Monday, May 21, 2018




"Amazon is a massive wrecking machine consuming American retail. It's looting the economy and leaving behind rubble. " --- DANIEL GREENFIELD FRONTPAGE MAG

"The Wealth-X report shows that the world’s billionaire 

population has grown by 15 percent, to 2,754 people, since 

2016, and that the wealth of these billionaires “surged by 24 

percent to a record level of $9.2 trillion,” equivalent to 12 

percent of the gross domestic product of the entire planet."

Wealth-X report shows billionaires gained $1.8 trillion in 2017

21 May 2018
American television viewers and newspaper readers were inundated this weekend with banner headlines and around-the-clock coverage of the royal wedding of Prince Harry of the British House of Windsor and his American partner, Meghan Markle.
The major networks deployed an army of reporters to present the wedding as an historic event. CNN called it “an electrifying affair that will live long in the memory.” ABC called the wedding “a love locomotive,” while the phrase “A Modern Fairytale” appeared as an on-screen banner. The coverage provided no hint that the United States was born out of a violent struggle against the British crown—a revolution that produced a Constitution banning titles of nobility.
How is the fawning praise for aristocracy by the American media establishment to be explained?
It is rooted in the staggering growth of social inequality, which continues to enrich a modern-day financial aristocracy that exercises oligarchic rule all over the world. The historically unprecedented concentration of wealth at the very pinnacle of society inevitably breeds envy of the British nobility, with its titles and caste privileges, within the ruling elite of the American “republic” and its well-paid apologists.
The material and social basis of this longing for monarchy finds new documentation in the publication last week of the Wealth-X “Billionaire Census.” It shows that a tiny group of billionaires is continuing to increase the immense scale of the fortunes it has amassed at the expense of billions of workers and poor people worldwide.
The Wealth-X report shows that the world’s billionaire population has grown by 15 percent, to 2,754 people, since 2016, and that the wealth of these billionaires “surged by 24 percent to a record level of $9.2 trillion,” equivalent to 12 percent of the gross domestic product of the entire planet.
Billionaires the world over increased their wealth, but nowhere did they make as much money as in the United States and Asia. The wealth of the 727 billionaires in North America increased by 22.8 percent to a total of $3.3 trillion, a rate outpaced only by the 49.4 percent wealth increase among Asia’s 784 billionaires, who recorded a combined fortune of $2.4 trillion in 2018.
The super-rich are for the most part speculators. They derive their income not by contributing to the process of production, but by gambling, stealing and cheating. Among all billionaires, the portion of total wealth derived from shares of stock increased from 32.9 percent in 2016 to 41.5 percent in 2017.
At the very top of the wealth pyramid, the richest 10 billionaires own a combined $663 billion. Each has a net worth that is on average 20 times higher than the “average billionaire.” A plurality of billionaires (413) derive their wealth from finance, banking or investment, surpassing industrial conglomerates (380), real estate (173), manufacturing (167) and technology (143).
The increase in billionaire wealth is the result of policies enacted by the governments of the world. In no other country do the super-rich so nakedly control the political system as in the United States, where President Donald Trump epitomizes the criminal character of Wall Street.
The report notes a “dramatic improvement in extreme wealth creation” in the United States due to “buoyant equity markets and robust corporate earnings.” American billionaires benefited from “the implementation of a major US tax reform package late in the year,” i.e., the Trump administration’s sweeping tax cut for the rich, passed without any serious opposition from the Democratic Party.
The United States is home to the most billionaires of any country in the world and accounts for 34 percent of billionaire wealth worldwide. New York maintained its position as the top billionaire city, home to 103 billionaires.
In 2017, Wealth-X published a report on the world’s “ultra high net worth” population, which includes individuals whose net worth is over $30 million. According to this report, the world’s “ultra wealthy”—some 250,000 people worldwide—owned a combined $25 trillion, including $9.6 trillion in liquid cash alone.
The ultra wealthy expect to increase their wealth by another $8.5 trillion in the next five years to over $35 trillion, equaling the total net worth of the bottom 90 percent of the world’s population, according to 2017 figures from Credit Suisse Bank.
Even these astronomical figures mask the real power of the billionaires and the super-rich, whose wealth translates into control over the world’s governments, media corporations, trade unions, political parties, universities, courts, militaries and spy agencies.
After having made billions of dollars on the technology boom, the ruling classes of the major powers are now working with technology corporations such as Google and Facebook to censor left-wing viewpoints out of fear that cell phones and the Internet are helping billions of the poor and working class acquire access to news and information that is not vetted by the corporate media.
Karl Marx wrote in Volume 1 of Capital: “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, i.e., on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital.” This aptly characterizes the global situation today.
All over the world, in developed, undeveloped and semi-developed countries alike, the working class is completely excluded from the government decision-making process. As the governments enact policies to increase the wealth of the billionaires, the needs of billions of people for clean water, adequate medical attention and affordable health care, education, food, housing, public transportation, infrastructure and culture go unmet.
For just one fifth of the total wealth of the 10 richest people in the world, the following social needs could be immediately addressed:
* The provision of housing for all 634,000 homeless people in the US: $20 billion
* The provision of food to 862 million malnourished people worldwide: $30 billion
* Reduction by half of the total number of people without access to clean water: $11 billion
* Education for every child who doesn’t receive one: $26 billion
* Free maternal and prenatal care for every mother in the developing world: $13 billion
* Treatment and vaccination to prevent 4 million malaria deaths: $6 billion
* Replacement of the toxic water infrastructure of Flint, Michigan with a safe and clean system: $1.5 billion
* Immediate $20,000 bonuses to all 3.1 million teachers in the US: $62 billion
Total cost: $169.5 billion.
The glorification of monarchy underscores the fact that no society can sustain democratic forms of rule under conditions where such levels of wealth concentration and inequality prevail. Nor can any social problems be addressed when the wealth produced by the working class and the world’s natural resources are squandered to satisfy the insatiable greed of the super-rich.
There is no real democracy today outside of the mobilization of the international working class to put an end to capitalism and establish socialism.
Eric London

OBAMA’S CRONY BANKSTERISM destroyed a 11 TRILLION DOLLARS in home equity… and they’re still plundering us!

Barack Obama created more debt for the middle class than any president in US

history, and also had the only huge QE programs: $4.2 Trillion.

OXFAM reported that during Obama’s terms, 95% of the wealth created went to the top 1% of the world’s wealthy. 



"Today, each of the top 5 billionaires owns as much as 750 million people, more than the total population of Latin America and double the population of the US."

"Amazon is a massive wrecking machine consuming American retail. It's looting the economy and leaving behind rubble. " --- DANIEL GREENFIELD

Viking Economics by George Lakey

by Melville House

This week, we’re excited to be publishing Viking EconomicsGeorge Lakey’s look at how the Nordic countries, in a very short span of time, managed to move past many of the problems faced by nations like the US and UK today — problems with inequality, infrastructural weakness, the cost of education, and personal freedom. Today, the people of DenmarkIcelandNorway, and Sweden enjoy widely-shared prosperity, low crime rates, reliable infrastructure, affordable education, great personal freedoms — some of the highest standards of living in the world.
Particularly as both the US and the UK face some of our biggest challenges in a generation — and, in both cases, under new leadership — Viking Economicsoffers some crucial examples of how we might get some things right.
Here’s a brief excerpt to read on the longship ride over to your local bookstore to buy a copy; please try not to get herring on it.

Like most Americans today, Norwegians a century ago didn’t like the results of a wealth gap: the hunger and poverty, the crime, elderly friends warehoused or left in isolation, young people without hope of a good job. Norwegians also didn’t like the attitudes that went with inequality: an inclination toward arrogance among higher-income people and the feeling among lower-income people that they were losers, defeated by the system.
Early in the twentieth century, Norway had the formal institutions of parliamentary democracy, but ordinary people were not empowered: they did not set the direction of their society. The direction was set, instead, by the economic elite, through the political parties they dominated and the businesses they ran. Career options were limited, and there was little social mobility.
The differences between then and now are striking: If you’re a Norwegian teenager today and the job you’re interested in pursuing doesn’t require higher education, you can choose among good public vocational courses. If you learn better in a hands-on apprenticeship mode, publicly supported programs help you do that. If, instead, you prefer to develop a talent in art or music, or follow a career at sea or in engineering, you can attend a free post-secondary school.
Paid maternity and paternity leave (including for adoptive parents) is built into the system, and your job is held until you return. After the leave is over, child support is increased if you choose to be a full-time parent. If your choice is to go back to work, affordable childcare is available.
Extensive, subsidized public transport means that you probably won’t need a car to get to work. High educational standards prevail in big-city schools, as well as in the suburbs. Small towns receive subsidies to make them attractive for people who might otherwise feel forced to live in a city for cultural amenities, again increasing your options. The economy subsidizes family farming both for its own sake and for food security, so farmers can earn a reasonable income, another freedom denied in many industrialized countries.
The government offers free vocational counseling, education, and job-training resources for people seeking a career change, and entrepreneurialism is encouraged through free health care and a public pension for all: In Norway, you have the freedom to fail without becoming a failure.
Money doesn’t dominate the political system, so citizens are freer to participate meaningfully in political life—and they’re more likely to be exposed to newspapers with a variety of points of view, because journalism is subsidized to avoid a narrowing of perspective. According to Freedom House, in 2013, Norway was tied with Sweden at number one in the world for freedom of the press. Denmark was sixth, and Iceland was tenth. (The United States was twenty-sixth.) Indeed, this approach to public life has a long lineage in the region: Sweden was the first country in the world to establish freedom of the press—in 1766.
The Nordics are among the longest-living people in the world, and older citizens continue to benefit from an economy designed for personal freedom. The Global Watch Index studied ninety-six countries and rated Norway as the best place to grow old, followed closely by Sweden. The pension system enables you to live at home with health aides or in a senior living facility. You don’t need to fear hunger or lack of medicines or of health care. Every small town has a music and culture center where you can enjoy the arts and pursue your hobbies.
The crime rate is very low, partly because societies with high equality tend to experience less crime. Even in their largest city, Norwegians enjoy a remarkable degree of freedom from fear about personal safety.
Designing an economy that supports freedom and equality pays off in happiness, judging from the Vikings’ descendants making the top ten in the UN’s International Happiness Index. In 2015, the ratings showed Denmark, Iceland, and Norway sharing first place with Switzerland, while Sweden was close to its cousins.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), composed of thirty-four of the most-developed nations, compared life satisfaction experienced by the people in each country in 2013. The OECD found Norway second, Iceland third, Sweden fourth, and Denmark fifth.
And yet in spite of all this security and support, the Nordic yen for adventure has not disappeared. Americans, too, have a strong yearning for both freedom and equality, so the Nordic desire for both isn’t surprising. What is surprising, though, is that they went ahead and built an economy to serve those values. That’s the story in this book.
Like their Viking ancestors, the moderns made mistakes in their explorations. Iceland’s financial collapse of 2008 was a spectacular error, and, as I’ll describe, back in the 1980s, the Norwegians and Swedes made a series of serious economic mistakes. The Nordics haven’t built a utopia: Norwegians see themselves as “a nation of complainers,” and this book doesn’t shy away from the challenges that face them and their Nordic cousins.
Still, it’s useful for us as outsiders to observe the Nordics’ expeditions and to use them to reflect on our own situations. There are many important lessons to be learned.


Economy, finance, and budgets
The Social Order
Articles about America’s high levels of child poverty are a media evergreen. Here’s a typical entry, courtesy of the New York Times’s Eduardo Porter: “The percentage of children who are poor is more than three times as high in the United States as it is in Norway or the Netherlands. America has a larger proportion of poor children than Russia.” That’s right: Russia.
Outrageous as they seem, the assertions are true—at least in the sense that they line up with official statistics from government agencies and reputable nongovernmental organizations like the OECD and UNICEF. International comparisons of the sort that Porter makes, though, should be accompanied by a forest of asterisks. Data limitations, varying definitions of poverty, and other wonky problems are rampant in these discussions.
The lousy child-poverty numbers should come with another qualifying asterisk, pointing to a very American reality. Before Europe’s recent migration crisis, the United States was the only developed country consistently to import millions of very poor, low-skilled families, from some of the most destitute places on earth—especially from undeveloped areas of Latin America—into its communities, schools, and hospitals. Let’s just say that Russia doesn’t care to do this—and, until recently, Norway and the Netherlands didn’t, either. Both policymakers and pundits prefer silence on the relationship between America’s immigration system and poverty, and it’s easy to see why. The subject pushes us headlong into the sort of wrenching trade-offs that politicians and advocates prefer to avoid. Here’s the problem in a nutshell: you can allow mass low-skilled immigration, which many on the left and the right—and probably most poverty mavens—consider humane and quintessentially American. But if you do, pursuing the equally humane goal of substantially reducing child poverty becomes a lot harder.
In 1964, the federal government settled on a standard definition of poverty: an income less than three times the value of a hypothetical basic food basket. (That approach has its flaws, but it’s the measure used in the United States, so we’ll stick with it.) Back then, close to 23 percent of American kids were poor. With the important exception of the years between 1999 and 2007—following the introduction of welfare reform in 1996—when it declined to 16 percent, child poverty has bounced within three points of 20 percent since 1980. Currently, about 18 percent of kids are below the poverty line, amounting to 13,250,000 children. Other Anglo countries have lower child-poverty rates: the OECD puts Canada’s at 15 percent, with the United Kingdom and Australia lower still, between 11 percent and 13 percent. The lowest levels of all—under 10 percent—are found in the Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland.
How does immigration affect those post-1964 American child-poverty figures? Until 1980, it didn’t. The 1924 Immigration Act sharply reduced the number of immigrants from poorer Eastern European and southern countries, and it altogether banned Asians. (Mexicans, who had come to the U.S. as temporary agricultural workers and generally returned to their home country, weren’t imagined as potential citizens and thus were not subject to restrictive quotas.) The relatively small number of immigrants settling in the U.S. tended to be from affluent nations and had commensurate skills. According to the Migration Policy Institute, in 1970, immigrant children were less likely to be poor than were the children of native-born Americans.
By 1980, chiefly because of the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, the situation had reversed: immigrant kids were now poorer than native-born ones. That 1965 law, overturning the 1924 restrictions, made “family preference” a cornerstone of immigration policy—and, as it turned out, that meant a growing number of new Americans hailing from less-developed countries and lacking skills. The income gap between immigrant and native children widened. As of 1990, immigrant kids had poverty rates 50 percent higher than their native counterparts. At the turn of the millennium, more than one-fifth of immigrant children, compared with just 9 percent of non-Hispanic white kids, were classified as poor. Today, according to Center for Immigration Studies estimates, 31.1 percent of the poor under 18 are either immigrants or the American-born kids of immigrant parents.
Perhaps the most uncomfortable truth about these figures, and surely one reason they don’t often show up in media accounts, is that a large majority of America’s poor immigrant children—and, at this point, a large fraction of all its poor children—are Hispanic (see chart below). The U.S. started collecting separate poverty data on Hispanics in 1972. That year, 22.8 percent of those originally from Spanish-language countries of Latin America were poor. The percentage hasn’t risen that dramatically since then; it’s now at 25.6 percent. But because the Hispanic population in America quintupled during those years, these immigrants substantially expanded the nation’s poverty rolls. Hispanics are now the largest U.S. immigrant group by far—and the lowest-skilled. Pew estimates that Hispanics accounted for more than half the 22-million-person rise in the official poverty numbers between 1972 and 2012. Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post found that, between 1990 and 2016, Hispanics drove nearly three-quarters of the increase in the nation’s poverty population from 33.6 million to 40.6 million.
Graph by Alberto Mena
Ironically, then, at the same time that America’s War on Poverty was putting a spotlight on poor children, the new immigration system was steadily making the problem worse. In 1980, only 9 percent of American children were Hispanic. By 2009, that number had climbed to 22 percent. Almost two-thirds of these children were first- or second-generation immigrants, most of whose parents were needy. Nowadays, 31 percent of the country’s Hispanic children are in poverty. That percentage remains somewhat lower than the 36 percent of black children who are poor, true; but because the raw number of poor Hispanic kids—5.1 million—is so much higher (poor black children number 3.7 million), they make up by far the largest group in the child-poverty statistics. As of 2016, Hispanic children account for more than one-third of America’s poor children. Between 1999 and 2008 alone, the U.S. added 1.8 million children to the poverty rolls; the Center for Immigration Studies reports that immigrants accounted for 45 percent of them.
Let’s be clear: Hispanic immigration isn’t the only reason that the U.S. has such troubling child-poverty rates. Other immigrant groups, such as North Africans and Laotians, add to the ranks of the under-18 poor. And American Indians have the highest rates of child poverty of all ethnic and racial groups. These are relatively small populations, however; combine Indians and Laotians, and you get fewer than a half-million poor children—a small chunk of the 14-plus million total.
