January 2, 2008

Couldn’t Help But Notice (010208)

This CHBN covers:
- In essence, an attempted New Deal program re-run.
- Patterico’s Dog Trainer aka LA Times year in review.
- The release of an attempted presidential assassin.
- A new Arizona employer-related immigration law that just went into effect.
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At OpinionJournal.com on Monday, Amity Shlaes looked at what John Edwards and Hillary Clinton want to do (“a repeat of 1930s-scale government job creation”), and reminded us of the myths behind what those two are trying to emulate (bolds are mine):

The New Deal also created a lot of jobs–millions. And the New Deal did cause significant business activity. Industrial production–factory activity, basically–came back to 1929 levels around the time of Roosevelt’s re-election. All of these outcomes are taken as evidence of public spending’s success.

But what really stands out when you step back from the picture is not how much the public works achieved. It is how little. Notwithstanding the largest peacetime appropriation in the history of the world, the New Deal recovery remained incomplete. From 1934 on–the period when the spending ramped up–monetary troubles were subsiding, and could no longer be blamed alone for the Depression. The story of the mid-1930s is the story of a heroic economy struggling to recuperate but failing to do so because lawmakers’ preoccupation with public works rather got in the way of allowing productive businesses to expand and pull the rest forward.

The case that the economy didn’t recover from the Great Depression until World War II, and wouldn’t have recovered but for World War II, is convincing, and no amount of FDR worship can refute it.

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Magnificant obsession — Patterico is out with the fifth annual installment of his Dog Trainer, aka the Los Angeles Times, year in review.

If he asked them how much they would pay him to leave them alone, he could probably retire. But please don’t do it, Mr. Frey. Your annual posts are one-stop shops proving that the paper has been and remains hopelessly biased, unfair, and agenda-driven.

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The release of Sara Jane Moore, who attempted to assassinate Gerald Ford in 1975, shows us why the death penalty has to be preserved, at least in the most extreme cases. How this woman could ever get out of prison is beyond me, and I don’t care if she is 77.

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Tim Gaynor of Reuters, last seen bemoaning how illegal immigrants are “self deporting” (second item at link), chronicles employers’ preparatory reactions to an Arizona law that went into effect on Tuesday:

Arizona steel fabricator Sheridan Bailey has been laying off employees in recent weeks even though he has plenty of orders on the books.

His firm, Ironco Enterprises, shed around 10 percent of its 100-strong workforce to get in line with a state law going into effect on Tuesday that targets employers who hire illegal immigrants.

“We have let some people go who we came to know were not properly documented. So in that respect the law is already doing what the framers expected,” he said.

The maker of steel frames for buildings is among an estimated 150,000 businesses across the desert state preparing for the measure that places Arizona at the vanguard of more than 100 U.S. states and municipalities taking on immigration enforcement.

The law, passed days after a federal immigration overhaul died in the U.S. Senate in June, punishes first-time violators who knowingly hire undocumented workers with a 10-day suspension of their business licenses.

A second offense means they lose it.

The measure also requires employers to use an online federal database, dubbed “E-Verify,” to check the employment eligibility of new hires in the border state, which is home to an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants.

Many employers like Bailey say they are pruning their workforce of illegal immigrants to avoid prosecution, or have outsourced some operations to neighboring states and even over the border to Mexico.

This pretty clearly makes the employer complaints about not knowing whether they had illegals on the payroll ring hollow. The outsourcing to other states has to be prevented by passing federal legislation with teeth.

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2 Comments

  1. Here’s an interesting thought suggested by stock market data – the economy didn’t even recover because of World War II!

    There’s an interesting transition that occurred in the U.S. economy between 1946 and 1952 – that was the period in which the economy, as represented by the stock market, really raced ahead. There is a remarkably strong correlation between the surge in corporate earnings in this time and the end of wartime production. Here’s a short list of enormously good things that happened because of the end of the war:

    1. High inflation subsided. Wartime-driven demand for just about everything drove up prices significantly, especially for raw materials. The end of the war removed this source of inflation.

    2. The end of restrictive wage and price controls established during the New Deal and WWII.

    3. The return of highly skilled and experienced workers from wartime service led to a surge in productivity in the then dominant manufacturing industries.

    These factors, combined with the know-how of big businesses that had learned to turn a small profit despite these tight operating conditions during the Roosevelt years, is really what pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression.

    Comment by Ironman — January 2, 2008 @ 8:30 am

  2. #1, but the stock market shouldn’t be confused with the economy, lower unemployment, and GDP growth.

    Of course the market stayed low during WWII, at the beginning because our survival was in doubt, and later because the stresses we would face of changing from a wartime to peacetime footing were evident. Plus, FDR was still alive, and his far-left proclivities were well-known.

    Comment by TBlumer — January 2, 2008 @ 9:08 am

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