Information Segregation And Political Polarization

Whether in the blogosphere or on television, people are increasingly only accessing sources of news and opinion that confirm their pre-conceived ideas.

tv-remote (2)

After, as he put it, “meandering through the blogsphere” this morning, Dave Schuler makes this observation about how people seem to be consuming political news and opinion these days:

I’m used to different opinions on the same story. So, for example, when Margaret Thatcher died I wasn’t surprised to hear some extolling her as a near-saint while others castigated as an historic villainess. After all, where you sit is where you stand. But it does surprise me that the stories being commented on are so distinct. On one side there’s outrage over President Obama’s proposal to use “chained CPI” in the formula for calculating cost of living adjustments in Social Security. BTW, contrary to what you might be reading, doing so would reduce no one’s social security benefits. It would only potentially reduce the increases in benefits below what they might otherwise be. Any number of Democratic senators have drawn themselves up to the full heights and condemned this as a cut in Social Security benefits which was completely and permanently unacceptable, a canard.

On the other side you’ll read harsh denunciations of North Korea’s saber-rattling. I think that’s premature.

It’s not that what’s being talked about isn’t newsworthy. It’s that what they’re deeming newsworthy is so disinct.

This has been a feature, rather than a bug, of the blogosphere for some time now. The days when you’d see a variety of different opinions on the same blog are, in most cases, long gone. Indeed, I’d say that OTB is rather unique in that regard, although it’s interesting that our comment threads have come to be dominated largely be one side of the political spectrum.* Traveling the blogosphere today, though, you see a high degree of ideological segregation and, as Dave notes, a distinct difference in the stories that both sides are covering. Absent a major news event, it’s rare that you’ll see that same stories being covered at, say, Hot Air and at Think Progress, and when you do you’re typically going to get vastly different interpretations of the news event in question. Most of the time, though, it almost seems as if the people who write for conservative and liberal blogs are living  in completely different universes.

It’s not just online that you see this information segregation, of course.  Do a side-by-side comparison of the news programming on Fox and MSNBC and you’ll see not just a different point of view, but concentration on completely different stories. No news network, for example, has done as much coverage of the Benghazi attack as Fox News Channel and, during the fall of 2011 MSNBC at times became the location of round-the-clock coverage of Occupy protests that the other two networks don’t even bother to give much coverage to. CNN is a slightly different story and still seems to be trying to maintain more of a “hard news” edge to their programming, but it’s worth noting that they constantly come in third, or worse, in the ratings behind the two more ideological channels.

The interesting question, of course, is what impact these ideological segregation has on our political culture. If the politically committed people on both sides of the aisle are accessing different sources of information and opinion that concentrate on completely different subjects at times, it seems that this is likely to have an impact on how politics gets conducted on a daily basis. In some sense, then, I’d argue that one of the factors behind the political polarization that we see in America today can be traced to the fact that strongly committed people on both sides of the aisle now tend to only access information sources that confirm their political biases. As long as that’s the case, it’s not surprise that we can’t seem to agree with each other.

* I say this not too toot OTB’s horn as it were, but simply as an observation. There don’t seem to be many blogs around anymore that don’t have at their core some kind of ideological or political mission.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Budgie93 says:
  2. C. Clavin says:

    I don’t buy the thesis. It’s too superficial. It pretends the two sides are equal. And gives too much credit to cable news and obscure websites.
    Rand Paul didn’t go to Howard U yesterday and lie because of Fox News…he did it because the truth and the actual record is uncomfortable.
    Romney/Ryan didn’t lose the election because of Hot Air. They lost because they were selling snake-oil and lies.
    Bush43 didn’t invade and occupy Iraq because of Fat Rushbo…but because he was fed lies by Cheney.
    There is one party that cannot exist without lies…on taxes on healthcare on equality on nat’l security on…well…every single issue.
    I don’t ignore Fox because I lean left…I ignore Fox because I’m not interested in being fed lies.
    Fox is an easy target…George Will and his lies about AGW is the same thing.
    It’s not about partisan views…it’s about fact versus fiction.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Another thing…
    There’s a huge difference between far-right wingnut outlets like Fox and Hotair and moderate Conservatives like Frum or Sullivan or Bartlett.
    The entire political spectrum has shifted.
    That cannot be ignored in a discussion like this.

