Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Myth of US Manufacturing Decline

As Dan Ikenson and I noted in our recent Cato Institute paper, perhaps the most pervasive, persuasive, and ridiculously false argument in the protectionist's arsenal is the myth that US manufacturing is in dire straits. We write there:
The success that trade’s detractors have had in smothering an honest dialogue about the condition of U.S. manufacturing has kept the myth of manufacturing decline alive. In the process, those detractors have inflicted damage on Americans’ confidence in their country’s future, raised undue fears about trade, and helped perpetuate a divisive and highly misleading narrative about Main Street versus Wall Street.

According to nearly every financial statistic that is relevant to evaluating the health of the manufacturing sector, it was unequivocally thriving until the onset of the recent U.S. financial crisis and recession.
Of course, we support those assertions with oodles of data, and I'll be blogging more on this and other protectionist myths, as well as the jerks who spread them, in the near future (trust me, it's gonna be great). But for now, I'll just direct you to a great new op-ed by Dan in today's NRO lambasting the Washington Post's Harold Meyerson for a recent article on - you guessed it - the sad and declining state of the US manufacturing sector. Here are a few of my favorite lines:
If Meyerson isn’t intentionally misleading Washington Post readers, he is simply unqualified to be rendering conclusions about the state of manufacturing.


According to data from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, U.S. factories are the world’s most productive, accounting for 25 percent of global manufacturing value-added. By comparison, Chinese factories account for 10.6 percent.


American manufacturing is by no means in decline. What should be is Meyerson’s myopic way of seeing things.
Oh snap, Dan. Oh snap. Check the whole thing out here.

No comments: