July 3, 2018

“Immigrants, we get the job done.”

–  Alexander Hamilton in a song from “Hamilton,” a Broadway musical

In all the noisy headlines over U.S. immigration, you may have missed the fact that Europe’s leaders last Friday agreed to start holding migrants in detention camps, as Europe’s leaders – including Germany’s once open-armed Angela Merkel – faced backlash over opening the continent to anyone fleeing conflicts.

British historian Niall Ferguson labeled today’s Europe more of a “Meltdown Pot” than a melting pot. He referred to their widespread recent immigration as the “fatal solvent” of the EU. There is far more anti-immigrant fervor now brewing in Europe than in the US, with anti-immigrant political parties arising in most European nations, especially those on the Mediterranean front lines, like Italy, Spain and Greece. Even in Scandinavia, the Swedish Democrats have been surging in the polls and have vowed to bring down any government that doesn’t take a hard line on immigration in their September 9 elections.

In a confrontation similar to America’s southern border, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini—head of the anti-immigrant League party—denied entry earlier this month to the Aquarius, a ship carrying 629 immigrants rescued off the coast of Libya. He called them “fake refugees,” according to a June 17 article in the New York Times. Salvini also vowed to block other rescue ships coming from Libya to Italian ports.

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary

Among Europe’s Big three, Germany’s M-PMI is down from 63.3 in December 2017 to an 18-month low of 55.9 in June. France’s M-PMI also peaked at 58.8 in December 2017 and is now down to a 16-month low of 53.1 for June, while Italy’s M-PMI is down from a recent peak of 59 in January to 52.7 last month.

Longer-term, Europe will have to come to terms with the fact that the U.S. underwrites most of their defense and some of their high labor costs. Last week, Eurostat, the European statistics office, reported that the U.S. imported cars amounting to 254 billion euros ($296.12 billion) in 2016, while Europe imported only 77 billion euros. The EU places a 10% tax on auto imports, while the U.S. places a 2.5% duty. Eurozone nations fund six weeks of vacation, high pay and early retirement, partly at the expense of American customers, workers and taxpayers. This inequity of Euro-worker protectionism must end.

While Europe is stepping on the brakes in their economic recovery, America is stepping on the gas.

FirstHalf Winners: Crude Oil, Nasdaq & Small Stocks (Big Loser: Bitcoin)

On July 3, 1884, journalists Charles Dow and Edward Jones published their first stock price index, mostly composed of railroad stocks, the dominant sector at the time. (The first industrial index was launched in 1896.) Also in 1884, Dow and Jones first reported on the stock market in The Customer’s Afternoon Stock Letter, which later became The Wall Street Journal. The Journal has been keeping score ever since.

Here are the 2018 first-half winners, according to the Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition and Yahoo Finance.

The Great American Songbook – Written by Immigrants

Speaking of immigration, allow me this 4th of July tangent to honor America’s immigrant songwriters.

After the Statue of Liberty was erected in 1886, the next 30 years brought a wave of European immigrants to Ellis Island and America. Young Israel Baline was just five when he first saw Lady Liberty in 1893. He later set the poem at her feet to music (“Give me your tired, your poor”) under the name Irving Berlin. Of course, he also wrote “God Bless America.” Irish-American George M. Cohan was born July 3, 1878 but his all-American songs claimed he was a “Yankee Doodle Dandy, born on the Fourth of July.”

Here are some more examples of how foreign-born lyricists used American geography in their song titles:

Gus Kahn (born in Koblenz, Germany, in 1886) emigrated to Chicago in 1890, aged four. He mastered American geography with Carolina in the Morning, On the Alamo, My Ohio Home and two songs about Kentucky. He also captured the American vernacular of the Roaring ‘20s in songs like Ain’t We Got Fun, I’ll See You in My Dreams, It Had to Be You, Love Me or Leave Me, and Makin’ Whoopee.

Mitchell Parish (born Michael Hyman Pashelinsky in Lithuania in 1900) came to the U.S. at age one on the SS Dresden. His family settled in Louisiana, where counties are called parishes, so they took the name Parish. His state songs are Stars Fell on Alabama and Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia, but his most beautiful efforts include classic masterpieces like Stardust, Deep Purple, and Stairway to the Stars.

Vernon Duke (born Vladimir Dukelsky in Russia in 1903) emigrated to America via Istanbul in the 1920s. He wrote classical music under his birth name Dukelsky, while writing both words and music to Autumn in New York, a mirror image of his earlier song hit, April in Paris (with words by Yip Harburg).

Mack Gordon (born Morris Gittler in Warsaw, Poland, in 1904) moved to New York City as a young boy. He memorialized two towns for Glenn Miller: Chattanooga Choo Choo and I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo, sung by like Tex Beneke and the Modernaires. He also wrote At Last and You’ll Never Know.

To dramatize how amazing this is – immigrant children writing all-American songs – imagine the reverse. What if children born in America migrated to eastern Europe and learned a difficult new language – like Polish or Russian – and began writing hymns of praise to Warsaw, Poland, or Moscow, Russia?

All hail these immigrant first-generation Americans. They found freedom and made memorable music.

Happy Fourth of July!

About The Author

Gary Alexander

Gary Alexander has been Senior Writer at Navellier since 2009.  He edits Navellier’s weekly Marketmail and writes a weekly Growth Mail column, in which he uses market history to support the case for growth stocks.  For the previous 20 years before joining Navellier, he was Senior Executive Editor at InvestorPlace Media (formerly Phillips Publishing), where he worked with several leading investment analysts, including Louis Navellier (since 1997), helping launch Louis Navellier’s Blue Chip Growth and Global Growth newsletters.

Prior to that, Gary edited Wealth Magazine and Gold Newsletter and wrote various investment research reports for Jefferson Financial in New Orleans in the 1980s.  He began his financial newsletter career with KCI Communications in 1980, where he served as consulting editor for Personal Finance newsletter while serving as general manager of KCI’s Alexandria House book division.  Before that, he covered the economics beat for news magazines. *All content of “Growth Mail” represents the opinion of Gary Alexander*


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