Saturday, February 21, 2004


The Bush administration sends up a trial balloon on counting service-sector jobs -- such as slapping together a hamburger -- as manufacturing jobs. The New York Times gives it a small hole inside the business section.

This trial balloon should be shot down, and the people who filled it with helium should be found, fired and publicly spanked. It’s pretty clear they want to use low-paying service jobs, of which the United States has many, to obfuscate the country’s dramatic loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs.

Here’s some of the article:

“When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a ‘service’ or is it combining inputs to ‘manufacture’ a product?” the [White House] report asks.

“Sometimes, seemingly subtle differences can determine whether an industry is classified as manufacturing. For example, mixing water and concentrate to produce soft drinks is classified as manufacturing. However, if that activity is performed at a snack bar, it is considered a service.”

Right, morons: Because someone walked up to that snack bar and asked for a soda, or because someone is likely to that day. It’s not producing a soft drink because you’re going to ship it to another state or country in the hope that someone will buy it next month. Because it’s served, not shipped.

This story deserves more attention so the idea goes nowhere. And these clowns -- despite their skills at making things out of balloons -- must be put out of the White House.

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