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Bloggingheads
02-06-2008, 07:32 AM
To those of you who have had problems viewing this diavlog and who have reported the difficulties here in the comments section: We are aware of the problem and are working to fix it. Thanks for bringing the issue to our attention, and thanks for your patience.

In the meantime, please note that wmv and mp3 downloads should work fine.

-- Bloggingheads staff

UPDATE: The problem seems to have been resolved.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 10:39 AM
I apologize in advance for the length but it really irks me when I hear talking heads decrying the affect illegal immigration has (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8592?in=00:10:00&out=00:11:56); when my eyes and experience see a different reality on a regular basis.

While I have not done a peer reviewed study that would convince the erudite ensconced in the “Ivory Towers” of academia, the educated commentariat or the policy wonks snuggled within the bowels of think tanks I have seen enough anecdotal evidence of the negative effects that the sheer volume of illegal immigrants has on suppressing the wages for traditional blue collar workers. I also believe that my life provides me a distinctive perspective to judge these effects.

After spending a little over a year hitching around the lower 48, I volunteered for 4 of service in the U.S. Army, 12 years as a carpenter in Chicago (7 as a paying union member), a couple of years in the oil patch, 5 years of college, 10 years as a computer consultant, a couple of years trying to get a startup company public only to fall victim to the bursting of the Clinton tech bubble and the recession that followed to finally returning to what I really like to do and that is remodel and fix buildings as a general handyman.

I offer the following little narratives.

My current profession, and yes a good handyman is a professional as well as a bit of an artist; affords me contact with numerous illegal immigrants some of whom I get to know. Here in southern Florida the illegals I know, performing traditional middle class blue-collar construction jobs, are striving to make $100.00 per 8/hr day or slightly over 12 dollars an hour or approximately $24,000 per year. When I first started out a nonunion carpenter this is the wage I was shooting for doing piecework, paid by the amount (sqft) of drywall hung in a day. So the presence of a large number of illegal immigrants willing to work traditional middle class blue collar jobs in 2008 for the wages paid for those same jobs in the early 1970s might just be having some minor impact on the pay scale of traditional middle class blue-collar jobs.

Recently when doing some dolphin fishing with a couple of friends, on the boat of gentleman that owns a rather successful concrete construction company, the conversation turned to the topic of illegal immigration. While I have known the boat owner for several years, through a mutual friend, we are no better than passing acquaintances. One of his comments to the effect of “if the illegals wern't here I couldn’t make a living.” This comment sort of got my dander up and my basic reply was along these lines. No if you were hiring legal workers and paying them a living wage, instead of exploiting illegal immigrants it wouldn’t mean that you couldn’t make a living but it might mean that you might have to downsize one of your two full sized SUV for something less expensive or that you or your wife would have to settle for driving something less that the Mercedes 500 which you both own. Or you might have to settle for a condo somewhat removed from the waterfront Intercostal Waterway (think Florida-water access-money) condo in which you stay less than a third of the year. Or perhaps you would have to settle for either the 32 foot Bertram, from which we were currently fishing, or the 52 ft Viking sportfisher you kept tied to the dock in Palm Beach which you never use except as a trophy to try and impress others. Needles to say this didn’t go over too well, with the said boat owner, and I am no longer invited on his fishing sojourns but that’s alright he wasn’t a very good fishing captain anyways.

BrendanM
02-06-2008, 11:05 AM
I have tried repeatedly Firefox, Safari, & Explorer with no success ... it just keeps cycling for minutes attempting to load.

ohcomeon
02-06-2008, 11:21 AM
Same deal -video won't load.

Bloggin' Noggin
02-06-2008, 11:27 AM
Are you trying to watch on 1.4 speed? I notice that about half the time, I have to watch diavlogs at speed 1, if I want to watch them at all.

It seems as though the old player was ultimately less glitschy and cumbersome.

ohcomeon
02-06-2008, 11:33 AM
Won't load at either speed.

ogieogie
02-06-2008, 11:37 AM
Won't load for me either.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 11:40 AM
It played about halfway through for me then bombed. I downloaded it and ran it on WMP and it worked fine except that as usual Meagan audio is so soft that I need to strain to her her at times.

bjkeefe
02-06-2008, 12:11 PM
pisc:

That was a good post. I was impressed by the nuance of your thoughts and your ability to see several perspectives on the issue.

cacimbo
02-06-2008, 12:57 PM
During the discussion on illegal immigration, no mention was made of the financial cost. As mentioned in the first post, I also know quite a few contractors who are benefiting by employing illegals. But what about the community as a whole. In large cities the financial burden is shared by many. But smaller towns are suffering. When five families are living in a home designed for one- you have increased burden on schools, medical facilities etc. yet no increase in real estate tax. Most of the illegals are working as day laborers so the income tax base is not increasing. The contractors who hire the illegals just dump them at a hospital if any injuries occur. So who is paying for this?? I think people in smaller towns are starting to realize getting your lawn mowed cheaply doesn't balance out when your taxes are doubling.

osmium
02-06-2008, 01:22 PM
as in many other cases, pisc makes good points i could very well agree with. unfortunately, he always starts with an only-semi-relevant paragraph about how much he hates academics.

if a professor wrote something that made total sense, but started it with "i know retards who work with their hands wouldn't agree with this," everyone would agree that person was an asshole.

everyone just wants someone to define themselves against. it is the curse of humanity. too bad.

i must say, though, pisc, i do very much like your story.

graz
02-06-2008, 02:10 PM
as in many other cases, pisc makes good points i could very well agree with. unfortunately, he always starts with an only-semi-relevant paragraph about how much he hates academics.

if a professor wrote something that made total sense, but started it with "i know retards who work with their hands wouldn't agree with this," everyone would agree that person was an asshole.

everyone just wants someone to define themselves against. it is the curse of humanity. too bad.

i must say, though, pisc, i do very much like your story.

Kudos to pisc on this personal if sarcastic post (osmium has recognized that pisc's very large chip tends to put-off potential allies.) I say more power to the fish for letting it out warts and all. I know that when I post I am very careful to edit my bile as I do not wish to offend or incur blowback. That is not to say that I am wise enough to avoid this result in real-life... if only. The argument for " it's not so much what you say as how you say it" is suspect. Dale Carnegie be damned. The analogy of reversing the complaint by a hypothetical professor falls short. Book learnin' and theory has value - but it ain't necessarily a reflection of the truth on the ground.
More than just a story, this narrative provides a jumping off point for a realistic debate about the effects of the super charged and much exploited reality of immigration - legal or otherwise.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 02:57 PM
as in many other cases, pisc makes good points i could very well agree with. unfortunately, he always starts with an only-semi-relevant paragraph about how much he hates academics.

