Linkonomics Friday

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

231 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    FE2: Kevin Drum once noted that his grandfathers were plenty smart but didn’t go to college because very few went to college when they were young. This relates to what Jane the Actuary says in this post. There was plenty of snarling about book learning and college educated elites in the past, the book the Second Coming of the KKK makes a point that the Klan 2.0 really pushed this type of rhetoric. However, there was a big group of working class people with intellectual leanings to counter this. The post-World War II expansion in college education made it easier for this group to send their kids to college, diminishing the size of this group.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    The photos in Bu7 look like something out of a Doctor Who episode.

    There is something of a liberal and leftist divide on mom & pops. Many liberals and leftist like them because they seem less corporate and more community oriented, the type of store where you can chat with the owners and employees. Others hate them or at least don’t over like them for the reasons described in the Jacobin article. They also tend not to like the overly personalized service. Medium to high end mom & pops or small chains seem fine but at the low end, you have problems.

    Bu2 maybe turning malls into high schools will have some sort of magical attraction power and kids won’t play hookey because of the residual mall spirit. 😉Report

  3. fillyjonk says:

    FE1: that may explain why I now think of my parents as “frugal” (“Stingy” when I was a kid). Both were raised sort of lower-middle-class (my mom was probably working class). My dad wound up making more money/having more stable employment than his dad (and his dad invested what money he had wisely, so they were comfortably well-off later on), but the ideas of pay-as-you-go, keep the thermostat turned down in winter, and “expensive clothing that does nothing but signal status is a waste” were there with them. (They are still oddly frugal about certain things, despite having – in retirement – approximately 2.5 times the money coming in that I, as a working person, has).

    We never knew WANT – we always had plenty of good, healthful food – but there were a lot of things “other kids” got (regular trips to McDonald’s) that our parents didn’t do.

    I also confess some envy to what my niece is getting: not so much things (though she has a climbing wall IN HER BEDROOM) but experiences: lots of museum trips, regular trips to the zoo….those things were not really possible where I grew up.

    I dunno. On the one hand it was a good thing from the standpoint that it made ME frugal and also less likely to be swayed by status-symbols, on the other hand it made growing up in our wealthy bedroom community where conspicuous consumption was a thing kind of hellish at times.

    I also think of a book I read where a character, talking about a family where the grandparents worked hard to earn and save a lot of money, their kids had an easier life as a result, and then the grandkids wound up as wastrels, said “fear the third generation” – meaning, the kids who grew up not knowing want wouldn’t know the value of a dollar or would feel entitled to nicer things. (Confession: I notice a bit of that in myself, given my book, craft supplies, and makeup habit, and I AM the “third generation,” at least the way my dad’s family went….)

    I will say during the recent round of budget-cutting at my workplace, it was very hard not to feel “deprived” when I realized I had to cut back on buying some of the frivolities I had come to enjoy, and to contemplate stuff like eliminating having home Internet….Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to fillyjonk says:

      We were poor, like hoping the food stamps came in the mail soon because the fridge and pantry were getting thin kind of poor. Sleeping in long PJs, in a sleeping bag, with lots of flannel during the WI winter because the house had no real insulation and we could not afford to burn fuel oil kind of poor. Every car was a “wonder if it’ll start and get us there and back again” kind of poor. Every shoe, coat, and stitch of non-underwear clothing was a hand-me down or sourced from St. Vinny’s kind of poor. We were never homeless, but we did live with friends and family more than a few times.

      The kind of poor where my wife has spent years breaking me of ‘poor’ habits.

      Bug will probably not know that kind of poverty, but he won’t know excess either. We are kind of stingy with toys, preferring Legos/building sets to the latest cartoon branded playset and what not. His bike is used, so are a lot of his clothes, but not all of them. As he gets older, we will make sure he is aware of his good fortune, and that it is a blessing, not an entitlement.Report

    • veronica d in reply to fillyjonk says:

      @fillyjonk — My story is very similar. My parents were raised working-class-ish in a small town in western Ohio, but they raised me in a posh suburb in South Florida. So while we had decent money, culturally they were slow to spend any.

      Which fine, but that meant that all my friends had home computers and I did not (this was in the 1980’s), which in turn meant I could not learn the way they did. They seldom bought me the books I wanted. (I literally stole money from my parents so I could buy a copy of the Feynman Lectures on Physics — which, I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of that.)

      It didn’t help that I was an ADHD trainwreck who didn’t finish high school — just, school is not how someone like me learns stuff. I’m a weird-brain. I learn by playing.

      Anyhow, I got there, eventually, but dammit I had a slow start.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    FE2: I will not be snobby against Reader’s Digest. I will not be snobby against Reader’s Digest. Okay that is a lie.

    I don’t like this article and it seems to be a bunch of reductions without any proof. There are plenty of white-collar, college-educated professionals whose primary recreation habits include a lot of drinking, partying, gambling, etc. They would probably rather get root canal than do some of my primary recreation activities. Likewise, there are probably plenty of people who never go to college whose primary social activities are more artsy/cultured.

    Something else is going on.

    La4: There is truth in the old saw that a “liberal is a conservative whose been arrested.”Report

    • fillyjonk in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      My brother used to work as an actuary, with other college-educated, white-collar, upper-middle-class types, and he kind of despaired that their main interest was going out at the end of the week and getting blotto, and he once noted that “if you get a bonus, it’s kind of expected you spend it on a better set of golf clubs or racquetball gear to impress your higher-ups.”

      Perhaps it’s more a “country club” mindset, like the intolerable preppies I knew growing up?

      Both my parents had parents who were working-class or lower-middle-class (I spent part of Christmas break reading a compilation my uncle did from my paternal grandfather’s memoirs). I’m struck by how much more they seemed to care about some of the same things I care about than a lot of the “rich kids” I knew growing up.

      I wonder if it’s some kind of “familiarity breeds contempt” thing – my maternal great-grandfather who grew up illiterate and learned to read as an adult was then ever after not without a book in his hand, but I know many well-educated people who make a big point about how they don’t read. Maybe it’s kind of like how some of the vaccine-refusers have never known someone who suffered from polio, or have never seen the aftereffects that can come from the measles.

      I was struck by how, from a family of relatively slender means, my paternal grandfather’s mother (she was a widow) cared deeply about seeing him and his brother educated, and how much better a Classical education he received than I ever did. (I know more about science than he did, but I don’t know Latin and I haven’t read as extensively as he did)Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to fillyjonk says:


        There are just too many variations I think in behavior as @pillsy mentions below. My parents grew up middle-class and became well to do. They raised me to care about education and we were raised as readers. We were taken to museums and cultural activities as kids. They enjoy these things themselves

        They are also both into fashion and style which your parents seem to denounce quite strongly and in terms that I consider to be puritanical, moralistic, and frankly just wrong.

        I don’t think of myself as less intelligent or educated because I like clothes and style. I’d be quite angry at anyone who told me otherwise.Report

        • fillyjonk in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I apparently managed to develop a sense of style somehow; I have had people compliment me on how I dress.

          I do prefer to spend more for good quality, classic clothing than have to go shopping every few months…

          Part of the problem is what my brother expressed: when most people follow one behavioral path, it can be VERY isolating if you follow a different one. I think it’s gotten better with the internet, actually: easier to find kindred spirits. But also, living where I do – I have to drive long distances to meet up with any of my friends who share a lot of my interests.

          It was very isolating in junior high being the kid wearing store-brand jeans (or, worse: Wrangler brand) when all the other girls seemingly had designer jeans, which were the hot new thing then. (I actually got nicknamed “Wrangler” – and not in a good way – for that. As an adult I marvel at how much I let that upset me, but it really was very very upsetting.)Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to fillyjonk says:

            Middle school kids are the worst. And that was your parents fault, not yours. It’s one thing if parents can’t afford that stuff. It is another thing if they can but just denounce it as floppery and seem to proud and defiant. I do think it is a kind of psychological abuse to keep your kid apart from too many kid things just because it fits your quirks.Report

            • pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              On the one hand, middle school kids really are the worst. They’re socially adroit enough to be effectively cruel, without the impulse control necessary to refrain from cruelty.

              On the other hand, “Having an intuitive understanding of how to help their kids navigate the casual savagery of junior high,” seems to be an awfully high standard for avoiding the label of psychological abuse.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to pillsy says:

                I grew up in Saskatchewan, which doesn’t do middle school – it’s K-8 elementary and 9-12 high school.

                Grades 7-9 weren’t great for me, but they weren’t awful either. I can only imagine how much worse they’d have been if I’d found myself uprooted at grade 7 to a school full of other freshly uprooted kids all within 3 years of my own age.

                Here in Alberta (which does separate 7-9 middle school) the daughter goes to an alternative hippy school, about which there is a whole lot to like – one of the great things is that the whole program is structured on multi-age groups, with the older kids supporting the younger ones. I think by high school some of the academic weaknesses will become more important, but hopefully she can stay there through junior high.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

                That isn’t exactly what Saul said regarding psychological abuse. What Saul said is that he considers it somewhat abusive if parents keep their kids isolated from certain kid things to fit their own quirks rather than money. Its sort of like not letting your kid listen to mass market pop music because you think its corporate rock and you want your kid to listen to indie bands or not allowing your elementary school kid to watch cartoons because you want a television free house. Saul rightfully thinks that this is exposing your kid to the wolves.Report

              • pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Eh, I had parents who tried to keep me away from cartoons and comic books.

                While it was annoying and occasionally caused me to be alienated from my peers, it was less of an issue than, I dunno, being really enthusiastic about math, or reading books at every spare minute.

                It also ultimately failed, but I guess having me rebel in my early teen years by reading comic books was better than having me rebel by shoplifting or smoking weed or whatever.Report

            • fillyjonk in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              the one thing I can say about my time in middle school and junior high school: it made me a more compassionate person than I might be otherwise, more prone to put myself in someone else’s shoes, because I’ve been the outsider.

              On the other hand, I trace my inability to trust anyone who is friendly to me at first to a couple mean girls who seemed to befriend me in order to get information they could later use against me.

