Sunday, August 05, 2012

Criminality among illegals

I have found what sound like some better statistics on illegal immigrants than what can be inferred from Obama's broad brush claim that he "only" deports serious criminals. We read:
"The 2011 figures show slightly more undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes were deported last year than in the prior year. ICE reported that 216,698 of the unauthorized immigrants removed in the 2011 fiscal year were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, making up about 55 percent of the total removals"

Even so, if we scale up 216,698 over just 10 years we still have 2 million out of 12 million illegals who are offenders, and that is not at all consonant with claims by Ron Unz and others that offending among illegals is rare.

All statistics in this field have to be regarded as wobbly but deportation statistics would seem most likely to be solidly grounded -- JR


Romney Is Right: Israel’s Economic Success is Due to Culture

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been assailed for saying at a fundraiser in Jerusalem that “culture” plays a large part in Israel’s superior “economic vitality” over the Palestinians, just as it does “between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States.” For this commonsensical statement of the obvious, he has been pilloried, not least by the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Saeb Erekat, who described his remarks as “racist.”

There was, of course, no reference in Governor Romney’s comparison of Israel and the Palestinians to religion or ethnicity, let alone race. He referred to culture, which indeed makes a major difference, in this case and the others he cited. He was right to note that this has produced widely divergent results in economic performance between Israel and the PA.

Israel has a culture of private enterprise, research, innovation and technological development. In contrast, the PA has been bedeviled from its inception with crony capitalism, endemic corruption, distortions of the market and other malpractices which also affect its economy in drastic ways, not least in the loss of foreign investor confidence.

Israeli society is characterized by religious, economic and personal freedom. By contrast, the PA is unsafe for political dissidents as well as religious and sexual minorities. For example, Bethlehem, under PA control since 1995, has seen its traditionally Christian (and entrepreneurial) population dwindle to about 15%. In Hamas-controlled Gaza, there has been an even swifter flight of Christians. And Palestinian gays who wish to live without fear of death or imprisonment often have only one option: refuge in Israel. It makes sense that a society with Israel’s open and broadly liberal culture would be more stable and thus retain and attract foreign investment and better educated, entrepreneurial people.

But above all, Palestinian culture is also afflicted with incitement to hatred and murder, glorification of violence and terror. One has to look only at PA TV programs, radio broadcasts and newspaper articles to see that it is the terrorist, not the entrepreneur, who is honored. The PA doesn’t name streets, schools and sports teams after scientists and inventors. It names them after suicide bombers and jailed terrorists.

In the PA, public squares, a computer center, a summer camp and several events have been named in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, a revered figure in Palestinian society who led the terrorists who carried out the 1978 coastal road terrorist attack on an Israeli bus, murdering 37 people, including a dozen children. There are literally scores of similar, documented examples.

Many will recall that Palestinian enthusiasm for terrorism extends beyond Israel to the U.S., of which those Americans who saw on their TV screens Palestinians celebrating the 9/11 attacks need no reminder.

There is also no merit to Mr. Erekat’s objection that the PA cannot perform well because it is under “occupation.” The facts repudiate this shop-worn, opportunistic charge. Before the PA was established – in other words, when the areas now controlled by the PA were under Israeli control – economic growth was steady and rising among Palestinians. But economic performance tapered off immediately after the PA assumed control in 1994, following the Oslo Accords, and all the attendant problems mentioned earlier came into play.

“Even then, the PA was doing better in the mid-1990s than it was to do after 2000, when it launched a terrorist war against Israel. Naturally, joint projects, Israeli (and much foreign) investment thereupon dried up and the resultant hostilities destroyed or damaged much infrastructure. One can have war, but one can rarely have war and development. The Israeli economy also suffered from this war but, because of the general soundness of Israel’s economic culture, it recovered much more quickly once Palestinian terrorism was brought under control.

