Howdy, I growed up in Arkansas, and am always keeping an eye out on our state ranking. Alabama has usually kept out of the fray in the fight between 49th and 50th rank between Mississippi and Arkansas. But, as The Economist observes, a new Immigration Law in Alabama may succeed where teenage pregnancy and ignorance has failed. FTA
ALABAMA’S immigration law, boasted Micky Hammon, an Alabama legislator and one of its co-authors, “attacks every aspect of an illegal immigrant’s life. They will not stay in Alabama…This bill is designed to make it difficult for them to live here so they will deport themselves.” It is not, however, designed to introduce visiting executives from Mercedes-Benz, which employs thousands at its factory in the state, to the pleasures of Alabama’s jails. But that is what happened to Detlev Hager, who was caught in November driving in Tuscaloosa with only German ID on him.The article describes how the Alabama legislator "shrewdly included a severability clause, ensuring that if a court strikes down or prohibits one part of the law, the rest remains in effect." My God, it's Brilliant!
...Mr Hammon’s fond hope—that illegal immigrants will leave—seems to have come true. Anecdotal reports suggest that thousands of Latinos, legal as well as illegal, have left Alabama. Farmers complain of rotting crops and building companies of rising costs, both because there are too few workers. Samuel Addy, an economist at the University of Alabama, estimates the law’s total cost—taking into account productivity declines, increased enforcement cost, and declines in aggregate consumer spending and tax revenue since so many workers have left—in the billions.The Chicago Tribune reports Addy's estimated cost to Alabama at $10.8 billion. This is similar to the outcome expected from another "good theory", about e-waste recycling, championed by a group of shredding companies in support of the Green Thompson anti-export bill. Their idea is that if we eliminate exchange of goods and services, the USA will create jobs.
The idea may or may not have a certain local merit (if you work at a shredding company in California). But shredding money generally doesn't increase payroll. Like the anti-immigration bill in Alabama, the economic theory won't pass the straight-face test on its economic merits. But it nevertheless finds political fuel from the basest American instincts, as it becomes tinged with the latent passions of jealousy and racism. Some people think that money coming into their state is not the answer - that their boats will only rise if they vote other peoples' boats to sink.
The theory is, if you stop trading with 83% of the world, and in particular the 3 billion people who are getting online internet at ten times the rate of the developing world, using used display units and other "non-obsolete" surplus which doesn't obey "Moore's law" of obsolescence, USA jobs will result. All you have to do is turn $100 billion dollars of repairable IT equipment upgraded every year into $1 billion dollars of scrap. Sit back and watch as the jobs arrive faster than Alabama White Collar Cotton Pickers.
It's an old lesson, retold from a letter in 1865, written by a former slave to his former Tennessee slave owner (republished on the web this week, e.g. Huffington Post).
It's a lesson Alabama is re-learning, as the immigrants walk away from the fields and leave crops to rot. It's a lesson Basel Action Network brought to us when they wrote letters to Malaysia objecting to Samsung Corning using USA CRT cathode ray tube cullet to make new recycled CRTs... Malaysia decided they could get all the CRT cullet they needed from Japan and Korea, thanks much. And it's a lesson BAN brought to us again when BAN attacked contract manufacturing factories. Remember, those are the "big secret factories" which upgrade CRT displays by the thousands per day for affordable use in the mideast and Africa (CRTs withstand heat better than LCDs). The factories are still there, and still buying... they just are not buying from the USA. Thanks. That's going to create more jobs here in Vermont when I turn the $200K we used to get from reuse into -minus -$30K in CRT glass cullet.
There is something in Jourdan Anderson's letter to confederate Colonel P.H. Anderson, which seems to repeat itself in the history of trade between immigrants in Alabama and Geeks of Color in overseas refurbishing and recycling markets...
Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.
From your old servant,