Let me deconstruct for you may "hate" filled screed against academics which I must assume you mean this particular piece of rhetoric "...erudite ensconced in the “Ivory Towers” of academia."

erudite
adjective
having or showing profound knowledge; "a learned jurist"; "an erudite professor"

ivory tower

n.
A place or attitude of retreat, especially preoccupation with lofty, remote, or intellectual considerations rather than practical everyday life.


There is not an emotive word in this phrase. If the image it produces in your mind is emotional that seems more of a personal problem with yourself as opposed to the actual meaning of the phrase which is
A highly educated individual having or showing profound knowledge working in a place or attitude of retreat, especially preoccupation with lofty, remote, or intellectual considerations rather than practical everyday life.
Which I think adequately describes a good number of professors at many educational institutions as succinctly as I could. So please don't project your feelings on to me or what I say.

osmium
02-06-2008, 03:43 PM
ok, fair enough. i take it back. seems like the bloggingheads forum is often negative about academia. perhaps i am thinking more of someone else.

i should just have a thicker skin i suppose. sorry.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 03:57 PM
Thanks my brother and sister, who are professors, will appreciate it.
The whole point of the first paragraph was to say that much wisdom lies outside the the three mentioned realms, yet often this knowledge is discarded and derided simply because it comes from the common folk.

Bloggin' Noggin
02-06-2008, 03:58 PM
I enjoyed the story as well, pisc, and the facts-on-the-ground approach does help get past a lot of yelling on both sides.

It occurs to me that illegal aliens are the most exploitable form of labor possible. Temporary guest workers whose status was dependent only on their being employed (but not tied to a particular employer) would be less exploitable, presumably and would therefore be able to bargain for better wages. Presumably they would therefore drag wages down less than illegal immigrants tend to. Finding a reasonable immigration compromise, then, might actually help to raise wages.

It might not help as much as a perfectly impermeable wall at the border, but so far the border security approach has had lots of unintended and self-defeating consequences: illegal immigrants who might well want to go home after a time end up putting down roots because it's so hard to get in once they've left; clamp downs in some parts of the country have led to other, more difficult routes opening up in other parts of the country -- routes that put the immigrants more at the mercy of the people who smuggle them across (thereby making them more exploitable and presumably lowering wages for everyone).
The Mexican economy is like a gas under high pressure and the American economy is at much lower pressure and the greater the pressure difference, the more likely it is that the high pressure area will blow a hole somewhere in the barrier between them -- wherever the barrier is weakest.
Then there's the option of severely punishing employers and deporting workers without work visas. This strategy involves punishing the rich and powerful who tend to be able to get their own way -- at least enough to make truly comprehensive enforcement nearly impossible.

If the pressure differential between the two economies could be brought down (i.e., if you could open up the legal options enough that the payoff of the illegal option for Mexicans and the rich in this country was rarely worth the risk), then it would be easier to enforce the less restrictive immigration rules and wages would be likely to rise.

I can't say I know what would work to solve the problem you bring up, but it seems that assessing our options and the best solution to the ground-level solution you bring up might (if we aren't to do something counterproductive) involve the kind of academic ivory towerish considerations that rub you the wrong way.

Wonderment
02-06-2008, 04:33 PM
It occurs to me that illegal aliens are the most exploitable form of labor possible. Temporary guest workers whose status was dependent only on their being employed (but not tied to a particular employer) would be less exploitable, presumably and would therefore be able to bargain for better wages.

That seems to be a key component of any rational immigration policy. The old Bracero program is more likely to be the model that ultimately gets traction, however, and it's likely to be weighted toward agricultural jobs. In other words, poor, isolated farmworker families will be contracted out to plantation, er, farm owners. They'll be bussed in and out and kept under soft-core security surveillance.

The problems with having temp visas in general are a) people don't like to be told when to leave; i.e, they will establish lives here and want to stay; and b) the lower-end working families (the ones everyone complains about the loudest) fill the niches of the underground economy and will continue to slip through the cracks of a visa-based system.

In other words, say a Mexican farmworker is told she can go to work for 2 years for Monsanto or Target if she jumps through all the hoops of the visa program, gets on the 5-year waiting list, and leaves her kids and mom behind in Oaxaca, OR she can get on a bus to LA with a 10-day tourist visa, take the kids and mom, stay with Cousin Miguel and work cleaning houses in Westwood, earning $20 an hour, approximately 10 times her DAILY wage in Oaxaca.

It might not help as much as a perfectly impermeable wall at the border, but so far the border security approach has had lots of unintended and self-defeating consequences: illegal immigrants who might well want to go home after a time end up putting down roots because it's so hard to get in once they've left; clamp downs in some parts of the country have led to other, more difficult routes opening up in other parts of the country -- routes that put the immigrants more at the mercy of the people who smuggle them across (thereby making them more exploitable and presumably lowering wages for everyone).

True. I would add that the governmental response is more lethal than you describe it. The Clinton wall and Clinton crackdown on the San Diego border area pushed the immigrants into the dangerous desert while thousands have died of thirst and exposure. The Bush crackdowns have created a climate of terror in Latino communities and led to some serious civil rights violations. Clinton NAFTA was a major FORESEEABLE push factor for undocumented immigrants flowing into the US.

"Then there's the option of severely punishing employers and deporting workers without work visas. This strategy involves punishing the rich and powerful who tend to be able to get their own way -- at least enough to make truly comprehensive enforcement nearly impossible."

There's a huge wing of the Republican party (Bush and McCain types) who are tied to the major employers and contractors of undocumented workers. The other downside to this plan is a real sealing off of the border is also pretty nuts. It's a long border with a lot of legal traffic every minute of every day, including swarms of goods, services and tourists going both ways. Deporting workers without visas will do two things: create a police state and grow the underground economy.

The dirty little secret of the whole "illegals" problem is the underground economy. The people Piscivorous is complaining about are mostly working off the books and getting paid cash. A crackdown on them would mean massive raids in suburban kitchens and gardens and surveillance cameras on every rural tract of land in the country.

Having said all that, if the right-wing were smart they would be lobbying for a tamper-proof passport-type national ID card. Ironically, the one thing that would quickly reduce the undocumented population is anathema to them.

graz
02-06-2008, 04:36 PM
Bye the way, wouldn't it be dolphin mammaling, not fishing that you were engaged in on the 32' Bertram. Dolphins... really? On porpoise?

