As Teh Crow Flies, So Fails Teh Kaus Files

Here’s Matt Yglesias, jumping into a Mickey Kaus thing that we seem to have, you know, had a hand in:


Mickey Kaus demands crow:

Didn’t Kevin Drum and other leftish bloggers sneer when I suggested that rising unskilled wages were in the offing? I think they did! … How much do the people who serve crow make?

The only trouble is that Kaus hasn’t provided any evidence of any unusual increase in wages for the unskilled driven by a recent immigration crackdown. The fact that states featuring high levels of job growth are seeing wages go up seems utterly unremarkable. Jared Bernstein’s review of the most recent BLS data — not designed to prove any particular point about immigration — indicates that nothing in particular is happening: “Hourly wages continue to grow around 4.0% per year—up 3.9% in July compared to last year — and the jobless rate has hovered between 4.4% and 4.6% since last September. Thus, underlying conditions in the job market do not appear to have changed markedly this year.”

As of July (i.e., before the recent problems in the world of high finance), in other words, the economy had been growing moderately in 2007 just as it was in 2006, and so wages were growing at a moderate pace.

Ok, wait. Actually, here’s how this whole thing went. (For clarity’s sake, I’ll substitute the concrete noun, ‘raccoon,’ for the term, ‘help-wanted advertisement displaying a notably high hourly rate of pay’):

Mickey Kaus: Whoah, I saw a big ol’ raccoon today. Has anyone else noticed this nationwide increase in the raccoon population?

Kevin Drum: Um, that anecdote isn’t exactly data. Here’s some actual data on raccoons. It says something quite different.

Bradrocket: Holy god, Mickey Kaus is frickin’ dumb. He saw one raccoon, for chrissakes. What a dunce.

[segue, calendar pages dropping]

Kaus: Bwahaha! George Borjas also saw a big raccoon! And he’s in Texas! How’s the crow taste, suxxorz!!!???

Matt Yglesias: Um, rational arguments, statistics apropos raccoons. Contradiction of identified claims via authoritative citations.

Which means it’s our turn again:

kaus1.jpg   =   kaus2.jpg   +   kaus55.jpg

Let us know when we might again be needed in this debate.


Comments: 26


Holy crap, what kinda PhotoShop job did you DO on that first guy? No one can possibly look tha …wait… what? That’s Kaus? He really does looks like that?
What is this, the scariest-looking-man-in-the-world day at S,N? I’m scared.


Annnd, herein, Gavin has effectively proved a premise I have long suspected to be true:

Serial Killer equals Bad Comedian plus Cave Man.




Hey, he pulled Ann Coulter.


That poor caveman. Get off his back!


Wait, what’s his point, again? That he said that the minimum wage would go up, and it did? I’m confused.


I think his point was that unskilled laborers would see an increase in pay, which is bad because illegal aliens are taking every single job that white people actually want, and not just the low-paying gigs that white people don’t want.


He was saying that he saw an ad for a menial job where the hourly pay was fairly high, and because of that ad, the hourly wage in all of America must be on the way up.

It’s like saying that a hot day in August ‘proves’ global warming, or that a cold day in January ‘disproves’ it. The level of reasoning is on a par with a Xeroxed lottery tip-sheet.


MzNicky, he really does look like that. I met him at a thing in LA where he showed up with Arianna Huffington (really!). He also came off as kind of an asshole.

Plus, what Gavin just said. He’s never seemed too good with the reasoning and the logic and the not saying dumb things.

Incontinentia Buttocks

Kaus looks like a particularly merry André the Giant.

But a little less dead.

Really just a little.


Huh. But if Mr. Sign was advertising a $9/hr pay rate, why would raising the minimum wage to $7.XX mean anything? By his logic, the minimum wage is already way above what it’s regulated to be.

The mind boggles.


Hasty generalization; so simple, even Mickey Kaus can do it.


I guess I don’t see what the fuss is about. Back in April, Kaus claimed this:

“I’m saying tight labor markets–produced by growth and maybe a boost in immigration enforcement–eventually raise wages at the bottom, and we are starting to see that.”

He cites as evidence of a tight labor market the fact that In-N-Out was paying $9.50 and hour – which was, in fact, more than they had been paying a few months earlier. One burger joint’s wages seems like a prettly slender reed to base much of anything on, but his point doesn’t seem to me to be objectively dumb – tight labor markets do tend to raise wages. Whether that tight labor market has anything to do with “immigration enforcement” is at best conjectural, but even Kaus says “maybe a boost in immigration enforcement.” So it’s not like he was claiming that keeping out all the Mexicans will make burger-flippers rich.

