Thursday, April 20, 2006

"All Things Being Equal" Only Applies When All Things ARE Equal

Thanks for the Memory to Hans Gruber at Advocatus Diaboli.

On Monday, Steve Sailer wrote an excellent piece in rebuttal to an article in the New York Times regarding the impact of illegal immigration on wages in the US.

The article in question looks at the change in averages wages of high school dropouts in California from 1984 to 2000 and compares that change to Ohio during the same time period. Because the change is far more significant (17% in California vs. 31% in Ohio), the article concludes that such unskilled labor is far worse off in Ohio than in California, and thast therefore, the impact of illegal immigration is far less.

But as Sailer points out, the article makes a couple of glaring omissions. For one, it fails to take into account differences in cost of living. California's cost of living is one of the highest in the nation, while Ohio's is below the national average. Adjusted for cost of living, underemployed Californians are far worse of than similar Ohioans.

Furthermore, the NYT article ignores other dynamics that may have had an impact on Ohio -- namely, the loss of high-paying Union jobs in Ohio, as opposed to California, a traditionally less unionized state.

I'm no economist, but it seems obvious even to me that it was disingenuous of Porter to ignore the other dynamics that affected the statistics, and I remember just enough of my statistics class to know that taking one state to compare is cherry-picking.

But as both Sailer and Hans Gruber point out, such considerations seem to be ignored when discussing issues of immigration, whether it's out of a fervor for supporting illegals, as Hans asserts, or out of a disdain for the American working class, as Salier claims (I suspect it's a combination of both). The Times has its mind made up -- don't confuse it with facts.

No comments:

Post a Comment