              I wasn’t good at “defiant.” If I had been a proto-punk, I might have, on balance, been happier. Instead, I was desperate to ‘fit in’ and on some level I still carry that with me….Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to fillyjonk says:

        My theory is that a lot of people don’t like to read as entertainment because it can require a lot of concentration. When other options became more readily available, people switched to them. The idea that reading is something good for kids to do in their free time is also relatively recent. It did not exist as an idea before television. Before that many people, unless they were born into an intellectually inclined cultural group, believed reading too much will hurt your eyes. Which was kind of true before the light bulb became widespread.

        Most people born after the Baby Boom have bad classical educations because classics are no longer seen as required. In the past, a grounding in Greek and Latin was a must for an educated person in the West.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    Do Americans have trouble getting raises because of a monopsony problem?

    The degree of concentration, and the effect on wages, tended to be worse in smaller towns than major cities. Places like Alpena, Michigan, and Butte, Montana, had the least competition among employers, while New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia had the most. It also varied by occupation. Equipment mechanics, legal secretaries, telemarketers, and those delivery drivers faced some of the most highly concentrated job markets; registered nurses, corporate salesmen, and customer service representatives had some of the least. But overall, the problem looks pervasive.

    If the U.S. really does have the sort of widespread monopsony problem this paper documents, it would be one more important point on the constellation of reasons workers have fallen so far behind this century. It would also change the way we need to think about certain public policy issues.

    Take the minimum wage. The classic argument against increasing the pay floor is that it will kill jobs by making hiring more costly than it’s worth. But in a monopsony-afflicted world where companies can artificially depress wages, a higher minimum shouldn’t hurt employment, because it will just force employers to pay workers more in line with the value they produce.


    • Dark Matter in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Interesting link.

      Take the minimum wage. The classic argument against increasing the pay floor is that it will kill jobs by making hiring more costly than it’s worth. But in a monopsony-afflicted world where companies can artificially depress wages, a higher minimum shouldn’t hurt employment, because it will just force employers to pay workers more in line with the value they produce.

      Monopsony (or at least as they’re looking into it) is pretty industry specific.

      Raising the min-wage to deal with nurses and accountants being underpaid seems like a blunt approach. It’s still going to have the expected issues with lower level workers who, one assumes, are not nurses or accountants.

      Encouraging people to move to other cities sounds like a less heavy handed approach… although it also occurs to me they’re saying small towns (who as a group have a lower cost of living) over less pay than big towns (which have a higher cost of living). So I wonder if CoL was considered.Report

  6. Saul Degraw says:

    The problem of bidding for Amazon:

    Fisher points to the example of Iowa, which has succeeded in drawing tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft into its borders. It has given away generous incentive packages to support the creation of server farms. But such facilities can sometimes employ fewer than 100 people once they’re built, meaning the state and communities effectively pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per job gained.

    “That makes no sense,” Fisher says. “It really does nothing for the high-tech sector in Iowa—it’s just a name on a big building.” The main reasons tech giants have built those farms is not the incentives. Rather, it’s Iowa’s abundant, cheap energy (thanks partly to the growth of wind power), lots of land, and few natural disasters.

    Fisher notes that whether it’s a server farm, a manufacturing plant, or a new headquarters, states and communities often neglect to consider, or fail to publicize, ancillary costs beyond the actual incentives.

    This brings me to one of my favorite musings, the canyon between what policy wonks say is good policy and what politicians do. Some thoughts:

    1. Good policy (even bipartisan good policy) is rarely popular and we live in a democracy.

    2. Policy wonks: Politics as Law Professor:Law. They like it in the theory and ideal but not in the practice. Policy Wonks find the practice of retail politics (both getting elected and after getting elected) to be vulgar, debased, and dirty.

    3. It’s hard generating jobs for people with no-college education unless you live in or near a major metropolitan area and we are still loathe to shut down small towns.

    4. It’s a collective action problem/prisoner’s dilemma from Hell.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      3. It’s hard generating jobs for people with no-college education unless you live in or near a major metropolitan area and we are still loathe to shut down small towns.

      Or, Invest. in. more. cities.

      I mean, I’d rather argue that we should shut down Megalopoloi as failed cities, but who argues for shutting down places?Report

      • pillsy in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Are Megaloipoloi failed cities? I have my complaints about NYC, almost too many to list in a single comment, but none of them are tantamount to “failure”.

        I’m all for investing in more cities, but I’m not sure that’s a long term solution (see the Uber threads) or a politically workable one.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Are you e.e. cummings?

        There is a lot you can say to criticize Megalopoloi but I don’t know how you can call them failed. Perhaps in some ways they are victims of their own success though. I think globalization and improved shipping/transit has largely decreased the reasons many mid-sized cities used to exist. We needed a lot more stops on the road.Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Would you argue for shutting down failed states as well?

        U-6 Unemployment rate:

        California: 10.3%
        West Virginia: 10.0%

        Perhaps a tax could be raised to support a lottery to move the surplus population to cities built in the Dakotas or the Upper Midwest.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to PD Shaw says:

          Who me? >looks around<

          My comment is mostly around the folly of shutting down places at all.

          But I like where your head's at.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to PD Shaw says:

          There are more unemployed people in California than there are people in the entire state of West Virginia.Report

        • fillyjonk in reply to PD Shaw says:

          You want to get civil unrest? ‘Cos that’s how you get civil unrest.

          My state’s U-6 is almost 8%, so I guess I’d be safe for now, but I know as a currently-employed person owning a house and everything I’d certainly bristle if I were told, “Pack yourself up and head to North Dakota, we’re shuttin’ this state down.

          And really, moving unemployed people is going to solve unemployment? I might be more on board with the Lottery For The Chronically Unemployed To Move, but being told that I happen to be in a “failed” state even if I didn’t personally fail….nope.Report

          • PD Shaw in reply to fillyjonk says:

            I was joking about the policy. Part of the underlying point though was that the Megapoli gain a good chunk of their economic advantage these days from having a large class of unemployed or underemployed workers. Business likes that. What they also like, as my first employer told me, was for their employees to have big fat mortgages.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to PD Shaw says:

              But there is the FDIC model, where you make every attempt to merge the failed institution with an existing viable institution before throwing in the towel and going total shutdown.Report

            • Brandon Berg in reply to PD Shaw says:

              Part of the underlying point though was that the Megapoli gain a good chunk of their economic advantage these days from having a large class of unemployed or underemployed workers. Business likes that.

              What? Yeah, I mean I get the theory that the presence of cheap labor is attractive to businesses, but that’s not why they concentrate in large cities. For one, large cities tend to have higher wages, and also higher land cost. Firms concentrate in big cities because the networking benefits and access to large pools of skilled labor outweigh the cost of more expensive labor. The reserve army of the unemployed in (most) large cities is mostly unemployable dead weight, not some cheaply exploitable source of skilled labor.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Define “Invest”?

        The cities already have most of the votes, it’d be odd if their interests were under-represented.Report

    • The problem of bidding for Amazon:

      As most everyone has probably heard, Amazon announced yesterday that they have cut the list of contenders to 20. The metro areas that have appeared frequently in the prognosticators’ “here’s the top five candidates” lists all made the cut.

      And Apple announced that it will be building a second major campus somewhere in the US. Presumably there’s a lot of overlap between the cities that Apple will look at and those on Amazon’s list.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Dammit if Apple comes to Boston I think we’ll choke to death on smug.Report

        • Denver’s air is enormously cleaner than it was when I moved here 30 years ago. I have noticed over the last several months, though, that there seem to be an increasing number of days when the remnants of the old Brown Cloud are visible. So far it mostly seems to follow the valleys along the river and feeder creeks. Part of it is no doubt the growth along the Front Range. Some of it is also the frenzy of drilling for oil and gas in the northeast part of the state. Some of it has been from the big fires in recent years in the Northwest and California. And some of it could just be variation in the frequency of Denver cyclones*.

          * The Denver cyclone is a peculiar low-level air circulation pattern covering a few thousand square miles. It tends to concentrate air pollutants from all along the Front Range between the Palmer Divide and Cheyenne Ridge, and from as far as 50-60 miles out onto the plains, right in Denver.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

          Boston is ground zero for American smug, so I don’t know how worse it could get. Its the place where the Cabots speak only the Lodges and the Lodges only to God.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I think the article overlooks that when these types of subsidies are proposed and passed, all of the secondary benefits are monetized to show financial benefits that make the subsidy pay for itself. An economist, or someone who appears to be one, will provide a calculation of the spending stimulus: the worker will buy coffee, and when he pays for the coffee, he pays a tax, and the barista gets his/her paycheck, he/she will buy a nice Easter bonnet from the five-and-dime, and the whole thing is like a giant perpetual motion machine with the subsidy touching the lives of every voter.

      I agree though with the idea of federal legislation to stop the collective action problem.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Good policy (even bipartisan good policy) is rarely popular and we live in a democracy.

      :Sigh: Yes, that. Agreed.Report

  7. J_A says:


    Rather, it’s Iowa’s abundant, cheap energy (thanks partly to the growth of wind power), lots of land, and few natural disasters.

    Hey, here’s something a West-of-the-Continental-Divide freedom fighter can blow up that will really inconvenience the despised East Coast moochers.

    I sense a Great American Novel a-comingReport

  8. pillsy says:

    [FE2] Virtually my entire extended family is “upper middle class” as these things are reckoned, with college degrees at the very least, and there’s a lot of variation in how they spend their free time. For some it’s golf and college sports, with a fair amount of drinking along the way, and others it’s reading non-fiction, watching prestige TV, and, OK, maybe a fair amount of drinking too. Then there are the weirdos who spend their time playing video games, arguing with strangers about politics on the Internet, and maybe doing some drinking.

    The preferred entertainment seems to be uncorrelated with professional success or financial security. Maybe people just have fun in different ways. Except for drinking. Obviously everybody likes drinking.

