Mar 09

Houston Isn’t the Way to Go

More Misinformation from the Media:

An exhaustive U.S. study by the National Academy of Sciences [NAS] found that immigration didn’t drive down most wages, but it had a “very small” and temporary effect on native-born workers without a high school degree. . . . For the life of me, I can’t figure out why so many Republicans prefer a dying white America to a place like, say, Houston.

Houston has very light zoning regulations, and as a result it has affordable housing and a culture that welcomes immigrants. This has made it incredibly diverse, with 145 languages spoken in the city’s homes, and incredibly dynamic — the fastest-growing big city in America recently. . . .  The large immigrant population has paradoxically given the city a very strong, patriotic and cohesive culture, built around being welcoming to newcomers and embracing the future. — The National Death Wish, David Brooks, The New York Times, 2/24/17

Fact Check: Brooks assures us that immigration doesn’t affect American wages, and most certainly it doesn’t affect the salaries of people in his well-heeled social class and punditry profession. But to claim that it has little effect on the wages of native-born American workers is not at all what the NAS study found. Specifically, it concluded that competition from immigrants reduced the wages of native workers by $493.9 billion a year. At the same time this suppression of wages provides a windfall for better-off members of society who profit from cheap labor.

Brooks’ remark about a “dying white America” is an expression of racial bigotry, one commonly expressed by left-wing elites. Brooks supposedly is a conservative, but like many conservatives today he tries to ingratiate himself with left-wing opinion. In any case, Brooks doesn’t live in Houston. Someone who does is an individual identifying himself as “JC” who recently posed the website He had a very different take on the city. He stated:

“I speak with some authority about the city of Houston. I was born here in 1950 (when it was a gracious southern city) and have lived here all of my life. David Brooks is a typical neocon idiot.

“In the 1960s, and 70s Houston was dynamic and growing, but with a population that celebrated its Texas roots and history. Now it is what Theodore Roosevelt called a “polyglot boarding house” for the world. This city has no spirit and is a multiculti nowhere land. Mr. Brooks’ vibrant immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, have rendered we Americans foreigners in our own land. The Houston school district schools (which I attended) are now dropout factories.

“The Third World school board voted to strip the names of Confederate heroes from schools that had born those names for over 80 years including my own Robert E. Lee High School. Whole neighborhoods now have street signs in Chinese or Vietnamese.

“Politically this demographic transformation has turned Harris County (in which Houston is located) into a liberal Democrat fiefdom. In the last election, while Texas as a whole went Republican, Harris County turned out of office every county wide Republican.

“White Anglos have fled the city and now comprise only 25 percent of the population. . . .  Brooks opinion that these people are “patriotic” is a sick joke. Mr. Brooks, you can keep your vibrant immigrants, and I’ll remember what a great American city my hometown once was before you and people like you ruined it.”

Despite Brooks’ confusion on the matter, many Republicans—watching election results—have no difficulty at all figuring why they don’t want the rest of the country to resemble Houston. Confirming JC’s observations about diversity is the research of Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam. It found that trust and civic ties are weakest in diverse cities like Houston.

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