The government shutdown continues as the debate over a border wall enters its fourth contentious week.
Neither side in this has shown any sign of willingness to compromise. This remains a stalemate as of now, the very definition of it, or at least that's what it seems like from the outside.
In fact, this debate is over. We're not getting a barrier along our Southern border. We can't, not now, not ever. That possibility was permanently destroyed today by a fact-seeking missile of truth launched by one of our country's premier cable news outlets.
In a single devastating act of journalism, CNN killed the wall, took their biggest guns to do it. The network dispatched its Chief White House Correspondent/Moral Philosopher/Renaissance Poet, Jim Acosta, to the U.S.-Mexico border, specifically to the town of McAllen, Texas.
Once on the ground in McAllen, Acosta wasted no time in proving once and for all that walls don't work. Watch the stand-up that changed history.
Here's how it went:
"Here are some of the steel slats that the President's been talking about. But as we're walking along here, we're not seeing any kind of imminent danger. There are no migrants trying to rush toward this fence here in the McAllen, Texas area. No sign of the national emergency that the President has been talking about. As a matter of fact, it's pretty tranquil down here."
You see that? Take that you nativist bigot freaks, you creepy wall obsessives. Jim Acosta just spanked you.
He was there, not in some cushy air-conditioned studio in Washington with the rest of the talking heads, but in the field, on the scene, doing the kind of hard-boiled shoe-leather reporting that has made Jim Acosta a household name.
Acosta went right to the wall itself, the very wall he finds immoral, and has often argued against at press conferences. And what Jim Acosta found there will shock you.
Not a single illegal alien was anywhere near that wall. There was no tent city. There were no predatory gang members or coyotes, MS-13, not there, there was no sad, suffering Caravan. Everything was just fine, or as Jim Acosta, so memorably, put it, the area around that steel barrier was pretty tranquil.
See? That's what you get when you build walls, America, tranquility. And that's the last thing we need more of in this country, more peaceful bucolic scenes like that.
Wait. That can't really have been CNN's point, could it? Now, it's getting confusing. We'll have to call Jim Acosta once he gets back from his latest mission and clear this up.
In the meantime, though, we just wanted to give you some idea of how stupid and buffoonish the wall coverage has been recently, in case you missed it. By contrast though, there was one fascinating and highly relevant story about immigration this week, and it didn't even mention borders or walls.
It's from an upcoming edition of "60 Minutes" on CBS. In the piece, a researcher called Kai-Fu Lee describes what's about to happen to this country's labor market, thanks to the growth of artificial intelligence.
"AI will increasingly replace repetitive jobs, not just for blue-collar work but a lot of the white-collar work. A lot of things will become automated. We'll have automated stores, automated restaurants and, altogether, in 15 years, that's going to displace about 40 percent of jobs in the world."
Forty percent of the world's jobs, approaching half. As Lee warns in this segment, all jobs are at risk, high-end, attorneys, for example. But it's the remaining low-skilled jobs that are most likely to disappear, professional driving, for example, taxis, trucks, delivery vehicles. 5 million Americans now do that for a living, and support their families on those wages. Self-driving cars could put them all out of work very soon. And not just them, store clerks, waiters, cooks, they're in imminent danger too. Just about any repetitive job is at risk of going away.
Automation is accelerating. This is real. It's going to have a nearly unimaginable effect on what Americans do for a living, and on American society itself.
Our country's low-skilled workers already live in a pretty precarious spot. Their wages and their benefits have stagnated for decades. In fact, millions of them aren't really workers at all but, instead, get by on disability payments or other government programs.
Some don't even survive. They're overdosing and committing suicide at steadily higher rates, as you know. But in the next few years, if anything, things will get even worse. Some of the last remaining options for these workers are going to vanish, and there's nothing obviously waiting to replace those jobs. This is happening.
So, what is Washington doing about it? Well, nothing, but not just nothing, worse than that. Our policymakers are exacerbating the problem, making it far more painful and harder to solve.
At the very moment that millions of American jobs are about to vanish, their top priority, literally, the top priority here, is importing millions of new low-skilled workers. Both parties want that. It's insanity.
Now, to be clear, as we've been before, we are not attacking illegal immigrants. They're doing exactly what we would do if we lived in Honduras. We'd try to come here. That's understandable. What is baffling, what is impossible to understand, is that our policymakers haven't thought any of this through, and they don't care to.
Questions like what are all these people going to do for a living 10 years from now, when the jobs they expect to fill are gone. And, most pressingly, what about our own people? How does this help them, as they stare down the barrel of economic irrelevance in the digital age?
Thanks to technology, their labor, middle-class labor is worse -- worth less than it ever has been. And as a result of that, our middle class has less power and less economic security. Mass immigration makes them even weaker. It's simple economics, supply and demand.
The one thing they do have, and here's what Washington should pay close attention, is the vote. This is still a democracy. And if our policymakers keep pushing Americans with lunatic economic policies like this, you're going to start to see voters vote for some very radical candidates, very radical, and that's guaranteed. This is exactly how revolutions start. Wise leaders would already know that.