    First, I can’t let even a passing reference to Murray’s “don’t preach what they practice” thing go by without pointing out that right-wing complaints about “liberal elites” monopolizing all the good life choices ring hollow when the right-wing explicitly rejects a big part of the life choices they praise, like the disregard for religion, the ubiquitous use of birth control, and the lengthy period of extra-marital sexual activity that precedes marriage to a partner, not of the opposite sex, but of whatever gender one prefers. They ring doubly hollow given that the Right likes nothing more than to complain about how those seem “liberal elites” want to tell everybody else how to live.Report

    • pillsy in reply to pillsy says:


      My clever plan to rearrange my comment in order to make people think I didn’t immediately launch into an (at best) tangentially relevant rant about how annoying Charles Murray is was foiled by sloppy editing.Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    We6 – if Khorgos does go from boom town to more or less permanent town, it’s going to be a ghost town if China and central asia ever agree on a common gauge railroad.Report

  10. Kolohe says:

    FE4 – The IRS can’t afford to make exceptions. If word leaks out that the IRS has gone soft, people will begin to disobey them, and it’s nothing but work, work, work all the time.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Kolohe says:

      I just had a 9 month back-and-forth with the IRS. Somehow a hand-written 1099 scanned in or was transcribed in correctly and added $50K of “unreported income” from one of my clients. It took a year for the IRS to complain about this. And complain they did.

      They started by wanting about $27K from me. I wrote back with a scanned copy of my 1099 and said, “I think I see what happened here.”

      A month later, they replied, “We don’t take hand written 1099s.” Weird. They took one for the purposes of billing me $27K. I called. What they’ll take is a letter from the company’s CEO (thankfully I still had a relationship with that company) listing the correct value. Submitted by fax. Seriously.

      Three months later, they’ve fixed that but are now claiming that another $14K 1099 wasn’t reported. They want several thousand dollars still. Another letter back, saying, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. The entries on my schedule C add up *to the penny* to the amount you wanted me to report. What do you want from me?”

      Nine months from the original letter, final correction comes in. Oops. False alarm. We good.

      If I was inclined to play games with them, I wonder if I could just stop paying taxes and run the clock down. I might be able to avoid any actual action against me until after I died.Report

    • Nevermoor in reply to Kolohe says:

      What struck me about this story is that it only highlights the problems with privatization of government work.

      Hiring an IRS tax enforcer MAKES the government money, as they are paid relatively little and there is a lot of unpaid tax they can, and will, recover. So we should hire more of them, right? The problem, of course, is the GOP, who would rather play small government/privatization. Apparently the result is that we’ve farmed that same work out to companies who (1) don’t do it properly; and (2) charge tons of money for the insult. Who could possibly have predicted that outcome?Report

  11. Kolohe says:

    Bu1 – discovery channel is moving hq staff – i.e. management – to nyc, but a lot of the production people (or at least their jobs) – i.e. skilled labor – are moving to Knoxville. So while I think the phenonemon he describing is real, this is not exactly the best example of it.

    DC as a ‘media hub’ (except for government operated broadcasters) is a very recent thing – not the sort of ‘my parents worked in that industry, I work in that industry, and my kids are working in that industry’ that you associate with ‘company towns’. (though DC is the most ‘company town’ in the modern US )Report

  12. Richard Hershberger says:

    Bu2: This is not within my expertise, but I have read that many malls are in pretty rough shape simply in terms of the physical plant. This rings true. Ask yourself the questions “How likely is it that mall developers paid for and received top-notch construction, and that the mall operators since have been fastidious about maintenance?” These pretty much answer themselves. This answers why we read so often about a mall being torn down and replaced by new construction when at first glance the old mall could have been remodeled for the new purpose. It often turns out to be cheaper than renovating the dump.Report

    • pillsy in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      C.f. every software project in the history of software projects.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      My general understanding is that a lot of mid-century construction is shoddy and falling apart, yes.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Even the decently constructed mid century stuff was made in the era where lead made colors brighter & longer lasting, and asbestos was a wonder of the modern age.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

          Asbestos still is a wonder of the modern age, as long as you don’t try to breathe in the particles…Report

          • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Sorta like cocaine, I guess.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

              It’s one of those things where it really did work exceedingly well and protecting things from heat and fire. And once installed, if you left it alone, it left you alone (asbestos wouldn’t leech out of the walls/ceiling and get you).

              It’s just the whole application and removal part, they didn’t know how dangerous it was, so safety gear and precautions were far too lax.

              Makes me wonder if anyone has tried finding a better way formulate asbestos such that it can’t form particulates which can interact with our bodies?Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                A big part of it is that industry did know how dangerous installing asbestos was.

                One of the big breakthroughs in asbestos litigation is when a plaibtiff’s lawyer unearthed a memo from the 1930s between asbestos execs and Met Life. The memo was about how dangerous asbestos was to the workers who used it.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I googled that. Damn, that’s messed up.

                I mean, clearly people didn’t know how dangerous it was and thus safety gear and procedures were lax. But yeah, it wasn’t some bit of understandable ignorance, it was intentional ignorance.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                “Its hard to make a man understand when his salary depends on him not understanding.”Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Oh, from what I was reading, they understood quite well, and their salary depending on everyone else not understanding.Report

              • HotCha in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Oh, even then they knew how dangerous it was! What they *didn’t* know was how good it was at turning into fine dust and getting inside your body.

                The gasoline in your car’s gas tank is immediately toxic (and carcinogenic if you manage not to die from it) but it also mostly stays in the tank unless you go to great lengths to interact with it. And everyone figured asbestos worked the same way; just wear a dust mask, wash after you do anything with it, and you’ll be OK. Turns out, not so much. The ignorance was not in the idea that it was dangerous, the ignorance was in how hard you had to work to keep away from it.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to HotCha says:

                Just did a quick search and it seems like no one is really interested in seeing if there is a way to use asbestos that doesn’t allow it to turn into a fine powder that is easily aersolized. It’s one of those materials that is largely on the dustbin of history*.

                *It’s still used, but only in trace amounts in a very small number of products.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon @hotcha

                There are also the secondary exposure cases. These are the women and children of people who worked with and around asbestos who needed getting the dust in their lungs and developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-diseases from washing their husbands clothing or giving dad a hug when he got home from the refinery.

                My guess is that no one is interested in making safe asbestos because everyone knows the cost of asbestos litigation if they fail.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Modern construction, too. About ten years ago my firm was involved on the periphery of construction litigation arising from a botched condo complex. It wasn’t a dump, either. It was aimed at the middle- to upper-middle class market. We represented one of the gazillion subcontractors who had been brought in as third party defendants by the developer. Our guy was a paving contractor, and pretty clearly not involved in any of the problem areas, so our role was to get out of the case as quickly as possible, so I never saw how it turned out. But what I saw was pretty dramatic for general shoddiness. What really struck me was that I didn’t get the sense that this was a con job all along, but that the general contractor didn’t keep on top of the subcontractors to make sure things were done right. Therefore they weren’t. What I took away was that the default assumption is that the subcontractors will cut corners wherever they can, the actual contract notwithstanding.

        I was in the market to buy a house soon after this. I wasn’t interested in new construction. I wanted something at least ten years old, so that crap like this would have had time to shake itself out. I ended up buying a townhouse built in the 1970s. There were the issues from age you would expect. I early on had an electrician rip out the aluminum wiring and put in a new box, and last year put on a new roof, but that kind of stuff goes with the territory.

        And of course most construction back in the day was pretty shoddy, for whatever value of “back in the day” you care to apply. It’s just that the shoddy stuff is long gone, resulting in selection bias.

        That being said, there aren’t many institutions today that think in terms of a century or more when building. My church sanctuary is over two hundred years old. It is doing just fine, because German Lutherans are fanatics about routine maintenance. There was gnashing of teeth a few years back when we had to have the roof redone, but we did it. The good news is that a slate roof will last fifty years. The bad news is that when the time finally does come, it won’t be cheap, and roofers who know how to work with slate are a niche industry.

        Modern megachurches? They are always looking to move into a larger space. Even apart from the appalling aesthetic of the megachurch, I can’t imagine they are built to last. Corporations? We are lucky if they look past the next quarterly earning report. Homeowners? McMansions are notorious for shoddy construction. Put in cathedral ceilings and whatever is trendy for the kitchen and bathroom, and no one cares. What is left? Who builds expecting to still use the building in a century, and the individuals running the operation don’t consider the future to be somebody else’s problem?Report

        • This may be true of most things. I have 100 year old bookcases (inherited from a grandparent) that are doing great and hold my double-banked heavy books fine; bookcases bought in the last 10 years are struggling to stay upright.

          Also true of clothing. Also (perhaps) true of cars. Certainly true of appliances; I’ve replaced some 20+ year old things in my house over the past few years and to a man, the installers have told me, “Don’t expect the new one to last that long”

          I think we’ve gotten to the point where “the new” outweighs “the well-made,” or perhaps the cost of making something well has become seemingly-prohibitive, so we accept schlock we know will need replacing.

          My fifteen-year-old classroom building has a great many issues (the biggest one being the HVAC system NEVER works). The considerably-older building where my office is is a lot sounder. Also, on college campuses, they LOVE hiring the absolute-lowest bidder even if (a) they have to sue them later to come back and fix the bad work they did (happened here) and (b) there are usually horrendous cost over-runs because “low bids” often aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.Report

  13. Damon says:

    [FE1] I can sympathize. I grew up in a rural area, and we canned food, heated with wood, had bedding that changed with the seasons, and water was expensive. To this day, seeing a running faucet annoys me. I learned to turn the water off often. Wet the toothbrush, turn the water off. Rinse, turn the water off. Watching my aunt do her hair leaving the water running annoyed me to no end. I keep my house at 65 degrees. If I’m cold..I put on heavier clothes.Report

    • fillyjonk in reply to Damon says:

      My dad’s favorite line when I was growing up: “Do you think we’re made of money?”

      (It turns out they were a lot better off than I thought as a kid, and in fact were probably better off in 1970s dollars than I am now in 2010s dollars. But I admit I am less frugal about things like comfort and convenience than they were. Some of my desire for “convenience” is probably tied to the fact that it’s just me doing EVERYTHING – working, keeping house, doing the marketing, etc. – whereas my dad had my mom, who stayed at home and did all the house-stuff until I was at least 15.)Report

      • Will Truman in reply to fillyjonk says:

        We were a financially strong family pretending to be financially weak surrounded by a lot of financially weaker families pretending to be financially stronger than we were.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

          That sounds like an O. Henry novel.Report

        • fillyjonk in reply to Will Truman says:

          That’s actually probably my family, too. The whole “I’m in debt up to my eyeballs” ad makes me laugh because I kind of knew families like that when I was growing up – had the shiny new car and the fancy clothes, but the kids had to take out loans to go to college (this being before the explosion in college costs many places).