Wonderment
02-06-2008, 04:45 PM
I think both Matt and Megan made some good points on why poor Latinos follow the poor whites to Clinton, while elite Latinos go with Barack. But it's still a little surprising that the LA Times and La Opinión endorsements, along with the Ted Kennedy song-and-dance didn't have a discernable impact in California.

The UFW was a big endorsement for Clinton, and at the end of the day, Dolores Huerta has more clout than Kennedy. She is a genuine living hero of the stature of César Chávez, and she works the barrios a lot better than Obama and Kennedy ever will.

There is a degree of Mexican (and Latino in general) racism against blacks to be reckoned with, but the overarching issue in our communities is immigration, immigration, immigration. Every Mexican voter has cousins, neighbors, employees, classmates, friends, church members who are at risk of deportation. Clinton is very careful not to insult this community. She doesn't use the "I" word, and when she started really needing a headcount she said, "No woman in America is illegal." If Obama could really persuade Latinos that he is a better immigration choice than Hillary, they would flock to him.

Nitpicking a dispute over drivers licenses, however, is not enough.

TwinSwords
02-06-2008, 04:54 PM
Gosh, when Democrats talk that way, we're accussed of class warfare.

Nice essay, piscivorous.

bkjazfan
02-06-2008, 04:58 PM
Zogby really was wrong on the dem vote in California where I live. He had Obama leading by 10%. Well, he was wrong about Ohio in the last election, too.

I think there is animus going on between Latinos and blacks at least in this state; hence, the break for Clinton. I know many want to deny it but it's real and being played out in inner L.A. where I live.

The Asian population is large here. I have no idea how they vote, whether by percentages or who for. Perhaps, it depends on the ethnicity since there are so many.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 05:07 PM
While I agree with much of your analysis, some of it goes a little far, wher do you get this from The dirty little secret of the whole "illegals" problem is the underground economy. The people Piscivorous is complaining about are mostly working off the books and getting paid cash. I told two real little narratives to to bolster the basic arguments that:
1.illegal immigrants are doing much more damage to middle class blue collar wages than people on both the left and the right (particularly Libertarians) are willing to admit.
2.That these very same workers are being exploited.

and that is all it was.


No where have I complained about these people. In fact I think I mentioned that I have gotten to know some of them. Last night as I was sitting here in front of the computer, with my shattered leg laid across the desk, one of these "The people Piscivorous is complaining about brought his wife and daughters over, with a big batch of food, we had marvelous dinner and then while he and I sat around and talked his wife and daughters cleaned my house for me just because.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 05:09 PM
No dolphin the fish. If you oder Mhai-Mhai (sp), from in a restaurant, you are probably eating dolphin the fish. It just looks better on the menu in front of the kids. Down here in Florida we cal it what it is.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 05:18 PM
Because it took Nixon to go to China.

Wonderment
02-06-2008, 05:33 PM
My apologies. I should have said "referred to" not "complained" about.

bjkeefe
02-06-2008, 05:58 PM
pisc:

I gotta go along with osmium's first impression. It sounded negative to me.

Now, before you start getting all upset about me "reading into" your words, you should step back for a moment and contemplate the difference between denotation and connotation. For example, many hear "erudite" as nearly synonymous to "lacking common sense" and almost everyone hears something at least mildly pejorative by "ivory tower."

Readers have responsibilities, to be sure, but so do writers. It behooves a writer to know his or her audience. The fact is, many conservatives often express a dim view of academics, if not higher education in general. Your conservative credentials are well-known on this site, as is your tendency to use confrontational phrasing.

zookarama
02-06-2008, 06:32 PM
Pisc, your tale is very familiar to me. In the last 4 years, I've had the following work done on my home: complete interior and exterior painting, remodeling of several rooms, involving some structural work and quite a bit of drywall hanging, replacement of lots of windows, re-roofing, and tuckpointing of a large chimney.
All the contractors were local businessmen and all the labor was performed by Spanish speaking men. I'm located in a farming community 60 miles south of Chicago, where in a town of 60,000, we have 7 Mexican restaurants and 5 Mexican grocery stores. Now, first of all, this is not an anti-immigration rant- I had no complaints about the work done, (except that none of the many workers swarming around my home could speak to me in English.)
One of the contractors admitted that he had no idea which of his laborers was working here legally, and he didn't much care- he claimed to be working on a thin margin and there weren't enough skilled workers around the area anyway. That's just a snapshot of the situation in north central Illinois, so make of it what you will. I have no recommendations, only more questions, so I'm paying close attention to the debate. In the meantime, I'm delighted to have absolutely wonderful Mexican and tex/mex cousine close by.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 06:47 PM
pisc
Now, before you start getting all upset about me "reading into" your words, you should step back for a moment and contemplate the difference between denotation and connotation. For example, many hear "erudite" as nearly synonymous to "lacking common sense" and almost everyone hears something at least mildly pejorative by "ivory tower." Brendon I would never get upset at you for offering what you see as constructive criticism; it is those that use personal attack and innuendo thinking that by besmirching my character they disprove my arguments, that after time, tends to draw my ire. Having said that don't you think it is ironic that, without knowing the actual definition of a word or the meaning of a phrase people will read into the use of that word or phrase what they wish to.

It does tend to make accurate and concise communication somewhat problematic when one uses precise language to convey meaning that others misinterpret simply because they falsely assume their imprecise understanding of the word or phrase is the meaning the author wishes to convey. Other than recommending a permalink to dictionary.com (http://www.dictionary.co) or in the case of phrases The Slang Dictionary (SlangSite.com), or something equivalent, I am really at a loss.

P.S. I's weird just after writing this reply I ran into this article Silly Talk (http://ktkz.townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2008/02/06/silly_talk). Life is strange.

testostyrannical
02-06-2008, 06:58 PM
This one should be called the matching spectacles edition.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 07:42 PM
Did you happen to notice what kind of and what year vehicle the contractor was driving. That simple observation might be telling as to just how tight his margins were.

graz
02-06-2008, 07:45 PM
pisc:

I gotta go along with osmium's first impression. It sounded negative to me.

Now, before you start getting all upset about me "reading into" your words, you should step back for a moment and contemplate the difference between denotation and connotation. For example, many hear "erudite" as nearly synonymous to "lacking common sense" and almost everyone hears something at least mildly pejorative by "ivory tower."

