As we all know Vox is the home of the snowflake journalists. That specific subgroup who are inline with the more statist of the Democratic Party – if it’s wonkable they’re in favour. This does rather lead them into adopting whatever is the fashionable position according to that wonkier end of politics without actually thinking through what they’re saying.
For example, we can most certainly note the lack of significant pay rises over the past decade for the average working man and woman in the US. We might go on to mutter about wages not being compensation, about real incomes rising much faster than either because of free digital goods and so on. But we can certainly note the phenomenon.
We might also note immigration restrictions and how that could lead to lower GDP growth in the US in the future. But we really would have to be idiots to counterpoise the two as follows:
One way to measure that leverage is to see how many workers are quitting their jobs. When more people are quitting than getting fired, that’s a sign of a healthy labor market. It means people are finding better-paying jobs, or feel confident that they will. And, sure enough, a record number of workers are quitting. In April, 3.5 million workers quit their jobs — the highest number ever recorded in a single month (check out the red line in the graph below). Meanwhile, layoffs and firings remain at record-low levels.
That’s fine, I’ve even written something along the same lines myself just recently. The shortage of workers means that workers have market power. Wages will thus rise nicely and strongly. Thus will that paucity of wages rises be reversed. Hell, even Karl Marx got this bit right so it must be a pretty simple piece of economics.
But what instead do we get at Vox?
But in the meantime, there’s no better time for working-class Americans to demand better wages, benefits, schedules, and work conditions. It also means immigration reform is more urgent than ever. In order to fill all the open jobs and keep the economy growing, Congress will need to allow more low-skilled immigrants to work — legally.
Because the workers wages are going to be going up strongly therefore we should cut their market power off at the knees by importing a few million more workers to compete with them?
And these people consider themselves to be on the left?
The best we can say about them is that they’re confused. Perhaps just addled by having to keep to two political scripts at the same time, immigration good, worker power good. Or perhaps we should admit the truth – the worse truth – and simply diagnose them as not thinking.