Like The CNN Moderators, We Are Moving On, In The Interests of Time, To A New Debate Open Thread

And since people have been discussing my lack of a neck, here’s a recent selfie* I took:

I even have my own action figure!*

* This is actually Ted Cassidy, playing Bigfoot in place of Andre the Giant, in the two part episode of The Six Million Dollar Man entitled Bigfoot Returns.

Open Thread!

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Detroit Respite

Hey, at least these two are having fun running in circles!


Alright. That’s Enough Respite

Here’s a slightly wonky way into a pragmatic reason why the moral catastrophe that is Republican immigration crimes is bad for America’s bottom line, and not just its moral standing.

Changing U.S. demographics can decrease the productive capacity of the economy through slowing labor force participation and population growth. Holding labor productivity constant, slowing participation and population growth lower potential gross domestic product (GDP) and the natural rate of interest. The natural rate could also be lower because of increased saving; however, Americans are saving less than they did 30 years ago. Most likely, changing U.S. demographics are reducing the U.S. natural rate of interest by decreasing potential output.

That’s from a research note out of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.  As glossed in the press release from the bank, the authors have found that,

Potential output is the amount of goods and services that an economy can produce when it fully employs its available resources.

If potential output declines, Hong and Shell said, the natural rate of interest declines with it.

“An aging population and slowing population growth limit the supply of available workers in an economy,” Hong and Shell wrote. “Therefore, holding labor productivity constant, a decrease in workers—a higher old-age dependency ratio—reduces the output generated by an economy.”

They continued: “A smaller working-age population means fewer people with a lot of disposable income to consume. These factors decrease an economy’s productive capacity and thereby lower the natural rate.”

So, the thinking goes, Americans are living longer and having fewer children … which means more retirees and fewer workers … which means lower potential output … which means a lower natural rate of interest.

That is: fewer folks being born into the existing US population means lower growth going forward.  That means that a growing gap between what the American economy could produce and what it actually can generate.  Given that the growing fraction of Americans who are older and all or mostly out of the workforce is supported by the economic activity of those younger working cohorts, that means harder times to come for those least able to make bank on their own behalf, people who in a civilized society would be able to enjoy a respite after their prime working days are done.

So what’s the connection to immigration?

Simple:  if domestic babies aren’t going to conceive and birth themselves, then the only way to push America’s labor force that can drive the US output towards its full potential is to welcome younger, ambitious and hard working folks who might want to live and work here.

You know:  immigrants.  The people on whom the Trump-led Republican adminstration is committing crimes against humanity.*

So, yeah, ICE and CBP and the concentration camps of the American Gulag are a moral catastrophe, a lasting shame for every American.

They’re also dumb, dumb, dumb just on the level of dollars and sense.

Top 0′ the Sunday to y’all.  This thread is open for bidness.

*An aside: for various reasons I’ve had to look up population figures for London in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century.  Through just about all of that period, deaths exceeded births in that hugely unhealthy city, and yet the the metropolis grew substantially.  Without digging deep into my files, here’s a quick example.  In the 1670s, about half a million lived in London. Forty years late, that number was up to 630,000.  Where did that additional 25% come from? Mostly from internal migration, the countryside pouring into the big city.  (And by big, I mean unique.  The next largest English city — Norwich! — had a population of about 25,000, if my memory is serving me) and the numbers went down fast from there.   Not sure why I bring all that up, but heck, fun facts are fun.

Image: Philip Zec, Women of Britain Come into the Factories, 1941

Local Elections Open Thread: What of Iowa’s Staunch GOP?

The down-home, folksy variant I remember was “You’ve only got two hands”, but maybe Senator Ernst was thinking of “Four legs good, two legs better”?

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst returned Monday from a trip to the U.S-Mexico border with a message for her constituents: “The humanitarian crisis at our southern border is absolutely real.”…

“I saw firsthand what is going on there, and what I want to get out first and foremost is that our border patrol agents are doing a tremendous job,” said Ernst, describing the men and women as “good-hearted” and “extremely compassionate.”

