State budget crisis getting critical

The 2011 fiscal year for 46 states begins in 10 days. In many cases it is a countdown to financial doom.
Despite what you may have heard from conservative sources, state and local government have been cutting and cutting. 231,000 state and local government jobs have vanished since August 2008 - 22,000 in just the past month. Most of those jobs were at the local level, such as police, firefighters, and school teachers.

The fat has already been trimmed. The muscle has been cut into. There is nothing left to cut but bone.
At least 19 states are getting the saws ready, because knives won't cut bone.

According to Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s, states are facing a budget gap of $180 billion next year. The shortfall could lead to the destruction of 900,000 jobs at the state level, an employment source that is often thought of as an economic safety net.

Up to 300,000 of those laid off will be school teachers, and some estimate the total number of government workers to be let go in the 1-to-2 million range.

California has already cut 62,000 government jobs.
This is only the start. Cities and counties up and down the state are openly debating bankruptcy.

Street expects more talk of municipal bankruptcy across California because local government finances are in such dire shape -- a situation underscored on Wednesday when a top finance officer for Sacramento County projected a worse-than-expected shortfall for the county of $181 million, which could force more than 1,000 layoffs from the county's payroll.
"You don't have the easy out of increasing revenue and you have a lot more call on services because of the economy," Street said. "There's no such thing as entertaining bankruptcy; there's ending denial."

The City of Antioch wants to "alert people to the possibility". Los Angeles has described bankruptcy as "inevitable". A county grand jury has recommended San Diego to declare bankruptcy.

Despite all these horrendous headlines, amazingly California isn't the state considered most likely to default; Illinois is.

Illinois’s credit-swap costs surpassed California’s, the largest U.S. municipal borrower, which saw its default-insurance contracts rise 1 basis point to 299.6 basis points from 298.7 basis points yesterday.

Illinois budget deficit is equal to half of its proposed budget.

The budget disasters spread far and wide.
The fiscal year in New York started months ago, but a real budget is still a work of fiction. The state has been getting by on one-week budgets, and it can't continue. A showdown that might produce the state's first shutdown in history could happen by the end of the month. New York has an $8 Billion budget hole to close this year, and another projected $5 Billion deficit next year.
To give you an idea of how bitter and outrageous the budget talks have been, New York conservatives have accused Governor Patterson's proposed tax increase on tobacco sales of aiding terrorists.

Budget problems aren't just for big cities and states. Arizona's deficit is expected to be 30% of its budget. It is spending $10.1 Billion, but only taking in $6.4 Billion.
Oregon is facing a 10% budget shortfall.

State spokesperson Anna Richter Taylor said. “It very likely will result in layoffs, although that is the option of last resort.”
“The reality is the state does not have $560 million to fill this hole,” she said.

The Rust Belt cities are also on the ropes. Harrisburg, PA, and Detroit, Michigan, are considering Chapter 9.
Even the city of Miami is facing bankruptcy.

Investors so far have ignored the warning signs in the municipal bond market, but some experts are raising the alarm.

"The day of reckoning is here," says Jeffrey Schoenfeld, chief investment officer of Brown Brothers Harriman. "But municipal investors continue to act as if there's no default risk in municipal bonds."
"I don't know how I would rate them myself," Mr. Buffett testified. "It's a bet on how the federal government will act over time."

Today's municipal bond market is a crooked mess. On one side you have corrupt Wall Street investment bankers rigging the system to exploit ignorant government workers and the taxpayers they represent.

"The whole investment process was rigged across the board," said Charlie Anderson, who retired in 2007 as head of field operations for the Internal Revenue Service's tax-exempt bond division. "It was so commonplace that people talked about it on the phones of their employers and ignored the fact that they were being recorded."

On the other end of the system are local politicians, who refinanced bonds over and over again to use the proceeds on unrelated projects.

Systemic Failure

You can't just keep cutting and cutting services and manpower before the system stops working.

Case files piling up by the thousands, phones ringing off the hook, forced midweek courthouse closings and occasional brawls as frustrated citizens queue for hours to pay parking fines.
“People think we’re becoming a Third World country,” said Ms. Sims, 55.
“We are on the verge of system failure,” warned Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, an independent think tank based in Sacramento.

At a certain point the potholes don't get filled, the police don't respond (at least not in poor neighborhoods), sewer systems break and don't get fixed, kids can't get into college, people get "lost" in the judicial system, and eventually citizens simply give up on the government.
We are facing the threat of losing something very basic - our idea of what America should be like. Once that is gone, it doesn't come back.

It's a matter of priorities.
When California Gov. Schwarzenegger proposed the latest budget, he completely eliminated the welfare programs in the state, as well as most child care funding. It would save the state about $2.2 Billion, but cost tens of thousands of public and private sector jobs.
What Schwarzenegger left in the budget was $2 billion in planned corporate tax breaks.

Schwarzenegger made a choice - corporations over poor children. This choice is getting very popular with politicians in recent years.
When conservatives in Washington shot down the unemployment extension, leaving millions of poor, working class people and their dependents without any support, it was partially because of their opposition to business taxes.
The poor need better lobbyists.

California is facing a $19 Billion deficit this year, and a $37 Billion deficit next year. Between 2010 and 2011, U.S. States are looking at a $300 Billion shortfall.

Republican candidate Meg Whitman says she intends to solver the California budget by getting rid of 40,000 workers. I wonder if Whitman is willing to start with the department who's employment has increased 123% in the last 20 years, accounting for one third of total growth - the Department of Corrections? Schwarzenegger didn't.
California already has the 2nd lowest number of state employees per capita, lower than such states as Arizona and Texas, and at the same level as it was in 1970. Only 17.8% of the California state budget goes to salaries and wages.
At what point do politicians have to admit that police, firefighters, and school teachers aren't the reason for the budget problems?

Revisiting the Perfect Storm

When I wrote A perfect storm for unemployed a month ago, I never dreamed that I had underestimated the problem.

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I didn't think that Congress would balk at renewing the unemployment extensions. This has left 1.2 million long-term unemployed with no lifeline, while Senator Hatch implies that they are all worthless drug fiends.
I didn't think that Congress would balk at matching the state's medicaid programs in middle of this depression. Without this money the state budget cuts will be draconian, if even possible.

Meanwhile, the expected layoffs from the census are going to happen on schedule, while federal stimulus money slowly dries up.

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Given all this, and the state budget crisis, its hard to see how this isn't going to force the unemployment rate up.



GDP estimates

I can't find it at the moment but someone analyzed the total effect the states were having on GDP, national and it was either 0.25% or 1.5% total reduction.

I couldn't quite find something to write about today. It's something akin to how insane the world is, and instead of dealing with the corruption, we're getting inane "choices" framed again as "smaller government". I mean even what the problem is isn't amplified.

i.e. don't pour "Stimulus" offshore or where it doesn't give the most bang for the buck. The most critical thing is private sector jobs. Yet, when it comes to anything, including stimulus to generate real jobs with good pay...

we can't get it.

BEA figures on State and Local Impact

See line 25:
Even when combined with the Federal government (line 21), overall government is still having a negative impact.

How State & Fed Spending Does Not Stimulate GDP

First, there are 2 foreign wars and the presence of U.S. bases in over 140 countries. Those dollars stimulate the foreign local economies where the bases reside, but not U.S. spending unless the military pay is repatriated.

Second, let's not forget that all tax dollars spent are transfer payments. Money comes out of somebody's pocket and gets spend by somebody else. That leaves it all to the deficit and many of those dollars go overseas as well.

Segue to the case for a real stimulus? Hey, Harry Hopkins and FDR did it. Harry sat down and just wrote up the contracts.

Burton Leed

it does actually

The money goes into state and local workers and services, which lowers the unemployment rate and increases government spending. The G, if you look at the GDP equation, is government spending, that affects GDP.

Not saying there are much more effective ways to stimulate and restructure and economy. When they passed this so called Stimulus, I wrote up scathing pieces on how they were just spending instead of stimulating. They refused to keep the money domestic, and you're right, you pour money out of the country that doesn't stimulate anything, GDP is domestic.

They wouldn't do a strong hire Americans requirement, stimulus funds poured overseas to jobs and projects overseas.

I should do an update on how much, but it was especially true on "green" job hype and alternative energy "projects".

Meanwhile China is kicking our ass in these technologies.

But state and local government spending does affect GDP.

Contribution to GDP of Fed Spending - Still not Stimulating Yet

The 0.1 % Federal contribution is statistically insignificant. Compare Federal spending contributions to Net Imports, Durable Goods, or inventory accumulation. Not that the size of increase, the size of deficit is tiny,
U,S. in deficit to GDP is up there with P.I.G.S.

There is no plan, unlike the Chinese, there is no Harry Hopkins to write
spending contracts. There is no idea that $60 Bn is way too small to make a difference except at state level. The spending part of the 'stimulus' has huge unobligated balances. They will not even use Commerce, Treasury, or Fed, or lean on the banks to lend,

Expand years on the BEA site to have a look at 1950 - Korean War. An economy growing much faster than China today. Chief Contributor to 1950 Expansion? Manufacturing. As I recall, we were not so nice to the Chinese in that year.

Burton Leed

that's right

from the GDP report government spending is factoring in very little as it is. The growth was primarily inventory changes and then consumer spending.

33% Drop in New Home Sales

The construction sector already has over 20% unemployment while government sector unemployment is at 3.4% nationwide.

From the tone of whats written here you'd think that the government sector was in much worse shape.

There are less people working in the private sector in order to maintain public sector employment. Public sector jobs are tax negative no matter how someone spins it.

uh, do you really want to promote a housing bubble?

Of course construction collapsed, it's seriously overbuilt. Prices are just still too high, out of alignment with the median wage.

I just don't understand why you keep railing on gov. workers, the reality is the private sector needs to be raised up to where the gov. workers are, not pull the gov. workers down.

Private sector means good paying manufacturing jobs. The high unemployment rates on construction, well, frankly, illegals did come into construction and greatly lower wages, union bust, just like meatpacking, various service sector jobs, agriculture, and other areas.

I don't know about you, but considering the high unemployment rates, the last thing I'm concerned about is creating jobs for illegals over U.S. citizens.

That said, 63% of GDP is the Banksters and that isn't creating jobs here at all, so instead of playing glorified gambling and buying U.S. treasuries on free money, playing the spread, forcing the financial sector to invest in the real economy...

that would create some real jobs, the production economy, the one that makes stuff.

but this continual focus on government workers is just off the wall at this point. You do not want to pull them down simply because private sector workers are getting shafted so badly. We want to pull the private sector up and past the gov. workers wages, job security, pensions, retirement and benefits.


So instead of 'raising up the private sector' as you suggest Obama wants another $50 Billion dedicated to the public sector. Thats why I posted what I did. The admins emphasis is on the healthiest segment of the economy rather than where it needs help.

Am I wrong about that?

If I am show me where the admin is doing anything for the private sector and please no reference to the $400 work credit since that is distributed to everyone. Any thing to do with Government contracts is also public sector since those are bid rigged and in someones pocket before the ink is dry.

It seems to me that the ONLY thing of any importance here is public sector jobs period.

I also highly doubt that with the GLUT of unsold homes on the market that we are ANYWHERE near another housing bubble.

What I can't understand is why it seems my only choices appear to be spending tax money to support banks or public employees? Thats the retort when ever I say there is too much emphasis on public employment although the illegals is a new twist - I know better than to get into that because if I ranted about illegals stealing work from citizens I'd be labeled a racist whether its true or not. McCarthyism at its best.

construction jobs

That's what I'm referring to and don't forget, in the House unemployment version are a host of corporate tax modifications that remove the incentives to offshore outsource your job. That's what I want passed.

So, my complaint is the focus on public sector jobs, whereas the real focus should be on private sector jobs and that would be manufacturing and STEM, that's what is needed here.

The government could create a host of service jobs in a heart beat. All they would have to do is ban the offshore outsourcing of state and federal contracts. There are millions of jobs, but these are public sector jobs, which could be created if they were brought back to the U.S.

But construction jobs I would say you're creating jobs for illegals frankly. The wages dropped like a stone due to the use of illegal labor in a lot of these areas. That's why IBEW parts ways with the SEIU on illegal immigration. They have been hit hard with illegal labor, non-trained, not certified, workers and so on.

Riddle Me This

How many public sector jobs are needed to pay the wages of a single public sector job through taxes?


I see no one can figure out this riddle so I'll give it a try.

Public employees add to debt. They do not contribute a positive cash flow to the economy. Adding more public employees merely adds to the deficit so in effect there is no way for any amount of public employees to pay for even a single public employee.

Juicing the economy during the depression was completely bailed out by WW2 in that afterward we stood as an intact industrial giant while manufacturing in other countries was destroyed by the war.

public employees spend and add services

and they pay taxes as well. Of course that's less than private sector jobs in terms of adding to the economy but that's why "G" contributes to GDP. Add things like shipping public services offshore, well, not only is that the same tax dollars, but now one isn't using that money to recycle it back into the economy as well as employing some Americans to provide whatever service the job is.