  4. john personna says:

    A good number of your respondents here come because they *don’t* find views which support their own.

    If there is a silent, agreeing, majority they are certainly keeping it under their hat.

    (The few conservatives who do comment here are a bit right of OTB, not really finding confirmation either.)

  5. Modulo Myself says:

    So basically Dave Schuler’s main objection here is that a reduction in cost of living increases in SS payments is being portrayed by liberals as a cut. And in fact it is a cut. We would be doing it to save money.

    What is the problem?

  6. john personna says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    An economist made an insidious argument (possibly in the good sense, of “insidious”).

    IF (and only if) the current CPI has been overstating inflation for seniors, then a shift to Chained-CPI is only a reduction in an unplanned expansion.

    Now the data on whether current CPI has been overstated is a little mushy, but in particular there has been a recent, short term, fall in the rate of medical costs increase. So … it’s possible.

  7. Modulo Myself says:

    Here’s the divide in a nutshell

    From these quotes, it’s easy to get the impression that the president hasn’t met Republicans half-way with his cuts to Medicare and Social Security, the two biggest entitlement programs. In fact, he’s exceeded them. The president’s budget would spend less on both Medicare and Social Security than Ryan’s GOP plan over the next ten years

    The Democratic party wants to cut the budget. Many voters on the left are opposed to this. However, they are aware of Obama’s plans and seem to possess attentiveness and reading comprehension.

    The GOP is a party of people who have given up on paying attention and reading. They scream about death panels one year and want to set up pawn shops and loan shark palaces around hospitals the next, but they never give numbers or touch reality.

  8. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Cocoons are not merely for caterpillars.

    Concerning the chattering classes it’s largely a function of demographics. The demographics themselves create and then maintain the cocoons. The loopy evangelical who spends most of his time in church or in church-related activities and who gets his “news” from Pat Robertson will develop a veritable force field preventing reality from seeping in. The same holds true on the flip side of that coin for the airheaded liberal who works in a government cubicle and who gets her news from the likes of NPR, CNN, MSNBC and WaPo.

    Even in utilitarian business pursuits people feel needs to validate themselves, sometimes at tremendous costs. The guy who wants a deal to get done and who reflexively rejects all competing viewpoints, latching onto only those which support his preconceived notions. The gal who already has decided how to evaluate a sales subordinate and categorically rejects any feedback to the contrary.

    Of course all of us have seen similar approaches in the arena of relationships. Guy or gal has a preconceived notion of what he or she wants and then they try to mold those with whom they interact into that person, rather than accepting the person as is. Rinse, repeat.

    All the way around it’s a bad thing. Not everything is black and white. There are shades of gray. People put on blinders. And colored glasses.

  9. john personna says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    So … you are here because you agree with everybody?

    This really is the amazing contradiction, we are told everyone chooses sources they agree with, but everywhere we go on the internets we find dissent.

    These two things cannot be true at the same time.

  10. Dave Schuler says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    No. My main objection is that people are increasingly living in completely different worlds. Debate becomes impossible.

  11. de stijl says:

    It’s nutpicking raised a degree or two. Many blog entries are “have you heard what backbencher X said in regards to policy position Y? It’s appalling!”

    That type of story will only play to one ideological audience so it only gets promulgated to that audience.

    Check out memeorandum.com – most stories only get play on one side of the ideological spectrum and most of those stories are basically nutpicking stories.

  12. KariQ says:

    I can’t speak for others, of course, but I come here because I really miss seeing conservative perspectives discussed in an intelligent fashion by individuals in touch with the real world. I find that sorely lacking, even among the conservatives who are my personal friends.

  13. Scott says:

    It is hard to get balance, I think, because of natural human tendency (for a lot of folks, anyway) to actively engage in conflict and controversy. As a result, they tend to congregate on line and in person with like minded people.

    Personally, I force myself to read a variety of news (the actual morning newspaper, OTB, Memeorandum, various science digests, American Conservative, ThinkProgress, Slate, The Daily Dish, The Early Bird). I don’t read much reader commentary unless they are contributing some facts or insight to the conversation. That gives me enough to chew on for one day.

  14. PD Shaw says:

    @Modulo Myself:”So basically Dave Schuler’s main objection here is that a reduction in cost of living increases in SS payments is being portrayed by liberals as a cut. And in fact it is a cut. We would be doing it to save money.”

