Are voters sending a message?

You see a lot of recent talk about the message being sent by voters, especially in the US and Europe.  For instance, both the Trump phenomenon and Brexit are widely seen as a revolt of the struggling working class against the affluent elites. Like many generalizations, there is a grain of truth here. But I find the mountain of non-truth to be much more interesting.

For instance, Trump is likely to win a majority among affluent voters, while Brexit also did well affluent southern English counties, outside of London.  So it’s not just economics.  Each voter has their own reasons.

Ross Douthat has new piece discussing the blind spots of cosmopolitan liberals:

They can’t see that paeans to multicultural openness can sound like self-serving cant coming from open-borders Londoners who love Afghan restaurants but would never live near an immigrant housing project, or American liberals who hail the end of whiteness while doing everything possible to keep their kids out of majority-minority schools.

Douthat is a quite thoughtful and persuasive writer, but I believe things are much more complicated that he suggests.  Consider the issue of schools. Affluent American parents don’t want their kids going to public schools in poor (African-American) areas of Detroit or Cleveland.  But note that these are areas that have relatively few immigrants.  And immigration is supposed to be the big policy issue that is propelling nationalistic politics in the US and Europe.  I would add that white working class parents also don’t want their kids going to those schools.  On the other hand, most affluent parents and most working class parents would be happy to see their child get into (mostly non-white) UCLA:

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 12.43.45 PM

So I don’t think it’s obvious whether the core issue here is diversity or income.  It’s quite likely that UCLA grads will tend to have fairly successful careers, and that there will be lots of intermarriage among those groups.  Here’s an analogy.  In the 1800s, there was lots of resentment against immigration of Irish, Italians and Jews. These groups were seen as a threat to the dominance of the “WASP tribe”.  Today there is very little concern about this issue, even among mainstream conservatives. The WASP tribe has been replaced by the “white tribe”.  And we can already look ahead a few decades and see the white tribe being replaced by a sort of beige tribe looking like UCLA students; composed of whites, Asians and the upper half of the Hispanic income distribution, which all intermarry quite frequently.

When I was young there was lots of anxiety about the Italian-American mafia. (Younger readers will have no idea what I’m talking about, but people my age will understand.)   The fear that Americans once had of the mafia has been replaced by a fear of terrorism.  Those who (in the 1960s) wanted to claim that organized crime was deeply embedded in southern Italian culture actually had a strong argument. After all, even today the mafia is deeply embedded in southern Italy.  But for some unknown reason those cultural traditions did not prevent southern Italian immigrants from successfully assimilating once they got to America.  They are now three times richer than their relatives who stayed in Naples or Sicily.

Should we be complacent that assimilation will continue to occur in the future?  I’m not very worried about Australia and Canada, rather I’m much more worried about Western Europe.  The US is somewhere in between these extremes.

Now I’ll take off my liberal hat and put on my conservative hat.  Here’s the problem that I see in Western Europe (Denmark in this case):

Yet many Danes I talked to are less concerned about terrorism than about the threat they see Muslims posing to their way of life. Though Muslims make up less than 5 percent of the population, there is growing evidence that many of the new arrivals fail to enter the workforce, are slow to learn Danish, and end up in high-crime immigrant neighborhoods where, while relying on extensive state handouts, they and their children are cut off from Danish society. In 2010, the Danish government introduced a “ghetto list” of such marginalized places with the goal of “reintegrating” them; the list now includes more than thirty neighborhoods.

Popular fears that the refugee crisis could overwhelm the Danish welfare state have sometimes surprised the country’s own leadership. On December 3, in a major defeat for the government, a clear majority of Danes—53 percent—rejected a referendum on closer security cooperation with the European Union. Until now, Denmark has been only a partial EU member—for example, it does not belong to the euro and has not joined EU protocols on citizenship and legal affairs. In view of the growing threat of jihadism, both the government and the opposition Social Democrats hoped to integrate the country fully into European policing and counterterrorism efforts. But the “no” vote, which was supported by the Danish People’s Party, was driven by fears that such a move could also give Brussels influence over Denmark’s refugee and immigration policies.

Hmm, 53% voting against a referendum that would “give Brussels influence over Denmark’s refugee and immigration policies.”  I vaguely recall something similar occurring recently in another EU country.

From an economic perspective, the government’s embrace of the populist right was anomalous. With its unique combination of comprehensive welfare and a flexible labor market—known as flexicurity—Denmark has an efficient economy in which the rate of job turnover is one of the highest in Europe, yet almost 75 percent of working-age Danes are employed. At the same time, the country’s extraordinary social benefits, such as long-term education, retraining, and free child care, are based on integration in the workforce. Yet many of the qualities about the Danish system that work so well for those born into it have made it particularly hard for outsiders to penetrate. . . .

Yet the immigration overhaul also had strong foundations in the Liberal Party. In 1997, Bertel Haarder, a veteran Liberal politician and strategist, wrote an influential book called Soft Cynicism, which excoriated the Danish welfare system for creating, through excessive coddling, the very stigmatization of new arrivals to Denmark that it was ostensibly supposed to prevent. Haarder, who went on to become Fogh Rasmussen’s minister of immigration, told me, “The Danes wanted to be soft and nice. And we turned proud immigrants into social welfare addicts. It wasn’t their fault. It was our fault.”

I think this is the key.  Either bring in high skilled immigrants, as in Australia or Canada, or bring in low skilled immigrants, and push them into work via a meager welfare state, as in Texas.  Western Europe has not chosen either route, and is paying the price.