I think you're getting hung up on some binary thing. Job growth, isn't binary. Government contracts with the private sector, they can add to the overall economic growth.

It's similar to war, that can pull an economy out of depression but of course it is massive deficit spending (usually).

Its a Tax Revenue Negative Is My Point

Not to nit pick because of course public employees pay taxes but 100% of their income and benefits comes from taxes so its a negative in the long term.

it is not a negative

You seem to forget the types of services they provide. They catch the crooks, teach the kids, process your DMV form, put out the fires, work at the library and on and on.

All of those services add to the overall economy. Additional U.S. workers of all types buy stuff and that adds to the overall economy.

New Math?

On paper its clearly a negative.

All those things are paid for by taxes paid by people who work in the private sector.

100%of a public sector employees check comes from taxes.

None of a private sector employees check comes from taxes unless they are in the Keynesian government/private military complex.

You mentioned how the school system was at fault before. Well when I was in school there were no teachers aides, no school psychologists, the class sizes were not mandated, there was no esl classes and now that those things exist schools cost more and produce less quality results. Thats a prime example of government out of control and bloated. Its run by unions now essentially.

How much government is the question. Diminishing returns?

you are clearly missing the point

They provide services. You bought those services by paying taxes. Without those services, local, regional, state and national economy suffers. Those services support other elements of the economy.

For example, if you do not have law and order, then you assuredly will not have businesses operating. It will cost them in crime costs. If you do not educate the kids, you are guaranteed to lose your economic future, plus additional costs for what to do with kids if they are not in school....

list goes on and on.

You're not adding the math correctly as I'm repeatedly pointing out there. AGAIN, I just did an overview on the latest GDP report and I even lay out the basic equation for GDP. You can clearly see government spending in the equation and how it works.

Nope, I'm Not Missing the Point

You are applying a value to services that I may not want, need or use.

So according to that logic no one should gripe about anything the government does because any government spending stimulates the economy.

War in Iraq & Afghanistan? No problem the government says its good and we need it. I'd rather that money was spent in the US but the government knows best.

Now Obama is begging Europe and Japan to spend spend spend so eyeballs don't start looking this way.

What you are basically saying is government can never be too large and what I am saying is government is too large already and needs some tweaking. Its not a matter of 'I don't get it'.

I wouldn't say that

But I'm saying the current issues right now are massive and it's due to the Banksters, the Federal Reserve, especially policies like trade and general erosion of labor rights, work in the U.S.

I think it's pretty obvious what I think about what the government has been doing lately but that will not get me to claim the GDP equation is not what it is.

How about looking at the many other posts and all of the rest of the stuff going on.

Public employees are just not the problem if you see the big picture.

The Solomonic on Labor and Immigration

We have said before that a progressive solution to illegal immigration magnets of construction, landscaping, ag, and food service would be unionization. Even if those unions had modified strike privileges, like compulsory arbitration. No business owners could get screwed that way.

Of course, the criminal element, like the Chamber of Commerce would oppose anything that says 'Union'. Both MLK and Cesar Chavez fought for unionization of these 4 industries until the dates of their deaths. Maybe you explain like that. Or maybe you say, this is real border security.

Burton Leed

But You Think Unionizing Would Do Better?

How would unions check on illegal aliens any better than e-verify or a licensing procedure?


This is where reality and political terms part company. People either realize immigration affects labor markets, supply and thus wages or they refuse to do so. Bottom line. Even Paul Krugman recently commented on these economic realities.

Cesar Chavez was against illegal immigration, and that is because illegals were being used to union bust them. It was started by Harris Miller in the 1980's as a massive campaign, hitting farm workers first.

But you have all sorts of special interests trying to claim their agenda is "Progressive", ahem, I do not think wage repression, worker displacement is "Progressive", and if they cannot claim that, then everything else is "racist xenophobe".

The bottom line answer is a nation-state must control and limit it's immigration numbers at maximum per the demands of labor markets but that's not what is going on. One can see that in STEM/professional jobs with guest workers displacing U.S. workers and it's been going on for 20 years now.

You can unionize to death but if you flood a labor supply past demand, it doesn't matter, you will get worker displacement and you will get wage repression and erosion of worker's rights, bargaining power. It was true n 1400 AD and it's true now.