Even if we were following the immigration quotas set in 1924, the U.S. would be something of a child-poverty outlier. The nation’s biggest embarrassment is the alarming percentage of black children living in impoverished homes. Unsurprisingly, before the civil rights movement, the numbers were higher; in 1966, almost 42 percent of black kids were poor. But those percentages started to improve in the later 1960s and in the 1970s. Then they soared again. By the 1980s and early 1990s, black child poverty was hovering miserably between 42 percent and almost 47 percent. Researchers attribute the lack of progress to the explosion in single-parent black families and welfare use. The current percentage of black kids living with a single mother—66 percent—far surpasses that of any other demographic group. The 1996 welfare-reform bill and a strong economy helped bring black child poverty below 40 percent, a public-policy success—but the numbers remain far too high.
Policymakers and pundits prefer silence on the relationship between America’s immigration system and poverty.
Immigrant poverty, though usually lumped within a single “child-poverty” number, belongs in a different category from black or Native American poverty. After all, immigrants voluntarily came to the United States, usually seeking opportunity. And immigrants of the past often found it. The reality of American upward mobility helps explain why, despite real hardships, poor immigrant childhood became such a powerful theme in American life and literature. Think of classic coming-of-age novels like Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (about Irish immigrants), Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep (Jewish immigrants), and Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl, Brownstones (West Indians), all set in the first decades of the twentieth century. With low pay, miserable work conditions, and unreliable hours, the immigrant groups that such novels depicted so realistically were as poor as—and arguably more openly discriminated against than—today’s Mexicans or Bangladeshis.
Their children, though, didn’t need a ton of education to leave the hard-knocks life behind. While schools of that era were doubtless more committed to assimilating young newcomers than are today’s diversity-celebrating institutions, sky-high dropout rates limited their impact. At the turn of the twentieth century, only 5 percent of the total population graduated from high school; the rate among immigrants would have been even lower. That doesn’t mean that education brought no advantages. Though economist George Borjas notes that endemic truancy and interrupted studies had ripple effects on incomes into following generations, the pre–World War II industrial economy offered a “range of blue collar opportunities” for immigrant children, as sociologists Roger Waldinger and Joel Perlman observe, and it required “only modest educations to move a notch or two above their parents.” It may have taken more than one generation, but most immigrant families could expect, if not Horatio Alger–style ascents, at least middle-class stability over time.
America’s economy has transformed in ways that have blocked many of the avenues to upward mobility available to the immigrant families of the past. The kind of middle-skilled jobs that once fed the aspirations of low-income strivers are withering. “Modest educations” will no longer raise poor immigrant children above their parents’ station. Drop out of high school, and you’ll be lucky to be making sandwiches at a local deli or cleaning rooms at a Motel 6. Even a high school diploma can be a dead end, unless supplemented by the right kind of technical training. Get a college degree, however, and it is a different, happier, story.
Yes, some immigrant groups known for their obsessional devotion to their children’s educational attainment (Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants come to mind) still have a good shot at middle-class stability, even though the parents typically arrive in America with little skill or education and, working in low-wage occupations, add to poverty numbers in the short term. But researchers have followed several generations of Hispanics—again, by far the largest immigrant group—and what they’ve found is much less encouraging. Hispanic immigrants start off okay. Raised in the U.S., the second generation graduates high school and goes to college at higher rates than its parents, and it also earns more, though it continues to lag significantly behind native-born and other immigrant groups in these outcomes. Unfortunately, the third generation either stalls, or worse, takes what the Urban Institute calls a “U-turn.” Between the second and third generation, Hispanic high school dropout rates go up and college-going declines. The third generation is more often disconnected—that is, neither attending school nor employed. Its income declines; its health, including obesity levels, looks worse. Most disturbing, as we look to the future, a third-generation Hispanic is more likely to be born to a single mother than were his first- or second-generation predecessors. The children of single mothers not only have high poverty rates, regardless of ethnic or racial background; they’re also less likely to experience upward mobility, as a mountain of data shows.
The Hispanic “U-turn” probably has many causes. Like most parents these days, Hispanics say that they believe that education is essential for their children’s success. Cultural norms that prize family and tradition over achievement and independence often stand in the way. According to a study in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Hispanic parents don’t talk and read to their young children as much as typical middle-class parents, who tend to applaud their children’s attempts at self-expression, do; differences in verbal ability show up as early as age two. Hispanic parents of low-achieving students, most of whom also voiced high academic hopes for their kids, were still “happy with their children’s test scores even when the children performed poorly.” Their children tended to be similarly satisfied. Unlike many other aspiring parents, Hispanics are more reluctant to see their children travel to magnet schools and to college. They also become parents at younger ages. Though Hispanic teen birthrates have fallen—as they have for all groups, apart from American Indians—they remain the highest in the nation.
The sheer size of the Hispanic population hinders the assimilation that might moderate some of these preferences. Immigrants have always moved into ethnic enclaves in the United States when they could, but schools and workplaces and street life inevitably meant mixing with other kinds, even when they couldn’t speak the same language. In many parts of the country, though, Hispanics are easily able to stick to their own. In fact, Generations of Exclusion, a longitudinal study of several generations of Mexican-Americans, found that a majority of fourth-generation Mexican-Americans live in Hispanic neighborhoods and marry other Hispanics.
