Economic Nationalism 2.o from Kevin Williamson at National Review
There is more relevant information in one of Kevin’s articles than in most entire newspapers. Excerpts:
Biden’s economic nationalism, like Trump’s, would essentially take the worst thinking behind the General Motors bailout and make it national industrial policy. For the politician, jobs are not a means to some end — Cadillacs, bales of cotton, iPhones — but an end in and of themselves. If Joe Biden could figure out a way to have GM hire 1 million Americans to make nothing, but to make it at $98,000 a year plus benefits, that would be, in his view, a smashing success. If you view people as a liability, as mouths to be fed — which economic nationalism does and must — then giving Bob a make-work job producing nothing of economic value is a fine policy, assuming somebody can pay for it, because it solves the Bob problem. Workers in firms benefiting from Biden-style protectionism don’t make nothing — they make things in a way that is less efficient than the way they would have been made without market-distorting nationalist policies. And that makes Americans, at large, poorer, because they have to pay artificially high prices for their own goods and services and pay artificially high prices for government procurement through their taxes.
It has begun badly, because the bedrock assumptions of economic nationalism are at odds with the facts, prominent among them the fact that U.S. manufacturing, far from being “hollowed out” by trade, has continuously expanded since the end of World War II, with the United States seeing an increase in manufacturing output of almost 600 percent between 1950 and 2010, as the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago runs the numbers — even accounting for the steep recession following the financial crisis of 2008–09. U.S. manufacturing output is considerably higher today than it was when China joined the World Trade Organization or when NAFTA was ratified, according to Fed data. What troubles the economic nationalists is not the decline of U.S. manufacturing but the success of U.S. manufacturing: As U.S.-based manufacturing has grown more technologically and logistically sophisticated, it has grown much more efficient, too: What used to take 1,000 factory workers to produce now takes about 167, according to the Fed. Manufacturing’s share of the workforce has declined dramatically, but this no more represents a hollowing out of U.S. manufacturing than the radical decline in the farm workforce represented the decline of U.S. agriculture.–