California has much more generous welfare than Texas, and there is a danger that California’s new $15 minimum wage will create an even larger Hispanic underclass than currently exists.  Some proponents of a higher minimum wage, like Ron Unz, hope that it will price potential low-income (Hispanic) immigrants out of the job market, and discourage immigration.  Maybe.  But another risk is that you end up like many third world countries, where official jobs pay far more than what workers could earn in the informal economy.  Peasants move to the big cities and queue up for these well paying jobs.  Even if you are only able to work 6 months out of the year at $15/hour, that’s better than full time at $7.25/hour.  At least better for the individual, I suspect it’s much worse for society to have a huge cohort of disgruntled immigrants, going in and out of unemployment.

To summarize, I don’t think recent events are a wake-up call that we need to be concerned about an “end to whiteness”.  Rather it suggests that we might want to nudge our immigration policy somewhat in the Australia/Canada direction (which would basically mean more immigrants from India and China, and fewer from Oaxaca and El Salvador).   The problem is not the prospect of an increasingly cosmopolitan society—because of intermarriage it will not seem cosmopolitan when we actually get there.  (BTW, the young in Britain are already there–voting 3-1 against Brexit.) Rather the problem is a society where large segments of the population are socially excluded because they don’t work.  In America, a big chuck of the excluded are Native American and black non-immigrants.

Nor is it obvious that voters are rebelling against neoliberalism.  Among developed countries, you often see the most extreme populism in the least neoliberal countries.  (Compare Australia and Hungary, or Sweden and Greece.)  In Latin America, there is currently a backlash against socialism and in favor of neoliberalism.  And yet I see one pundit after another pontificating that the voters are sending a message in favor of more Keynesian spending, or less neoliberalism, or whatever that pundit tends to favor.  Trump wants massive tax cuts for the hedge fund class–how’s that a backlash against neoliberal elites?  (Just to be clear, he says he wants them to pay more taxes, but his actual proposal calls for a top rate of 25%, which would sharply cut their taxes, even if the cap gains rate was bumped up to 25%.)

PS.  It’s ironic that many of my commenters obsess about the decline of America’s white population, which they see as being culturally superior.   They are the flip side of the campus PC nuts that obsess about “white privilege” and view talk of a “colorblind society” as covert racism.  These left and right-wingers share an obsession with race that I don’t have.  I am not horrified by the fact that Orange County, CA (or Texas) is no longer majority white–it still seems like a pretty good place to live; indeed I might live in “the OC” someday.

PPS.  I have a new Econlog post discussing a new Krugman post that endorses my February critique of Autor, Dorn and Hanson on China trade.


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66 Responses to “Are voters sending a message?”

  1. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    4. July 2016 at 11:08

    It’s not about race or immigration but about culture. “Whiteness” isn’t about skin color.

  2. Gravatar of Harold Harold
    4. July 2016 at 11:19

    Hi Scott,

    You say: “Rather the problem is a society where large segments of the population are socially excluded because they don’t work. In America, a big chuck of the excluded are Native American and black non-immigrants.”

    Have any proof? Any numbers? I’m willing to be persuaded with numbers, but otherwise this sounds like right wing pontificating to my left wing ears.

    Also, could you elaborate on the logical leap you make from “The Right says the problem is immigrants that don’t work” to “They are misdiagnosing, the problem is non-immigrants not working.” How is the Right misdiagnosing your supposed problem? And, in reference to my first point, why are you not misdiagnosing the problem yourself?

  3. Gravatar of Harold Harold
    4. July 2016 at 11:34

    Also, I’m very much aware of the LFPR numbers. That’s not what I mean by proof. I mean that it seems you must demonstrate the causal connection between those numbers, the size of the welfare state, and the “populist” anger that *seems* so prominent today.

  4. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    4. July 2016 at 11:48

    They are the flip side of the campus PC nuts that obsess about “white privilege” and view talk of a “colorblind society” as covert racism. These left and right-wingers share an obsession with race that I don’t have. I am not horrified by the fact that Orange County, CA (or Texas) is no longer majority white–it still seems like a pretty good place to live; indeed I might live in “the OC” someday.

    I think having a good experience with a mixed society is one thing that has the power melt away racial and cultural anxieties, which has been the case for me.

  5. Gravatar of Michael Michael
    4. July 2016 at 11:54

    Scott, I agree with every word you wrote. However, there’s a mismatch between your heading and your text. Your text explains what is the problem, and what isn’t. (I agree.) The title indicates that there’s conflict between voters and the politcal establishment (for lack of a better word).
    Is there a strong link between (comparatively) mild immigration problems and xenophobic politics? Was the Jewish minority in 1929 Germany really such a thorn in ordinary Germans’ side? Really? (Yes, they had a lot of entrepreneurs, lawyers and doctors, but they were 1% of the population, and not all were in “the 1%”.)
    It seems to me that we have a situation as described by Pareto: a pure power struggle between competing ‘elites’ (in scare quotes). The aspiring ‘elite’ uses the perennial tool to mobilise the masses — xenophobia.
    And, of course, it happens now because of tight money. I seem to remember who predicted exactly that…

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. July 2016 at 12:14

    Steve, Yes, there is a sense in which “whiteness” is about culture. Many Hispanics identify as “white”, for instance.

    Harold, You need proof that a big chunk of the so-called underclass is Native Americans or African Americans? Really?

    You said:

    “I mean that it seems you must demonstrate the causal connection between those numbers, the size of the welfare state, and the “populist” anger that *seems* so prominent today.”

    I did not make that connection in the post. I said I was skeptical of those claims. There’s more populist anger in Greece than in Sweden, even though Sweden’s welfare state is much bigger.

    Populism reflects many issues, including anti-PCism, trade, immigration, inequality, terrorism, cultural change, low productivity growth, etc.

    Michael, I agree, but I suspect it’s about much more than tight money. Low productivity growth and increasing wage inequality and rising housing costs are additional economic factors.

