Who Are Those Guys?
June 22, 2006, 02:04 PM
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The words of Butch Cassidy come to mind when perusing the names of the 500 economists who signed an "open letter" on immigration (celebrated by, of course, the Wall Street Journal editorial page). The letter consists of the usual combination of sentimental flapdoodle and duplicitous doubledealing, such as confusing the debate over illegal immigrants by citing statistics on legal immigrants. Which might explain why, although the organizers got 500 people with doctorates in economics to sign, they signally failed to get most of the economists that the public has ever heard of.

Indeed, most of the best known economists have publicly expressed dissent with the open letter's happy talk.

Here are five very famous American economists. Are they on the list?

Milton Friedman — No

Thomas Sowell — Not on the list

Paul Krugman — Negative

Paul Samuelson — Nada

Gary Becker — That's a negatory good, buddy.

What about economists who specialize in studying the empirical effects of immigration?

George Borjas - Nein

Barry Chiswick — No way

How about Edward P. Lazear, Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors? — Nah