Readers have responsibilities, to be sure, but so do writers. It behooves a writer to know his or her audience. The fact is, many conservatives often express a dim view of academics, if not higher education in general. Your conservative credentials are well-known on this site, as is your tendency to use confrontational phrasing.

Brendan

Pardon me for jumping in on your point to pisc. IMO, Of course it was negative or sarcastic, regardless of the intention delivered or heard. What I would like to ask you is how do you suggest that any citizen (forum participant) -forget candidates or pundits- broach the practical improbability of coming to terms or agreement about the nature of the problem (if it is one) or potential solution (suggesting one is needed). Your previous posts indicate that the supposed menace of illegal immigration is overplayed - it seems we (all of us) can not even agree on terms. Starting with "illegal" and including all variations on the theme. Do you think it is intractable, or just of a low-priority?

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 08:21 PM
Brendan

Pardon me for jumping in on your point to pisc. IMO, Of course it was negative or sarcastic, regardless of the intention delivered or heard. What I would like to ask you is how do you suggest that any citizen (forum participant) -forget candidates or pundits- broach the practical improbability of coming to terms or agreement about the nature of the problem (if it is one) or potential solution (suggesting one is needed). Your previous posts indicate that the supposed menace of illegal immigration is overplayed - it seems we (all of us) can not even agree on terms. Starting with "illegal" and including all variations on the theme. Do you think it is intractable, or just of a low-priority? You hit very near to the the larger point behind the first paragraph as I think you have astutely expressed one of the genuine problems; of both sides, that prevent effective communication. Because we hear in each other only the color of our preconceptions and prejudices that dictates the interpretation of each others positions there is only the will to jackboot the "enemy" instead of traverse the divide.

After all I am a nefarious conservative incapable of thinking past the id, or so I am often reminded.

P.S. Edited for clarity but since this forum doesn't seem to accent the BBcode for strike-through you just have to guess where.

cragger
02-06-2008, 09:15 PM
Pisc, a couple comments.

By your account, the immigrants you see doing construction in south Fla. lately are working for wages you got about 17 years ago. I don't think 24k a year is anything like a middle class job these days, if "middle class" has any meaning.

Also, considering only the economic argument which your post addressed and leaving aside all the other immigrant hating BS which usually dominates the debate (and not attributing it to you), I suggest that pretty much everybody actually likes having somebody else being exploited so long as it saves them a buck. If there is a movement afoot that wants to pay any significant price increase for food or housing so that US natives or any other farm workers and food packers or construction laborers can earn a living wage, well, I'm afraid I've missed it.

This holds true for citizens who might actually be competing for low skill, low wage jobs. They might hate whoever is competing directly for them for that job as a construction laborer, but they love paying less for any product they get that involves lower paid labor, whether that labor was performed here in the USA or elsewhere. Again, I avoid here any argument over whether if goods, services, and raw materials passing borders in "free trade" are beneficial to people in general the similar passing of labor is any different.

If I'm being overly cynical and wrong about everybody preferring cash in hand despite the cost to others, please then point me to some evidence that allegations that fancy sneakers (excuse me, I mean fine athletic footwear) are being made overseas by slave labor has depressed sales among poorer segments of the population outraged over unfair competition due to labor exploitation.

Oddly, I used to live in Fla myself. The poor black people in town, at that time segregated into their own quarter where half the streets weren't paved, mostly worked in agriculture jobs. That means picking fruit and other citrus grove work. Citrus, before several years of frosts and rampant development wiped most of the groves out of central Fla. was a dominant industry there. There was no competition from Mexican or other immigrants, and those jobs absolutely sucked. Haul a picking bag over your shoulder up and down ladders into trees whose leaves and thorns were coated with pesticide dust under the Florida sun day after day for wages that in no way approached bringing anyone into the middle class and I guarantee you that you wouldn't want that job. If I could take you back in time I could show you what those wages provided, houses that were often unpainted shacks where you could see through the cracks between the boards on the walls and floors.

I hear the argument that immigration increases competition and depresses wages among the least fortunate in our society but both my experience and my understanding of history say that the least fortunate of all societies are basically screwed. That is part of what makes others more fortunate. And the closer someone is to being pushed down into that less fortunate group, and the more desperately they are trying to claw their way upward, the more they are willing and eager to push others down in the attempt to climb up. And the more they blame those below for not providing a bigger heap upon which they can stand higher.

There is a very small segment of society that is comfortable and secure enough, and has for whatever reasons moral codes that will lead them to sacrifice a bit. They worry about "dolphin safe" tuna, organic produce, and where their clothes come from. Its unfortunately a tiny minority, and I suggest to you that should they become less comfortable and secure those concerns will likely vanish. When push comes to shove, mankind shows the incomplete state of our evolution. It's not that far a drop from "Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to be free" to "screw you buddy, I've got mine". The latter informs much of the debate about immigration.

StillmanThomas
02-06-2008, 10:49 PM
Given that the pre-Tuesday polling and the exit polling were so wrong for California, I've begun to wonder if the Bradley Effect were in fact real, but limited to California or even just the LA area. I think about the racism, homophobia and misogyny in the movies, and the absolutely rabid way that Hollywood seeks to portray itself as a bastion of liberalism. Sounds like the same thing to me.

piscivorous
02-06-2008, 11:21 PM
Pisc, a couple comments.

By your account, the immigrants you see doing construction in south Fla. lately are working for wages you got about 17 years ago. I don't think 24k a year is anything like a middle class job these days, if "middle class" has any meaning. I am not quite sure weather this is meant to criticize my argument or support it. I would agree that 24,000 is no where near a sufficient wage in todays society but it was a decent living wage in the early 70s some 34 odd years ago. Yes there is a bit of a wage differential between Chicago and South Florida, union carpenters in Chicago are now making 70,000 plus a year with additional benefits and a retirement program.

I agree with the gist of the rest of you argument if not quite all the substance. The only area where I would disagree with you is this
Pisc, a couple comments.
This holds true for citizens who might actually be competing for low skill, low wage jobs...
Historically construction workers have not been low skilled, low wage jobs, but were considered valued craftsman to be paid commensurately and shown respect for their skills. With industrialization came a shifting of attitudes with construction workers sliding down the chute of esteem with the maturing of the now tech economy the appreciation for craftsmen now being degraded to to the point where people can consider the workers as low wage, low skill automatons I guess.

bjkeefe
02-07-2008, 06:51 AM
This one should be called the matching spectacles edition.

