Regulatory Capture v. the Nirvana Fallacy

This is a good piece that uses the BP Oil Spill and the Net Neutrality debate to illustrate what "Regulatory Capture" means.  It's a term I've heard before but this served to clarify it quite a bit.

The [so-called] liberals’ fury at the President is almost as astounding as their outrage over the discovery that oil companies and their regulators might have grown too cozy. In economic literature, this behavior is known as “regulatory capture,” and the current political irony is that this is a long-time conservative critique of the regulatory state….

What the Oil Spill Really Says About Net Neutrality: Regulatory Capture v. the Nirvana Fallacy

Immigration and the American Underclass

I’m hoping that immigration reform happens sooner rather than later.  In the meantime, some positive news about the effects of immigration on the “underclass” was released today by the Cato Institute.

Free Trade Bulletin no. 38: As Immigrants Move In, Americans Move Up | Cato’s Center for Trade Policy Studies

As plausible as the argument sounds, it is not supported by the social and economic trends of the past 15 years. Even though the number of legal and illegal immigrants in the United States has risen strongly since the early 1990s, the size of the economic underclass has not. In fact, by several measures the number of Americans living on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder has been in a long-term decline, even as the number of immigrants continues to climb. Other indicators associated with the underclass, such as the crime rate, have also shown improvement. The inflow of low-skilled immigrants may even be playing a positive role in pushing nativeborn Americans up the skills and income ladder.

Most children of unauthorized immigrants are U.S. citizens

This poses an interesting dilemma for people who want to deport unauthorized immigrants to their home countries. Do you break up the families? What happens when they grow up and they can vote? I know in my family, we don’t forget the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the early-mid 90s that spurred us to become citizens.

Pew Hispanic Center Publication: A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States

In addition, a growing share of the children of unauthorized immigrant parents–73%–were born in this country and are U.S. citizens.

GOP’s got our backs on government waste …

The hypocrisy of the GOP is hilarious and sad at the same time. Hit & Run > Coming Soon: “Billions of Dollars Being Wasted” – Reason Magazine

It’s a nice idea and one that the GOP really should have thought about more seriously when it controlled all branches of the federal government and wasted our money like a boatful of sailors drunk on Old Spice martinis on everything from an elective and poorly prosecuted war in Iraq to useless education programs to a prescription drug benefit for the wealthiest class of Americans and more.

QOTD – Libertarians have too much power

Hit & Run > What Are the “Failed Theories That Helped Lead Us Into This Crisis”? – Reason Magazine

Just remember, its not only the libertarians fault that this whole mess got started through our control of the republican party through Bush, its also our fault that Mr. Hopey McChange got elected and the democrats control the universe. For such an inconsequential segment of society, we sure do wield alot of power to fuck everyone over. Are my dictator sunglasses in the mail yet?

We dodged a (Palin) bullet

If McCain has won, We could have had a VP that made Dan Quayle look like a Rhodes Scholar. I don’t want to be jumping on the “America you did the right thing” bandwagon, since all we did was vote for a president, but I’m soooo relieved Palin is nowhere near the White House. I hope this puts a fork in the Republicans party pandering to Social Conservative extremists, although I seriously doubt it.

Palin Didn’t Know Africa Is A Continent, Says Fox News Reporter (VIDEO)

According to Fox News Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron, there was great concern within the McCain campaign that Palin lacked “a degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, a heartbeat away from the presidency,” in part because she didn’t know which countries were in NAFTA, and she “didn’t understand that Africa was a continent, rather than a series, a country just in itself.”

BTW, yes I’m glad Obama won but as I told Sandy yesterday, “I’m a bit disappointed that Nicholas did not poop gold the following morning.” Expectations for his presidency are either naive or delusional.

Conservatives eating one of their own?

Go read Christopher Buckley’s explanation of his NR resigation – its a fascinating look at how one conservative thinks of the “modern conservative movement.”  The latter now apparently means, think as we tell you to think, and disloyalty must not be tolerated.  A lot of people are realizing that the current Republican leadereship, with its concentration of executive power, expansion of government spending, and theocratic totalitarian tendencies is not what used to be called the “Republican Party” just a few decades ago.

Buckley Bows Out of National Review – The Daily Beast

While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.

Would you vote for a creationist VP?

As if there was any chance left that I’d vote for McCain this fall, this pretty much seals it. BTW, Comedy Central last Thursday had a great movie about candidate McCain. Yeah, I’m a few days behind on that, but life is hectic with a kid. Its actually kind of nice – practically the only time TV is on is for a soccer game.

Wonk Room » Is Sarah Palin A Creationist?

Is McCain’s choice for vice president a creationist? The record offers worrisome evidence that the first woman to make it onto a Republican presidential ticket holds to this backward and wholly unscientific view of reality.

You can watch the Comedy Central clip below:

Stopping Immigrants more important than the Environment, Diplomacy

From The Price Tag for Immigration Enforcement, the crackdown on immigrants is only going to get more expensive next year. The Department of Homeland Security is asking for a 19% increase for “immigratin enforcement and border control for 2009”. Just this year, the budgets for Customs and Border Protection (CBP)and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were 80% larger than the EPA budget and $4 billion more than the State Department. The FY2008 State Department budget was a little over $10 billion. The whole mess is detailed in Paying the Price of the Immigration Crackdown. Wouldn’t it be less expensive to reform the broken immigration system we have now?

The immigration enforcement and border security programs of Homeland Security, Justice, and Defense are only marginally related to enhancing the safety and security of Americans. Our immigration policy today responds to the forces of fear and hate unleashed by the Bush administration with its ill-begotten war on terrorism.