Other affluent countries have lots of immigrants struggling to make it in a postindustrial economy. Those countries have lower child-poverty rates than we do—some much lower. But the background of the immigrants they accept is very different. Canada, New Zealand, and Australia are probably the best points of comparison. Like the United States, they are part of the Anglosphere and historically multicultural, with large numbers of foreign-born residents. However, unlike the U.S., they all use a points system that considers education levels and English ability, among other skills, to determine who gets immigration visas. The Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project calculates that, while 30 percent of American immigrants have a low level of education—meaning less than a high school diploma—and 35 percent have a college degree or higher, only 22 percent of Canadian immigrants lack a high school diploma, while more than 46 percent have gone to college. (Canada tightened its points system after a government study found that a rise in poverty and inequality during the 1980s and 1990s could be almost entirely attributed to an influx of poorer immigrants.) Australia and New Zealand also have a considerably more favorable ratio of college-educated immigrants than does the United States. The same goes for the U.K.
The immigration ecosystem of the famously egalitarian Nordic countries also differs from the U.S.’s in ways that have kept their poverty numbers low. Historically, the Nordics didn’t welcome large numbers of greenhorns. As of 1940, for instance, only 1 percent of Sweden’s population was foreign-born, compared with almost 8.8 percent of Americans. After World War II, Nordic immigration numbers began rising, with most of the newcomers arriving from developed countries, as was the case in the U.S. until 1965. In Finland and Iceland, for instance, the plurality of immigrants today is Swedish and Polish, respectively. In Norway, the majority of immigrants come from Poland and Lithuania. Note that these groups have low poverty rates in the U.S., too.
Sweden presents the most interesting case, since it has been the most welcoming of the Nordic countries—and it has one of the most generous welfare states, providing numerous benefits for its immigrants. For a long time, the large majority of Sweden’s immigrants were from Finland, a country with a similar culture and economy. By the 1990s, the immigrant population began to change, though, as refugees arrived from the former Yugoslavia, Iran, and Iraq—populations with little in common culturally with Sweden and far more likely to be unskilled than immigrants from the European Union. By 2011, Sweden, like other European countries, was seeing an explosion in the number of asylum applicants from Syria, Afghanistan, and Africa; in 2015 and 2016, there was another spike. Sweden’s percentage of foreign-born has swelled to 17 percent—higher than the approximately 13 percent in the United States.
How has Sweden handled its growing diversity? We don’t have much reliable data from the most recent surge, but numbers from earlier this decade suggest the limits of relying on copious state benefits to acclimate cultural outsiders. In the U.S., immigrants are still more likely to be employed than are the native-born. In Sweden, the opposite holds. More than 26 percent of Swedish newcomers have remained unemployed long-term (for more than a year). Immigrants tend to be poorer than natives and more likely to fall back into poverty if they do surmount it. In fact, Sweden has one of the highest poverty rates among immigrants relative to native-born in the European Union. Most strikingly, a majority of children living in Sweden classified as poor in 2010 were immigrants.
Despite its resolute antipoverty efforts, Sweden has, if anything, been less successful than the U.S. at bringing its second-generation immigrants up to speed. According to the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, Sweden has “declined over the past decade [between 2005 and 2015] from around average to significantly below average . . . . No other country taking part in PISA has seen a steeper fall.” The Swedish Education Agency reports that immigrant kids were responsible for 85 percent of a decline in school performance.
Outcomes like these suggest that immigration optimists have underestimated the difficulty of integrating the less-educated from undeveloped countries, and their children, into advanced economies. A more honest accounting raises tough questions. Should the United States, as the Trump administration is proposing, and as is already the case in Canada and Australia, pursue a policy favoring higher-skilled immigration? Or do we accept higher levels of child poverty and lower social mobility as a cost of giving refuge and opportunity to people with none? If we accept such costs, does it even make sense to compare our child-poverty numbers with those of countries like Denmark or Sweden, which have only recently begun to take in large numbers of low-skilled immigrants?
Recent events in Denmark and Sweden put another question in stark relief. How many newcomers—especially from very different cultures—can a country successfully absorb, and on what timetable? A surge of asylum seekers beginning in 2015 forced both countries to introduce controls at their borders and limits to asylum acceptances. Their existing social services proved unable to cope with the swelling ranks of the needy; there was not enough housing, and, well, citizens weren’t always as welcoming as political leaders might have wished. The growing power of anti-immigrant political parties has shocked these legendarily tolerant cultures.
And yet one more question: How long can generous welfare policies survive large-scale low-skilled immigration? The beneficent Nordic countries are not the only ones that need to wonder. The National Academies of Sciences finds that immigration to America has an overall positive impact on the fiscal health of the federal government, but not so for the states and localities that must pay for education, libraries, some social services, and a good chunk of Medicaid. Fifty-five percent of California’s immigrant families use some kind of means-tested benefits; for natives, it’s 30 percent. The centrist Hamilton Project observes that high-immigrant states—California, New York, New Jersey, among others—“may be burdened with costs that will only be recouped over a number of years, or, if children move elsewhere within the United States, may never fully be recovered.”
In short, confronting honestly the question of child-poverty rates in the United States—and, increasingly, such rates in other advanced countries—means acknowledging the reality that a newcomer’s background plays a vital role in immigrant success. Alternatively, of course, one can always fall back on damning worries about our current immigration system as evidence of racism. Remember November 8, 2016, if you want to know how that will play out.