  7. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    4. July 2016 at 12:15


    I think this is the key. Either bring in high skilled immigrants, as in Australia or Canada, or bring in low skilled immigrants, and push them into work via a meager welfare state, as in Texas. Western Europe has not chosen either route, and is paying the price.

    Exactly. Unfortunately such proposals got close to no chance in most Western, Central and Southern European countries.

  8. Gravatar of Matthew Moore Matthew Moore
    4. July 2016 at 12:34

    I think the big change in recent years is that politicians don’t see themselves as representatives or delegates anymore, but as leaders, and particularly as moral leaders. They see a responsibility to preach cosmopolitan/ metropolitan values.

    One of the biggest complaints I see among the British working class is not immigration per se (although that too), but by the constant hectoring of the politicians who all said, explicitly, for years, that concerns about immigration were automatically racist. Too late in the UK did they admit that wasn’t true, and then only half-heartedly – seeming to say that concerns weren’t necessarily racist, but the majority of the concerned probably were.

    In short, people were fed up of being lectured on morality by politicians, who in the UK are the least trusted profession. This has been coming for a while – Google ‘Gillian Duffy’ to see an early example of this backlash.

  9. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    4. July 2016 at 13:31

    I just read an interview with a Syrian-born student of Adorno, Horkheimer and Bloch in a German newspaper.

    He is saying the same thing. It goes like this: “There’s no controlled migration as in the US or Canada or Australia. There’s wasn’t even a vote in the German or in the European parliament to open the borders for this kind of migration from Asia and Africa. The decision was basically made by Merkel alone. It will end in a catastrophe.”

    People like Slavoj Žižek made similar comments, too.

    You know that the situation might be out of hand when even the marxists get scared and begin to express conservative arguments. Really funny to watch.

  10. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    4. July 2016 at 14:11

    Brexit also did well affluent southern English counties, outside of London.

    No, it did well in loci outside the administrative boundaries of London. The dense settlement bleeds into the six surrounding Home Counties. The general pattern in and around London is one of receding income levels as one moves to the periphery with certain wedges (e.g. the northwest wedge extending through Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire) more affluent than other wedges. Administrative London is more affluent than the Home Counties and voted to Remain. The boroughs within London which voted for Brexit are the ones with the lower housing costs.

    Again, all the less affluent portions of the UK voted for Brexit except the Catholic portions of Ulster and a stray county here or there in England and Wales.

  11. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    4. July 2016 at 14:19

    For instance, Trump is likely to win a majority among affluent voters,

    Not likely. The most affluent voters favored BO. Voters with graduate degrees favored BO. The Democrats are a sandwich coalition: fancy professional-managerial types (especially in government, education, licensed professions, and the media, with some interesting little redoubts like casino banking); teachers and journalists and the helping professions in the middle; and various demographic segments among the working class &c (blacks, Puerto Ricans, California chicanos, and the general run of trashy single mothers).

  12. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    4. July 2016 at 14:27

    Rather it suggests that we might want to nudge our immigration policy somewhat in the Australia/Canada direction (which would basically mean more immigrants from India and China, and fewer from Oaxaca and El Salvador).

    We have no intentional immigration policy because the laws are not enforced. Devoting resources to enforcing the law is just what the Democratic Party objects to (and Bryan Caplan, while we’re at it).

    (And, while we’re at it, importing a bourgeoisie puts us on the road to the social stratification of Poland or Hungary, ca. 1925. Not too promising).

  13. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    4. July 2016 at 14:37

    Was the Jewish minority in 1929 Germany really such a thorn in ordinary Germans’ side? Really? (Yes, they had a lot of entrepreneurs, lawyers and doctors, but they were 1% of the population, and not all were in “the 1%”.)

    It’s a reasonable counter-factual that if the German establishment had been able to hang tough, Nazi support would have rapidly receded. Look at the KKK in the US, which went from nothing in 1915, to a seven digit membership in 1922, to a 5 digit membership in 1935. You have these faddish responses to social stress. By contrast, vociferous anti-semitism was an abiding feature of Austrian, Polish and Hungarian politics during the inter-war period, (but, while venomous, much less brutal ‘ere these places were occupied by Germany).

  14. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    4. July 2016 at 15:15

    Scott, your statement about Orange County, CA interested me, so I found this from Wikipedia:

    The 2010 United States Census reported that Orange County had a population of 3,010,232. The racial makeup of Orange County was 1,830,758 (60.8%) White (44.0% non-Hispanic white), 50,744 (1.7%) African American, 18,132 (0.6%) Native American, 537,804 (17.9%) Asian, 9,354 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 435,641 (14.5%) from other races, and 127,799 (4.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,012,973 persons (33.7%).

    Not that different than the rest of California. The key is “non-Hispanic white.” Those are under 50% in OC along with CA as a whole. Though there are more white people in CA than any other state:

    According to 2014 US Census Bureau estimates, California’s population was 73.2% White, 6.5% Black or African American, 14.4% Asian, 1.7% American Indian, 0.5% Pacific Islander and 3.7% from two or more races. By ethnicity, 38.6% of the total population is Hispanic-Latino (of any race) and 61.4% Non-Hispanic (of any race).[11]

    California has the largest population of White Americans in the U.S., totaling 21,453,934 residents as of the 2010 census. …

    As of 2011, California has the largest minority population in the United States. Non-Hispanic whites decreased from about 76.3 – 78% of the state’s population in 1970[12] to 38.5% in 2014.

    And another thing, by all rights we Californians should have 12 of 100 senators to represent us, not just 2. Likewise Wyoming and about 4 other nearby states should share a single senator.

