the systems to handle it.  But try and take the United States to that population density in 20 – 30 years?  We don’t have the money to make the needed capital investments even if our elites were willing to make these investments (and they aren't).

Look at Japan.  Before WWII, Japan industrialized faster than any nation in history – but with a high fertility rate, it wasn’t fast enough to keep up, and by the eve of WWII Japan was on the brink of starvation and collapse.  After WWII the fertility rate fell, and THEN the Japanese slowly accumulated wealth and became reasonably prosperous.  The population density of Japan today is higher than it was a century ago – but so what?  The rate of population growth is very much lower, which has allowed even modest economic growth to add up to something decent.

Here’s another example: imagine you live in a modest house.  I force you to accept 30 random strangers to live with you and share all that you have, and I say that this cannot possibly hurt your living standards because luxury high-rise condominiums exist.  So what?  Yes, luxury high rise condominiums exist, but adding 30 random strangers to your house won’t automatically turn it into one.  That would be a hard and slow process, and require adequate resources and tools (whose presence is not guaranteed by all these new people: quite the opposite, as increasing the demands of feeding people today reduces resources that can be invested into new housing etc).  And if by the time you have increased the dwelling space to accommodate an extra 30 bodies, I have added 100 more?  You can’t keep up.  It doesn’t work.  For societies without an open frontier, it has never worked.

There is another point that needs to be made clear: while classically it is the rate of population growth, the population density does matter, especially for larger countries.  A single Switzerland or Singapore can trade for resources, because the absolute number of people is small.  A United State with the population density of the UK would have billions of people – who would we trade with for resources?

In the United States, the population density of New York City is high, but that’s mostly OK because most of the country is like Kansas.  Does that mean that we can fill the entire country up with a uniform population density of New York City?  I don’t think so.

As the global population increases, it’s going to be increasingly hard for countries to trade finished goods for food, because there will be more and more people producing finished goods and less and less food to trade for.  Eliminating our resource abundance to jam in ever more people is indeed treason, especially now

Lie #3. We don’t have to worry about immigration because in the past immigration has resulted in economic expansions.

So bloody what?  The track record that most people care about is this: in the past, times of high immigration have resulted in poverty for the many and riches for the few, and vice versa.  ‘Economic booms’ be damned. 

In the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s, the United States had very low levels of legal immigration, and because the law was enforced illegal immigration was effectively zero. Wages and living standards soared.  Starting around 1970 the borders to the overpopulated third-world have been progressively opened, and wages have first stagnated and are now declining.  Duh.

If Switzerland were turned into India, this would indeed increase the size of its economy, and make the rich boatloads of cash, but the average Swiss would have a standard of living lower than dark-ages Europeans.  So bloody what?  You telling me that would be a good thing?  (Well, the sociopathic CEO of Facebook seems to think so).

Lie #4. We don’t have to worry about immigration because the United States has lots of empty space.

Third-world countries don’t run out of empty space.  They run out of capital and resources.  For example, a lot of California is empty mountains.  But the rain that falls on those mountains is critical.  California is currently having a major water shortage, even though rainfall has been within historical norms, because of massive recent immigration-induced population increases.  California is literally running out of ‘empty’ mountains!

Would you say that, because so much of California is ‘empty’, the population of that state could therefore be increased to a billion and they would not run short of water?  Sure, you could physically fit a billion people into California, that would not be so hard.  You just would not be able to provide them with fresh water, food, timber, electricity, etc.  

Shame on you , Ted Rall.  I expected better.

I think that I will accuse of you being a racist, not because you are, but because turnabout is fair play.

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