“They were taking dollars out of their pockets — when Democrats refused to step up and help us fund the items necessary for these areas — to pay for diapers and formula and hygiene items for the men and women that are there,” she added…

Ernst said she was told the migrants were “receiving [medical] care,” but it was obvious the system was “overwhelmed.”

“It’s overwhelmed,” Ernst said, describing her observations as she walked through the facilities. “But I felt completely safe and at ease.

“Even walking in and around the migrants, I felt comfortable,” she said. “Not all of them were in restricted areas. Some of them were sitting, waiting to be processed and some were going through their health screenings — and they all are going through health screenings. They’re being provided medical care.”…

It’s hard for the old-school mom & pop white nationalist heartland populists to compete when the national megachain moves in on their markets. Look at what’s happening to Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King, who thought he had a sinecure for life! Ed Kilgore, in NYMag, “Is Steve King Finally Running Out of Money and Luck?”:

National Republicans would just as soon hand King an anvil and show him the nearest cliff. But he’s not going away quietly and is running for a tenth term in the House in his very conservative fourth district of Iowa. He is not, however, doing very well on the fundraising front, as the Des Moines Register noted after second-quarter reports came in:

King raised a total of almost $92,000 this period and ends the quarter with about $18,000 on hand.

In comparison, [primary opponent Randy] Feenstra raised $140,000 in the second quarter and ended it with almost $340,000 on hand.

Feenstra is a prominent state senator who is generally regarded as King’s toughest opponent among the three who are currently in the race. He is running not so much against King’s racism as against the loss of clout the state and district have suffered thanks to the incumbent’s disgrace, which is probably smart in a district where Donald Trump won 61 percent of the vote in 2016. But then again, even Trump is keeping his distance from King so far…

More likely, Trump’s handlers are doing their best to keep King well away from the Oval Office Occupant.

… In 2018, after a campaign dominated by discussion of his pithy views regarding the Lesser Breeds, King came within three points of losing to an actual Democrat, J.D. Scholten, who outspent the incumbent by nearly a four-to-one margin.

National Democrats would very much like Scholten for an encore in 2020, but he’s instead eyeing a Senate race against Joni Ernst (even as Chuck Schumer tries to clear the field for another candidate, Theresa Greenfield) — probably because the presidential race could make the fourth district a tougher climb than in 2018, and possibly because, if King loses his primary, the general election will be all but unwinnable for a Democrat (barring some third-party run by the incumbent on the White Supremacist ticket)…

More bad news for Pigmuck King: Talibangelical ‘Family Leader’ Bob Vander Plaats has endorsed King’s primary opponent Feenstra, supposedly on the grounds that King has been saying the quiet parts a little too loudly. (“In January, he tweeted that King’s comments were “a bridge too far.””) Since Vander Plaatz is supposed to have an unerring instinct for what will work for his flock, it seems like the remoras may be deserting their shark.

Seriously: A Disgrace Before All the Nations

If you wrote this scene for the cartoon villain in a genre movie, it’d be rejected as ‘too broad’. If your grandfather reacted this way during a serious event, you’d be looking at assisted living facilities with memory-care components. I don’t know if this event was scheduled well in advance, or if the Oval Office Occupation slapped it together to reassure the Talibangelicals that Jeffrey Epstein’s friend Trump still had their backs. But as an American, I’m genuinely ashamed that this is the face we’re showing the world.

When President Trump this week met human rights activist Nadia Murad, an Iraqi who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for speaking out about her agonizing torture and rape while in Islamic State captivity, he seemed unaware of her story and the plight ofher Yazidi ethnic minority.

For several minutes in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Murad stood beside a seated Trump, who mostly avoided eye contact with Murad, and implored the president to help her community return to Iraq. She explained that the Islamic State, or ISIS, may be gone but that Iraqis and Kurds are fighting for control over Yazidi lands…

Murad, who lives in Germany, told Trump that she never wanted to be a refu­gee but that ISIS murdered her mother and six brothers.

“Where are they now?” Trump asked.

“They killed them,” she repeated. “They are in the mass grave in Sinjar, and I’m still fighting just to live in safety.”

“I know the area very well that you’re talking about,” Trump responded.
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