From comments to Steve Sailer:
* Ezra comments:
Speaking of MSM obliviousness, heres a long WaPo feature about the decline of the American middle class.
Now, it goes w/o saying that immigration is never mentioned as a possible reason. That’s par for the course. But the kicker is that the reporter focuses on Downey, CA. Downey! That’s almost the definition of chutzpah.
Here’s Downey’s non-Hispanic white share of the population:
Here’s Downey’s Hispanic share of the population:
Downey itself isn’t particularly poor. In fact here’s a 2013 PBS article half-heartedly referring to Downey as the “Mexican-American Beverly Hills:”
* I agree with most commenters here that the massive illegal immigration has contributed strongly to the devastation of the lower and lower middle class America, you know, menial laborers and tradesmen. However, it is certainly not the main contributor to the decline of the American middle class proper.
Those who think that protectionism and unions would have shielded the American middle class from the vast transformation of the global economy in the last 50 years are wholly deluded or simply ignorant of history.
You have to understand that during much of the early history of our Republic, we were a nation dependent on exporting natural resources like, say, Brazil. During much of that history, we suffered from a labor shortage that consequently created high labor wages. Vast land and resources and few people. Good times for the few people.
That boom largely ended with the closing of the frontier.
The second economic boon to the U.S. was the global destruction of World War II. In 1950, the U.S. accounted for 50% of the world GNP, largely because the rest of the industrial world was in shambles. That led to the highly unusual and unsustainable situation in which even undereducated American workers could earn relatively high salaries. And that, eventually, was not going to last once the Northern Europeans and the Northeast Asians recovered from their various temporary problems.
Large scale immigration, especially illegal immigration, exacerbated this trend, but it was not the catalyst. To put crudely, our country was gifted a long period of good times, and we got fat, happy, and dumb thinking the good times were permanent.
“Free trade” as currently formulated has significant issues, to be sure, but people who clamor for protectionism hasn’t experienced in person a real protectionist economy of high prices and low innovation in the face of capable outside competitors, a society in which most people are more equally poor.
* Downey is only Beverly Hills by Mexican standards because the bar is set so low for Mexicans. The bar is never set high for Mexicans. Mexicans after all are a NAM group just like African Americans so you can not put too much high expectations on them.
By the real Beverly Hills standards, Downey is working class at best. You know you are in a truly affluent zip code in Southern California when a lot of your neighbors are Jewish. And Downey just does not have a lot of Jews.
* I will simply say something that many posters are already aware of. That legal immigrants are not a 100% OK. That it is a mistake to make illegals the only real immigration problem. In fact the quality of legal immigrants gets worse each year. Quality going by IQ, skills, education, English speaking. Many legals get on our social welfare system ASAP that they can legally do it and are a net drain on society. You can blame our immigration laws that favors family re-unification from 3rd world cesspits. Mexico gives us the most legal immigrants each year, 400,000. Same thing happens with Guatemalans, Peruvians, Muslim Indians and Pakistanis etc etc. Once they become citizens they can apply to bring in their low-IQ relatives and wives. Sometimes multiple wives.
Of course we get many educated legal immigrants who work and are a net positive to society. But then many are infamous (Such as Chinese and Russians) for legally bringing in their elderly parents to “retire” here and drain our SS system and our social welfare in general without ever having kicked in a dime. These Chinese etc elderly can get on SS disability at $700 a month due to being broken down (being old!) and ill, faked or real.
At the same time many of the illegals can be net contributors to society especially single men I see out working on roofs as a crew. Guats and Mexicans do this. But they are sending money home, not spending it here and once mamacita gets here, they have kids here and the family starts being a new drain on the system. Plus getting anchor babies to make them non-deportable.
Also some illegals are actually skilled entrepreneurs or become such while here. IOW they have a high native IQ.
My ideal immigration system here would be to keep out all illegal aliens (via a Mexican border fence and strict computerized customs to weed out/exclude potential visa overstayers, and start making the illegal ones here self-deport. Then on the legal side immigration should become 100% skills based which nations such as Canada and Australia do. This will tilt our system to allowing in more Europeans. Millions of skilled, hi-IQ, English speaking, culturally Christian East Europeans (South Africans too!) would love to come here. We need a 5-10 year moratorium on 3rd world immigration. They have been hogging our legal immigration slots for 50 years since the 1965 immigration passed.
