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Vicente Fox: The ultimate spammer

I have always resented spammers. They annoyed and aggravated me sorely, but when challenged, I couldn't explain why I didn't "just hit delete" like so many others. I grumbled about the "in-your-face" marketing, the invasion of my space with their ads without my permission, but that wasn't the full reason. It wasn't until I started seriously dabbling in the anti-spam world that I stumbled across the words that expressed what I had grasped only at a subconscious level.

Junk e-mail works because it is largely exempt from some of the basic rules of economics. There are no limiting economic factors of scale. It costs the sender virtually the same to send one message as it does millions. If auto makers were freed from this rule, they could make a thousand cars of every single variant as cheaply as it would be to make a single one, and if they sold one car out of every hundred thousand, they'd still make a profit.

But I read a bit further, and found out that the spammers aren't truly exempt from that law. They've just found a way to twist it. And that secret is "cost-shifting."

Much like junk faxers, spammers have discovered that it is wonderfully economic to broadcast their message to every recipient they can find -- because they don't pay the costs for carrying and delivering that message. The true costs are borne by the intermediaries and recipients.

According to the latest estimates I can find, spam makes up about 40% of all e-mail -- and that number is rising. Spam is a huge cost to internet service providers, as they have to have enough bandwidth to accept it, enough server horsepower to manage it, sufficient storage to hold it, and efficient enough software to filter it. And since it's a war between the spammers and the ISPs over who gets to control how the ISP's resources are used, that means that the ISPs have to constantly reinvest and upgrade their own resources just to defend themselves.

But the spammers don't care about the cost to the ISPs. They just want to get their ads out to as many people as possible. If they only get one sale for every 10,000 ads they send (just to pick a number), that means that they will make a hundred sales if they send out a million ads. But it costs them NOTHING MORE to send out those million than it would to send out a hundred, so why should they limit themselves to just a million?

It may come as no surprise that this brilliant innovation is not so very new, and is already against the law. The legal term is "trespass to chattels," or "theft by conversion." It boils down to one simple concept: you can't use someone else's property for your own benefit without that person's permission -- even if they are not directly harmed by your use.

For example, you can't put a sign on someone's lawn. You can't take someone's money, invest it, then return the principle and keep the profits. In short, if any part of your plan involves using someone else's property without their permission, even if they come to no harm, is illegal.

This was the principle behind the laws against junk faxing. It was obvious that the junk faxers were using the assets of the recipient without their permission. The actual costs of a single junk fax were negligible (toner, paper, and use of the machine briefly), but the costs of permitting everyone to do it would, in theory, bankrupt the recipient.

That's the theory. Here's the reality. Numerous companies have been seriously hurt by junk faxes. They have lost important faxes because their machines ran out of paper or toner printing the junk ones. They have missed important faxes entirely because their line was tied up with junk faxes. And they have had to change their fax numbers when the junk-to-legit ratio got too high.

As John Kerry discovered through marriage, life is a lot simpler when you can get someone else to pay your bills.

And that principle is a large part of why I get so bent out of shape over the illegal alien problem.

Every single nation in the world has its poor people. They are, to be blunt, a burden. An expense. A liability. They consume far more in services than they will ever provide in revenue.

But they are also a fact of human nature, and providing care for them is one of the fundamental duties of any legitimate government. In the United States, we may argue about the level and form of that support, but only the most extreme ideologues argue against it completely.

Mexico, and some other nations, though, have found a solution to this problem. In fact, they've managed to turn them into assets. Their solution? Send them to the United States.

By some estimates, Mexicans working in the United States send home about $20 billion a year to their families. That number exceeds the amount Mexico gains from agriculture exports and tourism, and is a huge boon to the Mexican economy.

Why, this is a stroke of economic genius! Just how do these foreign nations manage to do it, and can other nations follow the same example?

The answer is simple: like the spammer, like the junk faxer, they are cost-shifting, but on a scale the scammers would blush at. By dumping their poor on the United States, they free themselves of the cost of support -- and stick Uncle Sam with the bill.

By the best estimates I can find, illegal aliens contribute about $16 billion to the US economy each year. But they use about $26.3 billion in social spending, meaning that the United States loses about $10.3 billion a year supporting other nations' poor.

Mexicans make up about 57% of all illegal aliens in the United States, so let's round off the numbers and say that Mexican illegals use about $5.7 billion of that cost. Add that number to the $20 billion that they send home to Mexico, and we see that we are subsidizing the Mexican government to the tune of almost $26 billion dollars a year. That's above and beyond any direct foreign aid; that is money that Mexico is directly taking from us via its illegal aliens.

