Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Arguing with Idiots by Glenn Beck

Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government
Visually, this book reminds me of a middle school history textbook. It's got sidebars and pull quotes, cartoons, charts, graphs, and what look like hand-written post-it notes. That was a little distracting at times, but I think it would work quite well as a text on government for middle-schoolers, certainly better than most of the drivel they're begin fed these days.

If you've ever watched Beck's tv show, or listened to his radio program, you know most of this subject matter already. There are no new, astounding revelations here, just a rehash of the things he's been saying for years. His style is irreverent and iconoclastic, and he opines on gun rights, the unions, illegal immigration, big government, the nanny state, and Obamacare.

I think perhaps the most intriguing chapter is the one on illegal immigration. Beck attacks some of the popular wisdom on this subject, which even conservatives spout every so often. Regarding "illegals do the jobs Americans won't", he believes that if employers didn't have the ready supply of cheap labor available, they'd have to offer a reasonable wage to American workers, who would be happy to take the jobs, and cites examples of a meat processing company that was forced to replace illegals with Americans after a series of raids by INS. When they raised pay to attract citizens, hundres lined up to apply.

Regarding "illegal workers are vital to keeping things cheap", he mentions that labor makes up only about 6% of the cost of fresh produce, for example, so eliminating illegal labor would only raise the cost of produce about $8 a year for the average family. Also, the tax burden caused by illegals making use of government services, when - at their low income levels- they pay no taxes, could in theory be eliminated, thus stimulating the economy as businesses are left with more money to hire and invest.

The only problem with this book is that the people who will read it already believe it, and the people who should read it, won't.

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