LOL! I noticed that, too. Quite the incestuous little group.

bjkeefe
02-07-2008, 07:41 AM
pisc:

Having said that don't you think it is ironic that, without knowing the actual definition of a word or the meaning of a phrase people will read into the use of that word or phrase what they wish to.

Yes. It's also frustrating. But whaddya gonna do? Language is imperfectly understood by almost everyone, and is in any case rife with ambiguities. It also evolves in fits and starts, and among the most rapid of the changes are the shadings of emotion and implication attached to words that once came without baggage.

The only thing you can do is be aware of the problem. If you're trying to make a subtle point, it's often helpful to say it in more than one way, for example. You can also help your listeners/readers understand you by introducing and/or summarizing longer arguments. And never use the word "niggardly (http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3A&q=niggardly)." ;^)

It does tend to make accurate and concise communication somewhat problematic when one uses precise language to convey meaning that others misinterpret simply because they falsely assume their imprecise understanding of the word or phrase is the meaning the author wishes to convey.

I don't think most people are this malicious ("falsely assume"). I think, instead, it's usually a case of sincere misunderstanding. I wouldn't take offense as a first response to someone misconstruing your words. Try, first, to clarify in your reply, rather than reacting in anger.

I usually blame myself when someone misunderstands me, but being raised as an Irish Catholic, I probably have an overdeveloped sense of guilt.

Also, there's always a risk associated with succinctness. Nothing to do but accept the risk, or try to mitigate by adding admittedly redundant exposition.

... this article Silly Talk.

A good read. Thanks for the link. Three reactions:

1. I share Williams's irritation with misuse of "myself." I do understand where it comes from: people's uncertainty over "I" or "me." But that's no excuse. This is one of the easiest points of grammar to get right.

2. I also share his frustration about the ambiguity between O (the letter) and 0 (the number), but this is probably not worth getting too upset about. Usually, the meaning of "oh" is clear from context or convention. In the specific case of the telephone, "oh" almost always means the zero key, now.

I do remember back in the day when phone numbers were given with two leading letters and five numbers. I lived near a town where the phone exchange was "OWens." When I was a kid, I kept getting the operator when I'd try to call, say, OW8-1212.

We no longer use alphabetic exchanges, so here is a case of improved precision. On the other hand, many toll-free numbers are given as a word, and I always have to stop to think what key to press when an O appears.

3. I acknowledge his complaint about "Jim is taller than me" as opposed to the more strictly correct "Jim is taller than I." He's right about the implied "am" at the end of such sentences. On the other hand, correct language is defined by what most people think it is, and the "me" form is becoming correct, at least idiomatically. Another example of being idiomatically correct: "hopefully" used to mean "filled with hope" only. It is now commonly understood to mean "it is to be hoped."

Also, William Safire once wrote an essay defending the choice of "me" in this sense, and it was a fairly rigorous grammatical argument. I've never been able to find it online (I read it before teh Internets were invented), and I've forgotten the details, but I've always remembered the takeaway: "me" okay, sez Bill.

Personally, I find the "I" form stuffy-sounding in most spoken contexts and I think it risks distracting the listener. In (formal) writing, I am bothered by using the "me" form, while still disliking the pomposity of the "I" form, so I tend to punt by using "I" but including the explicit "am."

bjkeefe
02-07-2008, 08:10 AM
Brendan

Pardon me for jumping in on your point to pisc. IMO, Of course it was negative or sarcastic, regardless of the intention delivered or heard. What I would like to ask you is how do you suggest that any citizen (forum participant) -forget candidates or pundits- broach the practical improbability of coming to terms or agreement about the nature of the problem (if it is one) or potential solution (suggesting one is needed). Your previous posts indicate that the supposed menace of illegal immigration is overplayed - it seems we (all of us) can not even agree on terms. Starting with "illegal" and including all variations on the theme. Do you think it is intractable, or just of a low-priority?

graz:

I do think the problem of illegal immigration is exaggerated. I agree that in some regions, there are real issues, but I don't accept it as a crisis. In particular, it is not a threat to national security. I am annoyed by the Republican Party's fixation on this issue, especially their presentation of it only as a threat, and their failure to acknowledge the human concerns and the legitimate gripes of the immigrants. I blame the GOP for their hysteria, since I think it has prevented us all from being able to talk about the problems rationally. They're playing on xenophobic fears for political gain.

To my mind, they're just causing themselves grief if they really want to try to solve some of the real problems -- the more strident they become, the more people like me move to the opposite pole. If they were more calm and considered about it, I'd be willing to meet them halfway. I do, for example, have a lot of sympathy for the point of view that laws are being broken, that social services are being stressed in some localities, that American blue collar workers and law-abiding employers are put at a disadvantage, and so on. But as long as the message is all Brown Menace, ZOMG!!!11!! Al Qaeda!!!, and whining over "press 2 for Spanish," I have little patience for hearing them out.

So, do I think the problem is intractable? In the short term, yes, because of the extreme attitude of the anti-immigration side, not to mention their ludicrous "solutions" -- mass deportation and 700-mile-long fences, to name but two. In the long term, no. America has always had waves of immigration, and harsh reactions to the new people, and one way or another, things work themselves out.

Do I think it's low-priority? Yes. I'm not saying "do nothing," but the thought of Congress getting bogged down with "comprehensive immigration reform" strikes me as nearly as much a waste of time as their hearings into baseball's steroid problem. Let's focus on the important stuff, like amending the Constitution to prevent people from burning flags. ;^)

Finally, as to how to discuss it in a forum like this: I usually don't, since (a) I am relatively uninterested in the problem, (b) I find most arguments against immigrants exaggerated and distasteful, and (c) the issue is becoming like abortion -- almost no one will budge from either side.

But occasionally, when I hear someone making points that indicate some flexibility, or awareness of the complexities and different perspectives, I'll jump in. I think some people are capable of finding some common ground, at least regarding the terms used to describe the problems at hand. That's why I complemented Pisc, for his recent post, for example.

bjkeefe
02-07-2008, 08:19 AM
Given that the pre-Tuesday polling and the exit polling were so wrong for California, I've begun to wonder if the Bradley Effect were in fact real, but limited to California or even just the LA area. I think about the racism, homophobia and misogyny in the movies, and the absolutely rabid way that Hollywood seeks to portray itself as a bastion of liberalism. Sounds like the same thing to me.