We spent eight months and did over a hundred interviews to try to bypass the usual rhetoric and get to the bottom of what really happened when undocumented workers showed up in one Alabama town. Pictured: Albertville “Miss Chick” 1954.

“Open border advocates, such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, claim illegal aliens are a net benefit to California with little evidence to support such an assertion. As the CIS has documented, the vast majority of illegals are poor, uneducated, and with few skills. How does accepting millions of illegal aliens and then granting them access to dozens of welfare programs benefit California’s economy? If illegals were contributing to the economy in any meaningful way, CA, with its 2.6 million illegals, would be booming.” STEVE BALDWIN – AMERICAN SPECTATOR

MARK ZUCKERBERG AND OTHER TECH BILLIONAIRES SAY HELL NO TO PAYING LEGALS LIVING WAGES… not when there’s boatloads of Chinese ready to take our tech jobs and work cheap!

 “Nonetheless, open border advocates, such as Facebook Chairman Mark Zuckerberg, claim illegal aliens are a net benefit to California with little evidence to support such an assertion. As the Center for Immigration Studies has documented, the vast majority of illegals are poor, uneducated, and with few skills. How does accepting millions of illegal aliens and then granting them access to dozens of welfare programs benefit California’s economy? If illegal aliens were contributing to the economy in any meaningful way, California, with its 2.6 million illegal aliens, would be booming.” STEVE BALDWIN – AMERICAN SPECTATOR




It Pays to be Illegal in California

 By JENNIFER G. HICKEY  May 10, 2018 

It certainly is a good time to be an illegal alien in California. Democratic State Sen. Ricardo Lara last week pitched a bill to permit illegal immigrants to serve on all state and local boards and commissions. This week, lawmakers unveiled a $1 billion health care plan that would include spending $250 million to extend health care coverage to all illegal alien adults.

“Currently, undocumented adults are explicitly and unjustly locked out of healthcare due to their immigration status. In a matter of weeks, California legislators will have a decisive opportunity to reverse that cruel and counterproductive fact,” Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula said in Monday’s Sacramento Bee.

His legislation, Assembly Bill 2965, would give as many as 114,000 uninsured illegal aliens access to Medi-Cal programs. A companion bill has been sponsored by State Sen. Richard Lara.

But that could just be a drop in the bucket. The Democrats’ plan covers more than 100,000 illegal aliens with annual incomes bless than $25,000, however an estimated 1.3 million might be eligible based on their earnings.
In addition, it is estimated that 20 percent of those living in California illegally are uninsured – the $250 million covers just 11 percent.
So, will politicians soon be asking California taxpayers once again to dip into their pockets to pay for the remaining 9 percent?
Before they ask for more, Democrats have to win the approval of Gov. Jerry Brown, who cautioned against spending away the state’s surplus when he introduced his $190 billion budget proposal in January.
Given Brown’s openness to expanding Medi-Cal expansions in recent years, not to mention his proclivity for blindly supporting any measure benefitting lawbreaking immigrants, the latest fiscal irresponsibility may win approval.
And if he takes a pass, the two Democrats most likely to succeed Brown – Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa – favor excessive social spending and are actively courting illegal immigrant support.

