The Corner

The Invisible Hand

The Wall Street Journal has a story today on a new report that finds that the tight labor market for nurses has eased because of a higher pay drawing more people into the occupation. Now how do you think that would have worked out if the president’s proposed guestworker program had been up and running? He has called for opening every occupation in every part of the country to an unlimited number of foreign workers willing to work at any wage. Would nurses’ pay have gone up or down? Would hospitals be giving nurses more flexibility in setting their schedules or less? Hospitals know the answer, which is why they are perennially at the forefront of efforts to increase the number of nurses imported from the Third World. As Adam Smith said, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”


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