  15. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    4. July 2016 at 15:22

    @Tom Brown

    “I think having a good experience with a mixed society is one thing that has the power melt away racial and cultural anxieties, which has been the case for me.”

    Sure, if you have a euphoric uplifting experience with racial change, everything is great. You can look back and smile and laugh at the past anxieties that melted away.

    My concern is when it doesn’t work well, people have bad experiences, and our culture demands that any negative outcome is immoral and invalid.

    @sumner

    “It’s ironic that many of my commenters obsess about the decline of America’s white population, which they see as being culturally superior.”

    Of course, there are flaws in white culture. It would be reasonable if we were identifying problem cultures of all racial groups that would genuinely benefit from racial transformation. Instead, our culture demands that any racial transformation away from white must be positive and any disagreement is morally outrageous and shamed.

    To cite two recent examples that seem to have had unhappy outcome: Immigrant banlieues in France or Somalian immigrant communities in Minnesota. It is considered racist and morally outrageous to resist these changes or to suggest they were bad ideas. And much of our culture will demand that any problems must be the fault of the whites. This is the opposite of being open minded. And while it’s generally good to embrace change, we should be able to pick and choose the changes we adopt and acknowledge change that was problematic. Immigration restrictionists are being denied this on moral grounds.

    Next, we’ve had rather high immigration to the US and Europe. It seems reasonable to push pause as the US and Europe have done in the past.

  16. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    4. July 2016 at 15:35

    @Massimo, the experience need not be “euphoric” and “uplifting.” From personal experience, “uneventful” works just fine. Like finding out that fluoridated water doesn’t alter your “precious bodily fluids” after previously believing those who swore up and down that it would.

  17. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    4. July 2016 at 15:40

    Nice post.

    But Tyler Cowen pointed out recently that housing costs are resulting in declining Brit living standards.

    The same thing is happening on the West Coast of US and Boston NYC etc.

    It may be in the real world the free trade-open borders model is a failure for the voters of developed nations. But if it is, it is also undercut by tight money and property zoning.

    Australians are concluding free trade and open borders does not work. Their housing costs are through the roof.

    Depicting opponents of the free trade-open borders model as dim-witted racist Luddites may feel good. The fact is the model is resulting in lower living standards for large swaths of populations in developed nations, given many real-world structural impediments.

    Conventional economists in the US who call for no minimum wage but open borders to Mexico and a Fed that shoots for a minimum 5% unemployment appear clueless.

    If Donald Trump wasn’t such a boor-buffoon he would win in a lanslide.

  18. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    4. July 2016 at 16:00

    “It’s ironic that many of my commenters obsess about the decline of America’s white population, which they see as being culturally superior.”

    Of course, there are flaws in white culture.

    Just to point out the degree to which SS has imbibed faculty culture. It’s policy in academic institutions to fold and spindle admissions standards to increase the population of non-white students (which is to say to reduce the population of white students). Such is promoted by the courts and federal officialdom and has been adopted by corporate HR. Several generations of excuses have been offered for such policies and their promoters have fallen back on social hegemony and status games to maintain them rather than offer actual defenses. These have been supplemented with federal policy, happily administered by institutions, to create a less congenial environment for male students and, in certain redoubts, a hostile one. The intensity with which these policies are pursued is directly proportional to the selectivity of the institution. Where I once worked, the faculty were openly contemptuous of their natural clientele (professional class kids with a leavening of patricians, not ethnic) in their table talk (and occasionally in public fora like the college newspaper).

    The analogue in immigration policy would be efforts to reduce the share of the non-exotic white population through a refusal to enforce immigration policy. An aspect of this would be the Democratic Party’s vote farming operation, but also the casual assumption (manifest in Jeb Bush) that ordinary American workers are of inferior quality.

    Southerners, evangelicals, and old-line Catholics are used to the casual insults that liberals throw out in fora like this, of course. There are also public figures and issues which demonstrate the social contempt of the sort of people who inhabit academic institutions, among other places. See the decades long attempt to pin the blame for inner-city crime on law-abiding gun owners or signed commentary on Sarah Palin by figures like Howard Fineman or Charles Fried.

  19. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    4. July 2016 at 16:20

    “And yet I see one pundit after another pontificating that the voters are sending a message in favor of more Keynesian spending, or less neoliberalism, or whatever that pundit tends to favor.”

    -Hm…

    “Rather it suggests that we might want to nudge our immigration policy somewhat in the Australia/Canada direction (which would basically mean more immigrants from India and China, and fewer from Oaxaca and El Salvador).”

    -Good idea.

    “(BTW, the young in Britain are already there–voting 3-1 against Brexit.)”

    -Nobody remembers 1975. I wasn’t alive then, but somehow, I do, while everyone else seems immune to even thinking about it.

    “Today there is very little concern about this issue, even among mainstream conservatives.”

    -And yet, (((Jews))) vote ~70% Dem (this is down from the 1940s and and 1950s, due to the arrival of pro-Trump Sovok (((Jews))) ).

    “while Brexit also did well affluent southern English counties, outside of London.”

    -No county with a median income of over 30k pounds voted Leave:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2016/jun/23/eu-referendum-live-results-and-analysis

    I agree there’s no real “reaction against neoliberalism” throughout the world.

    “For instance, Trump is likely to win a majority among affluent voters,”

    -??? The correlation between income and general election Trump support is ~0.

  20. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    4. July 2016 at 16:25

    California is much more successful and diverse, economically, than is Texas. That is the one problem with this article. Texas is like a raw material nation and California actually makes stuff.

    However, I think the new white being beige almost caused me to fall off my chair with laughter.

