Archive

  • Rising Wages for Nurses? Nanny State to the Rescue

    The New York Times had an article today that could have badly used a bit of economic analysis. The article reports on a provision in the Senate immigration bill that removes the cap on the number of nurses who can enter the country each year. The problem, as described in the article, is that the country faces a large and growing shortage of nurses. The decision to turn to immigrants is striking, since this is not what Congress did to meet the large shortages of doctors, lawyers, accountants, economists, CEOs and other occupations that draw very high wages. In other words, the Senate is making a decision to consciously try to depress the wages of nurses, in a way that it has not done for other professions that command high wages. It would have been reasonable to ask why nurses are being singled out in this way. There certainly is no economic argument for holding down the wages of nurses but not the wages of workers in more highly paid occupations. --Dean Baker
  • UP IS DOWN,...

    UP IS DOWN, REDUX. People have been rightly concerned for a while now about seeing, in the current domestic discussion of Iran, a twilight-zone repetition of the dynamics of the prewar Iraq debate. Greg , looking at today's Washington Post piece confirming Iran's desire for direct talks with the United States and delineating a policy divide between intelligence experts and Bush administration officials, raises a particularly nauseating possibility: that we might soon see Iran hawks pointing to the Iraq debacle as a way to discredit the cautionary advice intelligence experts are now offering vis-�-vis Iran. "Look at how they screwed up the Iraq WMD intelligence, why would you trust them?" -- that kind of thing. The sheer audacity of such a move is precisely what makes me pretty sure it's going to be deployed by these folks; it's best to be prepared. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • MORE! Nathan...

    MORE! Nathan Newman is certainly right about importing nurses and doctors from other countries. Not only does it head off excellent jobs that could be filled by native workers, but it deprives other nations of trained individuals necessary for their development. That said, we do have a supply problem for doctors and, particularly, nurses. We need more. But the problem is in training choke points: We require remarkable amounts of credentialing, and we offer only a small number of places to get the necessary degrees. Last year, 150,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing schools -- this amidst a terrific shortage. Meanwhile, we have around 100 medical schools in the nation, and anyone who wants to attend one has to undergo an excruciating college pre-med curriculum in college en route to almost a decade of expensive, intensive training. Considering the number of these folks who just want to be pediatricians, a different track that made primary care a serious option for...
  • THE NEXT 10...

    THE NEXT 10 WORDS. Brendan Nyhan reports on John McCain 's bold plan to end the violence in Iraq: "One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, 'Stop the bullshit,'" said Mr. McCain, according to Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, an invitee, and two other guests. Woo! That's bracing stuff! And then, after the hasty consultations with translators to make sure he actually said that, the participants would stare at him quizzically, wondering what the straight-talk solution to oil sharing, political representation, entrenched hatreds, and varying conceptions of secularism will be. So what is it? McCain demands that they "stop the bullshit." What are his next ten words? Update : As some commentors note, this could be the solution to everything. The deficit? get Congress in a room, tell them to "stop the bullshit." Abortion? Get women in a room, tell them to "stop the bullshit." Maybe this can be McCain's version of Ross perot 's famously...
  • INSERT SNOW PUN....

    INSERT SNOW PUN. Speaking of the unbearable lightness of John Snow 's policy knowledge, check out gay liberal ninja Barney Frank disemboweling him during testimony last week. Snow's embarrassment was so complete that even the Wall Street Journal , no friend of Frank's, couldn't resist highlighting it. Ah, schadenfreude . --Ezra Klein
  • IS IT JUST...

    IS IT JUST ME? Or does anyone else suspect that maybe half the reason Hastert et al. are so in heat over the Jefferson raid has nothing to do separation of powers and something to do with the fact that if they defend Jefferson and help him stay in the House, the corruption issue doesn�t cut so cleanly for Democrats? I�m fairly certain that Pelosi and other leaders want him out. But they�re afraid to stand up to Charlie Rangel . As the senior/most influential African American House member, Charlie is the one who can cut Jefferson loose, and he should face public pressure to do so. If I still had my old New York magazine column, I know what I�d be writing this week. --Michael Tomasky
  • POLICING THE CAPITOL....

    POLICING THE CAPITOL. I know this is an out of season remark and all good liberals should be both distancing themselves from corrupt Rep. William Jefferson and mocking the GOP leadership for suddenly taking issue with the problem of executive branch overreach under circumstances that appear designed to make it easier for congressmen to take bribes, but Dennis Hastert and the other congressional leaders are right on the merits here. There's a reason why security for Congress (and the Supreme Court) is provided neither by the Secret Service, nor by the FBI, nor by the DC Police Department, but rather by a special Capitol Police Department (or Supreme Court PD for the SCOTUS). This is also why the Constitution stipulates that members "shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they...
  • IGNORANCE IS BLISS....

    IGNORANCE IS BLISS. Robert Zoellick was pretty ineffective as US Trade Representative, so I'm not sure we should shed too many tears over him not getting the Treasury Secretary job. The explanation for why he's not getting it , however, is moronic. The White House is looking for someone "who would command more respect on Wall Street, in international financial markets, on Capitol Hill and among the public" than does John Snow . Zoellick doesn't fit the bill because the White House wants a guy "who would be a better salesman" than Zoellick, who "is more widely admired for his policy knowledge." They recognize that nobody respects Snow, but they can't seem to figure out why. But of course precisely the reason nobody respects Snow is that nobody admires his policy knowledge and nobody thinks he plays a real role in shaping the administration's policies. He's just a speech-giver, a talking head, like Tony Snow , so there's no reason for anyone to take his statements seriously. Finding a...
  • JUST WONDERING. Okay,...

    JUST WONDERING. Okay, I�m not stupid enough to think that I just won a seven-figure sum in the Australian lottery (for starters, I didn�t enter it). But reading through the email I just got made me wonder: How does this scam work? According to Valentino von Kahn (Mrs.), the �coordinator� of the Australian Lottery who �signed� the email, I�m to contact a bank in the Netherlands and give them the following information: name, phone number, fax number, address, and amount won. That seems like relatively harmless information that anyone in the world could get in five seconds at whitepages.com (except fax number, but so what?). So how can that information be used to separate me from my hard-earned dosh? And if it can be, can�t then anyone go to whitepages.com and scam me, or anyone? How does this work, people? Jonah , what we need is a virtual fence! --Michael Tomasky
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: NOT SO FAST. From our June print issue: Mike Tomasky assesses Peter Beinart 's new book, The Good Fight , and finds that, when it comes to Iraq, there are accounts still to be settled. -- The Editors

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