The Corner

Even a Stopped Clock . . .

Amazingly, Paul Krugman made sense in a Sunday blog posting (my emphasis):

Kudos to Adam Davidson for some much-needed mythbusting about the supposed skills shortage holding the US economy back. Whenever you see some business person quoted complaining about how he or she can’t find workers with the necessary skills, ask what wage they’re offering. Almost always, it turns out that what said business person really wants is highly (and expensively) educated workers at a manual-labor wage. No wonder they come up short.

And this dovetails perfectly with one of the key arguments against the claim that much of our unemployment is “structural”, due to a mismatch between skills and labor demand. If that were true, you should see soaring wages for those workers who do have the right skills; in fact, with rare exceptions you don’t.

Now, you don’t need a Nobel Prize in economics to understand this, and it applies to workers at all skill levels. And yet we hear immigration expansionists on the right and the left making this ridiculous argument all the time.

Reassuringly, Krugman does prove himself to be clueless at the end of his post:

So what you really want to ask is why American businesses don’t feel that it’s worth their while to pay enough to attract the workers they say they need.

Uh, Paul, maybe it’s because your liberal friends, including your own employers there at the New York Times editorial page, are taking warm showers until the wee hours of the morning with cheap-labor lobbyists to keep the labor market as loose as possible by importing 1.1 million legal immigrants a year and weakening immigration enforcement.

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