Mickey Kaus | All Articles

Mickey Kaus

Cantor’s Still Protecting Amnesty

A Cantor-First Immigration Policy: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seems to be in a real race to retain his seat in the GOP primary. His challenger, economist Dave Brat, has attacked Cantor as soft on immigration amnesty. The charge is accurate: Cantor's actually written his own version of the DREAM Act, legalizing young undocumented immigrants. He supports the ENLIST Act--a seemingly appealing measure (limited to DREAMers who enlist in the military) that would nevertheless give the Democratic Senate a chance to push a much larger amnesty in "conference." And he was reported to be a driving force behind including ENLIST in the defense authorization bill, which would give Harry Reid the opportunity to insert that larger amnesty in a must-pass bill.

2 Weeks and You’re In!

8:20 PM 05/07/2014

Amnesty al Fresco: Buzzfeed scoops the Democrats' internal debate: Should Obama should grant de facto immigration amnesty-by-decree now or wait, lest Republicans use any decree as a reason to say they don't trust Obama and therefore won't move an immigration bill. (Aside: Of course they shouldn't trust Obama!  They shouldn't trust the administration whatever it decides regarding a decree's timing. The mere fact that Obama is thinking about another de facto amnesty decree shows he is way too solicitous of Latino activists to reliably implement any enforcement provisions in a future amnesty bill  such as an employment-verification system.)

Ford’s Shame

2:27 AM 05/04/2014
Fuel Pumps vs. Flacks: Is it crazy to suggest that Ford’s recent lower-than-expected profits (including a 39% decline in net income) had something to do with the company’s products–in particular their continuing failure to achieve competitive reliability?  According to the latest Consumer Reports survey, “[A]most two thirds of the 34 Fords and Lincolns in our survey got [reliability] scores that […]

A Marxist Analysis of Hillary

12:25 AM 04/29/2014

... and the whole Clinton dynasty ... and maybe the Bushes too: Now that we are all Marxists, we need to uncover the materialist basis of even seemingly non-economic phenomena. Take Hillary Clinton's campaign/non-campaign for President. Is she running or not? Why won't she say?

Mario’s Double Secret Magic Amnesty Formula

4:04 PM 04/27/2014

What's the secret, Mario? For a while now, Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has  been boasting he's arrived at some sort of Magic Secret Formula that will win the support of enough Republicans to get an immigration amnesty bill through the House.  He tends to surface in the press every time the spirits of amnesty supporters need a boost. Here he is back in February ("We have legislative language"). Here he is last week:

Neoliberalism Works

3:37 AM 04/21/2014

Reminder -- Welfare Reform's Success: One reason Michael Bloomberg wasn't a bad mayor, despite all the self-righteous nannying, is that he had Rober Doar running his welfare department. Doar summarizes his 6-year experience here. His slogan: "If you work, we will help you." That's a popular and effective Clintonian/neolib thread that Obama lost (in part by letting long-time enemies of work requirements, Sharon Parrott and Mark Greenberg, run the federal welfare effort under Kathleen Sebelius).  .... After the work-oriented 1996 welfare reform, Doar notes, New York City's cash welfare caselaod plummeted (from 1.1 million to below 347,000), work by single mothers rose, and child poverty fell (42 percent in 1994, 28.3 percent in 2008). The late, sainted Senator Moynihan, who opposed the '96 law and predicted dire consequences, turned out to be wrong.**...

Obamacare’s Core Flaw?

3:30 AM 04/19/2014

Risk-filled sump, update: If everyone knew the risk pool on the Obamacare exchanges would be sicker-than-normal -- as the last sentence of this NYT piece suggests --- then why throw the hapless unsubsidized people (e.g. singles making $46,000) into that pool, where their policies will inevitably be more expensive, with more restrictions, than if they were in a more normal pool? Did Obamacare's designers think they'd be happy about it? This seems like the program's core flaw, no? It's why, despite all the seemingly impressive numbers, Obamacare leaves a bad taste. ... $350,000 a year lawyers with fancy employer plans get care from the best doctors and check into Sloan Kettering if they need it, while even previously insured $46,000-a-year suckers can't, and are told that's just the price of insuring the uninsured. Or else they have to choose between good docs and good hospitals.  ... [Is this fixable? I'm sure Vox can explain-ed With enough subsidies anything is possible. Even Vox.]

