Monday, November 21, 2016

Why don’t we have free trade for highly paid professions in the U.S.?

Economist Dean Baker reports:
Most educated people like to think of themselves as supporters of free trade. After all, everyone who has been through Economics 101 knows that tariffs and other trade barriers slow growth and encourage waste and corruption. Therefore, we should all want to see as few barriers as possible obstructing trade.

While there are some issues that make the story a bit more complicated than the Econ 101 version, as a general rule we will benefit from having lower barriers to trade. This fact should cause all right-thinking people to be very upset about the protectionist barriers that artificially inflate the earnings of doctors in the United States.

Most people are probably not aware of the extraordinary level of protectionism that benefits doctors and, to a lesser extent, other highly paid professionals in our own country. A long list of trade agreements over the last 60 years has reduced or eliminated most of the tariffs and trade barriers on manufactured goods. This has led to a surge in imports, which has had major consequences for the U.S. labor market. But there has been no comparable effort to reduce the barriers that keep foreign professionals from working in the United States.

Under the current regulatory structure, foreign-trained doctors generally have to complete a U.S. residency program to practice medicine in the United States. This applies even to doctors with many years of experience, including those in countries that have high quality health care systems, such as Germany, France and the Netherlands.
An article , well worth your time.