Friday, April 30, 2010

Economic Non-sense from Jerry Moran

The other day I heard Rep. Jerry Moran proclaim in a radio ad "you can't spend your way" out of a recession. 

Does Moran think we can "hoard" our way out of the recession?  Does he imagine that we can get out of the recession, if everyone spends less today than they spent yesterday?

What non-sense.  Collectively, as an economy the only way to get out of a recession to spend our way of it.  Keynes called this the paradox of thrift.

A recession is a lack of effective demand.  There has been a precipitous drop in investment spending by corporations.  Due to rising unemployment, the collapse of the housing bubble, and uncertainty, consumers are spending far less. State governments are cutting back drastically.

The only sector of the economy that can pick up the slack is the federal government.  Stimulus spending has kept the economy from entering a free fall and now seems to have sparked a turnaround.

Now, the stimulus was too small because of the opposition of folks like Moran.

There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Center for American Progress on the Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law

A good analysis from the Center for American Progress

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed today what is now the most punitive and sweeping anti-immigrant state law in the nation. This law’s full effects will not be measurable for months to come, but it is already clear that it will be challenged in court because it denies rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. And until the legal issues are settled, the new law will have a detrimental effect on Arizona’s economy, as well as city and state budgets.

The law essentially legalizes racial profiling

  • The law puts communities of color in the crosshairs by requiring state and local government workers to determine if a person is illegally in the United States based on a “reasonable suspicion.”
  • Legal experts maintain that the law will result in racial profiling, as it does not prohibit police officers from relying on race or ethnicity in deciding who to investigate. Of course all Arizonans don’t all look alike. Like America, Arizona is a diverse state with multiple generations of U.S. citizens. Three out of every 10 Arizonans are Hispanic, 1 out of 10 is American Indian, and 13 percent are foreign born.

The law undercuts the Constitution and imbues local police with federal authority

  • Arizona is attempting to grant local police arrest authority for administrative violations of federal immigration law, even though the state police does not even have that authority under federal law.
  • The measure does not require the local police to have a search warrant or even suspect that some illegal action has occurred.
  • The law criminalizes the solicitation of work even though courts have previously ruled that the solicitation of work is protected speech under the First Amendment.

The law will harm the state and local economies

  • The National Employment Law Project pointed out that smaller-scale anti-immigrant ordinances have cost individual localities millions of dollars. The Texas-based Perryman Group calculated that if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arizona, the state would lose $26.4 billion in economic activity, $11.7 billion in gross state product, and approximately 140,324 jobs.
  • The Immigration Policy Center noted that, “with Arizona facing a budget deficit of more than $3 billion,” the new law will “further imperil the state’s economic future.”
  • Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and other local leaders anticipate a drop in new business ventures in the state because of the harsh new law. Phoenix Vice Mayor Michael Nowakowski observed: “We’re the laughing stock of the country because of these crazy laws.”

The law will be expensive and take cops away form community policing

  • The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police firmly opposes the law for fiscal and public safety reasons, noting that fear of government officials will diminish the public’s willingness to cooperate with police in criminal investigations and will “negatively affect the ability of law enforcement agencies across the state to fulfill their many responsibilities in a timely manner.”
  • Local taxpayers will bear the heavy costs of lengthy court litigation.
  • The costs to arrest, detain, process, and transport undocumented immigrants out of Arizona will drain local government treasuries. There were an estimated 460,000 undocumented immigrants in Arizona as of January 2009, making up 4 percent of the state’s population. If the federal government were to handle the entire undocumented population, the cost would be approximately $23,482 per person, based on a recent study by the Center for American Progress.
Arizona and other local and state governments are taking action on immigration because Congress has failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform that restores border security, provides a flexible visa program to meet business and family needs, and deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. This is a federal issue and must be handled by Congress immediately before other states start to follow Arizona’s lead.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A good reason to strike

Scores of Carlsberg A/S workers walked off their jobs Thursday to protest the Danish brewer's new limits on beer drinking at work

Carlsberg spokesman Jens Bekke said 250 warehouse and production workers and truck drivers went on strike Thursday on the second day of a rebellion against the new rules, which state workers can only drink beer in the canteen during the lunch break.