    HINT: BTW/ means “by the way” and it is a phrase used to address a secondary point, an aside.

    You are typical of the problem addressed in the post, and thus obviously oblivious to the presence of a problem. Hyper-politicized and hyper-partisan.

  15. Tyrell says:

    I was raised on Conkrite, Brinkley, Severeid, and the incomparable Charles Kuralt. Back then there was professionalism, integrity, and respect. Now it is partisan propaganda with no hesitation about propaganda being dished out and huge numbers of the populace “swallowing it hook, line, and sinker”. Other noteworthy professionals are McNeill-Lehrer and the pioneer Ted Turner.
    Many of the people on these so called “news networks” would not even be allowed on the parking lot of CBS and NBC of the past.
    For “fair, balanced, unbiased” news I would suggest the local tv station, cable access, cb radio, amateur radio.

  16. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “For “fair, balanced, unbiased” news I would suggest the local tv station”

    Seriously? Have you ever actually watched local TV news? It’s crime, weather, the hot thing to do this weekend, “trends,” an indepth investigation of a local mechanic who overcharges, and fluff from overseas they air because they get the video for free. Oh, and these days, they’ll be kind enough to show you what’s hot on youtube.

    Maybe you live in a media market that’s blessed with a great station, but it sure ain’t the case in LA or New York or Chicago or Boston or any other market I’ve ever been in…

  17. Tyrell says:

    @wr: I live in a rural – urban area (I know, it is strange), and we do pick up some local news stations. These are one person operations: news, weather, sports (always high school games). They probably have no idea what you tube is. Most of the time they are showing “pro” wrestling from the local high school gym. After the 11:00 pm news, it is real estate fortune and Ronco infomercials. We just got satellite about three years ago. Cable? Forget it. Yet I trust what they say and broadcast. No politics here.

  18. Christopher M says:

    I’ve been actively reading the posts on this site for several months without comment, but this story finally made me take the plunge, because it has so much to do with why I frequent this site in the first place.

    I generally vote for Democrats, although that’s by no means a guarantee (it’s been more true lately with the GOP’s unfortunate race to the right). I’m definitely to the left of many of the regular contributors here, but not on every issue — I’m your typical mixed bag I suppose. But what hooked me on this site is the overall quality of debate (both in the columns themselves and especially in the comments). I love reading the coherent, intelligent arguments that many of you post here, in contrast to the childish recriminations found on, say, MSNBC or Huffington Post, or Fox, or Redstate. Heck, I even pretty much agree with Tsar’s comment on this one!!

    All of which, I guess, means that I enjoy reasoned debate far more than scoring partisan “points”, and I’ve always had an aversion to hanging around people who all think exactly the same way. It’s nice to find a group of contributors and posters who seem to understand that, regardless of how we differ, we’re all in this together. Thanks everyone.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @Christopher M:

    I agree with you entirely. This is a rare place. We have here conservatives and liberals playing (mostly) nice. You don’t see that every day.

  20. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I take it you never pay attention when MSNBC discusses guns, education, immigration, welfare, or taxes. Today, I heard on MSNBC that I can purchase a fully automatic rifle at a gun show with no background check (even though fully automatic weapons have been heavily regulated since the 1930’s), that blacks would do better in school if more money was spent on blacks (even though increased spending in inner city schools has not budged performance). I also heard that third world immigrants from Mexico would help energize the economy and help the U.S. compete in the global marketplace.

    The idea that liberals are more based in reality is laughable. Liberals are just as lost in their own correctness and fantasy and everyone else.

  21. Mikey says:

    @de stijl:

    Check out memeorandum.com – most stories only get play on one side of the ideological spectrum

    I can look at Memeorandum and predict with near-perfect accuracy which blogs will be listed under “Discussion:” for any given story. Stories that reflect negatively on Democrats have all-right-wing blogs under Discussion, stories that reflect negatively on Republicans have all-left-wing blogs there. Stories that are pretty much un-bias-able straight news will have both, but the flip side of that is stories that can be spun either way will also have both.

    It’s the “filter bubble” made manifest on a single page. It’s almost eerie.

  22. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Am I reading this right? MSNBC had 373,000 viewers in a nation of 313,914,040. So they had slightly more than a 1/1000th

    I really doubt that anyone said “fully” automatic at gun shows. They probably just did say “automatic” without distinction. That is kind of their thing.