          It still sucked when I was a kid and didn’t understand that conspicuous consumption often had little to do with actual wealth or quality of the products being consumed. I just knew I was different from the other kids and I hated it.Report

      • Damon in reply to fillyjonk says:

        Since we lived in a small town, and my dad was in management (union negotiations) at the local plant, he never would talk to me about his income or work things. He didn’t want me saying to other kids “my dad’s your dad’s boss” (his words). Hell, I even played on the little league team sponsored by the United Steelworkers Union. He got a kick out of that. I rarely speak of what my income is, or humble brag about stuff. At worst, I talk about my travelling, but I can also throw in that I don’t have kids as a way to afford it/have the time.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

      Running water and lights left on bug me as well, and we have low flow faucets and LEDs throughout the house.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Oh my gosh.

        Coming home from work, I can tell if people are home at the neighbours’ because some of the lights in the houses will be on. I can tell if our house is empty because some of the lights in the house will be off.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

          I keep a handful of outdoor lights on at night, and the living room has some dim lights that are on all the time in case someone has to get up during the nights for a sick kid or dog, but those are all LEDs and we intentionally keep them on for security, etc.

          It’s stuff like hallway, bathroom, and bedroom lights that are kept on when no one is in that part of the house. At some point, I’m just going to replace manual switches with motion sensor ones.Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            That’s exactly what I’m talking about – hallways, bedrooms, kitchen (in fairness the kitchen lights are on about half a dozen switches spread all around the walls, so it can be kind of a bother to turn them all off when you walk out of the room). I’m kind of the only one in the house with the habit of swiping at the light switch on my way out of the room.

            We’re replacing most bulbs with LEDs as they burn out, so that should help me twitch a bit less.

            There’s a motion sensor light in one of our bathrooms. It might have worked at one time, but it’s been gibbled since we moved in. I like the idea though.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I live alone and am paranoid, so I tend to leave at least one small lamp on if I have to go out at night.

        I’ve also been known to holler “Honey, I’m home!” to the empty house as I walk in the door, especially if there’s a lot of foot traffic out on the street that evening.Report

  14. Jaybird says:

    The H1-B laws thing is constantly fascinating to me.

    I know that there is a phenomenon where many of the people who argue for nigh-open immigration find all sorts of important nuance when it comes to the H1-B Visa thing… but I’m not saying anything that I didn’t say back in 2015 at this point.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      I suppose this is an interesting point, if the report is true.

      But, jeez, reading that article, I’m pretty irritated at how many bases it’s stealing.

      Jumping from “71%” to “almost three quarters” is just barely within the bounds of okay, I guess, but jumping from “foreign born” to “H1-B visa” is bullcrap.

      I do sometimes wonder whether wages for me and mine would be better if the H1-B visa program weren’t abused quite so much as it is… ah, well.

      The whole thing where companies ask for 5 years experience with a thing that has only existed for 3 is still crap, though, and saying “we couldn’t find anyone qualified!” after asking for that and *THEN* requesting an H1-B is, seriously, something that ought to be reportable to the H1-B police.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird says:

        71%? I had no idea there were so many European immigrants in Silicon Valley.

        The whole thing where companies ask for 5 years experience with a thing that has only existed for 3 is still crap, though

        Does anybody actually take those seriously? Like, have you ever looked at a job ad that specified a literally impossible requirement and said, “Well, I guess that’s not me. I give up?” Conventional wisdom is that these are written by HR and not to be taken literally. I’ll apply to anything that looks like a moderately close fit.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          I suppose an arms race between people who lie on their resumes and employers who lie about job requirements was inevitable.

          That said, the original article that Will pointed to discusses how employers use (abuse?) law in order to hire cheap “foreign” labor instead of American citizens.

          And, yeah, putting stuff in there like “must have 10 years experience in thing that has only existed for 6” is one of the go-to things to ask for that you can legit point out that, hey, there were no American citizens who qualified.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

      Well, I guess the good news is that 2 1/2 years later, Mark Steyn is no longer hiding his sexism in racism. The racism is now served pure, no longer a bigotry turnducken.Report

  15. North says:

    So the GOP mustered through a one month debt ceiling increase that includes CHIP funding for 6 years but no action on the “Dreamers” and it sails on to the senate. I gotta admit, I’m struggling on this one. On one hand it’s good that the party is ready to go to the mat over the dreamers to show some backbone on the issue; also a lot of promises were made about them and holding the GOP to them seems like a good idea.
    On the other hand, though, a 1 month budget extension for 6 years of CHIP funding seems like a really great deal. Also the stunt of threatening to filibuster a debt ceiling increase is not a good look in general on the Dems and they rightly decried it when the GOP did it during Obama’s term. They hypocrisy goes both ways there but The Dems/left generally agree the whole debt ceiling is legislative foolishness anyhow. Once you appropriate the money you shouldn’t need to go back to the well to fund it. So I’m not very delighted to see the Dems replicating this tactic even if their asks aren’t knee slapping over the top like the GOP’s were under Obama (to match the GOP for chutzpah they’d have to be threatening a shut down over the tax cuts or something).

    I’m sure there’re subtle reasons the Dems shouldn’t pocket CHIP then make the GOP do the whole dance again for the Dreamers in a month but I’m not clear on what they are.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to North says:

      I’m sure there’re subtle reasons the Dems shouldn’t pocket CHIP then make the GOP do the whole dance again for the Dreamers in a month but I’m not clear on what they are.

      CHIP provides more utility as a bargaining, erm, chip to legislators.Report

      • North in reply to Jaybird says:

        As in the Dems should want to keep CHIP unapproved so it can be paired with other things in any final deal?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to North says:

          If it’s taken off the plate, there’s fewer people that Republican legislators can be accused of wanting to kill.Report

          • North in reply to Jaybird says:

            Well sure but reauthorizing CHIP is, in of itself, a liberal and Democratic goal. It’d be like saying we should have gone along with the GOP objective of tearing the ACA up and replacing it with the word “Docturs” written on a napkin so that we could campaign against the right wing for taking away peoples medical care.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to North says:

              reauthorizing CHIP is, in of itself, a liberal and Democratic goal

              Assumes facts not in evidence.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Err.. that’s news to me. It was created by a bipartisan act, sure but Obama reauthorized it in 2009 and it was authorized again in the ACA and in 2015 Obama and the GOP reauthorized it again. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen any liberal politician, commenter or commentator be against the CHIP.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North says:

                Are they voting for it now?Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird says:

                In congress? Yes, about 16 of them as I recall. In the Senate? Not yet, remains to be determined, thus my original musings.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think it’s more accurate to say that Democrats very much want to reauthorize CHIP, but we know that republican voters want it reauthorized too (because it is such an obviously correct and good policy) so want to get something for helping the non-crazy GOP folks get the votes.

                This, of course, is one of the many reasons the GOP shouldn’t have let it lapse in the first place.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      My inclination is that we shouldn’t take the deal.

      1. It rewards GOP hypocrisy and chutzpah.

      2. The Democratic base is clearly pro-Dreamer and wants immigration reform. Our way forward is with the children of immigrants and immigrants. Anti-immigration rhetoric and action is what sunk the GOP in California.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The entire thing puts me in an awkward place as an immigration lawyer. Having the federal government shut down hurts my clients who have their hearings coming up during the shut down but it might help immigrants in the long run.Report

      • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Ok but why not take the deal then come back to the well again in February?Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

          I do think that doing continuous continuing resolutions is getting a bit absurd and we need to end this.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Well, it’s not just absurd: it increases the pressure points on Dems to concede to GOP demands and not the other way around. The Dems need to realize that the perpetual short term CR game is being imposed on them for self-serving GOP reasons. They need to make a decision to either keep playing a losing hand (unless Trump gets involved) or realize that the only way for them to win is to not play the game.

            Btw, I think McConnell is better at these types of games than Schumer is, so Dems need to be careful!Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:


              Schumer is allegedly meeting with Trump so some deal might happen. But I consider dealing with Trump to be futile because he always says backsies and ends up agreeing with the right-winger who spoke to him last.


              If the polling I saw is accurate, 48 percent of the public blames the GOP if a shutdown occurs.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                The problem (for the dems) is that that percentage is less than the one of people that already think Trump isn’t doing a good job. (And peculiarly low % considering who is running the government right now)Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

                And (if we’re talking about the same one) that it’s adults and not voters. And even among DACA supporters, they don’t think DACA is worth a shutdown.

                All in all, the numbers came out more favorable to the GOP than I had guessed they would. And as I’ve said, the longer this goes on, the less bad it gets for the Republicans.

                (On the other side of that is the correct implication that it starts off pretty bad for Republicans. If I had to bet, I bet they lose this one. I don’t think they’re going to hold out long enough for the tide to possibly turn.)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                The problem (for the dems)…

                is that the GOP can accuse Dems of doing exactly what they themselves are doing and their base and some independents will eat that shit up, leaving the Dems in the “if you’re explaining you’re losing” camp. It’s a sign of pervasive cynicism in the electorate that Trump or the GOP can say “up is down” and 40+% of the electorate will agree.

                That’s not to say Dems are angels. Politics ain’t beanbag. But the Orwellian nature of our political discourse – at least within GOP/conservative circles – is mingboggling. Political claims completely untethered to reality, sometimes completely counter to reality, are viewed as true by almost half of the electorate.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:


                I suspect that the “some independents” that eat this shit up are not really independents and haven’t voted for anyone with a D next to their name for years. The GOP can try this but no one but hardcore partisans will go for it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Those independents were probably sour anyway.Report

              • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Well I think looping Trump in is a good idea since he tends to screw up the GOP’s strategy when he’s involved.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to North says:

                Right. I mean, they *might* get a deal out of it. But the real reason is the much higher likelihood that it throws the other side into disarray. If they come to a tentative deal that Trump backs down the next day on, they’re not the ones coming out looking bad and all the right is in a meltdown between deal and undeal.