Maybe if California and New York Cared as Much about the Middle Class as They Do About Illegal Alien…

 By IRA MEHLMAN  April 30, 2018 


Economists Arthur Laffer (the guy with the famous curve) and Stephen Moore, a leading libertarian voice for mass immigration, predict that some 800,000 people will pack up and leave California and New York over the next three years. The reason they cite for the exodus in their Wall Street Journal op-ed is that the new federal tax law, which eliminates deductions for state income taxes, will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Implicit in their assignment of blame to the federal tax overhaul is that the people who will be leaving are the ones who pay taxes – the sort of folks that state and local governments rely to provide a revenue stream. As such, one would think that these would be the people whose concerns would get a lot of interest in Sacramento and Albany. But clearly that is not the case.
For the privilege of living in places like the Bay Area, Los Angeles, or New York City, you must bear some of the most ridiculous housing costs in the nation, along with crushing state and local taxes. In California, be prepared to turn over as much as 13.3 percent of your income to the state. High-earning New Yorkers fork over a more modest 8.82 percent, but if you live in the five boroughs you can tack on an additional 3.87 percent in city income taxes. California and New York also have some of the highest sales tax rates in the country at 8.54 percent and 8.49 percent respectively (and higher in many cities). And now, as Laffer and Moore point out, you can’t even deduct those costs on your federal taxes.
One might also think that for all these state and local taxes, residents could expect the most modern infrastructure, efficient public transportation, world class public schools, affordable housing, and other amenities. Ha. No, in Sacramento and Albany they prioritize an ever-growing list of public benefits and services to immigration law violators; subsidies and grants to go to college, and legal aid for illegal aliens in deportation proceedings. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is even threatening to sue the federal government (with taxpayer money, of course) for even trying to enforce immigration laws.
Some $23 billion of California taxpayers’ money and $7.5 billion of New York taxpayers’ money is expended on illegal aliens and their dependent children. For the benefit of the trolls at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the problems of California and New York cannot entirely be blamed on illegal aliens. Many, many factors have led to the middle class flight from these states. But one has to wonder why states wouldn’t want to do as much to woo their tax base into staying as they are doing to attract, protect, and reward illegal aliens.
Cutting back on benefits and protections for illegal aliens would not solve all of these states’ problems, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. In the meantime, every U-Haul packing up a middle or upper-middle class family headed out of California and New York represents a loss of vital revenue necessary to address myriad needs of both citizens and legal immigrants.

Adios, Sanctuary La Raza Welfare State of California 
A fifth-generation Californian laments his state’s ongoing economic collapse.
By Steve Baldwin
American Spectator, October 19, 2017
What’s clear is that the producers are leaving the state and the takers are coming in. Many of the takers are illegal aliens, now estimated to number over 2.6 million. 
The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that California spends $22 billion on government services for illegal aliens, including welfare, education, Medicaid, and criminal justice system costs. 

Liberals claim they more than make that up with taxes paid, but that’s simply not true. It’s not even close. FAIR estimates illegal aliens in California contribute only $1.21 billion in tax revenue, which means they cost California $20.6 billion, or at least $1,800 per household.

Nonetheless, open border advocates, such as Facebook Chairman Mark Zuckerberg, claim illegal aliens are a net benefit to California with little evidence to support such an assertion. As the Center for Immigration Studies has documented, the vast majority of illegals are poor, uneducated, and with few skills. How does accepting millions of illegal aliens and then granting them access to dozens of welfare programs benefit California’s economy? If illegal aliens were contributing to the economy in any meaningful way, California, with its 2.6 million illegal aliens, would be booming.
Furthermore, the complexion of illegal aliens has changed with far more on welfare and committing crimes than those who entered the country in the 1980s. 
Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has testified before a Congressional committee that in 2004, 95% of all outstanding warrants for murder in Los Angeles were for illegal aliens; in 2000, 23% of all Los Angeles County jail inmates were illegal aliens and that in 1995, 60% of Los Angeles’s largest street gang, the 18th Street gang, were illegal aliens. Granted, those statistics are old, but if you talk to any California law enforcement officer, they will tell you it’s much worse today. The problem is that the Brown administration will not release any statewide data on illegal alien crimes. That would be insensitive. And now that California has declared itself a “sanctuary state,” there is little doubt this sends a message south of the border that will further escalate illegal immigration into the state.
"If the racist "Sensenbrenner Legislation" passes the US Senate, there is no doubt that a massive civil disobedience movement will emerge. Eventually labor union power can merge with the immigrant civil rights and "Immigrant Sanctuary" movements to enable us to either form a new political party or to do heavy duty reforming of the existing Democratic Party. The next and final steps would follow and that is to elect our own governors of all the states within Aztlan." 
Indeed, California goes out of its way to attract illegal aliens. The state has even created government programs that cater exclusively to illegal aliens. For example, the State Department of Motor Vehicles has offices that only process driver licenses for illegal aliens. With over a million illegal aliens now driving in California, the state felt compelled to help them avoid the long lines the rest of us must endure at the DMV. 
And just recently, the state-funded University of California system announced it will spend $27 million on financial aid for illegal aliens. They’ve even taken out radio spots on stations all along the border, just to make sure other potential illegal border crossers hear about this program. I can’t afford college education for all my four sons, but my taxes will pay for illegals to get a college education.