    But the numbers don’t really show “everyone” schooling into these segregated and polarized worlds. Even fox, with a huge 1,136,000 viewers, has collected something like 1/300th.

  23. john personna says:

    BTW, I hope no frequent commenters upvoted Christopher M 😉 That would only be indirect self congratulation.

  24. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: And, as demonstrated in the thread on the Iraq war, a place where people who generally find themselves on the same side of most issues feel comfortable disagreeing with each other.

  25. grumpy realist says:

    I keep looking for reasonable conservative web-sites but have found only a handful. Fiscal Times veers between top-notch analysis and totally loopy, which makes it…interesting. (The commentators also veer between pragmatic realists and gold standard fruitcakes, which is also interesting.) I used to read Balloon Juice a lot when John was a self-professed conservative. (I also remember a magnificent thread where the bulk of the commentators totally dissected and analyzed the problems with the Fair Tax, which some guest poster had put up a laudatory column on.) Then there’s TAC, which again veers between the great and the nitwits (sometimes in the same article.)

    I think the attraction of OTB is the contrast between the posters and the commentators.

  26. grumpy realist says:

    Oh, and Doug? I don’t agree with you that “there don’t seem to be many blogs around anymore that don’t have at their core some kind of ideological or political mission.” I can point you to a huge number of specialist blogs that are, indeed, like that. Science blogs, IP blogs, fashion blogs, music blogs…

    Maybe you meant “blogs within the public policy area”?

  27. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Even within public policy there are some. Overcoming Bias certainly gave themselves a mission …

    Towards a Leisure Society is also good, while bordering on “confirmation” for many of us here.

  28. Tony W says:

    our comment threads have come to be dominated largely be one side of the political spectrum

    – not disagreeing here necessarily, but I would argue that “one side” is the Moderates. This is the case, in my view, because OTB offers intelligent commentary which drives intelligent conversation about the topic. People who offer little more than crazy rhetoric (most often from the political far right) about media-education-cabals, gun-grabbing, and the like are thoroughly disposed of, however honest conservatives with intelligent opinions are welcomed and engaged by both the centrists and the occasional liberal that shows up.

    I would suggest that if America in general looked more like OTB, we’d all be a lot better off.

  29. Scott says:

    @Mikey: You can see memeorandum color coded. Read about it here:

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/color-coding-blogs-by-political-bias/

    I installed the browser add-on and it works pretty good.

  30. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I also heard that third world immigrants from Mexico would help energize the economy and help the U.S. compete in the global marketplace.

    Don´t worry about that. No one says “Third World” anymore, because that´s not a correct definition anymore(Specially for countries like Mexico). Standards of living are increasing rapidly in Latin America, and the big attractive for immigrants was the fact that the dollar was a much, much stronger currency than the local currencies. One could work for some years as a dishwasher or as carpenter in the US, save ome dollars and then open a grocery store in Guatemala or in Guerrero. That´s not true anymore, because Ben Bernanke and the commodity boom made the dollar a much weaker currency when compared to the local currencies in LA. Besides that, healthcare is cheaper in LA, food is also better.

    Yesterday there was a farmer complaining on the CBS Evening News about the absence of migrant workers to harvest his strawberries. I bet that is going to be biggest problem related to immigration.

  31. Mikey says:

    @Scott: Well holy crap, that’s cool.

  32. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Also immigration is a total distraction from the real elephants – automation and (broadly speaking) china.

  33. superdestroyer says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    The unpicked fruit is a stupid meme that is repeated endlessly on MSNBC. Of course, the same farmers claim that Americans are too lazy and too hard to manage to have them pick fruit. If the unpicked fruit meme was correct, then the price of fruit would be going up instead of fluctuating around the base price.

    What farmers want is very cheap labor and they can underpay while passing most of the cost onto the government in the form of migrant programs.

  34. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    Automation does not drive down the value of your home. Automation does not cause schools to shift funds from academic programs to remedial programs. Automated machines do not form crime gangs. Automated machines do not create the need for municipal workers to speak Spanish. Automated machines do not require anyone to push “2” for English.

    The idea that illegal immigration does not have massive costs is a lie.

  35. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “Automated machines do not require anyone to push “2″ for English. The idea that illegal immigration does not have massive costs is a lie. ”

    I love that for you, pushing 2 for English is a “massive cost.” You must suffer deeply.