* Just suppose that the mass, post-1965 third world immigration into the USA had never occurred.
It is pretty much incontestable that tens and tens of million low paid third world immigrants – and their equally low paid descendants would not be present on US soil.
Now, as Peter Schaeffer more or less proved, these tens of millions are entirely dependant on the productivity of others, via taxation, just to keep them alive and breathing with food in their bellies and shirts on their backs, never mind the huge resources ‘transferred’ to pay for their education, health, housing etc.
Now, imagine if all of those resources – which to put a not too fine a point on it are as good as being burned – were available for such luxuries and fripperies as ‘space exploration’. Imagine how many good, high-tech’ high paying jobs would be supported – imagine the potential of the ‘spinoff’ technologies and of the technical, educated workforce so created.
* Apparently, the UK workforce has never been so big. Never before have so many workers been in employment.
Now, one would expect under these circumstances for the UK treasury to be awash with cash, as one would have thought more workers equals more income tax.
But, not a bit of it. The UK fiscal deficit is still stubbornly, enormously high and huge, huge public spending cuts, on top of those already made, are planned for the near future. Income tax receipts into the UK treasury have simply not increased.
The reason? – the massive, uncontrolled immigration into the UK started by New Labour, and continued by the Tories has added millions to the UK workforce. But in the main they are badly paid. Their competition has dragged down wage rates to the irreducible minimum, such workers pay very little to zero income tax in the UK. But, they are entitled to huge ‘family credit’ taxpayer paid cash bonuses, combined with huge liabilities attendant to education and socialized UK health care.
But never but never will you hear The Economist magazine state this obvious truth.
* As Paul Kersey says, we could have had Mars. Instead the money got spent subsidizing the reproduction of the underclass.
* There are two foreign worker programs, H1B and then another of foreign citizens who got masters degrees from US institutions that can be hired and are exempt from H1B limits. The limit on the first program is 65,000 and the second is 20,000. One set of calculations done in 2009 had set the number of these workers in the US at 650,000 taking into consideration applications and then various forms of attrition.
Consider that 90% of those two numbers per year are still in America. H1B renewals were not effected by annual limits. Then added up over the history of all of it, and I can easily think back to 1995 and you start to have a tech population that is easily 35-40% of the total. It’s been almost 20 years or more, by my count. And that does little to take in those “driven out”, like one of my former managers who I met a few years later, that was installing cable. The trend of companies is to keep the H1B guy because of the “trickiness” of the application process and then lay off the local guy. Given the “up and down” nature of tech in the 2000s, layoffs in 2002-2003 had dramatic effect on some people, then they landed somewhere, maybe, then a few years later, to get hit again, often because they were in a new area technologically for them, and lacked or never gained the soundness in that field.
One of the big deals, and this cannot be underplayed, is that much development went offshore. This was the nuts and bolts designing, writing, and testing of software. And for each developer job that went offshore, then usually support jobs went with it. Lots. So when coder jobs went over there, then so too did manager jobs, tester jobs, documentation jobs, all these jobs that provided really the “middle class” of tech.
Also for many people, since the world of tech shifted in the US from onshore staff writing code to doing operations of systems created offshore, then for many people, they basically lost the value of their skills and had to learn to shift over into this new mode, running and maintaining systems instead of developing software. And it is not the same thing.
Also as each “wave” of tech, even “versions” of major software products came out and migrated into use, often it was these newer immigrants that were hired to do it, mostly just because they were new, and the older employees were already mired in to the “old” stuff, because the old stuff was in production. For example, there was massive shift between Oracle 9 and Oracle 10. And really most of the world was using Oracle 8 and never converted to Oracle 9. And there was a huge degree of difference between the two. So projects might migrate to the new versions, when they had to. And these Indians were then hired to come in “learn” the Oracle 10, set it up, and what they learned what very much newer. So then eventually, the migrations were done, and overnight the skills of the locals were obsolete. And if they got laid off by economic conditions, when they went out to interview, nobody gave a crap about their experience. Especially when instead of 3 or 4 roughly capable candidates there were 10 like in 2008-2009.