  21. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    4. July 2016 at 16:50

    30% of non-Hispanic White voters voted for Obama in CA. 19.6% did so in Texas and Georgia:

    https://fusiontables.googleusercontent.com/fusiontables/embedviz?q=select+col7+from+1HOxybMzharikbGfEtBMi8QYP5z_ydsW6eZMmsP6w&viz=MAP&h=false&lat=41.51180023299375&lng=-88.84258676562496&t=1&z=5&l=col7&y=2&tmplt=2&hml=KML

  22. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    4. July 2016 at 16:50

    *in Orange County, CA. Close to 50% of non-Hispanic White voters voted for Obama in CA as a whole.

  23. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    4. July 2016 at 16:59

    “Neoliberalism” has become a convenient boo word for globalisation/technological change/anything about markets folk don’t like.

    See this otherwise thoughtful piece.
    https://workingclassstudies.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/a-working-class-brexit/

    To the economically minded, it may be obvious that much of the problem are government interventions (e.g. land rationing) but that is the old problem of the seen and the unseen. To others, “neoliberalism” just becomes “anything vaguely market connected that has been bad since 1980”.

    For instance, Peter Turchin and David Sloan Wilson have been leading a “reform economics now” movement that is all about how evil neoliberalism by poisoning social cooperation.
    http://evonomics.com/

  24. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    4. July 2016 at 17:00

    That should be “how evil neoliberalism is by its poisoning of social cooperation”.

  25. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    4. July 2016 at 18:25

    California is much more successful and diverse, economically, than is Texas.

    Dated.

    Personal income per capita is about 12% higher in California. However, growth rates have been higher in Texas for more than 8 decades. California was in 1929 was 4th in the country in affluence, with a personal income per capita more than 40% above national means. It is now about 10% above national means. Texas in 1929 had incomes 2/3 national means and is now 2% below national means. Rates of population growth in Texas surpassed those in California around 1990.

  26. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    4. July 2016 at 18:45

    Rates of population growth in Texas surpassed those in California around 1990.

    A large fraction of that growth rate is due to the growth of the Hispanic population, isn’t it?
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/01/24/in-2014-latinos-will-surpass-whites-as-largest-racialethnic-group-in-california/

  27. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    4. July 2016 at 19:10

    @ArtDeco: Sorry, but Texas is a one trick pony, with high rates of poverty. It is not diverse like California. It is a joke compared to California. One more oil shock should prove it.

  28. Gravatar of Hat Hat
    4. July 2016 at 19:22

    I liked your conservative hat and I think Walter Williams got it right:

    https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/06/16/multiculturalism-a-failed-concept

  29. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    4. July 2016 at 20:28

    Gary is spouting complete nonsense again.

    Art, rather than address such nonsense, I have a request for you: given your breadth of historical knowledge, I strongly suggest you read and review this post of mine for any errors or omissions:

    https://goo.gl/rafFck

  30. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    5. July 2016 at 00:53

    Scott,

    “Rather the problem is a society where large segments of the population are socially excluded because they don’t work.”

    yes but

    “Either bring in high skilled immigrants, as in Australia or Canada, or bring in low skilled immigrants, and push them into work via a meager welfare state, as in Texas. Western Europe has not chosen either route, and is paying the price.”

    It’s more complex and more twisted.

    The British didn’t vote against Syrians or other non-EU immigrants. Their beef was with the _EU immigrants_ who come freely as if moving from one US state to another. The voter did not want this (welfare, medical subsidies, job competition) – but free movement of people is the whole political point of the EU. The EU btw is a political project, no just an economic one, and that is also what people objected to. Disclosure, I fully support this project, but many people in Europe don’t for fear of losing “their sovereignty” (a can of worms which I do not want to open here). Me I’d be perfectly happy to abandon my national passport for an EU passport, just as the US doesn’t have state passports. But I seem to be the only one.

    On the continent, the problem is centered more around non-EU “immigrants”. But these people, especially the Syrians, aren’t really immigrants in the classic sense. They are asylum seekers. The right to asylum is law. You can reject people on application outcomes of course but you have to take them in for application first, by law. Theoretically this should happen in an orderly fashion AND in the country of first entry. But wars aren’t orderly, Turkey let the people go, the EU lacks common border patrols and Greece was overrun. So what did Greece do? It let people go further, on foot, without proper registration. Hungary tried to register the masses, so did Austria. All finally gave up and let the masses through to Germany where the million-odd was finally registered as refugees. NOT as immigrants! Side note, I find it a bit thick of the many here to blame Merkel for the failure of: Turkey (NATO partner), Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, and Austria, to do their job and register 1 million refugees. Well, seen the size of the job, it was understandable that these countries begged to let the masses just run to Germany, which they did. Especially since Germany intended to have other European countries fulfill their treaty bound duty to accept their share of refugees. 1 Million in an EU of 500 Mio would have been far more acceptable than 1 Mio for 80 Mio Germans. Except that the other EU states, save Greece, Austria, Hungary, and Sweden, did not accept ANY refugees in violation of extant accords. And everybody now to blame Merkel for this. What should she have done? Shoot the refugees at the border? The far right AfD has actually suggested that. So what happened here was the least evil outcome of an extraordinary refugee situation. Had Merkel not accepted the Syrians w/o proper registration from the country of entry (Greece) it would just have pushed Greece over the brink. Merkel acted on request of the prior countries on the “Balkan route” to accept these people w/o prior proper registration, to proceed register in Germany instead. She essentially saved these countries from civil war like conditions.

    Either way: The current continental EU problem is not an immigration problem, it is a refugee problem. And this problem could have been made much less severe with MORE EU integration, not with less. MORE border control, MORE treaty fulfillment, MORE concerted efforts at EU external borders. By default, since external EU borders failed, internal borders were once again erected.

    That being said, the welfare payments to the refugees in Austria, Germany, and Sweden, are staggering and absolutely keep people from work. A family of four refugees in Austria apparently gets 2000 Euros basic income. You try and get that as salary after tax, even as a skilled worker.

    So what about “real” immigrants? Well here the problem is that the EU or its member states don’t have a controlled or proper immigration policy. They basically pretend that they don’t have any immigration, save for inter-EU migration (by definition of the EU this must be kept free). All others are just asylum seekers or ancillary immigrants from the 1960s (Turks in Germany) when there was indeed imported labour because of a shortage of low skilled workers. Or, they are remnants of empire (Algerians in France).

    The tragedy is that no one may dare to speak about proper immigration in Europe these days because the climate is poisoned by the refugee crisis. Europe never had skilled controlled immigration, so in the people’s mind, each and all immigrant is a low skilled poor person eating benefits or working class jobs.

  31. Gravatar of Below Potential Below Potential
    5. July 2016 at 04:22

    mbka,

    why should one distinguish between refugees and “normal” immigrants? The basic truth, as pointed out by Scott Sumner, is that (in the long run) one cannot afford open borders AND a universal welfare at the same time – independent of whether the immigration consists mainly of refugees or “normal” immigrants.

    So what could a country do that wants to maintain a welfare state for its citizens and does not want to have hundreds of thousands of foreigners needlessly die in war or drown in the Mediterranean Sea every year?

    The solution to this problem would, of course, be simple: make the welfare state two-tiered, i.e. exclude first-generation immigrants from its benefits.

    This way, the citizens can keep their welfare system (if they wish so) AND refugees as well as “normal” immigrants are able to find shelter and pursue a better life.
    Immigration (by refugees or “normal” immigrants) would finance itself.

    Instead of having to sacrifice resources for refugees, the citizens of the country would profit by trading goods and services with them.

  32. Gravatar of brendan brendan
    5. July 2016 at 06:20

    It’s not “Whiteness”. It’s civilization.

    Look in any comment section on Brexit and you’ll see leavers talking about how the Hindu’s and Sikh’s are fine, it’s not a race thing, it’s a being a horrible citizen thing.

    And about elites who want to protect and import more horrible citizens so badly that they’ll suppress speech to do it.

  33. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    5. July 2016 at 06:29

    Below Potential,

    “why should one distinguish between refugees and “normal” immigrants? ”

    Because normal immigrants can be sifted by quality and appropriateness to the host country. Refugees, once a decision has been made to legally grant them refuge based on humanitarian principles, cannot. This idea was based on the assumption that there would never be so many at the same time. But sometimes you’re out of luck and the time is now.

    So the choice is to either abandon the humanitarian principle behind asylum laws, and potentially send people back to their deaths in repressive regimes, or to accept the occasional mega-crisis. I actually contend that the current crisis in Europe is on a smaller or at best similar scale to previous ones.

    Two examples: In the 60s France accepted 1 Million refugees after the war was lost in Algeria. About 15% of those were North African Muslims. The others were metropolitan colonists – not that they wanted to leave, they were seething with anger at what they saw as their betrayal. France then was a much poorer country, the AOS (French secret nationalist organization) tried to assassinate de Gaulle and nearly succeeded. But it all eventually settled.

    And in 1956, Austria had to deal with 100,000 refugees in a SINGLE DAY after the Hungarian experiment of Imre Nagy ended with Soviet tanks. Many were naturalised, others moved on, none moved back, obviously. Austria did not collapse then, even though it was way poorer than it is now, now that it had to accept 90,000 Syrians over the course of 2 years. People complain too much.

    “The solution to this problem would, of course, be simple: make the welfare state two-tiered”.

    Well. If we didn’t have constitutions that guarantee human rights based on being _human_ rather than based on being some specific _kind_ of human. Here is my solution: vastly reduce the welfare state for all. I believe in the current European state it depresses the life force of pretty much everyone and creates huge perverse incentives. But of course many people love the handouts, it’s just that they want them only for themselves and for what they perceive as “their kind”. Hence the name “national socialism”.

  34. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    5. July 2016 at 06:33

    brendan,

    if you read the news and polls you’ll see that the British who voted for Brexit chiefly voted against the Poles and the Roumanians. Could you explain how these are being “horrible citizens”? Also: Those weren’t “imported” (how?) by “elites” (who?) but came freely under EU free movement principles.

  35. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    5. July 2016 at 07:15

    @sumner,

    “I am not horrified by the fact that Orange County, CA (or Texas) is no longer majority white–it still seems like a pretty good place to live”

    Germany is a highly desirable place to live. Does that mean the exodus of Jews wasn’t bad? You can rationalize any past event in this fashion and that is unproductive.

    If you are simply trying to optimize society as a nice place to live in a completely race/ethnic neutral global fashion, you would focus on changing the really terrible places or trying to spread whatever works from successful areas to the unsuccessful ones. Fifty years ago, majority white California and Texas were already some of the nicest and most successful and desirable places to live on the planet. So, engineering new demographics in Texas and California didn’t completely destroy them, sure, but since you were starting with a highly successful area, it’s not a success story either.

  36. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    5. July 2016 at 07:35

    @ArtDeco: Sorry, but Texas is a one trick pony, with high rates of poverty. It is not diverse like California. It is a joke compared to California. One more oil shock should prove it.

    If it helps you feel better Gary, go with that. Harmless enough if annoying.

    Texas is more invested in mining than other states, but mining still accounts for just 8.5% of the state’s domestic product.

    The ‘poverty rate’ is a perplexing metric. FWIW, that of Texas is 17.2% while that of California is 16.4%. Both are above the national mean, so I would not use that metric to brag about California.

