Saturday, February 16, 2008

Even Citizenship Demand Curves Slope Downward

by Ken Houghton

If I were Mr. Mochi-Tsuki* or Suzanne Johansson, I wouldn't even be amused:
The first is that the wait for citizenship and green cards is up — way up. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported in January that the average time to process a citizenship application had risen to 18 months, from seven, and that green cards would now take a year, instead of six months or less.

It was a sorry moment for the agency, which jacked up its fees last year with a promise to use the new money to end vast paperwork backlogs. The opposite happened: the agency is drowning in applications from people who filed before the increase to avoid being gouged.

The term "gouged" seems somehow more accurate than a discussion involving the title of this blog, since the price increase provided no promise of better service or higher quality.

Then again, Jim Cramer argued this week [may be PDF link] that inflation at fast-food restaurants is a good thing ("This is a remarkable development—companies passing on costs with prices sticking and consumers accepting."), so maybe we should just consider this another aspect of creeping inflation—though probably one that will not appear in the CPI.

*Who is a great guy with a wonderful, brilliant wife. And I would be saying both of those things even if he hadn't once helped me to survive a homework assignment in DiffyQ that could have driven a Ph.D. candidate insane.

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