Hat tip: Jonathan Tasani

Monday, April 05, 2010

Dissent's New Blog: Arguing the World

Dissent magazine has started a new blog "Arguing the World."  Contributors so far have included Michael Walzer, Mark Engler, Michael Berebue, and Kevin Mattson.

Take a look.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Criticism does not exclude Muslims from the political process

An important letter to the British Guardian.

April 4th 2010, 4:53 pm

Letter to The Guardian, April 3, 2010:

We are disturbed by the visible rise, in some parts of the country, of anti-Muslim bigotry resulting in sporadic attacks on Muslims and their places of worship. We deplore this and condemn it unreservedly. However, the authors of the letter you published (Islamophobia is a threat to democracy, 25 March) are quite wrong to equate legitimate concerns about the leadership of the East London Mosque and the Islamic Forum of Europe with anti-Muslim bigotry. To do so betrays those who have genuinely suffered discrimination. The East London Mosque has frequently allowed intemperate clerics to speak on its premises, some of whom have promoted values antithetical to those required in a tolerant and progressive society.

They intimidate and bully other Muslims into accepting their contested theology as undisputed truth. Their allies and associates across south Asia have encouraged discrimination against minorities, opposed the reform of family laws and supported laws on blasphemy.

How can it be right for those of us who believe in liberal democracy to leave unchallenged those who would discriminate against religious minorities, women, homosexuals and Muslims with dissenting or heterodox views?

Criticism of incitement to religious hatred has nothing to do with excluding Muslims from the political process, as the supporters of the East London Mosque and Islamic Forum of Europe suggest. There are many impeccably non-sectarian Muslims active in political life, including in parliament, who are capable of opposing both racism and fundamentalism.

The greatest threat to democracy comes from reactionary and sectarian political groupings. We are disturbed by the rise of confessional identity politics in this country. Those who would promote such politics deserve robust scrutiny. To combat them is a moral duty.

Ansar Ahmed Ullah Nirmul Committee, Gita Sahgal Women Against Fundamentalism, Monjulika Jamali Cultural activist in east London, Denis MacShane MP, Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui Trustee, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, Nigel Fountain, Saikat Acharjee Lawyer, Amanda Sebestyen, Tehmina Kazi Director, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, Sandra M Kabir BRAC UK, Tahmima Anam Novelist, Amina Ali Gender equality campaigner in East London, Murad Qureshi London assembly member, Aisha Shaheed Women Living Under Muslim Laws, Dr Ahmed Zaman President, Communist Party of Bangladesh UK Branch, Harunor Rashid President, Soytten Sen School of Performing Arts, Darren Johnson London assembly member, Green party parliamentary candidate, Lewisham Deptford, Keith Angus Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Rayhan Rashid War Crimes Strategy Forum-WCSF, activists’ coalition, Waliur Rahman Workers Party of Bangladesh, Peter Tatchell OutRage, Syed Enamul IslamFormer MEP candidate for London with the NO2EU: Yes to Democracy coalition, Dr Irfan Al Alawi International director, Centre for Islamic Pluralism, Dr Rafikul Hasan Khan President, Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Gosthi UK Branch based in east London, Prof Tom Gallagher Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, Prof Nira Yuval Davis Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, UEL, Cassandra Balchin, Sujit Sen Bangladesh International Foundation, Syed Neaz Ahmad Academic and author, Harunur Rashid JSD, Zoe Fairbairns Novelist, Carolyn Hayman, Brigitte Istim, James Bethell Nothing British about the BNP, Jenny Harris Theatre administrator, founder of the Albany, formerly of National Theatre, Marieme Helie Lucas Secularism is a Women’s Issue, Victor Sebestyen, Syeda Nazneen Sultana Gender equality campaigner in east London, Dr Nowrin Tamanna University of Reading, Pragna Patel Southall Black Sisters