Bokonon:

I think the California results/disparity is more easily explained by the amount of people who voted early, by mail. I suspect a lot of them voted for Clinton, but as Super Tuesday approached, wished they could have changed their minds. The Zogby part just seems an outlier -- probably explained by a flaw in their methodology.

I don't deny the possibility of the Bradley Effect, but I don't give it much weight in this particular election. Unless the pollster asks a question like Are you going to vote for Obama, or do you admit that you're a Klansman?, I think it's easy enough for people to say, guilt-free, who they truly want to see win. After all, if you really had such concerns, wouldn't the Bradley Effect apply equally well in the sexist sense; i.e., people being uneasy about admitting that they truly wouldn't vote for a woman?

graz
02-07-2008, 11:17 AM
Thanks Brendan for the thoughtful and succinct reply. I think that you may already have stated this position previously, but it is always a pleasure to read your replies. My sense of the situation at hand is similar to yours. So too, I was inspired to reply because of the personal anecdote that Pisc offered - I just happened to like the sarcasm more than some. The fact that we are in a rather untenable position politically regarding immigration, yet probably subject to inaction and appeasement at best, makes Pisc's frustration with the pols and pundits a rallying point. His first-hand tale is as illuminating as ten opinions offered by the "ivory tower ensconsed" or the "erudite wonks." I am just surprised that you rise to the defense of those privileged few. Regardless of the politics of the source. I know that I could make a case for the value of academicians and pundits, but is it really taking the low road to enjoy the dressing down of bloviators?

Bloggin' Noggin
02-07-2008, 11:45 AM
Thanks for the great reply, Wonderment.
I take it that people prefer to stay on the right side of the law, if the penalty for being law-abiding is not TOO high. The economics of Mexico and the US make the penalties of perfect compliance quite high for both would-be workers and employers. Therefore, you have to expect a lot of violations, and you have to expect those on both sides of the border with so much to gain will find their way around fences and other obstructions.
My thought was, lower the cost of compliance enough (while possibly raising the cost of non-compliance) and maybe enough people will see compliance as cooperation and obedience to the law, rather than as being a sucker.

You raise two problems with that, I think: a) A lot of the employers already want to evade taxes and SSI payments etc., so they already have too large an incentive to go outside the law and b) any possible guest-worker program would impose so many hurdles that it still wouldn't be worth it for workers to comply anyway.

So I wonder what you think a solution could be. You mention a national identity card as the one thing that would work. Would you actually recommend this yourself?

I'm curious too about your remark about NAFTA. How did it increase illegal immigration? (It's probably obvious, but I know very little about NAFTA.) I suppose that the pro-NAFTA people would have argued that it would improve the Mexican economy so that fewer Mexicans would need to cross the border to get good jobs.

Anyway, whether you want to respond to my follow-up questions, thanks for a very informative post.

bkjazfan
02-07-2008, 01:08 PM
It has to be his methodology is off. When Kerrey ran against Bush and it came down to Ohio he said it was a wrap for Kerrey before the pools closed. It wasn't and Bush won. However, this time he was way off in his calculations. Not knowing anything about the machinations of polling it appears to be imprecise to put it mildly.

bjkeefe
02-07-2008, 02:58 PM
Thanks Brendan for the thoughtful and succinct reply. I think that you may already have stated this position previously, but it is always a pleasure to read your replies.

Thank you very much.

I am just surprised that you rise to the defense of those privileged few. Regardless of the politics of the source. I know that I could make a case for the value of academicians and pundits, but is it really taking the low road to enjoy the dressing down of bloviators?

I don't really understand what you're saying here. What "privileged few" was I defending in this context?

Sarcasm is not something I mind. IN fact, I usually enjoy it. Ditto the puncturing of gasbags. I distinguish these, however, from out-and-out ranting against "those others," especially in the context of the immigration issue.

Also, I almost always think that people who argue too strenuously against the educated are being smug about their own ignorance. This behavior is probably the single thing I hate most in many people.

bjkeefe
02-07-2008, 03:03 PM
It has to be his methodology is off. When Kerrey ran against Bush and it came down to Ohio he said it was a wrap for Kerrey before the pools closed. It wasn't and Bush won. However, this time he was way off in his calculations. Not knowing anything about the machinations of polling it appears to be imprecise to put it mildly.

Do you know anything about the Zogby approach, and how it differs? Is that the organization that does robopolls? If so, we could probably speculate about how some people enjoy lying to machines. I know I love to lie on stupid Web surveys.

Wonderment
02-07-2008, 03:58 PM
BN,


So I wonder what you think a solution could be. You mention a national identity card as the one thing that would work. Would you actually recommend this yourself?

The national ID card is worth thinking about in the context of real comprehensive reform. I have zero qualms about merely having a card as a requisite of legal residence. Many other democracies have had them for decades, and we Americans seem to have survived their cousins -- passports, drivers licenses and credit cards -- just fine.

With the national ID you would instantly solve the problem of on-the-books employment.

What I would do is make it easy to get one. If somebody offers you a on-the-books job, you qualify for the card, provided you're not a felon.

You could give provisional 5-yr-cards, for example, that would become permament based on 5-years without arrests. You could also throw in a national service requirement (40 hours per year, maybe) as a consequence of "jumping to the front of the line."

I'm curious too about your remark about NAFTA. How did it increase illegal immigration? (It's probably obvious, but I know very little about NAFTA.) I suppose that the pro-NAFTA people would have argued that it would improve the Mexican economy so that fewer Mexicans would need to cross the border to get good jobs.

Here's the short and uncontroversial answer: All these ambitious trade agreements create different pressures on global economies -- pull and push factors.

For example, if you suddenly say the US can sell cheap corn to Mexico, the small and marginal sharecropper families in Mexico are forced out of business. They are pushed by globalization (from their pov, starvation) to become economic refugees. So they end up in Iowa cornfields working for the new boss who needs cheap labor to keep prices down. Sometimes these kinds of effects can be clearly foreseen, sometimes they're only roughly predictable.

In any case, a big step toward defusing all the "our country vs. their country" view of immigration in which chauvinistic sentiment overwhelms rational discourse is to view the problem as really global. It's happening all over the planet and should be addressed in the same kind of international context as global warming and other environmental issues.

The migration of people is not a crime; it's simply what happens in response to local catastrophes like wars, earthquakes and the disappearance of labor markets.

graz
02-07-2008, 04:17 PM
Thank you very much.



I don't really understand what you're saying here. What "privileged few" was I defending in this context?