If Immigration Creates Wealth, Why Is California America's Poverty Capital?

California used to be home to America's largest and most affluent middle class.  Today, it is America's poverty capital.  What went wrong?  In a word: immigration.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Official Poverty Measure, California's poverty rate hovers around 15 percent.  But this figure is misleading: the Census Bureau measures poverty relative to a uniform national standard, which doesn't account for differences in living costs between states – the cost of taxes, housing, and health care are higher in California than in Oklahoma, for example.  Accounting for these differences reveals that California's real poverty rate is 20.6 percent – the highest in America, and nearly twice the national average of 12.7 percent.

Likewise, income inequality in California is the second-highest in America, behind only New York.  In fact, if California were an independent country, it would be the 17th most unequal country on Earth, nestled comfortably between Honduras and Guatemala.  Mexico is slightly more egalitarian.  California is far more unequal than the "social democracies" it emulates: Canada is the 111th most unequal nation, while Norway is far down the list at number 153 (out of 176 countries).  In terms of income inequality, California has more in common with banana republics than other "social democracies."

More Government, More Poverty
High taxes, excessive regulations, and a lavish welfare state – these are the standard explanations for California's poverty epidemic.  They have some merit.  For example, California has both the highest personal income tax rate and the highest sales tax in America, according to Politifact.

Not only are California's taxes high, but successive "progressive" governments have swamped the state in a sea of red tape.  Onerous regulations cripple small businesses and retard economic growth.  Kerry Jackson, a fellow with the Pacific Research Institute, gives a few specific examples of how excessive government regulation hurts California's poor.  He writes in a recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times:
Extensive environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions make energy more expensive, also hurting the poor.  By some estimates, California energy costs are as much as 50% higher than the national average.  Jonathan A. Lesser of Continental Economics ... found that "in 2012, nearly 1 million California households faced ... energy expenditures exceeding 10% of household income."
Some government regulation is necessary and desirable, but most of California's is not.  There is virtue in governing with a "light touch."
Finally, California's welfare state is, perhaps paradoxically, a source of poverty in the state.  The Orange Country Register reports that California's social safety net is comparable in scale to those found in Europe:
In California a mother with two children under the age of 5 who participates in these major welfare programs – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), housing assistance, home energy assistance, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – would receive a benefits package worth $30,828 per year.
... [Similar] benefits in Europe ranged from $38,588 per year in Denmark to just $1,112 in Romania.  The California benefits package is higher than in well-known welfare states as France ($17,324), Germany ($23,257) and even Sweden ($22,111).
Although welfare states ideally help the poor, reality is messy.  There are three main problems with the welfare state.  First, it incentivizes poverty by rewardingthe poor with government handouts that are often far more valuable than a job.  This can be ameliorated to some degree by imposing work requirements on welfare recipients, but in practice, such requirements are rarely imposed.  Second, welfare states are expensive.  This means higher taxes and therefore slower economic growth and fewer job opportunities for everyone – including the poor.
Finally, welfare states are magnets for the poor.  Whether through domestic migration or foreign immigration, poor people flock to places with generous welfare states.  This is logical from the immigrant's perspective, but it makes little sense from the taxpayer's.  This fact is why socialism and open borders arefundamentally incompatible.

Why Big Government?
Since 1960, California's population exploded from 15.9 to 39 million people.  The growth was almost entirely due to immigration – many people came from other states, but the majority came from abroad.  The Public Policy Institute of California estimates that 10 million immigrants currently reside in California.  This works out to 26 percent of the state's population.

This figure includes 2.4 million illegal aliens, although a recent study from Yale University suggests that the true number of aliens is at least double that.  Modifying the initial figure implies that nearly one in three Californians is an immigrant.  This is not to disparage California's immigrant population, but it is madness to deny that such a large influx of people has changed California's society and economy.

Importantly, immigrants vote Democrat by a ratio higher than 2:1, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies.  In California, immigration has increased the pool of likely Democrat voters by nearly 5 million people, compared to just 2.4 million additional likely Republican voters.  Not only does this almost guarantee Democratic victories, but it also shifts California's political midpoint to the left.  This means that to remain competitive in elections, the Republicans must abandon or soften many conservative positions so as to cater to the center.

California became a Democratic stronghold not because Californians became socialists, but because millions of socialists moved there.  Immigration turned California blue, and immigration is ultimately to blame for California's high poverty level.


American middle-class is addicted, poor, jobless and suicidal…. Thank the corrupt government for surrendering our borders to 40 million looting Mexicans and then handing the bills to middle America?


“While drug distributors have paid a total of $400 million in fines over the past 10 years, their combined revenue during this same period was over $5 trillion.”

“Opioids have ravaged families and devastated communities across the country. Encouraging their open use undermines the rule of law and will do nothing to quell their continued abuse, let alone the problems underlying mass addiction.”

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