By: Dana Milbank, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, September 23, 2011
About all those new jobs created under Gov. Rick Perry…
The Center for Immigration Studies reports some facts that should sprinkle a little cold water on over-heated claims for the low-wage/high-immigration Texas economic model.
Of jobs created in Texas since 2007, 81 percent were taken by newly arrived immigrant workers (legal and illegal).
Absorb that for a minute.
Native-born Texans have experienced a jobs catastrophe very similar to that of Americans everywhere else in the United States, reports CIS:
The share of working-age natives holding a job in Texas declined significantly, from 71 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2011. This decline is very similar to the decline for natives in the United States as a whole and is an indication that the situation for native-born workers in Texas is very similar to the overall situation in the country despite the state’s job growth.
What we are seeing here is not a pattern of job creation. It is a pattern of job displacement.
The large share of job growth that went to immigrants is surprising because the native-born accounted for 69 percent of the growth in Texas’ working-age population (16 to 65). Thus, even though natives made up most of the growth in potential workers, most of the job growth went to immigrants.
And by the way – it’s not just a matter of jobs “Americans won’t do.” As the decline in native-born employment shows, these are jobs natives used to do as recently as 2007. And the displacement is occurring higher and higher up the pay scale.
Immigrants took jobs across the educational distribution. More than one out three (97,000) of newly arrived immigrants who took a job had at least some college.
In all this, illegal immigration remains a huge factor, despite the often-heard claim that illegal immigration has slowed since the end of the housing bubble.
Of newly arrived immigrants who took jobs in Texas since 2007, we estimate that 50 percent (113,000) were illegal immigrants. Thus, about 40 percent of all the job growth in Texas since 2007 went to newly arrived illegal immigrants and 40 percent went to newly arrived legal immigrants.
A couple of conclusions follow:
1) There was no Texas miracle, from the point of view of the people who constituted the population of Texas back in 2007.
2) Rick Perry’s permissive view of immigration is not (as I’ve pointed out before) some compassionate-conservative exception to his no-soup-for-you economic policy. A permissive immigration is the indispensable prerequisite to the no-soup-for-you economy over which Perry presided.
3) Immigration is not an issue separate from the debate over employment and growth. It’s integral. You could plausibly argue in the 2000s that immigration was ancillary to job growth for Americans – or even that it somehow spurred job growth for Americans. In today’s context however, immigration is increasingly a substitute for job growth for Americans.
4) Mitt Romney finally has his answer the next time Rick Perry attacks him for Massachusetts poor jobs ranking in the early part of the 2000s.
“The numbers show, Governor, that your economic policy was great at creating jobs – for Mexico.”
By: David Frum, The Frum Forum, September 22, 2011
It appeared, at first glance, as if Eric Cantor’s Twitter account had been hacked — by a really nice guy.
In recent days, the extravagantly combative GOP House majority leader has been tweeting a veritable sampler box of bipartisan bonbons.
Sept. 21: “People don’t expect Republicans and Democrats to agree on everything, but they do expect us to overcome our differences and work together.”
Sept. 16: “Good people can have honest disagreements without having their morals or commitment to country being called into question.”
Sept. 13: “We need to work together towards the solutions that will meet the challenges facing our country today.”
Sept. 12: “Let’s try and lower the volume of the rancor in Washington, and focus on what we can do together to grow this economy and create jobs.”
And that is just a taste.
But this was no case of malicious (or, in this instance, magnanimous) hacking. After one of the ugliest summers political Washington has ever seen, Republicans, looking at poll numbers showing voters are even angrier with them than they are with President Obama, have decided to try the Mr. Nice Guy approach, in word and (occasional) deed.
They agreed to pass legislation keeping the Federal Aviation Administration going, abandoning the contentious provisions that led to this summer’s partial shutdown of the agency. They avoided another confrontation by extending highway spending without repealing the federal gas tax, a Tea Party priority. On Thursday, Senate Republicans yielded to President Obama’s demands and passed a worker-assistance bill that clears the way for enacting new trade agreements.
None of this means we’ve entered some new era of harmony in the capital; Republicans remain unswervingly opposed to any new taxes to reduce debt. And GOP leaders can push their rank-and-file only so far.
After conservatives on Wednesday defeated their leaders’ legislation that would keep the government running for the next two months, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) attempted to negotiate with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in hopes of securing Democratic votes for the spending bill. But Boehner lost his nerve and decided instead to appease the recalcitrant conservatives.
Still, the shift in tone shows that Republicans have decided to pick their battles — a sensible response to the revulsion Americans felt watching this summer’s brinkmanship over the debt limit.
The Republicans seem to be heeding the advice of strategists such as Bill McInturff, a GOP pollster who, in a widely read memo earlier this month, warned that the debt standoff hurt consumer confidence much like the Iranian hostage crisis, the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Hurricane Katrina.
“The perception of how Washington handled the debt ceiling negotiation led to an immediate collapse of confidence in government and all the major players, including President Obama and Republicans in Congress,” McInturff wrote. He added that “this sharp a drop in consumer confidence is a direct consequence of the lack of confidence in our political system and its leaders.”
