Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mailvox: economics and immigration

LR asks about low interest rates:
So this may be a dumb question, but I was reading an article that was talking about the returns bank were receiving on home loans (5-6%) and the returns that savers were receiving on their savings accounts (practically nothing) and how elderly people that had previously been able to live off of Social Security and the interest from their savings were now having to spend their principal. My question is why don’t people take their savings out of the banks so that the banks then have to compete for their business by offering decent interest rates? If enough people did this, could it force the banks to operate differently?
Because people primarily use banks as a place to store their money. They aren't going to take the risk of stuffing their cash under a mattress and only one in a thousand Americans utilizes precious metals as a store of value, so the Fed has realized that it can crush depositors with impunity without having to worry about mass withdrawals. In other words, what you're describing is theoretically possible but realistically implausible. If people aren't withdrawing their money because two percent of the banks are failing every year, they're not going to withdraw it over zero interest either.

MB wants to know if a Republican sweep in November can stave off economic contraction:
I'm hearing from a few pundits that if the Republicans take the House (at least) the stock market will pick up because business will trust that no more insane bills will pass for two years or more. They'll "trust" that govt won't make things worse. If the equities market does swing up, when will this Depression hit home if the day of reckoning keeps getting postponed?
There might be a very short term bump, but the reality is that the central problem with the economy isn't the Obama administration, the health care act, or the business community's inability to calculate future employment and regulatory costs. The central problem is the massive amount of debt that is crippling the private sector and no amount of change in the political makeup of Congress is going to change that. Furthermore, there is absolutely no reason to expect that the Republicans aren't going to do pretty much the same thing that they did before and resolutely defend the interests of Wall Street and the Federal Reserve against the futile fury of the electorate.

MM asks about different waves of immigration:
I would like to first say that though this is my first time to write you, I enjoy reading your blog, and I do so regularly. Second, I would like to ask you a question regarding immigration, I have been reading your posts on that subject, and would like to get a clearer picture of your opinion on the subject (or maybe of the US history as well).

Here is my question: I would like to understand how you differentiate what happened during the 16th and 17th centuries (even the US as a nation was founded by early settlers from other countries or at least their children) from the immigration which is recently happening in the US? If you can label the latter as detrimental do you consider the former to have been so as well?

Again, you mentioned in a previous post that there were 3.3 million more people in the US every year during the period (1997-2010). Do you think that this is necessarily a bad thing to the US nation? What if the 3.3 million were not mostly Mexicans, Somalis and people from the third world, but rather wealthy and skilled western Europeans, would that be okay?
The main differentiation between the various waves of immigration was ethno-cultural. The English and Dutch immigrants were very different from the later Irish, German, and Scandinavian immigrants. They, in turn, were very different from the later Asian, African, and South Central American immigrants. The significance of these ethno-cultural differences is much greater than most people can imagine, let alone understand.

For example, the present American public school system would not exist were it not for the heavy German influence, hence the term "kindergarten". Having grown up in Minnesota, I can testify the reason the upper Midwest is so inclined to the left is due to the German/Scandinavian heritage of the immigrants who settled there; this is the reason that the University of Wisconsin, Madison is more socialist than the erstwhile Patrice Lumumba University and why Democrats in Minnesota are more properly known as the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

So, I don't regard the formative Anglo-Dutch immigration to have been harmful; that was the America of the Constitution, after all. The German/Irish/Scandinavian immigration transformed the Constitutional Republic into a Progressive Democratic Empire and laid the groundwork for the present Third World immigration that will convert the Democratic Empire into an Authoritarian Oligarchy. I consider that to be detrimental, but those who prefer authoritarian oligarchs will obviously feel otherwise.

In answer to the last question, one percent new immigrants every year is simply too much for any nation that is even nominally democratic. If you consider that the average presidential vote margin is around 3.5 percent, such an immigration rate means that new immigrants can theoretically control national elections within a single electoral cycle. Immigration and democracy are simply not compatible and I am confident this will soon become eminently apparent as the recent wave of immigrants transform the areas they settle into plausible replications of the lands from whence they came.

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