I'm pretty much a stickler on this because there is so much bullshit out there when this topic is mentioned and believe me, I know my labor econ fairly well at this point.

Just How Outrageous Offshoring of Government Contracts

Our amigos in Radiant Info Systems (Slave Labor Out of Indian Prisons) are writing RFPs for State Departments of Transportation in Washington and California. Hey, why not just hire slaves? Keep it simple.

Ending the Corporate Domestic International Sales credit/deduction is very difficult when the same company employees who will buy your congressional seat, are the ones who would vote down changing the tax laws. Their lobbyists in the CoC will remind you quickly, senator.

Now they can pay for as many propaganda campaign videos and ads as necessary.

Burton Leed

Licensing and the Bullet Proof E-Verify

Ever wonder how the cleaning agencies get by E-Verify these days? You get one clean set of valid documents and reprocess the other crews on the valid ids. Works like a charm. I have no faith in licensing or e-verify.

Burton Leed

most refuse to use e-verify

and I sincerely doubt this one because a signal comes up with the same #SS being checked. The reality is the agenda is flood the labor market, not enforce the law, never punish employers and never secure the borders. Therefore anything that stops that agenda is labeled "racist xenophobe" and they try to in point is the refusal to implement e-verify. A host of so called Progressive Dems ran on "punish illegal employers"
which of course hasn't happened. Why? Well, beyond the business interests demanding their cheap,exploitive labor, there is also this cold hard reality, eventually some illegals are going to have go back home. If you cannot use illegal labor, you cannot have it both ways and say those same illegals should keep those jobs.

Everytime those illegals lost their jobs, the wages went up and they had a line out the door for U.S. workers applying.

This is the reality, we have more than enough workers already and we do not have enough jobs and jobs with good wages and benefits. That's just the way it is and no philosophy or some sort of unionization agenda is going to make this disappear.

How Many Public Sector Jobs to Support Public Sector Jobs?

I can whistle the Internationale, but the words never sounded very good in English. The Internationale always sounds better in German, French, Spanish, Danish. Everyone working for the government, or government taking over all jobs, is socialism, in the crudest and most ignorant sense.

I still like Bill Haywood's model, not Lenin's.
It's not looking like 'the International will be the human race' unless you mean the IMF.
Still the Marseillaise has always had a purity and power, as militant as the words are.

The second part of the riddle is if everybody governs, who are the governed? Do they all just try to boss each other and protect turf like bureaucracies, corporate and public?

Burton Leed

states slashing jobs, education

Of course I imagine no administrators will take a cut from their 6 figures (cough, cough). (serious boat in K-12!)

That said, in minorities and many areas, now only 50% even graduate high school. These numbers are 3rd world frankly.

Now they are cutting and dumping even more on the remaining teachers. This isn't my area of expertise but one of the most amazing American social benefits was free education through K-12, it helped build America, plus was the great "melting pot" stirrer, but nowadays it sure seems like it's going to the dogs! I'd hate to be a kid these days. 50% and even when one gets a college degree, that doesn't mean one is going to get a job.

3rd World Numbers For 3rd World Students

No english spoken at home and too many people stuffed into small apartments etc etc etc.

Teachers are being paid to basically baby sit - I have seen teachers say the same things themselves concluding that there is no way to change the results when the parents can't speak english and really are not part of the process.

That begs the question as to why are we paying for babysitting these types of students? I'm talking about kids in 9th grade with 5th grade skills. There is no way they will ever make up what they don't know and move ahead at the same time.

90% of K-12 budgets go to pay and benefits. Thats outside of building costs which are usually through bonds.

it's the schools

in the early 1900's they had all sorts of people who could not speak English and either could the kids....but back then, they didn't put up with any bullshit. Seriously, even to become a teacher is so much certification crap nutso stuff and a real lack of focus on teaching the subject at hand.

So, thinking that just because parents or kids don't speak English is the's's the U.S. school system today.

Back in the old days I'm pretty sure they focused in on the kids who wanted to learn too. In the 1920's was a surge in college graduates.


There were jobs then in manufacturing for people that couldn't read, write or speak english. Now we pamper that group with English as a 2nd language which is a costly program. Back then people wanted to learn to speak english.

The hispanic community is so large they do not have to speak english or even try. I have heard this directly from teachers.