                The only problem with this strategy is the contingent of the Democratic base that really want to work from the GOP blueprint.Report

              • North in reply to Will Truman says:

                For sure and they’re very loud now, understandably.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                Or we are witnessing the very rare “reverse Quintus Servilius Caepio gambit”

                {in later years reprised as the Leroy Jenkins gambit}Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Maybe? But who is Leroy in this scenario; Schumer or Trump?Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North says:


              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                This situation is such a cynical joke that you politicals aren't even arguing over who's at fault. You're arguing over who has the best and worst takes on who's at fault.— Fred, Metastable Genius (@LesserFrederick) January 20, 2018

                That’s a good way to describe much of the political debate over the last couple years. The debate has become a meta one, where substantive policy questions are all beside the point.— Kyle Baxter (@kbaxter) January 20, 2018


              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                If nothing else the battle over the CR clarified why the hard right wingers in the House and Senate are trying so hard to shut down the Russia investigations.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s because all politics are first meta; the meta is the only thing worth fighting over… everything else is just haggling.

                As a professional haggler, I suspect Reid is out over his skies on this. The debt ceiling isn’t in fact a chit, its the “compelling event”… there’s no scenario in which the ceiling isn’t raised.

                As the compelling event compels, Reid has to weigh the popularity of DACA (which is popular) vs the cost of Shutting down Govt (which has little cost on Day 1, but ramps to intolerable levels, eventually). Even though DACA is a political winner, it has no real compelling event – so the opposing side can do nothing and Reid has to eat the shutdown without any sort of DACA pain forcing Republicans to act. DACA is a slow burn, so it doesn’t ramp on the Republicans the way the shutdown Ramps on the Dems. That’s a pretty big miscalculation by Reid – to confound popularity with urgency – and since Reid is a seasoned legislator, its quite possible he knows something I don’t. But, as a mentor of hagglers, I’ll note that getting the compelling events wrong is probably the most common error made by us. He who has the deadline loses. There’s no deadline on DACA… not even March. It would be a very strange miscalculation by Reid to try to ride a Govt shutdown through March only to have the Administration string along zombie DACA. I can’t believe Reid would step into that trap.

                The fact that CHIP +6 is also in the pot, makes Reid’s position even worse…

                My bold prediction is that he knows he can’t possibly win a protracted shutdown, so this is just a weekend shutdown and he deals in the early part of next week… assuming that Trump doesn’t play the part of Caepio and rush in when all he has to do is encamp and dig latrines. In which case, I’ll tip my hat to Reid.

                In the end, switching metaphors, I expect he’s trying to draw the Republicans offside… and that’s not necessarily a bad play given the lack of discipline… but the result will probably a 5-yard delay of game and a 3pt field goal when he takes the CHIP deal. Unless the Republicans push him out of field goal range by just sending a clean resolution in response. Where upon he punts and tries to stick the field position.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                assuming that Trump doesn’t play the part of Caepio

                Well indirectly he already has: Kelly and Miller have opened fire against not only Dems during the discussions, but the GOP moderates as well. Twice now a Trump-amenable deal was agreed to and subsequently shot down by his advisers. I’d be shocked to find out that last nights Press release from Sarah Sanders wasn’t written by John Kelly (or Miller) since the target of that communication struck me as an audience of one: Mitch McConnell. It was an exhortion to shut down Graham’s attempts to reach a bipartisan solution.

                Where I think you’re right is that the politics favor the GOP right now, and unless Trump steps on his dick again the pressure on Schumer to cave increases with each passing day. Ryan and the House have kicked the problem to the Senate, and that means the Dems, and that means Schumer.

                I think Schumer was right to draw a line in the sand on DACA, tho. The hard right GOPers in the House, Senate and WH have hijacked the policy debate and it’s pretty clear they don’t want a DACA fix. Schumer’s trying to get it on the table with a weak hand. Rinse now, repeat in four weeks.Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                DACA is very important to a key D constituency. D’s have to fight for it even if it is a tough road and they end up having to give up on it at some point in this current mess. It is certainly going to keep being an issue so at least contesting now tells the hard right ( miller, etc) that D’s will keep fighting for it.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                Heh, yeah… Schumer… had Reid on the brain I guess.

                On the topic of Kelly/Miller… at this point its just the usual picket skirmishes; we’ll all know if/when Trump rushes in.

                Whether DACA is a political issue worth fighting over isn’t necessarily the same as fighting it on this hill. And, my thought is that the Dems aren’t, really. If the retreat is executed well, it could set them up on better ground. But in order to retreat, then DACA has to be something less than a moral sine qua non. That’s sometimes the danger of going hyper meta… it can force you to fight when you should retreat.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Whether DACA is a political issue worth fighting over isn’t necessarily the same as fighting it on this hill.

                Maybe not at the level of retail politics, but very much so at the level of policy. The hard-right faction that’s controlling the process right now isn’t leveraging DACA for more concessions from Dems, they don’t want a DACA fix at all. (Cuz, the base, we’re supposed to believe.) Whether the hill is taken will depend on one of two things, seems to me: if Trump (who presumably favors a fix) gets back in the game and takes policy back from Kelly and Miller, or if Schumer can compel enough GOPers to defect from the hard-right’s policy prerogatives and make DACA their own hill to die on.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Well, I think that we “politicos” can easily allow this all to become meta, because, frankly, most of us aren’t in the demographics that are bearing the brunt of most policy changes like DACA, Planned Parenthood or even the ACA.
                We don’t really have as much skin in the game as others.

                Mrs. Daniels has provided insight for me, letting me know that virtually every woman has a story about unwelcome sexual advances, ranging from laughable anecdotes to horrific trauma. This issue, this President, is deeply personal for them.

                I just returned from the Women’s March here in LA (where I met up with @burt-likko and had an enjoyable lunch).

                I was expecting this year’s march to be smaller and less intense, since that is usually how politics works.
                But it didn’t feel that way. The rage, the indignation, the intensity of feeling seemed as raw and fresh today as it did a year ago.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                My impression is that the only party who has the potential to come out of these foodfights looking good is whoever occupies the White House. He can look like he’s above the fray while Congress looks like petulant children by comparison.

                This is probably good for Trump’s image.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Except, by all accounts, Dems and the GOP had a deal. Trump signed off on it. And then when they showed up to finalize it, Trump changed his mind.

                This is literally happening because, after signalling acceptance of a deal, Trump got talked up by Miller and crew, and decided he wanted the sun and moon and stars.

                If you note, the Senate couldn’t even get 50 Republican votes last night…Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                Rubio is now arguing that Dems are cynically using CR as leverage to get DACA . Dems only demanded it after Kelly/Cotton/Meadows cynically used CR as leverage to get border wall funding. CHAOS! At the last minute Ryan dropped all immigration stuff, included CHIP, and rammed it thru. And here we are. Dems don’t trust GOP to fix DACA because GOP leadership/WH doesn’t *want* to fix DACA. Cuz the base, we’re told with a wink.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m gonna be cynical. The American public is pretty straightforward on things like this. The GOP holds the whole government, so they’re gonna get blamed.

                In addition, the GOP holds the White House, so he’s going to get blame.

                And in summation, both the GOP in Congress and the President himself are deeply unpopular (far more so than the Dems) which means the American public is very likely to blame Trump even if he was totally blameless, because that’s how negative political capital works.

                When you’re polling between 30 and 40, people blame you.

                The only facts that matter, I suspect, are who holds Congress, who holds the White House, and their popularity numbers versus their opposition.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                Well, Trump clearly deserves *all* the blame for the shutdown and chaos leading up to it. He *could* have pressured GOP leadership into putting the compromise bill (the one he initially signaled support for) on the floor for a vote in both chambers. But Kelly wouldn’t allow it.

                I have no idea how this ends, of course, but I agree with March way up thread that the longer it goes on the more likely the Dems take the hit. That outcome could be mitigated to some extent by solid messaging, or even turned around if the bipartisan compromise folks gain enough momentum/leverage to demand that their bill make it to the floor for a vote. They’d have to know in advance they have pert near 60 Senators and a majority in the House for that to work, of course.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, Trump clearly deserves *all* the blame for the shutdown and chaos leading up to it. He *could* have leverage GOP leadership into putting the compromise bill (the one he initially signaled support for) on the floor for a vote in both chambers. But Kelly wouldn’t allow it.

                This assumes DACA is worth shutting down the gov. I didn’t believe that when it was the GOP for “abortion” or “getting rid of Obamacare”.

                The Dems are pretty open about shutting down the gov over DACA. There’s all sorts of issues where both sides have to agree to disagree and let a stalemate continue. Taking the gov hostage on a point of “principal” is extremely aggressive.

                I think the majority of the country doesn’t care about DACA and won’t agree that it’s worth it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                This assumes DACA is worth shutting down the gov.

                No, all it assumes is that Trump *could have* followed thru on the commitment he made 10 ago to sign whatever compromise bill congress agreed on and “take the heat” on DACA.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Dark: This assumes DACA is worth shutting down the gov.

                No, all it assumes is that Trump *could have* followed thru on the commitment he made 10 ago to sign whatever compromise bill congress could agree on. He didn’t.

                If we’re going to shut down the gov every time Trump breaks his word, it’s going to be a long 4 years.

                If DACA isn’t worth shutting down the gov, then the Dem’s actions make no sense.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If DACA isn’t worth shutting government down then the GOP’s actions make no sense.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                If DACA isn’t worth shutting government down then the GOP’s actions make no sense.

                It’s the GOP’s fault for not doing what the Dem’s want?

                DACA, for the GOP, is standard government (or if you want, GOP) dysfunction. We see this all the time on every subject. But very clearly without DACA there is no shutdown, and it’s the Dems screaming for action, and even for shutting down the gov until they get what they want.

                The GOP is fine with doing nothing. They can stand back and let Trump be a bastard, waffle, take both sides of the issue, and in the shadows appoint law-and-order fanatics who runs around ripping apart families (which is what the letter of the law says to do).Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The GOP is fine with doing nothing

                Right. Because leadership and the WH don’t want a DACA fix. So they’ll shut down government to prevent the Dems and GOP moderates from getting one. That’s the dynamic here Dark. The GOP hard-right doesn’t want citizenship for Dreamers. Most of the rest of the caucus does.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Right. Because leadership and the WH don’t want a DACA fix. So they’ll shut down government to prevent the Dems and GOP moderates from getting one.