  36. NickTamere says:

    doing so would reduce no one’s social security benefits.

    Simple question: for sake of argument let’s say I currently receive social security benefits; based on the way benefits are calculated today I determine that I will receive $X in benefits over the next year. if Chained CPI is eliminated, will I receive less than $X? If so, then you are reducing planned future expenditures, which in this case happen to be benefits.

    To me it’s a convoluted way of saying senior citizens will no longer receive cost-of-living adjustments on their Social Security.

  37. NickTamere says:

    Automated machines do not require anyone to push “2″ for English.

    Have you never used an ATM or phoned a call center? They most certainly do.

  38. Moosebreath says:

    @superdestroyer:

    “What farmers want is very cheap labor and they can underpay while passing most of the cost onto the government in the form of migrant programs”

    And labor they can threaten to have deported if they bother reporting any violations of OSHA regulations, or if they think of forming a labor union, or even if they don’t like the boss forcing sexual attention on them.

  39. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    Hospitals are required to keep translators on call to deal with patients who cannot speak English. Medicare/Medicaid does not reimburse for the costs. You should look at the school districts that have to cut lab sciences and academic programs to fund remedial programs for the children of immigrants.

    Considering that 50% of school age children are on reduce/free lunch program, I think the costs of importing millions of poor people to the U.S. does come with a massive costs.

  40. Nikki says:

    I just like to argue and it’s more fun when it’s with smart people.

  41. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Do you really think that is at all a complete or convincing argument?

    With respect to your other threads of argument, do American farmers ever compete with food grown in China (or Mexico)? With free trade, do farm labor prices there matter as much as labor prices here?

    Automation is the other side of the problem. Low skills labor is increasingly done overseas (with skills there increasing!) and middle to high skill jobs are displaced here by automation.

    (Crops which are competitive here are also ones which can be mechanically harvested. Tree-shakers did a lot to remove farm labor costs from the almond market, etc.)

    Seriously dude, when you ignore things you know, to make your argument “work,” then it isn’t really working. Obvious cognitive dissonance convinces no one.

  42. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer: Food is already pretty expensive in the US, specially foods like Fresh Produce. There is no Whole Foods in most European and Latin American countries because you can find the same things that you buy there on the grocery store next door.

    Besides that, the United States is not the only country in the world. There is no way that you can indefinitively increase wages for unqualified labor and still be competitive against China. By the way, many countries have a competitive edge over the United States, specially in agriculture. Ask in Florida about Brazilian orange producers.

    And as I pointed out, if your problem is Brown people arriving in the US, don´t worry. What made the US so attractive to them does not exist anymore, they are not going. Many of them are returning home.

  43. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    Also immigration is a total distraction from the real elephants – automation and (broadly speaking) china.

    That´s not the problem. The problem is that the time where it was possible for people to get good wages for unskilled work are long gone. The problem is lack of job qualification and lack of job training. Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, Japan, Austria, Denmark: all these countries, that invested in job training programs, all of them have low unemployment numbers. Japan, where growth has stagnated, has low unemployment.

  44. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    I think we have the lowest percentage of our pay spent on food, compared to other countries. The problem here is that the rent is too damn high. We have many more restrictions preventing low cost housing than we do things inflating food costs.

    Ten pounds of rice costs you $4. The average rent is $1,628 a month

    (Whole Foods is a funny phenomenon. People joke and call it Whole Paycheck, but there are people who can’t stay away. Me, I’ll take Trader Joes and cheap-ish healthy food.)

  45. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    How can you tell me “that’s not it” when “unskilled work” has gone to “automation and (broadly speaking) china?”

    Did you miss this one?

    Another way of thinking about the European economic collapse

    From that:

    IT and China, taken together, seem to imply a big whack to median income. This whack should be higher for the less flexible polities, and furthermore the wealthy and the well-educated in the U.S. get back a big chunk of that money through tech innovation and IP rights. Plus we’ve had some good luck with fossil fuels and even the composition of our agriculture. If you had a country without those high earners in the tech sector, and an inflexible labor market, those economies will have to contract and I don’t just mean in a short-term cycle. Equilibrium implies negative growth for those economies, at least for a while.