Fearing that voters will probably punish all incumbents — not just Obama — Republicans have softened their style in September, even as Obama has hardened his. “There is a recognition on the Hill that people are frustrated with Washington and want some results,” acknowledged Cantor’s spokesman, Brad Dayspring.
The Republicans’ experiment in conciliation has been aided by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has brought up issues — patents, trade and transportation — that had bipartisan support from the start. But Democrats also claim some vindication in the new approach. As one Democratic leadership aide put it: “They’re picking their shots better so they don’t come across as complete [expletives].”
The question is: How much substance comes with that recalibration? After Obama’s address to Congress on job creation, Boehner replied with the conciliatory message that “it is our desire to work with you to find common ground.”
On the morning after his House conservatives defeated the legislation to keep the government running, Boehner went to the microphones to assure Americans: “Listen, there’s no threat of government shutdown. Let’s just get this out there.”
Privately, Democrats believe that, too. And though Obama’s jobs bill has no chance of passage (even many Democrats object to its tax increases), chances are good that Republicans will agree to extend the payroll tax cut and a tax credit for hiring wounded veterans.
“We want to join with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, to find areas where we agree, to make sure the American economy succeeds,” Cantor announced via Twitter.
Well said. But how much will Republicans practice what they tweet?
The death penalty is a barbaric anachronism, a crude instrument not of justice but of revenge. Most countries banished it long ago. This country should banish it now.
The state of Georgia was wrong to execute convicted murderer Troy Anthony Davis as protesters and journalists kept a ghoulish vigil Wednesday night — just as the state of Texas was wrong, hours earlier, to execute racist killer Lawrence Russell Brewer.
That’s hard for me to write, because if anyone deserved a syringe full of lethal poison it was Brewer. He was an avowed white supremacist who had been convicted, along with two accomplices, of the 1998 hate-crime murder of a black man, James Byrd Jr. They offered Byrd a ride, beat him up and then killed him by chaining his ankles to the back of their pickup and dragging him for more than two miles. When police found Byrd’s body, it was dismembered and decapitated.
“I have no regrets,” Brewer said in an interview with Beaumont, Tex., television station KFDM this year. “I’d do it all over again, to tell you the truth.”
Sweet guy, huh? Still, I can’t applaud his death at the hands of the well-practiced Texas executioners. It’s not that I believe his life had any redeeming value, just that the state was wrong to snuff it out.
The Davis case drew worldwide attention because of questions about the evidence of his guilt. Davis was found guilty of killing a Savannah, Ga., police officer, Mark MacPhail, in 1989. The conviction was based almost entirely on eyewitness testimony, and in the two decades since that trial, seven of nine witnesses have at least partially recanted.
The case became a cause celebre. Luminaries who could never be accused of being soft on crime — such as former FBI Director William Sessions and former GOP Rep. Bob Barr — argued that Davis should not be executed because of doubt about his guilt.
Wednesday night, in his last words, Davis told MacPhail’s family that “I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent.” Then a deadly cocktail of drugs was pumped into his veins.
The Davis case makes a compelling case against the death penalty — but not because it is exceptional. On the contrary, it’s fairly ordinary.
Despite what you see on “CSI,” there isn’t always DNA or other physical evidence to prove guilt with 99.9 percent certainty. Jurors often have to rely on witnesses whose field of vision may have been limited — and whose recall, imperfect to begin with, degrades over time. Even when there’s no “reasonable doubt” about the defendant’s guilt — the standard for conviction — there’s often some measure of doubt.
And there are questions of process. Were witnesses coerced into testifying against Davis? A few say now that they were. Did prosecutors prove their case? The jurors certainly believed they did. Could racial bias have been a factor? Unlikely, given that the jury included seven blacks and five whites. Should Davis’s attorney have done a better job of presenting a defense? Almost surely.
It’s a mixed bag. I can’t ignore the fact that over the years, not one of the many judges who examined the case concluded there had been a true miscarriage of justice. This suggests to me that Davis was probably guilty.
But “probably” isn’t good enough in a capital case — and this is why the death penalty is flawed as a practical matter. Someone who is wrongly imprisoned can always be released, but death — to state the obvious — is irrevocable.
In scores of cases across the country, newly examined DNA evidence has proved that inmates jailed for rape or other sexual crimes were in fact not guilty. It is not just likely but certain that some defendants now on death row are innocent. Even if only one is eventually executed, that will be a tragic and unacceptable abuse of state power.
There was a chilling moment in a recent GOP candidates’ debate when Texas Gov. Rick Perry was asked about having authorized 234 executions, more than any other governor in modern U.S. history. The crowd, drawn largely from Tea Party ranks, cheered this record as if it were a great accomplishment. “I’ve never struggled with that at all,” Perry said, referring to execution as “the ultimate justice.”
But he should struggle with it. We all should.
By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, September 22, 2011