Remember when Oakland wanted the US DOE to recognize 'ebonics'?

won't hear me argue there

This "must speak Spanish" demand for teachers and on and on is clearly something the U.S. cannot afford, but more importantly is discriminatory against U.S. teachers for jobs in their own country. Sure one can maybe offer one translator, but expecting large public institutions to support a dual system considering how pathetic K12 is, #1 being class size, this should be not a priority.

But what is the point. You keep zeroing in on elements such as public employees and now kids of illegals when I just wrote up Q4 2010 GDP which clearly shows State and Local gov. spending pulled off 0.5% from revised GDP. It's going to be much, much worse because states are broke, the Senate refused to stop offshore outsourcing of your job and thus denied UI plus help to the States.

Sure, these special interest groups are full of it, misrepresent labor econ to use public relations to name call all of America per their agenda, which assuredly is not in the U.S. long term national interests...

but this is almost a side show to the Banksters, the trade deficit, and how we cannot get one line of legislation that is going to turn this economy around.

The fundamental draw of El Norte is work (and massive illegal drug consumer market) once we're all in the 3rd world, that draw will cease.

But it's other policies and legislation that's pulling us to a double dip and further economic collapse in comparison.

I'm not saying this insanity is not a net negative, I've read the stats, the theory, obviously it is, but not in comparison to the Federal Reserve printing trillions to buy up toxic MBS.

You Bring Up a Good Point

And something that bothers me.

How is the M3 going way down when we know the Fed has been printing like crazy? The first quarter they were still buying mortgage bonds and they pumped a portion of cash into the Euro bailout (I've read our portion was going to end up at $200 billion between that and recharging the IMF which was broke after that).

Is that showing the banks hoarding cash or is there literally a second set of books out there?

In a Word, the 1965 Immigration Act

Ted Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson re-wrote immigration law to make immigration country-neutral. Since 60 % of the worlds population is poorer than Mexico, we are basically importing the population of the 3rd world.

At high school graduations, one of the biggest language prize, sought competitively, os the prize of English as a Second Language.

I say we just shut off immigration as happened in the 1920's. We could then begin to unionize the local population. That process happened between 1925 and 1955 (peak union membership).

What is said against that is that we are a 'safety valve' for the rest of the world. The answer to the safety valve theory is that 2 million of 6 billion immigrate to the U.S. We take as much immigration as the rest of the world combined. If 4 billion people live in poverty worse than Mexico, the immigration of 2 million to the U.S. makes no significant difference.

The reason for unionization is
Union Membership = Member Matriculation = Border Control.

Burton Leed

yeah well

there is an economic case, namely the almost 10% unemployment numbers to put a moratorium on all immigration for a period.

I think my point is the spin in this topic is off the rails and that's due to philosophies, special interest groups, but bottom line, immigration does affect labor markets and it did also in the early 1900's....

I'm just going to ignore all other motivations from the 1920's for reducing immigration, many of which weren't pretty, but labor markets was real.

Not Politically Correct to State That

I see a tendency towards a type of McCarthyism from the far left and the far right. They assign a key phrase to something and ignore any realities.

The key word for immigration enforcement is 'racist'.

On the other side when they target Obama its 'socialism'.

These derisions make any discussion on political subjects break down.

PC ain't here

why the site tries to get to the statistics and details because both of those statements are absurd.

I wish Obama was a socialist, obviously he is a corporatist. I mean touting his great legislative accomplishments for two major corporate lobbyists giveaways in history.

The "racist" crap is also a public relations talking point. I get very burnt out on it and why going there on either side on this site would be considered fiction.

But also the point of EP is to narrow the scope of conversation into only econ, labor econ.....plenty of places to argue philosophies or whatever, very few give accurate stats on much of anything.

So are spin white papers which try to manipulate labor economics equations or statistics, either side. (or any white paper spin where you have to go down into the bowels of the theory, mathematics, statistics or assumptions to dig out the flaws and battle the buzz headline claim).

Drives me nuts.

Immigrants aren't the problem

They are the scapegoat.
The problem is that our jobs are getting sent overseas.
Taking this out on poor immigrants who just want minimum wage jobs (or less) is a waste of effort.

As for unionization, getting rid of the immigrants wasn't the solution. Why? Because blacks were still barred from a lot of unions in the 20's and 30's.

it's both actually

Sorry but it's true, it is both offshore outsourcing AND insourcing that are creating a problem. It's pretty obvious too, if one has wage repression, undercutting and an oversupply, unlimited labor supply that will displace existing workers and lower wages.