January 30, 2004

Double Shot

Not dead yet, just been blogging elsewhere and up to my ears in the daily routine of being a daddy and self-employed to boot. My current project is voter database parsing for maximizing campaign fund usage (why waste campaign funds on non-voting voters?) although I'm not saying for whom for contract reasons. To be truthful, as long as they pay me in advance, I'm willing to work for anyone that doesn't fall in my "better dead than elected" list. After all, while I could stand to lose a few pounds the kids gotta eat. But payment in advance is mandatory. I've been in this game too long to believe anyone's campaign promises, especially monetary ones. Being a paid political worker is somewhat like being a criminal defense attorney--you should ALWAYS get your fee in advance, or at least enough to cover your expenses, 'cause if your client loses you're not going to get one thin dime save by sheer luck.

Today, a few notes on the countries that opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and another non-gratuitous slap at the Bush administration's wholesale handover of taxpayer money to their favorite lobby, the drug companies.

This story at ABC News on the recent revelation that Iraq used oil moneys from the "oil for food" program to bribe foreign officials isn't really "new" news, just confirmation of what many of us pointed out last year. Namely, that some nations and officials therein profited handsomely from the Iraqi "oil for food" program and didn't want the apple-cart upset, as they wanted to continue getting wealthier on a personal basis from Saddam's regime. That both the French and Russian governments are thoroughly and relentlessly corrupt comes as no surprise to many of us, who are quite aware of how the European "Good Ol' Boy" network functions and France's desire to take over the EU, but may shed some light on last year's Security Council debates for those who still believe those wonderful Europeans and the U.N. are pure of heart and beyond reproach....

What I find amusing is the country noticeably missing from the (admittedly partial) list published by ABC, namely Germany. It's gotta hurt to find out you got suckered into lining the pockets of top dogs in France, Russia, and even the Vatican without getting anything in return, not even a lousy T-shirt! And if you still think France's opposition was innocently ideological, check out this lovely little development concerning our erstwhile ally, and their undying commitment to World Peace! Yep, those peace-loving, democracy-hugging, dictatorship-hating French....

In other news, the New York Times published this list of random facts about the recent Medicare Drug bill on the op/ed page. I haven't had the time or energy or resources to check on their facts, but if verifiable it certainly sheds some light on the state of crony capitalism in Washington under the Republicans, and fits with what I have been saying all along about the GOP and their relationship with the medical/drug establishments under Senator Frist and the Bush admin. Not that I think a Democrat administration would do any better--I believe they would merely shift the blatant ripoff & reward of public funds to different constituencies...so sue for me being cynical. It's an attitude I've earned through experience.

Have fun, folks. The election season is here, and the circus is coming to your town soon.....

January 11, 2004

Si, we have more Hispanics!

Some folks view the recent Bush push on illegal-to-legal immigration as a cynical campaign move to capture Hispanic voters, and no old pol in his right mind would argue the point. The Hispanic bloc is one of the big plums on the electoral tree, and both sides are eager to shake it loose. During the Clinton administration, it seemed the only way to get deported as an Hispanic illegal alien was if Castro demanded your return, and the Dems actively worked to sign up illegals to vote (and still do--witness the combined effect of the "Motor Voter" law and the recent Dem push to get driver's license rights for illegals) while not enforcing the borders.

The Dem assumption (a correct one) is that illegals, especially new illegals, are more likely to vote Democrat. The Republican assumption is that the considerably larger legal and established Hispanic population can be won over to the GOP camp, also a view with some validity, and that loosening the laws to allow more guest worker visas for Hispanics will give their efforts a boost.

BUT...as always, there are other considerations lurking beyond the obvious, and a consideration of the demographics involved is revealing. Not the electoral demographics, but the statistics for birth rates. So, if you're one of those folks who simply can't abide the thought of neighbors that don't look just like you, now is the time to quit reading this and go hide under your covers.

It requires a birth rate (per woman) of slightly over 2.00 live births per lifetime to simply maintain population levels. (It must be slightly over 2.00 to cover deaths before parenthood in the childbearing age population). Our current rate is right at 2.06 births, which translates to an annual birth rate of 14.7 per 1000 population. This breaks down roughly as follows: White non-Hispanic 12.2; Black, non-Hispanic 17.9; Asian/Pacific Islander 16.7; and Hispanic 24.4. Percentages of total population, respectively, are 73.9, 12.1, 3.4, and 10.5. (I'm leaving out the "other" category right now to keep from bogging down in lists, but it's miniscule for our purposes).

Unless you've been living in a cave for the last couple of decades, you know that we have a demographic bulge of Baby Boomers heading into their retirement years, with the associated problem of a stretched Social Security system, too many people collecting as compared to currently paying in. These boomers are overwhelmingly white, non-Hispanic. The only cures for too many people collecting are to either [1] cut benefits, [2] raise taxes, [3] get more people paying into the system, or [4] some combination of these.

Since WNH's are, as a group, not even sustaining their population numbers through replacement births, it's pretty obvious that the only way to accomplish option 3 in whole or part is to either boost birth rates or working-age immigration or both. And the highest birth rates and immigration rates are among Hispanics. In short order Hispanics will outnumber blacks as a group. And another fact of immigration is that new immigrants are more likely to work their butts off for low wages, and to more rapidly advance through the socioeconomic strata than established resident groups, boosting the economy more in the process.

The trend of a growing Hispanic population percentage will happen regardless of our immigration laws, as already-settled legal Hispanics in the U.S. population are reproducing at faster rates than any other population group, and at twice the rate of WNH's. Like it or not, we WILL become an increasingly Hispanic nation. (Committed bigots should consider moving to Norway...or Idaho.) What both parties are trying to do is to speed up that process a bit to ameliorate the SS problem, while capturing as much of that segment of the electorate as possible.

Not that they'll ever admit it.