Will allowing more foreign workers shrink the salary gap?

  @FortuneMagazine December 19, 2013: 7:44 AM ET
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(Fortune)

Those looking to assign blame for income inequality in the U.S. have no shortage of institutions to cast as villains. The left's perennial bad guy is Wal-Mart, most recently targeted by union leaders demanding that its new Washington, D.C., box stores pay 50% above the minimum wage (labor lost that battle). On the political right the culprit is often the Latino illegal immigrant, who stands accused of taking Americans' jobs and keeping wages low by working off the books. And just about everyone cringes at CEO salaries that average 273 times that of their employees.

The policy prescriptions are just as familiar as the villains' names: Raise wages at the bottom. Raise taxes at the top. To those old debates, Alan Greenspan offers up a provocative new idea: Let firms recruit as many brainy foreign employees to American soil as they want. In other words, instead of raising the cap on specialty green cards and H-1B visas, as the Senate-passed immigration bill does, drop the limits altogether.

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