In direct violaiton of our laws.

The Mexican government has found its goose that lays the golden egg, and it's the big nation to its north. It has discovered how to take its poorest citizens and encourage them to go north, in direct contravention of United States law and in violation of our national sovereignty, and turn them into productive citizens that are a huge asset to its economy. And now it's trying to cast this program of economic exile into a moral issue, insisting that it is not only justifiable, but ethical and necessary that the United States continue to act as a relief valve for Mexico's poor, dispossessed underclass -- the very people who, if not presented with the very attractive choice of illegally coming to America, might very will rise up and overthrow their own corrupt, inefficient, callous government.

By tolerating the continuing flow of millions of illegal aliens into the United States, we are helping corrupt, oppressive governments to sustain their power and bleed off those who would be most motivated to make changes in their homelands. We are preserving a status quo that, by any moral, economic, or pragmatic standard, should not be sustainable. And we are doing it to the tune of $10 billion a year -- and rising.

It's easy to look at the illegal alien and feel compassion and sympathy. He only wants to support his family back home. She has children to care for. But it's a trap. By bending the rules today, we are sentencing untold future generations to the same fate as the guy mowing your lawn, the crew fixing your roof, the women who clean your office. We are rewarding the governments that made them into economic refugees.

It's a simple rule of economics: you get more of whatever you subsidize. We are subsidizing illegal immigration, and there is absolutely no reason why the immigrants will not continue to come -- and no reason why their governments will not continue to tolerate and encourage it.

It's an immoral model. More importantly, it's an economically unsustainable model. And sooner or later, it has to end.

If we're lucky, we'll end it before it ends us.


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Comments (22)

Here's some more economics ... (Below threshold)

Here's some more economics for you to consider.

Topps, the baseball card company, is worth $350 million. They sell bubble gum. To us.

The US spends about $550 million annually on pretzels, according to the wiki on pretzels.

There's $1 billion, and that's just for gum and pretzels.

If we spend $10 billion subsidizing illegal aliens, then that is a small price to pay, it seems to me, in return for the single major economic benefit that you and I receive from all that illegal immigration: lower interest rates.

Do you have an adjustable-rate mortgage? If you do, then you should thank Vicente Fox. His supply to the United States of cheap labor is probably the single largest factor in keeping inflation in check in the United States in the last 20 years.

Higher inflation puts pressure on the Fed to keep interest rates, and thus, your monthly mortgage payment, higher.

Congressmen aren't stupid. They know that if interest rates ever hit 10%, 15%, 20% ever again, the entire lot of them will be out of jobs. If you don't think interest rates could ever be 20%, then you aren't studying your history. This chart:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Federal_Funds_Rate_%28effective%29.png

demonstrates what can happen. In 1981, interest rates ran to almost 20%.

So, Congress knows something that you don't. The US voter requires an influx of illegal aliens to keep the home mortgage low, and the yard cut. What the voter wants, the voter is going to get.

By the way, spam currently ... (Below threshold)

By the way, spam currently accouts for about 85%-95% of all email traffic that I see (and I see a lot). Some ISPs could not live without the revenue stream that their spam customers account for.

Spammers pay for the bandwidth they consume at the ISP where their mail originates, and so in at least some cases, it is INDEED the ISP that is to blame.

rightnumberone, I sa... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

rightnumberone, I say bullsh*t.

However, you've helped me finally understand why the Democrats support illegal immigration.

I just had one of those "eureka!" moments. And at almost midnight local time.

Damn.

Jay, get this:

On one hand, if rightnumberone is correct, cheap wages depress inflation, or at least act as a pressure relief valve to keep inflation in check.

On the other hand, if those of us (like JayTea) who believe that "cheap wages" masks a deficit between cheap wages (low, with no tax payments) and benefits used (public services that illegals do not support with ANY tax payments), then if the cheap wages go away (that is, illegals are sent packing) and wages rise to at least US federal minimum wage standards, then tax payments rise, and the balance of payments drops.

Meaning essentially higher tax revenues with less taxes collected (in this case, tax revenues unused based on the demand for free services having been reduced or eliminated).

An argument which underpins the Laffer curve, or "supply side" economics.

And justifies the Great GWB tax cut of 2001.

And the LAST thing a Democrat can stand is to admit ANYONE supporting "supply side" economics is right.

Never mind that in FY 2005, with GWB's tax cuts, receipts by the IRS were the highest ever recorded.

My point: illegal immigration supports the high-tax welfare state.

The one Democrats labor so hard to inflict on the rest of us, from Ted Kennedy (D-Chivas) on down.

