Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chronicle to Anti-Amnesty Sheep: You Are Under the Influence of Lou Dobbs and Therefore Unable to Think Rationally About Illegal Immigration

Jesse Jones would be proud. Ever since our very own Greater Houston Partnership announced it would be mounting a multimillion-dollar lobbying/PR campaign to keep the pipeline of cheap Mexican labor primed and pumping, Jones’ old property, the Houston Chronicle, has been in a near-swoon, very much like a 7-year-old girl with a ticket to Hannah Montana. Ordinarily, the daily newspaper’s tastemakers would be in a lather over a big-money lobbying effort by corporate interests, but when it comes to illegal immigration they’re deep down in the pocket and glad to be there. First there was the approving pro-Partnership editorial of a couple of Sundays ago---more on that in a minute---and this week, following the “news” that a Partnership-sponsored study by noted shill Ray Perryman has “found” that the disappearance of 8 million-plus illegal workers would cost the U.S. $1.8 trillion in annual spending (give or take a billion, we presume), came another sustained round of applause from Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy.

Neither of these efforts had much to recommend it, although Steffy’s straight-faced embrace of Perryman’s numbers crept close to being funny (even pro-amnesty Metro columnist [is there any other kind at the daily?] Rick Casey briefly roused himself to point out that economist-for-hire Perryman has a long history of giving his customers exactly what they want). But the conscientious and appraising reader may have taken note of the extra-thick layer of condescension Steffy lathered over his analysis:
Perryman's research firm on Monday released an economic study that attempts to blunt the blaring blather of talk radio and other anti-immigrant fear-baiting.
Yes, dear reader, if you have any reservations whatsoever about amnesty and the obvious (that is, visible to your own goddamn eyes) deleterious effects of illegal immigration, then you are a fear-baiting nativist know-nothing whose weak mind has been befogged by the “blather” of talk radio.

We presume Steffy was directing his reductive Obamaism at many of his own readers, given that almost all of the comments affixed to the online version of his column were, how shall we say, uncomplimentary. Our favorite was from “clothesliner,” who wrote:
Assuming 18 million illegals in the US, $1.8 trillion in spending divided by 18 million illegals is equal to $100,000 in spending per illegal. If my arithmetic is correct, we not only need the illegals that are here now but a couple million more could definitely put the economy back on the growth side.
We can't vouch for the math, but obviously “clothesliner” isn’t taking into account the effect of those magical, mystical “multipliers.” Then consider the observation of another Steffy reader, “inaruba,” who points out
I don't see anything anywhere in here about the billions of dollars per month being sent South of the border. That is money NOT being spent here. How do you take account for that in one study and not account for it in another?
And from “sunspotbaby,” citing Perryman’s comment to Steffy that without cheap illegal labor "we'd have to raise wages a lot, which is inefficient and bad for the economy" ...
I agree Mr Steffy. We need more illegal immigrant business columnists or maybe some out sourcing through the internet. You'll be understanding when your salary is cut to the point where taking the bus to work is the only option. We ALL need more of that.
That seems presumptuous of sunspotbaby: Why does she or he think Steffy isn’t already a bus rider? Perhaps he takes the same Park-and-Ride as the Upper West Siders on the paper’s editorial board, who on Sunday before last beat the business columnist to the punch in huzzahing over the “news” that America’s employers---or at least the Partnership---“are finally speaking out for sound immigration policy,” as the headline over the editorial put it. (It is not an exaggeration or misrepresentation to say that the daily newspaper considers “sound immigration policy” to be “amnesty for all, enforcement for none.” How else to interpret its repeated insistence on the necessity of the “pathway to legalization” side of the comprehensive “reform” legislation while repeatedly and insistently tsk-tsking and tut-tutting any effort at enforcement of current law since the proposal tanked [in a sea of Mexican flags, we’d say].) According to the editorial
The [Partnership-led] movement aims to inform and motivate the grass roots, where people's views of immigration too often are shaped by commentators such as Lou Dobbs.
At this late date it’s a sign of a very weak mind to stoop to invoking Lou Dobbs when telling readers what a lot of sheep they are. But here’s how the editorial explains the failure of the comprehensivist legislation:
Businesses, trades and large corporations are finally speaking up about this reality. Many say they were caught off guard last year, when a hailstorm of constituent e-mails and letters capsized a promising immigration compromise in a few days …
Yeah, that’s called democracy. Sometimes it works, contrary to the wishes of editorialists.

For a healthy corrective to all this bile, we suggest a few moments with this often-quoted piece by Heather McDonald (the anti-Tamar Jacoby), who knows more about the true costs ("facts on the ground") of illegal immigration than the Greater Houston Partnership, Loren Steffy, Ray Perryman and the Houston Chronicle editorial board combined (we’ll throw in Rick Casey, too). “Lived experience fuels citizen movements for immigration control,” McDonald notes---a truism the daily newspaper’s tastemakers might consider the next time they set out to gratuitously insult so many of their readers (what’s left of their readers).

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