Sunday, March 17, 2013

Some contorted reasoning

The Los Angeles Times ran a Thursday editorial by Middlebury College Professor Bill McKibben arguing that allowing millions of illegal immigrants into America will reduce global warming.

“I feel it's urgent that we get real immigration reform, allowing millions to step out of the shadows and on to a broad path toward citizenship,” wrote McKibben. “It will help, not hurt, our environmental efforts, and potentially in deep and powerful ways.”

McKibben says that while the average American has a larger carbon footprint than a person living in the developing world, bringing more immigrants to America would likely reduce their tendency to have higher birthrates, thereby creating less carbon-producing people.

“It's true that the typical person from a developing nation would produce more carbon once she adopted an American lifestyle,” says McKibben, “but she also probably would have fewer children.”

McKibben, who previously wrote a book arguing for Americans to have smaller families, says that “global warming is arguably the greatest danger we face,” that “immigrants, by definition, are full of hope,” and they are thus less likely to “pull the [election] lever for climate deniers, for people who want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, for the politicians who take huge quantities of cash from the Koch brothers and other oil barons.”

Interestingly, among those who profit from deals with “oil barons,” McKibben failed to mention Al Gore. Gore recently sold Current TV for $500 million to Al Jazeera, which is owned by the government of Qatar, an oil-rich Persian Gulf state.


Australian Leftist PM accused of using rubbery figures in 457 visa fight

She wants to keep LEGAL immigrants out  -- while hosting thousands of useless "asylum seekers"

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is being accused of using rubbery figures to justify her call for a crackdown on 457 visa rorts.

On Thursday Ms Gillard told an Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) conference that temporary overseas work was growing faster than employment.

She said temporary overseas worker numbers were up 20 per cent compared with the same time last year, whereas employment growth for the period was only 1 per cent.

"That in itself is evidence of a problem," she said.

"The number of people coming here to fill short-term gaps should not be growing 20 times faster than employment overall."

But demographer and government adviser Peter McDonald says the Prime Minister's statement does not bear scrutiny.

He says that is because the retirement of baby boomers means Australia starts each year 140,000 workers short.

457 visa numbers

    2011-12 - 125,070
    2009-10 - 67,980
    2007-08 - 110,570
    2003-04 - 39,500

"If the labour force grows by 1 per cent as the Prime Minister says, that's about 120,000 [people]," he said.

"So we take the 120,000 growth, 140,000 we have to make up, [making a] combined 260,000 new workers that we have to get into the labour force, and 457s make up about 40,000 of that.

"I think the way the Prime Minister expressed it about growth rates, not using numbers, was really statistically misleading."

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor says Mr McDonald's comments are wrong and irrelevant.

"The Government is perfectly correct in saying the total 457 issues has vastly outstripped total employment growth, but the total figures really aren't the point of our reforms," he said.

"The Government doesn't think all 457s are rorts, the Government thinks there are problems with particular firms and particular occupations."

The ABC has confirmed that no-one in the bureaucracy is driving the Government's push against 457 visas.

On the contrary, the Immigration Department issued a statement in February saying falling demand since last June showed the program was responding well to economic needs.

But Ms Gillard sees it differently: "457s are a gap filler for our skills-poor economy at times and places of highest need. Yet that is simply not what is happening today and that is why we must fix it," she told the union summit.

Ms Gillard also said it was unacceptable that too many temporary overseas workers were filling health jobs and that local workers were missing out.  She said tighter requirements on visa applicants and employers would address that.

"Most striking of all is the widespread use of temporary skilled labour in hospitals and health," she said.

But Mr McDonald says "nasty" comments like that undermine the system.  "The Prime Minister talked about health workers, for example, in I think quite a nasty way," he said.

"The health workers that she's [talking about are] highly skilled health workers, many of them working in regional areas, the only doctor for miles, the only pharmacist for miles.

"And she's telling them that they've been given the priority whereas Australians have to clean the toilets or work cleaning the hospitals, etc.  "I think that's pretty nasty stuff."


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