Rightnumberone, Why do you ... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Rightnumberone, Why do you assume they'll take a low wage forever? Why take a low wage and send it home, when you can make a higher wage and send it home. Believe me, after 25 years in construction I know how it works. Pedro buys a S.S. card. Pedro gets a job making a few bucks a day cleaning up the jobsite for a general contractor. Pedro then gets Juan to help him. After a few jobs Pedro and Juan get to know the subcontractors and the subcontractors knows they do a good job. Mr subcontractor hires them. Pedro and Juan do a good job, learn the trade and get their buddies a job. Now Pedro has a crew, and his crew works as hard as Andy the American and his crew. Pedro, Juan, and the rest of the crew are now making the same pay as Andy. Pedro's other buddies have done the same thing with other subcontractors and now things have changed ... the ENTIRE jobsite is now dominated by illegal hispanic labor. Mr Subcontractor has to ask himself "who is more valuable? Pedro, who can communicate with the other crews? Or Andy the American?" Pedro, Juan, and the rest of the crew get a raise. Andy and his crew find out where the nearest unemployment office is. Pedro and his crew are now livin large, making $15 - $20 an hr., claiming 13 dependants, and not filing a return. Poor Andy, turns out Pedro was using Andy's S.S. number and now Mr IRS wants his cut.

"Some ISPs could not liv... (Below threshold)

"Some ISPs could not live without the revenue stream that their spam customers account for."

How many of those ISPs are outside the country which don't employ ethical business standards and are free from regulation? How many of those ISPs are not truly the originating ISP or email displayed, yet are bombarded with requests to be removed from some database which they must process and return as a non-existent email address - or even the emails that do exist but have full email boxes which have been abandoned?

Placing the burden on the ISP to fund the development of counter measures for all the fraud and to fund the bandwith for freeloading is wrong. Period. Their is no plausible argument otherwise.

Call me an extremest ideolo... (Below threshold)
Mr. Fu:

Call me an extremest ideologue, but why is it that "care for them [the poor] is one of the fundamental duties of any legitimate government?"

Is it a Constitutionally sanctioned function of the Federal government? Is there historic precidence in the US for this?

[email protected] Jay Tea... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ Jay Tea

Sorry but I think your numbers are extremely low. Just the cost of educating illegal alien children would exceed the numbers you posted.

Call me an extremest ide... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Call me an extremest ideologue, but why is it that "care for them [the poor] is one of the fundamental duties of any legitimate government?"

I think Jesus has something to do with it.

If it's supposed to be a gu... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

If it's supposed to be a guest worker program fine.
As long as it's made clear that guest is just that, a guest with no chance at citizenship, no social security, medicare or medicaid or welfare and kids born here are not automatic US citizens. In short no benefits of US citizenship or permanent resident status.
Otherwise they can apply like all other legal immigrants and wait their turn.

There were probably all kin... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

There were probably all kinds of economic arguments to maintain slavery. Not everything should come down to a fiscal justification.

But it is the only half-way sane justification the pro-illegal alien side has. You have to realize that when it comes down to only that, its really personal pocketbook that motivates the advocate. When someone has immediate personal financial gain at steak, you can't reason with them at all.

If I felt that the fence and enforcement were going to be sincerely pursued, I might relent on my concerns over amnety and guest worker programs. I wouldn't like them, but I back off some of my high level of resistence to the idea. A sort of compromise. But when someone's personal pocketbook is at stake, there is no compromise. By hook or crook they'll find a way.

You need to acknowledge there are just some greedy short sighted "types" out there. No amount of discussion or convincing will work. You have to move on and learn how to work around them.

maybe what we should do is ... (Below threshold)

maybe what we should do is stop delivering all mail to Mexico. Open every last piece of it and take all the money out, take all the checks, forge the signatures and cash them. And then put a freeze on all the assets in those accounts, and then take all of THAT money and put it back into the country so that the Illegals can start paying their own way here.

Once auntie & uncle realize they ain't getting a piece of the pie, they might not be so happy to send folks over here.

Call me an extr... (Below threshold)
Call me an extremest ideologue, but why is it that "care for them [the poor] is one of the fundamental duties of any legitimate government?"

I think Jesus has something to do with it.

Where's your separation of church and state now, Moses?

If we're lucky, we'll en... (Below threshold)
Lee:

If we're lucky, we'll end it before it ends us.

Time to increase the medication Jay - nothing will "end", no matter how this turns out.

Comedian Rich Vos had a pla... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Comedian Rich Vos had a plan for handling the illegals already here. Draft them all into the military. Declare war on mexico. Use our newly staffed "mexican" army to invade mexico without an exit strategy.