Sarcasm is not something I mind. IN fact, I usually enjoy it. Ditto the puncturing of gasbags. I distinguish these, however, from out-and-out ranting against "those others," especially in the context of the immigration issue.

Also, I almost always think that people who argue too strenuously against the educated are being smug about their own ignorance. This behavior is probably the single thing I hate most in many people.

I think I may have lost track of the original thread, but I will try. The "privileged few" was a reference to the victims of Pisc's original sarcasm regarding academia and the like. I think it got convoluted by Pisc denying the charge of negativity as misinterpretation. Osmium retracted the call when Pisc made a case for projection. Then, you rejoined by suggesting that Pisc, like many a conservative before him, tend to downplay or mock the so-called intelligentsia. Anyway as difficult as I have made it for you to plainly see. I simply wanted to call it sarcasm. Yet, the validity of your complaint about ignorance being masked by complaint is well taken.
So, let me finish by saying that Pisc's anecdote still seems more valuable than Megan or Matt's meager dismissals of the effect of immigration on "blue collar workers."

bjkeefe
02-07-2008, 05:38 PM
graz:

Thanks for the explanation. Guess I've already said what I have to say on the topic for the moment.

piscivorous
02-07-2008, 06:22 PM
Let me try and clarify my position. I said just what I intended it to say. Did I believe that it would be misinterpreted? To a large degree yes. As Brendon has noticed "you have a provocative way of wording things" or something to that effect. I do this on often do this on purpose as it shows directly how one own biases slant interpretation and thus misunderstanding. I can not be responsible for the bags individuals have packed, through this journey in wonderland, all I can do is to point out the excess weight they are carrying which makes finding a workable solution impossible.

I suppose that I could do so directly, but being one of the few "conservatives" here that would leave me open to criticism of attacking the individual and not the arguments, as any of you have read this BB for a while are well aware I prefer to stick to the arguments, though when sufficiently provoked I will respond, as opposed to personal attack or slander. So far you and Brendon are the only two that have expressed even the slightest of clues when I phrase something precisely and in seemingly provocative terminology, there may be a larger point I am making without having to resort to insult.

bjkeefe
02-07-2008, 07:36 PM
Roy on Megan. (http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2008/02/one-day-in-life-of-megan-mcardle.html)

cragger
02-07-2008, 08:44 PM
Pisc,

I wasn't really trying to support or refute your point, just to comment. Past a certain point (which isn't far), I have never found that arguments, or "strongly pressed disagreements" on websites accomplish much nor found that they are often put forth in a great deal of good faith. More fun to load up the snark-o-matic and fire away for most people I suppose.

Occasionally something about a diavlog or comment or my lack of a better way to waste my time inspires me to post. In this case, I'm an ex Floridian and someone who tries to be amused rather than disgusted by the immigration debate, to abuse EC's phrase. (I'm a bit given to the obscure or inside reference I'm afraid).

So, looking at your initial post and subsequent reply again, I gather that your overall point in the former was that immigrants lower wages for certain groups - those being generally folks in lower wage and skill jobs. My overall point is that most general objection to immigration, though sometimes expressed in those terms, has nothing to do with people being concerned about the poor folks at the bottom of the ladder facing additional competition.

Regarding the latter, my previous post was probably about as coherent as I am likely to get.

Regarding your reply about the skill level of construction trades:

I do admit being amazed by the 70k per year you quote for union carpenters in Chicago. If that is accurate, that is one damn strong union to have not been squeezed out of business long ago. The reason I say this is that the median household income in the US is somewhere in the general area of 45k a year. I saw today that the average electrical engineer in the US with about 10 years of experience earns about 70k per year. At that point, most will have a masters degree.
(http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Electrical_Engineer/Salary)

Not to dump on the construction trades, but I submit that an engineer with a masters degree and 10 years of experience is a considerably higher skilled person than most construction workers, carpenters included. I suspect that a lot of those Fla. construction folks who are making 12 or 13 bucks an hour are basically laborers. It just doesn't take that long to learn to haul and lay cinder blocks, mix and pour concrete, or do the majority of the construction jobs that are involved in turning a once nice state into an ugly mass of condos and strip malls. A couple folks who know whats going on to run the show and a lot of labor with a few basic skills and bingo - you have another new "No-tell Motel".

People who can conceive, design, and build beautiful cabinetry are one thing, but the vast majority of the work being done down there fits my definition of pretty low skill. I have zero formal training in plumbing, but within 6 months was the head plumber in a fairly expensive (non union built) "retirement community" north of Orlando. While I don't doubt that there are some subtle points I may not know, or that more experienced plumbers can sweat a cleaner looking pipe joint, my time there made pretty clear that the requirements of 5 years experience to advance to journeyman and another five to advance to a liscensed master is pretty silly. I don't resent experienced tradesmen artifically restricting advancement and protecting their position to anywhere near the degree I resent CEOs raking in millions for exactly the same reason. As they say, a dog licks his you-know-what because he can, and at least the union guys paid some dues, (in the sense of time served and work done vs. union dues) and don't benefit from 1% of the swag the CEO rakes off.

Sadly, knowing the basic facts that the hot tap goes on the left and the shit flows downhill still leaves me laying in crawlspaces hooking up waterheaters and redoing kitchens for friends though I have made my living otherwise for decades. But I digress, as usual.

So what the hell was my point? Umm, I guess that immigration opponents are not motivated by concern for economic impact at the bottom of the wage scale except and only in the specific case that it might hit their, and only their paycheck. Not in any case in which it affects anybody elses, and they love it when it does since it reduces some pricetag for them. That the current anti-immigration fever in some groups is the same old BS Megan described in the diavlog where various groups of immigrants have been resented for a while, and that these days, Mexicans are just the new N.....rs on the block. Probably the whole discussion of the skill level of construction workers vs. farm labor etc. is mostly beside the point despite my ramblings above. But hell, stick to the point?

If you are offended and worked up about the devaluation of human labor, take heart. Ahh ....... I was going to go on (and on and on) about oil and energy but damn, if you've read this far you deserve a prize or at least some satisfaction. Load up your snark-o-matic and have fun.

TwinSwords
02-07-2008, 11:39 PM
Given that the pre-Tuesday polling and the exit polling were so wrong for California, I've begun to wonder if the Bradley Effect were in fact real, but limited to California or even just the LA area. I think about the racism, homophobia and misogyny in the movies, and the absolutely rabid way that Hollywood seeks to portray itself as a bastion of liberalism. Sounds like the same thing to me.

Yes, that's right, it's all the fault of Hollywood's secret racism that the Zogby poll for California was wrong. Yeesh.