  46. john personna says:

    (There was also an interesting essay that I mentioned earlier this week. It talked about lack of industrial investment other-than-China. The author started by pointing out that China knows it over-invests, and does not expect return on all its investments. It does it because it much build cities and industry to occupy immigrants from the countryside. Millions of immigrants. This must be done, regardless of profit.

    So China subsidizes industry to create low paying jobs. The jobs are so low paying that no one else can go lower, and of course no one would invest to create those jobs anyway …

    it becomes a sadly rational decision not to invest in creating your “good wages for unskilled work” elsewhere.)

  47. Woody says:

    The information segregation has always existed, but not in the electronic media. Readers here are no doubt aware of the heavily biased newspapers of many major cities during the 20th century. Radio was slightly different, as there were greater state/local rules affecting ‘fairness rules’, especially in the South.

    Television was very highly regulated until the Reagan administration, when the Fairness Doctrine met its demise. This was concurrent with the rise of cable television, and Ted Turner’s great insight into the feasibility of a 24-hour news network. Unfortunately, the never-slackening pull of profits for shareholders have poleaxed major news media’s product down to a shadow of what it once produced.

    Well, brand differentiation in a crowded marketplace is vital, and Fox News represents the most successful (and profitable) example of this.

    The Web exploded “the marketplace” exponentially. Thus, it’s easy to find product that always agrees with you. For some of us (yes, here! ; ) we’re not comfortable with “everyone agrees” – we like reasoned argument (though we often disagree with the definition of “reasoned”). I like this site as it is headed by unabashedly partisan writers, but the writing is worth reading and considering, and our hosts have the underappreciated virtue of reading counter-arguments. This is easy to say and very very difficult to do, and should be applauded.

    Anyway, I’d rather have the melee than tacit agreement between three networks. I just wish we had better quality major media product.

  48. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “You should look at the school districts that have to cut lab sciences and academic programs to fund remedial programs for the children of immigrants. ”

    When we all know they should be cutting lab science and academic programs to fund bigger tax breaks for rich people.

    Sorry you hate everyone whose skin is darker than yours. You’re on the losing side of history, and I can only hope you suffer mightily as every hateful thing you cherish is worn away by the sands of time.

  49. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    I think we have the lowest percentage of our pay spent on food, compared to other countries.

    I´m talking about healthy, good, tasty food. Unfortunately, many Americans don´t know what that is.

  50. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    I point out school districts have to cut academics to fund remedial education for immigrants and your reply are a couple of MSNBC sound bites.

    I guess when reality is against a progressive, they will just scream racism. I would really prefer it all of the hard working, vibrant third worlders would just stay in their own country and work hard to improve their home.

    Transforming the U.S. into a third world, low trust country is not the way to limit immigration to the U.S. The best way to see what unlimited immigration does to a region of the country just look at the poor cities in Texas and California where all of the whites have moved out long ago and the level of poverty and unemployment is so high that even the Hispanics are moving away. I just wish that progressives would remember how good the economy was in the 1950’s and remember that the U.S. had maintained low immigration rates for 40 years to get there.

    Look at how no one on MSNBC or CNN will ever try to link immigration with the environment or quality of life. In the liberal media, immigration is always good and greenhouse gases, sprawl, bad schools, or crime have nothing to do with immigration.

  51. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    How can you tell me “that’s not it” when “unskilled work” has gone to “automation and (broadly speaking) china?”

    China and automation per se are not the problem. The problem is that the lower cost of living in many developing countries make their workforce much cheaper than in the United States. Automation, in this scenario, is not a bad thing because it allows the United States to be more productive than a worker in China.

    That´s the problem with Europe: with the exception of countries like Germany, Denmark and Austria, that invested in their workforce, the workforce in Europe is too expensive. Renault, for instance, is building two plants in Morocco. There is no significant automotive manufacturing in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and most of the Southern European countries.

  52. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I just wish that progressives would remember how good the economy was in the 1950′s and remember that the U.S. had maintained low immigration rates for 40 years to get there.

    B.S. In the 50´s the United States was among a very few industrialized countries in the World. These times are not coming back.

  53. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Transforming the U.S. into a third world, low trust country is not the way to limit immigration to the U.S.

    ¨The United States is not becoming a “Third World Country”. What you call Third World is becoming richer and more developed, not the opposite.

  54. Moosebreath says:

    @superdestroyer:

    “I just wish that progressives would remember how good the economy was in the 1950′s and remember that the U.S. had maintained low immigration rates for 40 years to get there.”