So Mr. Erekat’s predictably absurd criticism of Governor Romney’s “racist” statement can be dismissed for what it is: a fit of pique leveled against an outsider for embarrassing the PA by stating the obvious truth, a truth that undermines the metronomically invoked Palestinian alibi of “occupation.” As the philosopher Eric Hoffer once observed, “There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life.”



Putting the LIBOR Scandal in Context

It robbed savers and reduced funds available for private investment

This deception boosted the banks’ profits by lowering their borrowing costs on LIBOR-based contracts. It also presented a false picture of a healthy banking sector to the public, because a higher interbank lending rate is considered a sign of distress.

The arcane nature of this scandal may cause many people to tune it out. But once you get past the technical jargon, the fraud is easy to identify. In “fixing” the LIBOR, the banks were robbing depositors of interest income and defrauding the market as a whole.

The banks were not the only beneficiaries of the fixed LIBOR; debtors and all those with variable-rate loans also benefited by having lower borrowing costs.

At one level, the banks were also cheating themselves. After all, a lower LIBOR resulted in lower interest charges on customer loans. But the banks were willing to take that hit in order to spruce up their balance sheets. A higher rate would have exposed large losses and driven down the value of their assets. Moreover, the fixed LIBOR has helped maintain a regime of low interest rates, which has propped up bond prices during a time of exploding government debt.

So it could be argued that the greatest beneficiaries of the LIBOR scandal are the debt-ridden governments, like Uncle Sam.

Consider that interest rates in both the United States and the United Kingdom are below the rate of inflation. And in both countries, the debt-to-GDP ratio is rising. Yet investors continue to purchase bonds issued by those governments, which are paying less than the rate of inflation. Why?

What is happening here is the bailed-out banks in the United States and the United Kingdom are “bailing out” their benefactors in Washington and London by rigging government bond prices with money provided by the central banks (Federal Reserve and Bank of England) at virtually zero percent. This debt-recycling scheme has the effect of propping up the bond market, which allows these governments to sell their bonds and thus go further into debt.

This collusion between Washington and London was revealed when the public learned soon after the scandal broke that the Federal Reserve had been aware of the LIBOR manipulation and apparently supported it.

Low interest rates keep the game of musical chairs going a little while longer for spendthrift politicians who don’t have the will to impose the large spending cuts necessary to address the huge imbalances their reckless spending has created.

So, what is the effect of this continued borrowing and monetary inflation?

Well, by pushing down interest rates, the Fed and other central banks are papering over their respective governments’ debts. This policy of financial repression punishes savers and encourages more debt and consumption. The deluded Keynesians in charge of fiscal and monetary policy hope more debt-financed consumption will ignite a recovery.

But by piling on more debt, governments are hindering economic recovery; their increased spending is siphoning off scarce capital from the productive (private) sectors of the economy. More debt also means more inflation and higher taxes in the future. This is hardly a pro-growth agenda. Indeed, it’s an agenda of plunder.

The nation, indeed, the entire Western world, has been living beyond its means for decades, and the debt levels are no longer sustainable. The federal government is $16 trillion in the red and borrowing more than a trillion dollars a year. This cannot go on forever.

The ugly truth is that consumption needs to drop significantly, and people need to save more. This means consumers need to buy less — much less — and governments need to slash their budgets. Such austerity is anathema to Keynesians, who believe in the “paradox of thrift” and the idea that spending is the key to recovery.

But it is not as if we have a choice in the matter. Austerity will come one way or another. When you borrow and spend too much, eventually you have to spend less, work more, and pay your bills — or default, and then someone else has to pay your bills. Either way, there is a reckoning. This is the recession, and contrary to popular belief, it is a time when the economy actually begins to recover. It’s not a pleasant experience, but you reap what you sow.