  37. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    5. July 2016 at 07:40

    mbka, the refugee flows you’re referring to are one-offs. The pieds noirs population and the migrating Arabs and Berbers were francophone and loyal to France. Hungary also had a considerable Germanophone population and a history of affiliation with Austria. Both populations were largely Catholic.

  38. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    5. July 2016 at 07:42

    mbka is also neglecting the aims of refugee policy: eventual repatriation. This was not an option in France in 1962 or in Austria in 1956.

  39. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    5. July 2016 at 07:47

    Scott Sumner,

    O/T: this is hilarious:
    http://www.cracked.com/blog/trump-having-twitter-conversations-with-fake-accounts/

    I first read about it here:
    http://www.redstate.com/leon_h_wolf/2016/07/05/exactly-much-trump-says-fake/

  40. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. July 2016 at 08:21

    Art, You said:

    “The most affluent voters favored BO.”

    Wrong, Romney easily carried the over $100,000 voters. That makes me also distrust your claims about the UK.

    Tom, My mistake, I meant “non-Hispanic white” not “white”.

    BTW, What’s your view of all those crazy leftists (Greenpeace, etc) that deny the science of GMOs?

    Ben, You said:

    “Australians are concluding free trade and open borders does not work. Their housing costs are through the roof:

    From immigration? They have 23 million people in 3 million square miles. High housing costs are 100% due to zoning, and not at all due to immigration.

    And please cite your evidence that Australians are turning against free trade. I don’t believe you.

    You said:

    “The fact is the model is resulting in lower living standards for large swaths of populations in developed nations, given many real-world structural impediments.”

    No it isn’t. Or is your claim that non-trading, non-immigration countries like North Korea are doing better?

    Lorenzo, You said:

    “To others, “neoliberalism” just becomes “anything vaguely market connected that has been bad since 1980”.”

    Yup.

    This stuff about reducing social cooperation is particularly clueless. He should check out more statist models like Russia and China, see how social cooperation does after decades of communism.

    Gary, You said:

    “California is much more successful and diverse, economically, than is Texas.”

    Actually, Texas is more successful, as I’ve pointed out in numerous posts. California has more beautiful scenery and a better climate, by far. If you reversed those natural advantages the greatness of Texas would be far more obvious.

    You said:

    “Sorry, but Texas is a one trick pony, with high rates of poverty.”

    Actually, California has far more poverty when you adjust for cost of living. You are in way over your head Gary, just stop making a fool of yourself and go away.

    Art, You said:

    “Just to point out the degree to which SS has imbibed faculty culture.”

    You do know that I oppose campus PC culture, don’t you? Maybe not.

    mbka, I agree with that, but don’t see it as conflicting with anything I said. BTW, the British do fear that after Muslim immigrants, sorry refugees, become German citizens, they will be able to move on to the UK.

  41. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    5. July 2016 at 08:31

    You do know that I oppose campus PC culture, don’t you? Maybe not.

    I’ve read your commentary on the subject (which improves on Cowen / Tabarrok, who prefer to pretend there is no problem). I’ve also critqued it, which you’ve forgotten.

  42. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    5. July 2016 at 08:38

    BTW, What’s your view of all those crazy leftists (Greenpeace, etc) that deny the science of GMOs?

    Scott, I’m opposed to all science deniers, right, left or center. Furthermore the lefty science deniers are every bit as nutty, dishonest and ridiculous as the rest. And the people who fall for their nonsense are enormous chumps too. If you’ve ever seen Penn & Teller getting hippies at some rally for something or other to sign a petition against “Dihydrogen Monoxide” (water) you’ll see what I mean.

    Also, I suspect “The Food Babe”‘s politics run left of center, and she’s a ridiculous fraud:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyuBeAHvqoA
    Lots of good GMO stuff on that guy’s channel as well.

  43. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    5. July 2016 at 10:31

    … of course some anti-science nonsense spans the entire political spectrum, from right to left. Like the anti-vaxxers, for instance, which range from Bill Maher (really more the poster boy for Monsanto Derangement Syndrome), Robert Kennedy Jr and Jenny McCarthy to Michele Bachmann and Trump, and everything in between. Probably the most dangerous anti-science nonsense the left participates in, that I’m aware of. The right sees them there, but then ups the ante with fundamentalist “end-times” insanity which I find even more terrifying. At least Trump isn’t one of those. In fact I’ll give Trump props for generally helping discredit the religious right just by being himself and inducing that set to degrade themselves in his presence. (Note, Dobson has since walked that back a bit)

  44. Gravatar of Harold Harold
    5. July 2016 at 11:08

    Scott,

    I wasn’t disputing the claim out of context, but within the context of your post. You’re saying that the reason for the populist anger is that a ton of minorities are socially excluded and out of work (despite the populism coming largely from white people, so how does that work?) and you implied (scary word, I know) that the reason these people are out of work is the welfare state. I picked this up because you preceded that quote with several points about how the welfare state and min wage policies risk putting people out of work.

    Your argument went like this:

    1.There is populist anger
    2. It is not caused by whites who feel culturally threatened
    (Hey guys, welfare makes people socially excluded!)
    3. It is caused instead by socially excluded minorities
    4. The reader then comes to this conclusion: Thus, it must be caused by welfare!

    Your views are undoubtedly more complex than that, as your previous response indicated, though it entirely contradicted your post.

  45. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    5. July 2016 at 17:30

    “If you reversed those natural advantages the greatness of Texas would be far more obvious.”

    Not to mention that California lies on the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. Californians are sitting on a time bomb that can go off any minute. One big earthquake or one big tsunami or one small supervulcano and the “natural advantages” of California turn into a nightmare within minutes.

  46. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    5. July 2016 at 18:31

    @ScottSumner One more oil shock, Scott. Do you realize there are people who say that another Texas oil shock could ruin the nation? I don’t have an opinion, but obviously some Texans are very concerned and have written about it.