Eric Cantor — The New “Mr. Amnesty”?

11:56 AM 04/15/2014

The Threat of Cheap Denham: Don't be fooled by press accounts that downplay the significance of Rep. Jeff Denham's attempt to add something called the ENLIST Act to the defense authorization (NDAA) bill. It's a significant push for a substantial immigration amnesty, and it has a good chance of succeeding. Opponents of an "Amnesty First" approach to immigration should be worried.


1:50 AM 04/14/2014

I want to lay down a potentially embarrassing Yglesias-style marker about the likelihood that Obama will take some sweeping executive action this summer to end deportations if Congress doesn't act on a legislative immigration overhaul. The marker is: It's not going to happen. Why? 1) It won't help Democrats that much in the 2014 elections (key Senate races, for example, are mostly not in Latino-heavy states) and might even motivate the GOP base; 2) It would lower the chances of getting some legislative amnesty passed before the end of the current Congressional term. Legislative amnesty's not dead, and even if it were Obama would probably be reluctant to give up on it. There's always the lame duck session.

GOP official says his party’s full of bigots!

2:30 PM 04/08/2014

Finesse? Not Since Jefferson Dined Alone ... : A man named Shaun Kenney was recently named Executive Director of the Virginia Republican party.  Here is a post of his from the blog, Bearing Drift.  In it he argues that "Conservatives have a moral duty to drive out nativism once and for all." It becomes clear by the end of the post that when he says "nativist" he's including more or less everyone in the party who opposes "comprehensive immigration reform."

3 predictions I couldn’t make if I had an editor

6:43 AM 03/31/2014

Mindless Dateline Dept.: For his piece on the State of  Obamacare, National Journal's Ron Brownstein travels to San Antonio to visit a "local coalition working to enroll this city's legion of uninsured," in particular its lower-income population. But if you want to assess Obamacare's survival prospects, isn't that pretty much exactly the wrong place to look? The government can't be so incompetent that it will fail to eventually sign up the previously uninsured for what are in effect freebie or heavily subsidized policies.  If Obamacare collapses, it will be because the unsubsidized--those unlucky enough to be in the individual market but whose income is greater than 400% of the Federal Poverty Line--are unhappy with the quality and terms of the coverage that Obamacare makes available to them, no? Brownstein doesn't talk to those people. Here's one of 'em. ....

Amnesty backers gettin’ frazzled?

12:56 AM 03/31/2014

Sharry on the rocks! OK, let me get this straight. "Comprehensive"--i.e. 'legalization first'--immigration reform is stalled in the GOP-led House.  So Latino activists are pressuring President Obama to instead take executive action to halt deportations, even though a) Obama's record as ''deporter-in-chief" is mostly a PR mirage designed to a give a false impression that he's relatively tough on immigration, and b) unilateral executive action would probably anger Republicans and scuttle efforts to pass an actual piece of legislation.

The 1 percent vs. the .1 percent

12:32 AM 03/31/2014

The "1%" vs "99%" was always a political marketing gimmick when it came to talking about rising money inequality.  Based on casual empiricism (i.e. living) I  usually feel the real divide is something like the top 30% vs. the bottom 70%, in part because that financial divide seems to roughly coincide with a skills/education/taste/cultural divide.  Come now Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman to argue that, when it comes to wealth (as opposed to income)  the real divide isn't between the top one percent and the 99 percent, but between the top one percent and the tippy top tenth of one percent, who are the only people who've been increasing their wealth share.  This has sparked a wave of mock concern for those who  are stuck in the mere 1%, but not the .1%.