All debts will eventually be wiped out either by default or hyperinflation. Either way, savers will end up with nothing, leading to widespread poverty, particularly among the elderly -- JR


The elderly will be the principal victims of Obamacare

Many will end up with only what little care they can get from hospital emergency rooms

Last week, a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report updated the amount of money Obamacare robs out of Medicare from $500 billion to a whopping $716 billion between 2013 and 2022. According to the CBO, the payment cuts in Medicare include:

A $260 billion payment cut for hospital services.
A $39 billion payment cut for skilled nursing services.
A $17 billion payment cut for hospice services.
A $66 billion payment cut for home health services.
A $33 billion payment cut for all other services.
A $156 billion cut in payment rates in Medicare Advantage (MA);

$156 billion is before considering interactions with other provisions. The House Ways and Means Committee was able to include interactions with other provisions, estimating the cuts to MA to be even higher, coming in at $308 billion.

$56 billion in cuts for disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments.* DSH payments go to hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients.

$114 billion in other provisions pertaining to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP* (does not include coverage-related provisions).

*Subtract $25 billion total between DSH payments and other provisions for spending that was cut from Medicaid and CHIP.

In total, Obamacare raids Medicare by $716 billion from 2013 to 2022. Despite Medicare facing a 75-year unfunded obligation of $37 trillion, Obamacare uses the savings from the cuts to pay for other provisions in Obamacare, not to help shore up Medicare’s finances.

The impact of these cuts will be detrimental to seniors’ access to care. The Medicare trustees 2012 report concludes that these lower Medicare payment rates will cause an estimated 15 percent of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies to operate at a loss by 2019, 25 percent to operate at a loss in 2030, and 40 percent by 2050. Operating at a loss means these facilities are likely to cut back their services to Medicare patients or close their doors, making it more difficult for seniors to access these services.

In addition, as MA deteriorates under Obamacare’s cuts, many of those who are enrolled in MA (27 percent of total Medicare beneficiaries) will lose their current health coverage and be forced back into traditional Medicare, where Medicare providers will be subject to further cuts. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief actuary predicted in 2010 that enrollment in MA would decrease 50 percent by 2017, when Obamacare’s cuts were estimated at only $145 billion. Now that the cuts have been increased to $156 billion (or possibly $308 billion, as the Ways and Means Committee estimates), MA enrollment will surely decrease even further.

But Obamacare’s raid of Medicare doesn’t stop with cuts; it includes a redirection of tax revenue from the Medicare payroll tax hike in Obamacare. The payroll tax funds Medicare Part A, the trust fund that is projected to become insolvent as soon as 2024. Obamacare increases the tax from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent, which is projected to cost taxpayers $318 billion from 2013 to 2022.

However, for the very first time, Obamacare does not use the tax revenue from the increased Medicare payroll tax to pay for Medicare; the money is used to fund other parts of Obamacare, much like the $716 billion in cuts are.

With a raid on Medicare of this magnitude, President Obama’s assertion that his new law is protecting seniors and Medicare is astonishing. The truth is that Obamacare does the opposite.



Politics Channels Hatred

Arnold Kling is inclined to a libertarian dislike of both sides of politics but I think what he says below applies particularly to the "class war" Left with their hatred of "The Rich"

In Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman wrote: "What the market does is to reduce greatly the range of issues that must be decided through political means"

Those who prefer government to markets will argue that markets embody greed. Thus, markets channel a base emotion. Still, one can say that it is more constructive to channel greed through markets than through thievery.

What I want to suggest is that government embodies an even more base emotion: hatred. Politics channels the base emotion of hatred. A lot of political actions derive from hatred of the other. Still, one can say that it is more constructive to channel hatred through political action than through war.

Between now and the election this November, you might think about viewing politics as an exercise in the expression of hatred. Think of this when you read Krulong or listen to Limbannity. Watch the extent to which the Republican and Democratic conventions turn into hatefests.

I do not think that you can say that the only thing that motivates people in politics is hatred. For that matter, one cannot say that the only thing that motivates people in markets is greed. But I do think that ignoring the role that hatred plays in politics is as unwise as ignoring the role that greed plays in markets.

Like Milton Friedman, I prefer to keep the scope of politics limited.



My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


No comments: