FOUND IT. Some readers were wondering why I asserted last week that blog readers were more likely to be based in California than in, say, swing congressional districts. And that since they can't easily engage in local GOTV opportunities in such races, I argued that their actual electoral impact was somewhat lower than what their media profile would suggest. I'd wanted to include the link to this report in that item, but couldn't find it at first. So here it is.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ORANGE ALERTS? Anyone else remember these? Funny how we've only had one elevation of the national threat level since President Bush was re-elected, and how the last such alert based on "new and unusually specific information about where al-Qaeda would like to attack" was lowered on November 10, 2004. Since then we've had a single alert, for the rail transportation sector after the London bombings (and which was a less panic-inducing than usual, as it came with a warning that there was "no specific, credible information suggesting an imminent attack here in the United States"). Is America really that much safer from al-Qaeda plots than it used to be?
Okay, I tricked you. The Washington Post ran an article reporting that the wages of high-skilled workers in the Washington area are rising far more rapidly than the wages of less-skilled workers. It attributes this fact primarily to technology that has reduced the demand for less-skilled workers.
Those who believe in market forces would see rising wages as evidence of a labor shortage. In other contexts (e.g. nurses, construction workers, custodians etc.) the Post has reported that the country needs immigrants to deal with such labor shortages. Surprisingly, this article did not include any discussion of the need for more high skilled immigrants.
The NYT magazine had a pretty good piece summing up the state of the academic debate on the impact of immigration on the labor market. I have two quick observations.
The piece, like the literature, largely ignores the impact of immigration on housing costs. This is important, because housing is a large chunk of people's expenditures, especially those of low wage workers, who are the focus of the discussion. Examining wages across cities and regions provides little insight if we don't adjust for differences in housing costs, since housing accounts for close to 40 percent of the consumption of low income families.
There was a larger than expected jump of 8 cents in the average hourly wage reported for June. This left some folks scrambling for an explanation. The Washington Postfound a creative one, courtesy of "some analysts."
According to these analysts, the more rapid wage growth in June is partly explained by a change in the mix of jobs, with the economy losing low wage jobs in the retail sector and adding jobs in the relatively high-paying manufacturing sector.
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE. Each person who opposes Joe Lieberman has their own theory of when the tide started to turn against him, and why, but I date it to the speech he gave at the National Press Club on August 4, 2003. Lieberman in 2003 pioneered a raft of negative criticisms later used by Republicans against Democratic candidates, including John Kerry, at a time when the G.O.P. had not yet begun to publicly fight the '04 race. So he did not merely mouth Republican talking points -- something he's been frequently accused of doing in recent months -- but actually actively helped write them. And he laid most of them out that day at the Press Club, in a whalloping blast of a speech.
GROVERPALOOZA.Transcript yesterday, audiotoday. Unfortunately, the sound quality at times isn�t great, but, in two installments, you can hear Grover discussing his views on the current political landscape. Tell us what you think.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: PUNISHING THE PRI. An explosive teachers' strike, a heated national election, and the eclipse of the once-mighty PRI in one of its last strongholds -- Rachel Blustain and Jennifer De Barrosreport from Oaxaca, Mexico.
WHY LAMONT? In answer to Matt, the pro-Lamont forces (Lamonties? Lamounties? Lamonters?) wax indignant when you attribute their anger to Lieberman's war views because Iraq, for better or for worse, isn't what really pisses them off. It's becoming quasi-trite to say this, but Lieberman's votes really don't substantively diverge from those of a variety of other moderate senators. Yet the netroots are trying to save the Nelsons and eject Holy Joe. Why?
The Washington Post had an interesting piece about whether it still makes sense for the government to mint pennies, given how much they cost to make relative to their value. The article might have asked the same question about the dollar bill. Coins are in general much cheaper to keep in circulation than bills, and given that a dollar today is worth about as much as a quarter was 35 years ago, it might be time for the switch.