Still Making Stuff
Kevin Williamson thinks that President Obama’s proposed infrastructure bank is essentially the White House’s play to get in on the corrupt Congressional practice of earmarking (subscription required). The article’s worth a read, but this tangential paragraph is what caught my eye:
Even though the extraordinarily productive service sectors of the U.S. economy create a lot of output that can be delivered by e-mail rather than by truck or train, manufacturing remains the second-largest single sector, trailing only wholesale trade. In fact, the idea that the United States has entered a “post-industrial” phase is largely a myth. Measured by output, the U.S. economy is much more industrial-looking than Washington’s scary bedtime stories about McJobs and outsourcing would suggest: After wholesaling and manufacturing, the biggest sectors are indeed those service-oriented industries — retailing, finance, and health care — but these are followed by a massive construction industry that is nearly as large as the health-care sector. In terms of economic output, the warehousing and transportation of goods bigger than the software industry or the accommodations and food-services industry — to take the two poles of the services economy — and several times the size of the education sector. U.S. factories, as Cato Institute scholar Daniel Ikenson has reported, produce 21.4 percent of the world’s manufacturing value added, 60 percent more than China’s (without a billion semi-indentured workers earning Third World wages or a for-profit police state — take that, Tom Friedman!). We’re making a lot of stuff and moving it around.
Take that as a reminder that the United States still has a foundation on which to build… and much still to lose.