But I wonder how many of these people would accept the following line of argument:
Researcher Jones, like most other researchers in the field, reports that a majority of Americans are fluent only in English. But I dispute this claim, for my wife -- who is American -- is fluent also in French. Therefore, I reject the finding that most Americans are mono-lingual.
I suspect that few, if any, of my correspondents would find the above rejection of the claim that most Americans are mono-lingual to be compelling. Yet these same people proudly make similar arguments about the consequences of trade -- and, because they e-mail these arguments to me, obviously believe that these arguments have weight and merit.
I find it strange that those who favor an increase in the minimum wage often are the same people who complain about outsourcing, or the moving of factories to low-wage countries or the greed of corporations such as Wal-Mart eager to squeeze every last penny out of their employees by paying only what the market will bear. Surely, such greedy and enterprising organizations will find a way to avoid the impact of the minimum wage by hiring fewer workers and finding other ways to reduce the cost of workers who are suddenly more expensive yet no more productive.
Bastiat's no longer with us, but it's nice to see my colleagues carry on his Sisyphean struggle against economic illiteracy.