Now, personally, I don’t know why Borjas or anyone else would “expect” the guys at McDonalds in West Yellowstone or the maids in Las Vegas would be Hispanic. And one report from a Tulsa TV station that lots of people are leaving town because of immigration enforcement is basically just more anecdotal evidence that some people are afraid that they’ll get picked up by ICE. But if it were true, then there would be a somewhat tighter labor market, and employers might have to raise wages.


Yglesias, really? I thought he had, Homer-like, permanently pulled his chair up to the stove that is McArdle’s hawt noo blawg, the better to immediately consume every unresearched pancake that issueth therefrom. Not that certain funny funny time websites whose names rhyme with Tadly, Grow! aren’t guilty of same. She is teh it gurl, after all. Only in blogland would a girl who looks like the third chair clarinet in your high school band be the object of such obsession.


You’d be surprised, Gavin, how that kind of logic goes unchallenged by so many people.

Wait, no you wouldn’t.


Yeah, but you see, even if his assumption is correct, it’s correct by happenstance. The method he uses — extrapolating from a single sign at a single fast-food restaurant in the LA area — is about as useful as thumbing through Nostradamus.

There’s a sale on tomatoes at my local organic grocery store. Does it betoken A DROP IN THE AMERICAN TOMATO MARKET??!!!

I’d really be quite hesitant to say so. You know?


Only in blogland would a girl who looks like the third chair clarinet in your high school band be the object of such obsession.

You obviously don’t bowl.


I protest your blatant Homo-sapienism.

Anti-neanderthalist bastard.


er ah…the middle guy looks like Pol Pot.


Who knew that the lady hogging all the sanctuary in a church in L.A. was causing a national depression in low wages. Good thing they deported her!


Dude. I saw four racoons last Friday. I’m relocating to Antarctica. When you all are drowning in racoons by September, don’t try to contact me. I’ll be long gone. Suckers!


Happy thought: perhaps the racoon was applying for Kaus’ job! It’s probably almost as good a typist, and would provide a much more attractive head shot…

There’s a sale on tomatoes at my local organic grocery store. Does it betoken A DROP IN THE AMERICAN TOMATO MARKET??!!!

No, it betokens that the people who normally buy tomatoes at your local organic grocery store are either shopping the local farmers markets or just growing their own. So, an excellent example: like Kaus’ In-N-Out want ad, the sale on tomatoes is a time-limited and regional issue.

(This is the only time of year I bother eating tomatoes. Tragically, new dog Zevon is also a home-grown fan; fortunately, while he’s big enough to climb into the planters, he’s too small to beat me to the full-sized tomatoes. So I get the Garden Peaches, the Husky Golds, the Romas, the Whoppers, and the Beefsteaks, but I still haven’t been able to salvage any ripe Juliets, Tom Thumbs, Sun Golds, Yellow Pears, Gardeners Delight, Isis, or White Cherrys.)


Kaus’ ignorance of burgerdom is showing. In-N-Out isn’t your regular hamburger shack. They pay a very decent wage. They also make their own fries on site from solid potatoes, never freeze their meat, and allow you to do a lot of custom things to your food. In the epilogue to Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser singled out In-N-Out as an exception to the House of Hamburger Horrors that is the modern fast food industry.


AnneLaurie – how are you doing with the Gardener’s Delight? I grew it for years, but the most recent pack of seed I got produced fruit that cracked if you looked at it funny. I’ve got Sweet 100 this year, and although it is sweet and prolific, it doesn’t have that real tomatoey taste like GD.


Mr. Baggins above beat me to it, but I can add that not only does In-N-Out pay well (I’d heard they started @ $10.00/hour, so maybe wages are actually going down!) but they offer health insurance to the employees. It’s still family owned, started in 1948, and they treat the employees decently because the matriarch, who died just over a year ago @ 86 (and as a hatin’ on religion type, this kills me) was an actual Christian, and put her money where her mouth is, unlike so many of today’s bible-thumpers.
It’s the best reasonably priced chain burger in SoCal (Fatburger’s pretty good, but tain’t cheap, Tommy’s is great, but in that total grease bomb w/ chili way) & very popular. They have mobile kitchens that’ll come to your event, Hollywood premiere, corporate picnic, etc. I can’t think of any other burger chain that people would want the boss to provide for them.

In the ’80s, they handed out bumper stickers that read:
A bit of work w/ scissors resulted in:



That picture of Kaus always reminds me of this guy.


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