    And high unionization rates. And marginal tax rates in the 90% range.

    It’s not the progressives who don’t recall how good the economy was in the 50’s. To the contrary, it’s a cliche that progressives want the economy of the 50’s and conservatives want the social order of the 50’s and both have equal chance of getting there.

  55. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    I´m talking about healthy, good, tasty food. Unfortunately, many Americans don´t know what that is.

    I had a bowl of Pho’ Ga this morning … $3

    You probably don’t know the right Americans.

    China and automation per se are not the problem.

    Maybe you should stop bringing naked assertions to a thread applauded above for reason.

    I keep giving you links and reasoned analysis that yes, as many warned, “IT and China” are having impacts on US jobs … probably more lasting impacts than most expected.

    And really, when you turn around and say “It’s not China, it’s China’s cost of living” you’ve really reversed course. My argument STARTS with those low labor costs.

  56. superdestroyer says:

    @Moosebreath:

    What progressives usually forget about the 1950’s is that the value of factories in the U.S. had increased because so many other factories in the world had been bombed out of existence.

    However, there was very little immigration in the 1930’s. Keynesian economics works much better with sealed borders and with a higher level of domestic production. Low tariffs and open borders makes Keynesian economics impossible.

  57. superdestroyer says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    However, it seems that the Democrats way of limiting immigration to the U.S. is to lower the quality of living in the U.S. to the same levels as the rest of the second or third world. If the quality of life in the U.S. is no better than India, Philipines, Nigeria, or Mexico then the number of immigrants to the U.S. will go down.

    But then the question is why are the Democrats workig so hard to lower the quality of lifein the U.S.

  58. grumpy realist says:

    @superdestroyer: They aren’t. Silly question.

    Y’know, you might deal with the rest of us around here better if you didn’t state wild accusations about what “liberals” want to do, and how people with a darker skin than yours live.

  59. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    Maybe you should stop bringing naked assertions to a thread applauded above for reason

    I´m not bringing “naked assertions”. I know about the cost of living, in part because that´s a phenomenon that I know and I saw happening.. OK, China is strong competitor to the American labour. But it´s not the only one. Bangladesh, for instance, is the strongest competitor to China on the textile industry( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_textile_industry ).

    My point is that the lower cost of living in the Emerging world provides them with a strong competitive advantage over the Developed World. That´s something that I know, because I lived for years under a currency that was weaker than the dollar.

  60. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer:

    However, it seems that the Democrats way of limiting immigration to the U.S. is to lower the quality of living in the U.S. to the same levels as the rest of the second or third world.

    Dude, I have several close friends that are Black and poor. I entered several favelas in São Paulo, I always use buses and commuter trains. I can say to you that the economic progress that I witnessed during my lifetime is impressive. What people understood by poor people in the 80´s is much different from what we understand now.

    And that´s something that is happening all over the so called “Third World”.

  61. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    I had a bowl of Pho’ Ga this morning … $3

    You probably don’t know the right Americans.

    Maybe. Ask in the poor areas of Los Angeles and in Detroit if they manage to eat fresh produce and if they manage eat fruit. Then, we can discuss about increasing the price of food, because SD don´t want to see Brown people in front of him.

  62. Mikey says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    There was a period of years, very recently, during which there was not a single grocery store within the city limits of Detroit. Not one. How are you supposed to get fresh produce or fruit at a decent price with no grocery store? It’s difficult. Detroit has a big farmers’ market, but that only works a couple months out of the year because Michigan doesn’t have three growing seasons like California does.

  63. superdestroyer says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I guess to a liberal, using government gathered demographic data to show that blacks and Hispanics, on average, behave much different than whites is just making wild accusations.

    Progressives claim they are reality-based but all I ever see is progressives refusing to face demographic data that does not support their world view that more government spending solves all problems.

    I guess if ones watches nothing but MSNBC, then one cannot have any other world review than the government can solve all problems and every problem in the U.S. is the fault of conservative whites.

  64. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    You don’t even know. I went to a low cost ethnic restaurant, staffed by brown people, to get that pho ga.

    And supermercados are where you go, actually, for low cost produce.

  65. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    You’ve wound back to my original posltion. When I said “(broadly speaking) china” I was including other countries with similar wage structure and national export policy.