Does Dean Baker make any sense? (doctors, immigration, CEPR)

Dean Baker of CEPR offers 'Doctor Shortage? NYT Has Never Heard of "Immigration"' (link). It's an open question whether he makes any sense:

Apparently NYT reporters never heard of immigration. This is the only way to explain a front page piece that discusses an alleged shortage of doctors in the United States that never once discusses the possibility of bringing more doctors in from other countries...

If the government were to set up mechanisms that could fast track the certification of doctors from other countries so that they could quickly establish that they have been trained to U.S. standards and then would be free to come to practice in the United States just as any native-born doctor, it is likely hundreds of thousands of doctors from around the world would quickly take advantage of the opportunity. (In the case of developing countries, it is easy [even a DC policy wonk could do it] to design mechanisms where they would be compensated for doctors who came to the United States so that they could train two or three doctors for every one that came to the United States. This would ensure that developing countries gained from the arrangement as well.)

It is incredible that the NYT is so committed to protectionism that it would not even discuss immigration in this context of a doctor shortage...

To help you decide the titular question:

1. The New York Times is very, very aware of immigration and is a very, very strong supporter of all types of it, including illegal. See that link, and also see NYT editorial, Julia Preston, Nina Bernstein, and Lawrence Downes for starters. It's not clear whether Dean Baker is clueless or just being disingenuous, but the NYT is an even louder supporter of mass/illegal immigration than those like Baker. Calling the NYT - home of Tom Friedman - supporters of "protectionism" might just be Baker's idea of a bad joke. One would be hard pressed to find anyone affiliated with the NYT who has even the slightest nationalistic tendencies.

2. Perhaps the reason the NYT didn't mention it in this case is because they printed "America Is Stealing the World's Doctors" in March. Perhaps that rare admission that there could be downsides to braindraining the world was still ringing in their ears.

3. The only thing that gives me pause is Baker's idea to train "two or three doctors for every one that came to the United States". At the least, give him credit for admitting the harm that braindraining developing countries causes and for coming up with some kinds of a vague plan. My first reaction was that that's a fantastical notion: the sending countries have already tapped out their homegrown talents. But, I might be wrong. If Dean Baker is going to propose such a thing then presumably he thinks there's a vast untapped reservoir of medical talent in the developing world, enough to satisfy demand both in the U.S. and in those countries. The only question now is whether he has any proof of that.

Please take a few moments and contact @beat_the_press, asking him whether he has any proof that developing countries have the talent pool available to produce "two or three" doctors for every one they send to the U.S.

If Dean Baker can't do that, then he's just promoting bad policies. For more on that, see skilled immigration.