                The loony Right is in the House, and the House voted to keep the gov open.

                For that matter the bulk of the GOP in the Senate also voted to keep the gov open, but they need 60 votes to do that.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’m not saying that Trump is blameless here. Just that historically, it has been pretty easy for POTUS to make noises that sound like a responsible adult while the two parties in Congress burn their credibility with the public, each banking that the other side will burn slightly more credibility.

                I don’t think we have an example yet of this shutdown stuff actually working the way the parties involved expect it to. It’s possible Trump will get some garbage spatter on him. He certainly deserves some. But I’m skeptical. It seems like the Dems would probably be better off not giving Trump a rare chance to pretend to be the adult in the room.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                sub-40 popularity. That’s negative political capital. Things he does will start out unpopular, and things he endorses will lose popularity.

                The longer this goes on, I suspect the more Trump is blamed, because the public likes to blame an individual, and they already dislike him a lot.

                Now the GOP base won’t, of course. But the GOP should be a lot more worried about the shaky suburbs.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Trump has the opportunity to rise above pettiness…but not the ability.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                In all honesty, will anyone remember the shut down come November?Report

              • North in reply to Kazzy says:

                Depends on how long it goes.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m just wondering how many dumb things Trump will do during this window that would have chipped away further at his popularity but will instead go unnoticed because chaos that’s primarily driven by other people is in the news instead.

                If it ends quickly, everybody will refocus when Trump kicks a baby in the face.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Inopportunity costs?Report

  16. Nevermoor says:

    FE5: What, exactly, is he doing other than complaining about closed banks? The article sure doesn’t say…

    I note, however, the endorsement for internet-as-a-utility. Which is smart, applicable, and probably something that particular legislator opposes, given his party.Report

  17. Nevermoor says:

    La2: It isn’t.

    An article citing something Krugman said 20 years ago to disprove a trend that has gotten far more extreme in the last 20 years is laughably inept “analysis.” Doubly so when Krugman–even 20 years ago–wasn’t criticizing this chart, but rather a different analysis BECAUSE “[a]ny difference in the rates of growth of productivity and compensation would necessarily show up as a fall in labor’s share of national income.” [Link.]

    Now, of course, the trend is clear and solidly established. It has, as Krugman said it must, shown up in labor’s share of national income.

    Naturally, a dumb article in the Examiner doesn’t give you that. They just cite to a different calculation (though even theirs shows a drop) and try to spike the ball with a QED.

    Of course, one of the problems with a conservative rag using Krugman as an expert is that he is still writing. Take for example, his acknowledgment of wage stagnation here, complete with the observation that “for those trying to play gotcha by pointing out that some of what she said differed from ideas that prevailed when her husband was president, well, many liberals have changed their views in response to new evidence. It’s an interesting experience; conservatives should try it some time.”Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Nevermoor says:

      The chart isn’t wrong, in the sense of the data being incorrect or made-up, but it is highly misleading, and the popular interpretation, that labor productivity is increasing, but instead of giving workers what they’ve earned, fat cat capitalists are keeping it all for themselves, is dead wrong.

      First, the two charts use different deflators. Productivity is deflated using the GDP deflator, whereas wages are deflated using a combination of the PCE and (unchained) CPI-U-RS. They’ve admitted that they should have used a chained deflator for wages, but use the fact that chained CPI doesn’t go back far enough for their purposes. PCE would have been a much better choice, but an unchained deflator is better suited to the narrative they want to push.

      Also, it’s important to note that GDP isn’t actually broken down into labor share and investor share. Note that the “G” in GDP stands for Gross. Take a look at the BEA’s NIPA data Around 15% of GDP is consumption of fixed capital. This is money that has to be spent to replace equipment and buildings just to maintain current productivity levels, so it isn’t really income for anyone. Significantly, this has increased from 12.5% of GDP in 1973 to 15.5% in 2016. On the other hand, taxes on production and imports (taxes ostensibly paid by businesses, mostly tariffs, sales, excise, and gross receipts taxes, not corporate income taxes) decreased from 8.2% to 6.9%. There’s another category called “subsidies,” but the change is very small.

      The upshot is the sum of employee compensation and net operating surplus of private enterprise was 79.8% in 1973 and 78.0% in 2016, so a small but significant share of the increase in output didn’t go to workers or investors.

      Compensation of employees in 1973 was 57.3% of GDP, or 71.8% of net output (the 79.8% of GDP in the last paragraph). In 2016, it was 53.2% of GDP, or 68.2% of net output. So it has decreased a bit.

      If we look at net operating surplus of private enterprise, we see an increase from 22.5% to 24.8% of GDP, or 28.2% to 31.8% of net output.

      But wait! There’s more! Do you see that row labeled “Rental income of persons with capital consumption adjustment?” This is non-corporate rental income, a subcategory of net operating surplus of private enterprise. It includes royalties (arguably a form of labor income) and rental income paid to non-corporate landlords, but most of (about 70%) is something called imputed rent. If you live in a home you own, the BEA, for purposes of GDP measurement, considers you to be renting the home to yourself at market rates, even though no money changes hands. There are valid reasons to do this, but only about a quarter of the “income” in this category is “rent” or even “investment income” in anything like the everyday use of the term.

      Due to rising home values—imputed rent is based on market rent of similar homes—this has increased from 1.6% of GDP in 1973 to 3.8% in 2016. Note that this explains 2.7 points of the 2.8-point increase in net operating surplus. You may have heard about Matt Rognlie’s 2014 and 2015 papers that found that rising real estate prices explained more than 100% of the increase in capital share of income up to 2010 (i.e. if you factor that out, the share of income going to capital actually decreased).

      Now, we can quibble a bit about what counts as an increase in capital share of national income and exactly how big it is, but there’s no question that any reasonable estimate is far, far too small to explain that huge wedge in the EPI chart.

      So what does explain it? Well, all of the aforementioned factors chip in a bit, but the biggest factor is the increase in inequality in employee compensation. The EPI chart compares mean productivity to median compensation. Mean labor compensation has actually tracked labor productivity pretty well, which is why employee compensation as a share of net output is at most only a couple percentage points below where it was in 1973.

      Well, so what? That still means income inequality is increasing, right? Yes, but now the simplistic story about greedy capitalists keeping all the gains for themselves doesn’t make any sense. They’re not keeping the gains for themselves—they’re paying them out to their most valued employees. And it’s hard to explain why they would do that if the real money-makers were the rank-and-file workers. They’d be throwing away money twice: Once by overpaying their top workers, and again by underinvesting in rank-and-file workers.

      The SBTC (skill-biased technical change) is a better fit for the data. Because of the changing nature of the modern economy, highly skilled workers have become relatively much more productive and thus much more valuable than typical workers.

      Note also that the “stagnating median incomes” narrative has been greatly oversold. This is highly sensitive to the inflation measure used, and there’s a strong consensus among top economists that the commonly used inflation measures mask real increases in standard of living.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        They’ve admitted that they should have used a chained deflator for wages, but use the fact that chained CPI doesn’t go back far enough for their purposes

        …as an excuse for not using a chained deflator.Report

  18. HotCha says:

    [FE4] it’s not “spending $2 to save $1”, it’s “spending $2 to show that the IRS will, in fact, go after people who try to get out of paying taxes, so don’t try it”.

    It’s not “economically we shouldn’t chase that missing dollar”, it’s “if we don’t chase that missing dollar, then next year we’ll be missing three, and the year after that we’ll be missing eight, and then twenty, and if we start going after them we’ll have to explain why we didn’t do it before”. The economics are at the system level, not the problem level.Report

  19. Saul Degraw says:

    We have a shutdown!!!!Report

  20. James K says:

    It turns out New Zealand’s Prime Minister is pregnant, so that that should be interesting.Report

  21. Saul DeGraw says:

    Explain this to me:

    Right-wingers: The New York Times is Pravda on the Hudson and might as well be edited by Lenin and Robspierre and written by Marat and Trotsky!!

    People further to the Left than Me (and I think I am on OT’s Left): The New York Times is a Republican Rag and so is NPR. The entire political department is staffed with Republican Operatives!!

    Me: I think it is a perfectly repsectable newspaper and one of the last places in the United States that can do true investigative reporting. I don’t like all their columnists or articles but it is a good paper to read.

    So where does this place me? Just as a good middle-class person?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      What city do you live in?Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      I used to read the NYT (back when print was a thing) more for what it revealed about how Establishment Power Brokers thought about domestic and international politics than for the news. I mean, you get some news for sure. Especially if you like palace intrigue type stuff. But as the self-proclaimed Paper of Record it gives you a *lot* of signaling. Still does. (Even more now, I think, than in the past.)Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      Or as I have noticed, the LGM commenters seem to hate the NYT with the heat of a thousand suns, yet quote it as the authoritative Paper of Record.

      Its of a piece I think, with the Bernie/Nader types and the “not a dime’s worth of difference” stuff in their Hillary/ Obama hatred.
      Its the lashing out at a near enemy for insufficient fealty to the cause.Report

  22. Stillwater says:

    In more pressing news, the Cavaliers are being dismantled by OKC at home and their hopes for a ring are dismantled too. They’re prolly not gonna get outa the second round with this team. On top of that Lebron hasn’t re-signed and because of that Gilbert can’t make a deal for an expensive quality player.

    Question: is it time for owner Gilbert to trade Lebron for value?

    I think it is. They’d get talent *and* picks. LeBron’s leaving anyway, right?Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

      Yes, he’s leaving.

      But I’ll bet on the Cavs again getting to the Finals.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

        Are you a Cavs fan?

        If I were Gilbert I’d be *aggressively* sweet talking Lebron into accepting a trade.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

          I’m not. But I am a LeBron fan.

          Trading him makes basketball sense. But Gilbert is already the guy who lost LeBron once. He can’t be the guy that trades LeBron. And he seems to care deeply about his perception. If LeBron forces a trade (in reality or jusr goes along), he can play it to his favor. But does LeBron want to be THAT guy?Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

            He can’t be the guy that trades LeBron.

            He can be the guy who Lebron kicked to the curb twice, or he can be the guy who traded him for value once. Seems like a no brainer to me.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

              In one case, he paints himself as the victim and can sleep at night on top of a giant pile of money.

