NOT CROSSING THE AISLE.Ed Kilgore and Matt game out some of the politics of immigration legislation, with Matt taking a slightly more hardline don't-pass-anything position. Kilgore, however, fully acknowledges that a bill coming out of a House-Senate conference would be substantively worse than no bill at all if it leans in the House's draconian direction.
It appears that Mexico is not the only Latin American country for which the media have difficulty with official statistics. Apparently, the media have been anxious to tout high poverty numbers for Venezuela. The problem appears to be that they want to cite poverty data for 2004, which showed a large upturn in the poverty rate in the immediate wake of a strike in the oil sector.
The Venezuelan economy rebounded sharply, beginning in 2004, and the poverty rate predictably fell back below its previous levels. However, even though the 2005 data is now available, the media continues to use the much higher numbers from 2004. My colleagues at CEPR posted a short piece on Venezuelan poverty today.
GORE WATCH. When I started this up, I had no idea it would be such a massive undertaking. But Gore's popping up all over the place. He hit John Tierney's column Monday, forming the inspiration for a fairly bizarre effort that lambasted Gore for getting global warming right before others did. "As therapeutic as this history may be for Gore," writes Tierney, "it has certain problems. Scientists recognized the greenhouse effect long ago, but the question was how much difference it would make. And until fairly recently, when evidence of global warming accumulated, many non-evil economists doubted that the risks justified the costs of the proposed remedies."
The New York Times had an article today that could have badly used a bit of economic analysis. The article reports on a provision in the Senate immigration bill that removes the cap on the number of nurses who can enter the country each year.
MORE!Nathan Newman is certainly right about importing nurses and doctors from other countries. Not only does it head off excellent jobs that could be filled by native workers, but it deprives other nations of trained individuals necessary for their development. That said, we do have a supply problem for doctors and, particularly, nurses. We need more. But the problem is in training choke points: We require remarkable amounts of credentialing, and we offer only a small number of places to get the necessary degrees. Last year, 150,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing schools -- this amidst a terrific shortage.
THE NEXT 10 WORDS.Brendan Nyhanreports on John McCain's bold plan to end the violence in Iraq:
"One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, 'Stop the bullshit,'" said Mr. McCain, according to Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, an invitee, and two other guests.
INSERT SNOW PUN.Speaking of the unbearable lightness of John Snow's policy knowledge, check out gay liberal ninjaBarney Frank disemboweling him during testimony last week. Snow's embarrassment was so complete that even the Wall Street Journal, no friend of Frank's, couldn't resist highlighting it. Ah, schadenfreude.
IS IT JUST ME? Or does anyone else suspect that maybe half the reason Hastert et al. are so in heat over the Jefferson raid has nothing to do separation of powers and something to do with the fact that if they defend Jefferson and help him stay in the House, the corruption issue doesn�t cut so cleanly for Democrats?
I�m fairly certain that Pelosi and other leaders want him out. But they�re afraid to stand up to Charlie Rangel. As the senior/most influential African American House member, Charlie is the one who can cut Jefferson loose, and he should face public pressure to do so. If I still had my old New York magazine column, I know what I�d be writing this week.
POLICING THE CAPITOL. I know this is an out of season remark and all good liberals should be both distancing themselves from corrupt Rep. William Jefferson and mocking the GOP leadership for suddenly taking issue with the problem of executive branch overreach under circumstances that appear designed to make it easier for congressmen to take bribes, but Dennis Hastert and the other congressional leaders are right on the merits here.