It just happened really “overnight”. In the days before the dot com bust, Americans were the large majority of development then when recovery came, it was an Indian thing. And with the flow of the 85,000 per year more over the last 10 years, and consider this idea of Entryism where a small group gets in, then lets in more, and if they can control a dominant activity, then they can push out and lock out others not in their group.
To me, the 90s proved that American tech salaries were the dominant driver in the economy. It drove the stock market. If people are working, then they contribute to 401K in a river of purchases. They can’t take the money out; it just flows in and drives up the Market.
The effect in the economy is very subtle. I once read about Fed Ex and UPS as bellweather companies. I asked the local driver about activity (in 2007) he said it was half of what it was the year before, 3 months later, the bottom fell out. The American programmers were chubby-ish white beta males. What they did with their salaries, at least what they personally got, was they drove used cars and they ate lunch, (thus the chubby), and they gave the rest to their wives. Their value to women was they were employed, honest, calm, dependable “Dads”. Then the women took that money and drove the American economy. Indians do not do the same thing. Who knows how much money is sent from America to India. Also another fact is that Indian consulting companies drove out American companies, these smaller companies that would find talent, supply them for periods to bigger companies, pay the employees like a bank, then get paid by the bigger companies quarterly. A ton of smallish companies did this, as well as some very big ones. And they have driven out by the big Indian companies and many of these companies have very few employees onshore doing the administration of these contract employees. And consider the cost to American families, to American women in “where are all the good men”, in fathers, and even in “kids born”, kids that could have turned out to be somebody but never will give us the benefit of them living. I have this saying “It takes 1 guy with a good idea to feed 1000 people”. Obviously there are bunch of those “1 guys” that never will be, either never get the exposure to even a clue about the idea, that never see a tech and think “fuck they’re doing that all wrong”, never have the benefit of these great American thinkers like Ritchie, the nerd from Staten Island who had to commute to Long Island on the ferry, then on the train, and he read semiconductor data books and drew me circuits on a napkin and taught me better than any prof, or Jim Dimino, the big burly Italian who literally was in a junior high gang with Sammy the Bull and missed the life because one night his dad heard some rumors and locked him in his bedroom. And Sammy and the rest got arrested for some stupid shit they did. And Jim went on to be this big designer in the Bell System and ran our design sessions with a yardstick in his hand and hollered at me and the others in that Italian Gangster accent, “Your fucking talking like you know what your talking about!” and then one day we did, because he hollered at us, with a ruler in his hand like a nun.
I can go and on. H1B and outsourcing screwed the American middle class, and really is a self defeating thing for US companies. It is like steroids in sports. One competitor does it, then the rest have to. And no matter the cost to each, they can’t stop or they lose. And because it started it dried up a lot of the pipeline of being coming into a field with entry level stuff.
Even the guys that started Fairchild, got their start because the US Gov was paying a lot of people to work on tube based electronics. You learned tubes and circuits using them. Then shifted over to solid state. I can remember going to tech school, some pretty technical stuff, roughly the equivalent of Electronic Enginering without the fluff that a university program has. And at night we sat around and read Gearhead mags, Hot Rod, technical stuff about car engines because that was what guys did back then. The marriage of the two created this very competent bunch of guys, ones that could think in the “spatial” and then ones that were good with tools, lathes, mechanical stuff. When I first started in software, even then, it was nothing for guys I worked with to take the computers apart and do stuff to them, just look it and start point, “That must this thing, and that over there is that other thing.” We ran our own cabling, we jumpered the boards ourselves, we installed new hardware, drives. We all had tools in our desks. It was very unique set of workers in the history of the world, guys that were just as comfortable under the hood of a car, as they were running bebuggers on code, and many were just as comfortable on a tractor or in a machine shop. And younger guys would come in, and these were the “teachers” they would encounter and learn from. This strange combination of Americanism and Protestantism all with a burly American macho swagger, this set of “shit testing” between guys, this sort of “get over here and learn something, idiot” teasing, that produced really incredible leaps and bounds.
And now they are gone. And dudes from Punjab have those jobs now. And your son will never get them again.