In its editorial “Protect American Workers,” The Bulletin advocates that employers should “make a meaningful effort to hire Americans” before hiring foreign workers.

The ultimate manifestation of telling employers where to source labor is a centrally planned economy. The government now dictates companies too big to fail; the Consumer Financial Protection Board defines what is a Qualified Residential Mortgage; and there is a move afoot to place limits on the ratio between senior manager compensation and average worker salaries.

The government is no more qualified to determine from where managers should source their labor than it is to fix prices. If a government program uses funds earmarked to boost employment in specific industries or in particular geographies, that is a special case where government might have portfolio to dictate from where employees are hired. It would be an error in logic to extrapolate from what applies to a specific case to generalized affirmative action.

The Bulletin should be careful when it takes a position that might imply undermining some basic economic principle of free enterprise — even if it did not intend such an outcome.

Jeff Lebowitz