Where's your separation ... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Where's your separation of church and state now, Moses?

lol.

Tim :"Rightnumberone... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Tim :
"Rightnumberone, Why do you assume they'll take a low wage forever? Why take a low wage and send it home, when you can make a higher wage and send it home. "

That's a good point that is not being addressed. All these half-assed calculations about how much the illegals are 'contributing' to our society will be drastically different once they become citizens.
Once they become citizens, does anyone think that they are going to keep doing the 'jobs Americans won't do' at the near-slave-labor wages they are making now?
Once they become citizens, does anyone think that they won't begin demanding unemployment, Social Security, bailouts, handouts, affirmative action set-asides, etc..that (too many) Americans already demand? Many of the illegals are getting those services now; do you think that will increase or decrease?

There are a lot of unintended consequences by making 10 million illegals into near-instant citizens. Not all of those consequences are good and we should consider that before making such a monumental change in our society.

Rightnumberone has asserted... (Below threshold)

Rightnumberone has asserted the following:

"Do you have an adjustable-rate mortgage? If you do, then you should thank Vicente Fox. His supply to the United States of cheap labor is probably the single largest factor in keeping inflation in check in the United States in the last 20 years."

Where to start, obviously low wages have an effect on present and future inflation but certainly not to the extent that is assumed in Right...'s comment. The financial markets are not dependent on the number of bus boys in the nation. Markets have long made the distinction between human and financial capital and gardeners are simply not a major component of our nation's human capital. Another problem with that assumption is that interest rates are largely dependent on financial capital. Furthermore the remitance of billions of dollars to the state of Mexico is not helping our formation finacial capital, it's helping Mexico's formation of financial capital. Right...'s link to Wikapedia's chart of the Fed Funds rate is strange, what did Paul Volker's fight against inflation have to do with illegal immigration? It is said to be a warning that it could happen again, duh rates were high in the early 1980s. At the time the interest rate level had little to do with immigration and everything to do monetary policy, oil prices and the inability of our economy to adjust to rapid changes; it had nothing to do with the ability to get a cheap maid.

I won't even comment on the pretzels and the gum.

El Rider,Here were... (Below threshold)

El Rider,

Here were my points:

1) If we spend $10 billion on immigrants (legal or illegal) that's cheap (I didn't say we do, JT did). It's cheap compared to the amount we spend on gum and pretzels. I was attempting to put the money argument into some perspective. $10 billion sounds like a lot 'till you understand that we spend half a billion on freakin pretzels every year.

2) Wages are the single largest determinate in the inflation rate. Rising wages increase inflation more than any other component of inflation.

3) The cost of labor is directly porportional to two elements: the supply of labor, and the associated demand for labor.

4) Immigrants (legal and illegal) significantly increase the supply of labor, lowering the costs of ALL LABOR, not just cheap labor. One could argue that there would be no immigration, legal or otherwise, if the demand for it was not there to start with.

5) Let's assume for a moment that we could stop illegal immigration totally. What would happen to wages as the influx of cheap labor disappeared? Well, according to the law of supply and demand, ALL wages would naturally rise, since there would be an artificial reduction in the supply of ALL labor.

6) What does the Fed do when inflation rears its ugly head? It raises interest rates to combat it. That's what Paul Volker did, it is what Allen Greenspan did and it is what every Fed is going to do. It is one of the only ways to combat inflation, especially hyperinflation.

7) What's different now, as opposed to back in 1981 when Volker was fighting inflation by raising interest rates to 20% is that this didn't cost the EXISTING HOMEOWNING VOTING PUBLIC. It made people who did not YET OWN homes pay through the nose, but the vast majority of the mortgages in 1981 were fixed-rate.

8) That ain't true any more. The vast majority existing mortgages in this country today are adjustable-rate mortgages.

9) The rates on such mortgages are pegged, in a sense, to the Fed Funds rate.

10) If in the next 24 months, the Fed Funds rate increased by say, 10 points, every politician in the land would be tossed out on his arse. Homeowners VOTE, dude. Especially pissed off ones.

11) So, politicians being politicians, the supply of cheap labor is going to change only over their dead bodies.

12) Most of this can't be and isn't discussed by politicians, because it's politically incorrect and most people can't understand how Miguel is helping keep their mortgage payment lower.

13) But make no mistake. It is why politicians are for immigration. If the bureaucracy could do it faster, they'd be for that. But the bureaucracy can't push paper through the system fast enough to keep the supply appropriate to the demand; thus, the politicians turn a blind eye to illegal immigration, because they really have no other choice.

I'm not for it, or against it, just trying to explain why there is an amnesty bill; and why amnesty will eventually pass.

