Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Updated Dec. 8 at 3:15 pm.
Steinberg and Zorn: Wanted for economics abuse?
Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune columnist and virtually the father of the blogger movement, tells us that the cliché, below, is wrong.
The cliché has it that – "Our nation depends on immigrants to do the scutwork that Americans can't bring themselves to do." (Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times)

But in fact – As "Fear Factor" has proven, Americans will bob for cows' eyeballs in a vat of blood if the price is right. So the idea that immigrant laborers perform tasks that Americans simply refuse to perform is misleading.

The truth is that immigrants work for wages that Americans refuse to work for.

They're not filling a labor shortage, but a wage gap. (Eric Zorn,, Updated Dec. 8 at 1:00 pm)
Eric Zorn is right in that the immigrants are not filling a “shortage.” That is, in a market in which prices are allowed to move up or down until the quantity demanded equals the quantity supplied, there, can, of course be neither a shortage nor a surplus- thus the phrase market clearing price. But, then, Zorn creates his own vague and amorphous term by saying there is a wage gap. What would that mean? Milton Friedman once criticized the Keynesian concept of an inflationary gap, which Milton could never find- because it did not exist. What and where is the "wage gap." Zorn doesn’t say. I would surmise because his phrase has no meaning, at least none that makes sense within good economic analysis. But, let’s hear the man out. I am sure Eric Zorn will tell us. Shy, he is not.
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