Saturday, September 6, 2008

Frum goes 'big picture'

David Frum does the "public intellectual" gig in the New York Times:
As America becomes more unequal, it also becomes less Republican. The trends we have dismissed are ending by devouring us.
Frum is very subtle here, framing his argument in terms of bien-pensant concerns about (everybody sing along!) the growing gap between rich and poor, and the alleged stagnation of middle-class incomes. At the same time, he alludes en passant to the demographic factors that drive these trends:
[Fairfax County, Va. has] new arrivals speaking in 40 different tongues. . . .
. . . the immigration-driven expansion of the bottom. . . .
Prince William is also ground zero for the middle-class revolt against the Bush administration's easy immigration policies. An estimated 10 million migrants have entered the United States since 2000, at least half of them illegally, and few places in the United States have reacted more angrily than Prince William County. Last year, the Prince William Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to require the local police to check the immigration status of all arrested persons.
It's widely understood that abundant low-skilled immigration hurts lower America by reducing wages. As the National Research Council noted in its comprehensive 1997 report: "If the wage of domestic unskilled workers did not fall, no domestic worker (unskilled or skilled) would gain or lose, and there would be no net domestic gain from immigration." In other words, immigration is good for America as a whole only because -- and only to the extent that -- it is bad for the poorest Americans. Conversely, low-skilled immigration enriches upper America, lowering the price of personal services like landscaping and restaurant meals. And by holding down wages, immigration makes the business investments of upper America more profitable.
Those last two paragraphs alone ought to earn Frum favorable mentions from Steve Sailer and Peter Brimelow. The eminently respectable Frum boils down rather neatly for his bien pensant readership the cause of much populist resentment toward the Bush/McCain amnesty policy. Yet one can easily imagine the hypocritical glee of liberal readers who, despite their oft-trumpeted sympathy for the downtrodden, will nonetheless exult over any trend that results in the election of more Democrats.

Of course, Frum himself is part of the influx of Canadians who are driving down wages for hard-working American public intellectuals, so . . . .

South Park - Blame Canada - video powered by Metacafe

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