Reductio Ad Absurdum
By Arnold Kling
David Henderson attacks the political sacred cow of bringing back manufacturing jobs. To me, it is in the same class as “energy independence,” “green jobs,” or “affordable housing.” That is I cringe whenever I hear a politician talk about the need to bring back manufacturing jobs.
Should we replace machines that produce light bulbs with human glass blowers, to bring back those jobs? Should we replace machines that produce cigarettes with human cigarette rollers to bring back those jobs? Should we go back to the manufacturing processes of the 1950s in steel, automobiles, and durable goods in order to bring back those jobs?
I would gladly support a tax-financed program to subsidize manufacturing jobs provided that those jobs were filled by every politician who calls for a return of manufacturing jobs.
Ed Glaeser writes about another one of my pet peeves, locavorism. I always tell locavores that they should go further and only buy clothes made from local materials. Only use computers made from local materials. In fact, they should only consume goods that we can make ourselves using materials we can find on their own property.