              In the other, the sounds of angry Clevelanders die softly on the grounds of his mansion as he struggles to sleep on top of a giant pile of money.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                You’re not making an argument against trading Lebron. You’re telling me the reasons Gilbert might not.

                {{the right answer is trade him}}Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Oh, yes, conceded. I thought I said that from jump.

                He should. He won’t.

                I’m curious what realistic deal might be possible.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                Me too. Wizards? Milwaukee? San Antonio if Leonard doesn’t get healthy?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Probably not Boston.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Two routes…

                1. A team with a shot at a title this year willing to push all-in even if it’s unlikely they sign him.
                2. A team focused on signing him next year looking for a leg up on other suitors.

                Group 1: Houston, SA, Toronto, Boston, maybe Minn?
                Group 2: LAL, NY, BK? Philly?

                I don’t know what assets any Group 1 team can offer. Boston has some young guys and picks but… the Kyrie factor probably makes them a non-option.
                Group 2… who blinks first in a deal centered around LeBron and KP?

                None of this considers cap implications. Houston is probably the most exciting option. Selfishly, NY or BK would be my personal preference.

                Gilbert can’t trade him for pennies on the dollar which is probably the best most serious teams could offer.Report

  23. Kazzy says:

    Good news! Shut down is not a thing…

    “”To think that this government is going to shut down in the same way that it did in the Obama administration is just wrong,” Mulvaney said, referring to the 2013 government shutdown.
    Hannity also argued that the shutdown would be “phony” and that all the “important aspects” of the government will continue and federal employees who are furloughed will be reimbursed.
    “This is not a shutdown. This is not a thing,” Hannity said.”

    Under Obama, it was a real thing AND his fault. Under Trump and the GOP? Not real AND this unreal not thing is the Dems fault anyway.Report

  24. Dan d says:

    So the same people who complain that immigration enforcement is racially biased are now complaining that white people are subject to immigration law is being applied to white immigrants as well. This proves that complains about racism in immigration enforcement are being made in bad faith what bothers these people isn’t the racism but the lack of open borders.

    • Dan d in reply to Dan d says:

      And as this article makes clear this guy has a long arrest history:

    • Jesse in reply to Dan d says:

      So, you truly think America will be helped by throwing out of the country somebody who has roots, a career, and family here whose like a net taxpayer and whose largest crimes is being an idiot when he was 17 and a DUI arrest?Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse says:


        Forget it Jesse, it’s (redacted for lack of content other than dismissing another commenter – maribou)Report

        • Gifford in reply to Saul Degraw says:



          You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it meansReport

          • Maribou in reply to Gifford says:

            @gifford The English language is ever-evolving. If you prefer, you can substitute “censored” for redacted, mentally, any time I have to go in and remove ham-handed insults from the discourse.

            Since redacted is the term of habit around here, and has been for years, it is the term I will continue to use despite prescriptivist wincing to the contrary. FWIW when moderators first started using it back in the day I had some prescriptivist wincing of my own, though I got over it, obvs.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Jesse says:

        and domestic violence, if we believe women, which we didn’t before 2017 (and neither did a jury).Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

          He also went to a diploma mill for-profit medical school in the Carribean.Report

        • Maribou in reply to Kolohe says:

          @kolohe This is an aside but it’s not necessarily a “believe women” thing. There are types of DV for which the cops will press charges even if the wife is claiming nothing happened. It’s rare for that to happen if they don’t think kids are in danger, or if they don’t have some repeated calls / strong information from neighbors, so I’m not saying that is DEFINITELY what happened, I’m not saying that just because he wasn’t convicted he didn’t do it, and I also don’t find him particularly appealing.

          That said, it was in 2008, and as a permanent green card holder myself, I find the idea of anyone being arrested by ICE this long after having been charged with anything pretty scary. (I was also feeling that way before this white dude got in trouble, but I admit to feeling more personally threatened now. Like my paranoia feels more justified than ever.)Report

          • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

            I also have never and still don’t now believe in the idea of green card holders being deported for anything non-felonious.Report

          • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

            PS I just googled it and it looks like cops arresting for DV is pretty common even if every adult on the scene when they get there agrees they shouldn’t. Even charges being pressed by the prosecutor when the vic won’t testify and claims nothing happened is pretty common. Of course, that does beg the question of who called the cops, but it could’ve been any neighbor, really.

            I didn’t realize this b/c when the cops would get called on my own neighbors, they never got arrested.

            (I still think he’s kind of a sleazebag. But it’s not the job of ICE to go rounding up green card holders with no records since 2008, in order to arrest them for deportation hearings. That’s really creepy, and, as I said, increases my feeling of justifiable paranoia.)Report

            • Kolohe in reply to Maribou says:

              This is not at all the hill I wish to fight for, but it went further than ‘charge everyone to cool off everyone’, in that it went all the way to a jury trial, vice say the charges being dropped (which seems to me most common).

              ftr, I think we should have open borders, but I also think people that plan to stay in the US more or less forever should apply for citizenship as soon as possible. again, not the hill I’m even going to fight for.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

                Most immigration lawyers would agree with you on naturalization but there are complicated reasons why people don’t naturalize. Many countries do not allow for dual citizenship and don’t allow non-citizens to own property in their country. I have an LPR friend who would take a very serious financial hit, like a seven or eight figure hit, if she naturalizes. Many LPRs I know from Europe remain LPRs because they can access European healthcare that way. I’ve known people who flew to Europe for treatment because it was more affordable than treatment in the US.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

                sob stories of regulatory arbitrage and tax avoidance push me – to the left – off the centrist pinnacle of team global neoliberal.Report

              • Maribou in reply to LeeEsq says:

                “Many countries do not allow for dual citizenship”

                I’ll just note that this technically does not include the US, which as Lee undoubtedly knows, requires people who are being naturalized to renounce all other national allegiances.

                Now people break that rule all the time, and the US historically is cheerfully willing to look the other way…

                But, technically, continuing to hold dual citizenship is a violation of the US citizenship oath.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                Er, my 2nd para should have read
                “technically includes the US”

                as was probably obvious.

                My typist regrets the error.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to LeeEsq says:


                Many countries do not allow for dual citizenship and don’t allow non-citizens to own property in their country.

                Both Poland and the US allow for dual citizenship or at least don’t prevent it. It’s a total non-issue. It’s especially a non-issue for this guy since he does nothing with the Polish community and doesn’t even speak Polish.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Dark Matter says:


                1) I’m not the one who originally said that, it was Lee.
                2) The US allows for dual citizenship in an extremely tiny small set of cases (mostly involving people whose parents were US citizens) and in all other cases *requires* people to actively renounce their citizenship. You aren’t allowed to strike that part from the oath, nor is it like a real dual citizenship country like Canada where that isn’t part of the oath. Whether or not they then enforce that in any way, and whether the other countries take them seriously – Canada blows it off as an oath made “under duress,” last time I checked – is a separate question.

                Pretty far removed from this guy, but not from Kolohe’s much more general claim (that he, duly noted, isn’t willing to die on that hill for) that if you’re going to stay in the US long-term, you should just become a citizen already – which is what Lee and I were both arguing against.

                Also, doesn’t address my other concerns with the high degree of a very particular kind of patriotism required by the citizenship oath.

                I think there are significant benefits (both to people and to the US as an entity) to distinguishing between permanent residency and citizenship, as well as to distinguishing between permanent residency and non-residency (which is what is being eroded in this particular case!), while fostering as many ways as possible to shift non-residents into having the opportunity for residency and/or citizenship.

                But then, I would.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Maribou says:

                So my wife and kids aren’t “dual citizens”, they just have two citizenships?Report

              • Maribou in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If you are your kids’ biological, as well as factual parent, and/or they were born here, they probably have dual citizenship recognized fully by both countries. (I should have included the “born here” part in my original comment, that’s an obvious exception to me b/c the US has birthright citizenship.) There may be childhood adoption exceptions, I don’t think so but I don’t know.

                If your wife was not born here, but immigrated – unless, again, she falls into the tiny boat of exceptions, not all of which I am familiar with as they don’t apply to me and never will – she has a very weird situation with regards to the US government, in that she almost certainly swore a loyalty oath that they consider to be an abandonment of any other citizenships. That could theoretically result in them claiming she isn’t really a citizen and/or refusing to recognize that her other citizenship exists at any time, although for the last 20 years they haven’t generally done that. I have no idea what they did before the last 20 years, I wasn’t here. But the dual citizenship “loophole” is not a loophole so much as it is the US gov’t just looking the other way, by practice / prioritization of interests, rather than official policy or law, and could in theory be switched to “being enforced” very quickly.

                That’s what the law is.

                That’s what I’d expect Trump to fall back on at any given moment, if some skeezoid he likes talks him into it.

                I don’t mean to be overly frightening and I think *in practice* your wife is most likely to be 100 percent fine. But again *in status of law*, the US almost certainly considers her to have renounced her other citizenship (whether or not that’s true, it’s the US’s official position on the matter).

                It’s pretty ridiculous and stupid and awful, but trust me, as someone who regularly gets told “there’s a loophole though!!!!” and then goes and researches it … that’s how it is.

                But I’m not an immigration lawyer – I’m not any kind of lawyer, and not giving legal advice, just telling you what I’ve read/researched. @leeesq is an immigration lawyer, and might – not in terms of giving legal advice *of course* – be able to clarify.

                Essentially Polish guy (to use a non-personal example, not because it matters to him) could not have gained his US citizenship without claiming to the US gov’t in writing and as a verbal oath that he was giving up his Polish citizenship.

                I mean, I guess, “If you’re willing to lie under oath you can in fact hold two citizenships” is a form of dual citizenship, but it’s a lot more precarious than straight up dual is.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                relevant piece of the oath:
                “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;”

                it is the very first thing you say.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                And yes, there are waivers (see and search for the word waiver to get a list of them) – but none of them include dual citizenship opt-outs of the renouncing and abjuring.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                Oh! I forgot also if your wife immigrated as a child she didn’t necessarily have to become naturalized *actively* herself, if one parent did before she turned 18. I think in those cases the US sometimes sends out huffy letters about picking a side (I have a friend who received one) but doesn’t really push it past that, so I don’t know what the law is exactly:

                Children become U.S. citizens derivatively through their parents’ naturalization as long as all of the following requirements are met before the child’s 18th birthday.

