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