It's the only way the politicians keep their jobs.

I know everybody here loves... (Below threshold)
Rich:

I know everybody here loves the Heritage Foundation when it comes to immagration. Well even the HF agrees that illegal immagration is a net value producer for the US. Here's the summary:
In other words, the real problem presented by illegal immigration is security, not the supposed threat to the economy. Indeed, efforts to curtail the economic influx of migrants actually worsen the security dilemma by driving many migrant workers underground, thereby encouraging the culture of illegality. A non-citizen guest worker program is an essential component of securing the border, but only if it is the right program.

I suggest throwing all CIS studies out the window. Obviously the key is to get the numbers right. Why conservatives have chosen to ignore common sense is beyond me.

RN1:"The vast majori... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

RN1:
"The vast majority existing mortgages in this country today are adjustable-rate mortgages."

I did not know that. What percentage of people have ARMs? (We re-financed a couple years into our mortgage from a 30 to a 15 year plan. It was/is a fixed rate that I thought was pretty good.) If we see this dire change coming, is it possible for homeowners to change from an ARM to a fixed rate?


"Let's assume for a moment that we could stop illegal immigration totally. What would happen to wages as the influx of cheap labor disappeared? "

We will never stop illegals totally, no matter what new laws are enacted. Even if so, getting the illegal immigration problem sorted out will take some years to make a dent in the problem. Will this be enough time so it does not shock our economic system? I think so, but I don't know. With all that in mind, do we really want to continue having our economy held hostage by the threat of what may happen if we change our immigration policy? Is this the way a first-world nation conducts itself? It seems wrong to me.

But as Rich said : "In other words, the real problem presented by illegal immigration is security, not the supposed threat to the economy. "

That was always first and foremost the issue for me, even before 9/11. Now even doubly so.

Even if there is a short-term impact economically, it is in our long-term interest to have a better handle on our borders, coasts and immigration policy.

Rich,Opinions vary... (Below threshold)

Rich,

Opinions vary on the question of the number of ARMs there are, but I believe they are now the majority of all loans, and are certainly the majority of all new loans, and almost exclusively in the case of home equity loans (second mortgages).

We could stop illegal immigration if we really wanted to just by arrsting some prominent CEOs. Perp walk the CEO of Wal-Mart, and that's pretty compelling.

Companies would get the hint pretty quick that hiring illegals isn't worth the savings if there is a real threat of jail time and fines. (Won't happen, because as I'm arguing, politicians like to be re-elected).

Everyone is against ILLEGAL immigration. The problem is, we don't quickly enough allow LEGAL immigration in the numbers required to supply our economy with what we need; an influx of cheap labor. There's a reason for that though.

The politicians want to be able to control the flow of illegals: allow illegals in when the economy needs it, but don't when the economy cools. So, they can't make legal immigration too easy.

Illegal aliens coming in from Mexico don't represent a strategic security threat. Legal immigrants can be terrorists. Most (if not all) of the 9/11 terrorists were here legally. So, that's really a strawman argument. Terrorists will still get in whether we have tough immigration laws or not.

Most people are upset about illegal immigration because the illegals don't pay taxes like the rest of us do (and neither do their employers).

What most people fail to realize is that 50% of the US Population pays no taxes at all (or next to none). Most people believe we all pay our fair share, when nothing could be further from the truth. The bottom 50% of wage earners pay just 4% of federal taxes. Most pay nothing, and many actually get a check each year - IRS welfare - also known as the Earned Income Credit.

Yet, politicians can't argue that these people wouldn't pay taxes anyway; that would burst the bubble of those who believe we all pay taxes.

So, the arguments against illegal immigration don't really make sense to a politician.

RN1 - but the arguments aga... (Below threshold)
JD:

RN1 - but the arguments against illegal immigration make perfect sense to the common, average voter - especially one who is pissed off at the Guvmint for fumbling issue after issue, year after year, while asking for and spending more and more money.

The vote for the 104th Congress in 1994 was not necessarily pro-Republican as it was anti-incumbent (because of Rostenkowski, house bank, entrenched arrogance, etc.), and Newt and the boys learned this lessen to their sorrow in 1996 and 1998.

The GOP has managed to do in 12 years what it took the Donks 50 years to do - so eternally piss off the electorate that all incumbents are in jeopardy this year.

Gotta admit, those GOP guys are talented.

The only way the GOP reps are going to save their own personal bacon is to go pro-Sensenbrenner and anti-Senate, and pray like hell that the remainder of their GOP colleagues to likewise.

Because if the reverse happens, then it's Speaker Pelosi.

Someone pass me a bottle of Cuervo.




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