                At least one parent is a U.S. citizen,
                The child is under 18 years of age, and
                The child is admitted to the United States as an immigrant.


                Though in that case I suppose it would most likely be like “well, as long as a person had a parent who was willing to lie under oath or actually renounce their original citizenship …”

                No shade to your inlaws intended. These things are complex and the right decision is dang hard to identify.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kolohe says:

                “I also think people that plan to stay in the US more or less forever should apply for citizenship as soon as possible”

                I’ve been here for 20 years. Every 5 years or so I read the application for citizenship. Every 5 years or so I think “wow, no, I can’t swear to all those things.” Then I give up for another 5 years or so.

                Have you read the application recently? It may (or may not, certainly) affect your views.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Maribou says:

                They need to update the form for the possibile inquiry as to if an appllicant was a Nazi *after* May 8, 1945.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kolohe says:

                There is that.

                But I’m actually not kidding.

                Some of that stuff is creepy and invasive as hell. Thought police stuff.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

                That ‘social contract’ is a lot scarier when you actually have to read it, rather than just being told you are subject to it.Report

              • Damon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                The application isn’t the worst of it. There are section of the “contract” that aren’t even written yet, and you’re expected to comply-whether they tell you or not that it’s changed.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon Not just read it, but mark Yes to it over and over (or explain your Nos and hope they don’t result in you getting deported for not agreeing).Report

              • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                Also, the permanent resident contract has its own set of demands, as did the fiance visa contract, but I was able to accept those without much strain.

                They’re different asks.

                I don’t like realizing, though, that when they said on the permanent resident contract that they reserved the right to deport me for any reason at any time even though *probably* they wouldn’t as long as I didn’t get any felonies….. they really meant that as broadly as it was put.

                Where by “they” I mean ICE, but also, potentially, the US of A as a whole.

                It’s very different from the approach they were taking when I got here, as well as the approach I was used to in Canada.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Maribou says:

                I’ll just say that Sebastian Gorka had to answer “yes” to some of the questions seeking a “no” answer, so either he lied (a distinct possibility!) or they don’t care too much about the answers to some of the questions.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kolohe says:

                @kolohe They don’t care if they have investment in the person being here, and haven’t for a very long time – cf, Werner von Braun – which is I assume how Gorka got in. But I have little faith that the American government is invested in me being here. I have heard stories of people of all races being deported for not saying the right thing on their citizenship forms, though.

                And I won’t lie unless it seems to me, personally, that I have to (this is a general moral code for me, not restricted to gov’t forms). I have yet to ever lie on a gov’t form for that reason. A million people have told me “but you could just tell them what they want to hear and then Canada thinks you’re under duress and won’t revoke your citizenship so why do you care?”

                Because I prefer to let my yesses be yesses and nos be nos. I think – though it’s never been tested – that I would rather move back to Canada with Jay than lie on citizenship application stuff. But I would much rather that if/when I am ready to renounce Canada even to the point of being willing to bear arms against it, is the point at which I would be willing to become a citizen. OR the law changed. OR I could just have some general faith that, given that I’m a reasonably useful person, not a drain on the state, then if I’m not doing anything particularly egregious in a given year, no one will be coming along and scooping me up based on something I maybe did but no one proved it, 8 years ago. Or dumb shit I did in high school.

                First they came for the misdemeanored, next they’ll come for me, sort of existential dread.

                I’ve actually managed to come up with 4 or 5 competing theories about why Niec got deported that have nothing to do with ICE’s new regime and definitely would never in a million years be envelope-pushed until they affected me (maybe he’s a spy! etc etc etc), just to assuage said dread, to give you an idea of how real it is to me. None of them have a shred of evidence, of course.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Jesse says:

        Its even worse than that. A documented immigrants can commit a crime or crimes that trigger removal and have removal proceedings triggered years latter because some random official decides to suddenly enforce it. You could have existed and entered the country multiple times after conviction and only get placed in proceedings on say the fourth one.Report

      • Dan d in reply to Jesse says:

        We are helped when we treat people equally, this guy shouldn’t get a break because he’s a doctor. He’s been arrested four times police a very reluctant to arrest people in professional jobs. If he’s been arrested he must have gotten away with far moreReport

        • Dark Matter in reply to Dan d says:

          …If he’s been arrested he must have gotten away with far more…

          He has a vindictive ex-girlfriend (the one he was beating) who married high functioning money. She has multiple strong reasons to have him thrown out of the country. According to her, he has legally problematic hobbies which are on the “deport” list.

          If ICE is going after him for 30 year old misdemeanors then we have a problem. If some high budget Private Investigator videotaped him in the act of a “deport” action and then called ICE and the police, then we probably don’t have a problem.

          The only people talking to the news right now are his wife and coworkers, and all of them are his strong supporters. We’ve yet to hear from ICE or the police.Report

      • Dan d in reply to Jesse says:

        And if you actually considered himself an American he’d have applied for citizenship as soon as he became eligible rather than staying on a Green card.Report

        • Maribou in reply to Dan d says:

          @dan-d Or, perhaps, as someone who came from Poland, and is thus aware of Poland’s history of repression and government control, he is wary of agreeing to the extremely non-negotiable set of things that naturalized American citizens are required to agree to. Despite having ties here that supersede said wariness.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jesse says:

        Hey, Jesse. We’ve got questions in the other thread about what you meant by “net taxpayer”.Report

    • pillsy in reply to Dan d says:

      “I’m not a racist. I also think we should treat white people in a vindictive and cruel manner!”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

        “Personally, I think that they should put something about ‘net taxpayers yearning to breathe free’ on the Statue of Liberty!”Report

      • Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

        @pillsy W.C. Fields: “I’m free of prejudices. I hate all people equally.”

        That said, while I do think ICE is racist, I also think “treat all people in a vindictive and cruel manner” is kind of their MO. They’re just even more terrible and inhumane to some. We tend to focus mostly on their treatment of Mexican immigrants, and for good reason, but they’ll happily mess with anyone they don’t like.

        Back in 1999, when I was immigrating to the US, I had the fortune of getting two really nice customs officers (they do exist) and, while I was waiting for them to finish all my processing, the warning/misfortune of 1) watching other customs officers throw every single piece of clothing of a German on a work visa out of his suitcases every which way (some of them landing on the floor) because they weren’t bright enough to understand his job description and took umbrage, and 2) talking to a very very nice man from the area (Boston) who’d been held for 24 hours after returning home from visiting relatives in Ireland because the immigration folks *literally did not believe a black man could have Irish relatives*. He was, of course, a US citizen. Which is probably the only reason they let him go after one day instead of longer. Such BS.

        And they haven’t exactly gotten kinder since 1999.

        It worries me to think of what ICE may decide to do now that their worst elements are convinced (with reason) that the President is on their side.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Maribou says:

          From professional experience, I can tell you that many federal jobs relating to immigration tend to attract border guardians. These are people who interpret their job as keeping as many people out of the United States as possible and finding any reason to do so even if it would be remarkably cruel to do so.

          If you don’t want to describe them as fascist or racist, the best you can say about many of them is that they to be the type that believe the law needs to be enforced no matter what. To them the fact that DREAMERS were brought in as minors and and raised as American is irrelevant. They came in undocumented, lack a clear path to papers, and need to be deported as the law says.Report

          • Damon in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Well, you know, it’s kinda the law. Wanna change it? Change the frickin law. It’s really quite that simple.

            Oh, and @maribou: Roll down to the SW to the highway stops in AZ are New Mexico where the BP closes off roads and checks everyone coming through. Drug dogs sniffing your car, dudes peering into your vehicle, dudes asking questions about where you’ve been, where you’re going, etc. Oh, that laptop? You have no expectation of privacy. Give ze password.Report

            • Maribou in reply to Damon says:

              @damon Did I suggest things weren’t worse when ICE is obsessing over Mexicans? No I did not. In fact I said “and with good reason” we focus on it.
              I don’t have “roll down to the SW” either, btw, I live in the SW.

              As for “no expectation of privacy hand over the password” …given that it now applies any time I cross any border, as a non-citizen who lives here, yes, I’m quite aware of that one. Already considering what to do about that the next time I go back.Report

              • Damon in reply to Maribou says:

                My point was ICE is just some of the problem.

                There is no real true privacy anymore anyway. If I could find a better alternative, according to my criteria, I’d have bailed years ago.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Damon says:

                @damon Oh, I see.

                Yeah, agreed on both counts (ICE isn’t the whole problem, and privacy).

                Not on the bailing but a lot of that is because I’m just *tired* of moving away from the people I love and I don’t seem to be able to convince them all to depart from their scattered locations around the globe and move to NZ with me. (I realize my criteria are different than yours.)

                Plus I’m pretty sure the Danish govt won’t let us take over the not-in-indigenous-control part of Greenland.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Damon says:

              it’s kinda the law

              No, actually, it isn’t really the law.

              Enforcement agencies have a lot of discretion as to how they prioritize their resources and who they target and why.
              Thats the whole point of DACA and Obama’s DOJ prioritizing of criminal aliens. Some immigrants are more in need of attention than others.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Enforcement agencies have a lot of discretion as to how they prioritize their resources and who they target and why.

                I think all Presidents prioritize violent criminals.

                However it seems like there’s a difference between “this is the priority” and “we’re going to ignore this, even if we trip over it, even if we get extra resources and there are no murderers that day to pick up”.Report

              • Damon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “No, actually, it isn’t really the law.”

                Yes, yes it is. Just because the cops don’t arrest you for stealing a candy bar from the corner store or the ADA chooses not to prosecute you, doesn’t mean you aren’t a thief.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Damon says:

                No one is arguing otherwise.

                What I am saying is that the officials make conscious subjective decisions about which candy bar thieves they arrest and when and why, and thereby also consciously choose to allow other candy bar thieves to evade justice.

                Its the hallmark of bureaucracies to hide behind the mantra of policy and procedure when they want to avoid accountability.Report

              • Damon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Indeed. If it doesn’t accrue power to the bureaucrat, they aren’t that interested.Report