My Weekly Reading
Here are some highlights from my weekly reading.
Colin Grabow, “United States Remains a Manufacturing Powerhouse,” Cato at Liberty, October 25, 2023.
Simply put, the United States remains a manufacturing powerhouse. In 2020 it was the world’s fourth‐largest steel producer and in 2021 was the second‐largest automaker and largest aerospace exporter. Accounting for nearly 16 percent of global manufacturing output in 2021—second only to China, which has four times the population of the United States—the US had a greater share than Japan, Germany, and South Korea combined. By itself, the US manufacturing sector would constitute the world’s eighth‐largest economy.
This ability to produce more stuff with fewer workers reflects the incredible productivity of US workers. Measuring manufacturing value added on a per‐worker basis shows Americans to be the world leader at over $141,000. That’s 45 percent higher than second‐place South Korea and over seven times that of workers in China. Such high productivity helps explain why manufacturing attracted over $55 billion in foreign direct investment last year—more than any other sector.
Matthew Sedacca, “Unaccompanied migrant kids seen selling candy in NYT subways: ‘Shameful, disgusting, blatant child abuse'”, New York Post, October 7, 2023.
Mothers with tots strapped to their backs in slings rarely raise straphangers’ eyebrows as they drift across subway cars and platforms to sell candy bars, some of whom bring in at most $80 a day.
The reporter seems to think that $80 a day is not a large amount for a migrant from Central or South America.
Alex Nowrasteh, “Hamas’ Attack in Israel Doesn’t Reveal Much About U.S. Border Security,” Reason, October 25, 2023.
The U.S.-Mexico border is a chaotic mess. In the fiscal year ending in September, Border Patrol had 2,045,838 encounters with unlawful border crossers—the second highest in history.
There are three explanations for the border chaos. The first is the incredible U.S. demand for immigrant labor. Since President Joe Biden took office, there have been an average of about 10.4 million nonfarm job openings per month compared to just 6.7 million during the Trump administration. Second, U.S. immigration laws allow in very few legal immigrants. Third, the Biden administration has broadcast mixed messages that sometimes unintentionally encourage dangerous travel to the border.
Grant Starrett, “Why Teenagers Should Earn Money,” Grant Reads Books, October 25, 2023.
Talk to a father about why his progeny plays sports and he may light up. His child may not get much play time nor play at an especially elite level – the kid may even kick up more grass than goals – but sports build character. Players learn about teamwork and responsibility, the discipline of setting and achieving goals, and perseverance through disappointment. Sports offer the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and practice time management. Sports keep kids focused and out of trouble. And of course sports keep kids moving (at least during practice, benchwarmers might note). All of these qualities teach life lessons and set kids up eventually for employability.
Of course, so does being employed. Athletics and arts may be fun – or not (imagine loving one and being forced to participate in the other) – but they lead to lots of dreams and very little employment in those actual fields. Children are encouraged, often pressured, to take on extracurriculars for alleged intrinsic benefits, for the entertainment of parents (and/or daycare until they get off work themselves), for the employment of a particular class of teachers, and for the arbitrary amusement of college admissions officers. How many teenagers are given an honest choice to directly benefit from their own (“child”) labor by getting paid? How many schools make it as easy to sign up for jobs as they do for teams? [bold in original]