It wasn't the "pre-Tuesday polling" that was wrong. It was the Zogby poll that was wrong. The Survey USA poll called the race perfectly.

Here's a little item about it from TPM:

Lest We Forget ...

You'll remember in yesterday's episode of TPMtv we noted the vast disparity between Zogby's and SurveyUSA's final poll of California and said that one of the two organizations was going to be seriously embarrassed. Well, in the clear light of day, I'd say we have a winner.

Actual Results: Clinton 52%, Obama 42%
SurveyUSA: Clinton 52%, Obama 42%
Zogby Intl: Clinton 36%, Obama 49%

So SurveyUSA literally hit the bullseye, getting the exact percentage, while Zogby was off by a net total of 23 points.

Now, it's not all crow for Zogby. In Missouri, SurveyUSA had Clinton over Obama by 11 points while Zogby had Obama up by 3. The final result was Obama by 1 point.

Still, California was the big prize and the one with the eye-popping disparity. And SurveyUSA left Zogby in the dust.

--Josh Marshall

piscivorous
02-08-2008, 06:01 PM
While I would agree with you tat much of construction is brute labor and that most of the common tasks can be preformed with a minimum of training and experience. But should this preclude those who preform these tasks be relegated to living in the slums or 20 to a house designed to house a family of 4. I have not seen the a reduction in the cost of housing commensurate with sliding of the nonunion pay scale of construction workers but instead the labor savings have tended to flow directly into the wallets of the owners. With a reduction of the availability of the workers in this particular sector, of the economy, most if not all of the "excess" funds currently flowing in the pockets of the owners would necessarily have to be redirected to the workers. Don't get me wrong I don't believe that the owners should be rendered penniless but to profit by exploiting others is not an attitude that I find admirable.

Given my exposure to a number of highly educated engineers and architects I not so sure that all of them are worthy of the sums paid to them either. AutoCad is not a particularly difficult program to master nor ore the engendering calculations for a majority of construction projects complicated math. And I have seem some really bad engendering design, which has had to be changed when attention has been brought to it by one of we low skilled automatons, and since you have seen some of the architectural brilliance you see here throughout South Florida don't think I need to say more along those lines.

The 70,000 K is accurate as a figure quoted to me by a 24 years journeyman when talking about how his second son had just finished his 4 year apprenticeship and was now making that sum as of Dec 26, 2007.

cragger
02-08-2008, 08:40 PM
If they are getting 70k - more power to 'em.

I gather that in saying that the extra $ not paid to construction labor is flowing to owners, you are speaking most generally about larger construction projects or subdivision developments and that the owners in question are the developers, etc. and not single family homeowners. While I am no expert by any means in the financial aspects of the construction or development businesses, it doesn't seem like single family home prices, or for that matter condo prices, are going down to the degree that you suggest that the labor price has, or that the individual "owners" of those homes and condos are saving big bucks.

If someone can throw up some data and claim otherwise and indicate that individual home buyers are making out like bandits lately, I admit that I don't know enough about all the economics involved to believe, disbelieve, or refute that data. If someone does claim that homes are underpriced due to exploition of the labor that builds them, it only makes my previous point - that individually and collectively as consumers, most people are more than happy to improve their economic status at the expense of others. The next home buyer I hear of who decides that the workers who built his house were underpaid and decides to go give each of them a big bundle of cash after closing on the sale will be the first.

So far as I understand, it has never been any different. Back a few centuries and if it was a bad harvest year or a terrible winter, nobody expected the Duke and his family to go hungry no matter how many peasants didn't make it to spring. Taking your use of the word "should" in your question of whether construction workers in South Fla, or other low wage workers should have a better bargain and a bigger piece of the pie as a moral question, I agree with you.

The larger question of the effect of the inequality of income and wealth on society is probably a bigger one than either of us wants to tackle in this thread. I will toss out the idea that the picture of US society that most of us hold, that this is a middle class land where the majority of people are relatively equal in real terms represents a brief period in the mid to late 20th century. The large middle class we consider as comprising most of US society is in my understanding a product of two main things - the union movement that let a large number of workers move upward for the first time, and the WWII GI Bill that put the first members of millions of families through college and similarly up into the middle class. My impression, unsupported by linkage to some screed or supporting "authority" with a famous name, is that the trend has reversed, and the middle class is shrinking. Where this will eventually lead?

A final thought. Part of the devaluation of human labor has been due to the fact that we have enjoyed a period of nearly free energy. It has been far cheaper to supplant the human laborers and push them aside, economically speaking, wherever and whenever possible. A gallon of gas will simply do more work for $3 than human labor. Even given free slave labor, you couldn't keep them alive and healthy enough to do as much work for the same amount of $ on a sustainable basis. Now that we can see the end of the age of fossil fuels, however near or far someone wants to claim that is, perhaps physical labor will someday gain in economic value.

Your mileage may vary and probably does, but I'm not particularly optimistic. The peasant farmers throughout the middle ages, the later farmers and servants of the gentry in 18th or 19th century Europe, or for that matter the poor shmucks who actually built the pyramids didn't have to compete against either machinery fueled by cheap energy or "excess labor" related to rapid immigration in the mobile "modern" world. As far as I know, none of those folks made out all that well.

piscivorous
02-08-2008, 09:13 PM
sorry that I failed to make myself clear. I was speaking of the owners of the construction firms, both large and small. I didn't mean to imply that housing prices were dropping due to decreasing labor expenses of the companies. On the contrary the cost per sq/ft of housing, for that past decade or so, outstripped the rate of inflation considerably even as labor costs are decreasing.

piscivorous
02-08-2008, 09:16 PM
Sorry that I failed to make myself clear. I was speaking of the owners of the construction firms, both large and small. I didn't mean to imply that housing prices were dropping due to decreasing labor expenses of the companies. On the contrary the cost per sq/ft of housing, for that past decade or so, outstripped the rate of inflation considerably even as labor costs are decreasing. This phenomena may be reversing now with the bursting of the speculative bubble in the housing market but that is probably a temporary reversal at best.

TwinSwords
02-09-2008, 02:24 PM
I just have to say, this was a great diavlog. Matt was in rare form, with one hilarious observation after another. His dry wit and sarcasm is a rare gift; he may be the only Blogginghead of whom it can be said he is genuinely funny.

(Mickey also has a sense of humor, I guess.)

I particularly enjoyed Matt's observation that Jesus's plan extended to his delayed flight.