    Just like a portfolio, California is more diversified than Texas. In a massive recession, California still makes tech and movies, etc.

    Texas was the beneficiary of speculation. We have learned from Wikileaks that the Saudis warned the US government that US investment banks were juicing the price of oil in 2007. Texas may or may not benefit from energy risk on in the future.

  47. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    5. July 2016 at 18:43

    @Christian List,

    True, California is susceptible to many natural disasters: drought, fires, mudslides, and tsunamis… and as you point out, probably the worst threat of all: earthquakes (which give no warning generally, at least for the primary shock).

    But on the other hand we don’t get tornadoes or hurricanes like Texas does. And Texas has had it’s problems with droughts and flooding as well.

    Also California has tried to adapt to these challenges over the years with building codes and earthquake retrofitting, as I’m sure Texas must have with storm cellars.

  48. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    5. July 2016 at 18:58

    @ChristianList I was in a large earthquake in central California in May 2, 1983. I saw a brick wall change into a sheet like form and then disintegrate about 8 feet away from me. It was a 6.7 quake that caused guys sitting in a baseball dugout to lose sight of the pitcher’s mound.

    But the earthquake caused massive renewal and business to increase. Now, it was a small town. That could be more problematic in a larger city. Coalinga had fewer than 15,000 people. Here are some cool pictures of the quake: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=coalinga+earthquake&FORM=HDRSC2

  49. Gravatar of Rob Rob
    5. July 2016 at 21:47

    Scott, you wrote:
    “the British do fear that after Muslim immigrants, sorry refugees, become German citizens, they will be able to move on to the UK.”

    This doesn’t really make sense to me. German citizenship does not come easily (no jus terris) so this would be many years down the line. By then people will speak some German and already be in a comparably wealthy country with a stronger welfare state.

    I’ve lived in London for a number of years now and have not met many (any?) poor German Turks or French Algerians.

  50. Gravatar of Justin Justin
    6. July 2016 at 06:11

    Benjamin Cole said:
    “Depicting opponents of the free trade-open borders model as dim-witted racist Luddites may feel good. The fact is the model is resulting in lower living standards for large swaths of populations in developed nations, given many real-world structural impediments.”

    Which is 100% right, usually the case with Mr.Cole. The world we actually live in is filled with Malthusian constraints, particularly if one wishes to live a middle class lifestyle. I don’t give a shit about marble countertops or Korean TV sets, the labor share is low and it takes two incomes for normal people to afford to raise a small family. Spin the data however you please, the fact remains the birthrate is below replacement, the society is literally dying despite slack carrying capacity (i.e. not like Japan or Hong Kong). The government’s job is to fix that problem first, who are they working for after all?

    If Trump could augment his balls and instincts with Romney-style polish, he’d trounce Crooked Hillary. As it is he’s tied or slightly ahead if polls are properly reweighted.

  51. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    6. July 2016 at 06:53

    “As it is he’s tied or slightly ahead if polls are properly reweighted.”

    What kind of reweighting are you talking about? Do you think Mr. Silver is smoking the good stuff here?:
    http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/
    Where has he gone wrong?

  52. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    6. July 2016 at 08:46

    @Justin,

    Also you might want to look at this:
    http://theresurgent.com/three-pictures-every-republican-delegate-should-see/

  53. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    6. July 2016 at 18:16

    Art, You said:

    “which you’ve forgotten.”

    Must have been very memorable.

    Harold, You said:

    “Your views are undoubtedly more complex than that,”

    That might be the understatement of the year.

    Rob, I agree that these fears are overstated, but I think they are out there.

  54. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    8. July 2016 at 09:40

    Just trying an experiment:

    In block quoting text

    To see if it works.

  55. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. July 2016 at 11:05

    Tom, How did you do that?

  56. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    8. July 2016 at 15:58

    Hi Scott,

    Here’s how I did it: I’ll write [ for the less than sign ():

    Just trying an experiment: [blockquote][p]In block quoting text[\p][\blockquote] To see if it works.

    So do the substitutions and it should work. I don’t know what the p tag does (nested inside the blockquote tag), but that’s what another commenter’s comment with a blockquote looked like when I highlighted his comment and then right clicked and selected “View selection source” from the context menu that pops up. So that’s a way you can figure it out in the future if you forget.

  57. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    8. July 2016 at 16:01

    … in the above, my use of a less than sign and a greater than sign slightly screwed up the comment. Here’s what the 1st bit was supposed to say essentially:

    I wrote [ in place of the less than sign.

    I wrote ] in place of the greater than sign.

    You can’t actually write those symbols without crazy stuff happening! =)

  58. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. July 2016 at 05:35

    OK, I’ll try:

    indent< \p>< \blockquote>

  59. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. July 2016 at 05:40

    Or perhaps

    This< \p>< \blockquote>
    Continue

  60. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. July 2016 at 05:42

    Doesn’t seem to work for me.

  61. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    9. July 2016 at 07:39

    Here’s a simplified experiment

    in blockquoting text

    to see if it works.

  62. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    9. July 2016 at 07:43

    Scott, I wrote you some brief simple instructions on how to do it:
    http://supshrug.blogspot.com/2016/07/how-to-do-blockquote-on.html
    You can cut and paste the above example.

  63. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    9. July 2016 at 20:07

    Another quick test:

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  64. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. July 2016 at 05:27

    OK, I’ll try

    indent

    continue

  65. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. July 2016 at 05:27

    Thanks that worked. I think your first instructions had the slash line going the wrong way.

  66. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    10. July 2016 at 10:17

    You’re right about the slash. Well, you’ve got it now.

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