Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Sunday, March 07, 2004

And now, a rant from our sponsors...
Written by: Beck

You know what I hate? (fine, fine, so a complete answer to that question would take up enough webspace to crash, just settle down and read on). I hate the fact that idiotic liberal pundits seem to think that any argument about economics can be refuted based on a combination of fantasy and scorn. Actually, it's worse than that, they treat arguments based in sound economic theory as inherently deceitful, and as such, completely refuse to engage any thought which proclaims, "You're wrong, and this is why." If you tell them that free trade is good and the export of jobs oversees is not only desirable, but necessary for the growth of an economy, they just shout something inane like "Voodoo economics!" and think they've somehow proven their point.

What is so god damned sacred about steel workers? Sure, it sucks any time someone loses their job, but why in hell is it that people want to keep jobs around that add very little value when people oversees will do it for less? How is it not self evident that the higher up your nations' citizens are in the value-added chain of production, the better it is for your nation as a whole? I mean, if they were to redistribute all the jobs in the world, each country picking jobs from a list in turn like kids on a playground picking teammates for a kickball game (you remember kickball, right?), do you really think the Chinese would be champing at the bit to select "Textile Worker," and, "Jack-in-the-Box Antenna Ball Assembler?" Yet these @#$%!^& protectionists would have us doing precisely that. Hell, even Bush joined in the fun when he slapped a bunch of protectionist tariffs on steel. Steel is a raw material, folks. It is better to assemble products made out of steel than to be making the steel. It's even better than that to be building final goods which incorporate parts made of all sorts of products. Let me make sure I'm absolutely clear on this point--it's better to make the car than to assemble the engine, better to assemble the engine than to make the engine block, and better to make then engine block than to smelt the iron that goes into it. And it's better still if you can just buy the car from someone else and go about providing financial services to the guy who built the damn thing. To cite a Jodie Allen editorial from the Washington Post (free registration required),
Mankiw [the Bush administration's top economist] ruffled feathers recently by saying that outsourcing white-collar jobs was no big deal; after all, America has been shipping jobs overseas for decades. True the "churn" produces permanent losses for some individuals. But the lost jobs have always been replaced by more productive and hence better-paying ones. Sooner or later that will happen again. "This is a fact of life that Americans have to get used to," said Brookings economist Barry Bosworth at a recent American Enterprise Institute colloquium.
Once upon a time, the phrase, "cottage industry," actually referred to something made in cottages by families' wives & daughters who wouldn't otherwise contribute to their family's bottom line. Some entrepreneurial guy would buy up all the wool in the area, then part it out to these women who would spend all day carding and spinning wool for a tiny amount of money. Then one day, someone built a machine which could automate the whole process. The women rioted. Today, it's easy to look back and say, gee, it sure is nice that my wife and daughters can work providing financial services to the guy who operates the wool carding and spinning machine instead of wearing their hands to tatters shearing sheep all day long. But god help us if someone wants to pay a third-world worker fifty cents an hour to weld steel. Meanwhile, John Kerry's protectionist policies advocate this very sort of anti-progress.

The standard objection to this sort of thinking is, "The steel workers in Pittsburgh don't know how to do anything BUT weld steel." Well, if they once learned how to weld steel, they can learn something else too. Progress doesn't occur without a measure of dislocation and disruption. The women working in cottages found other ways to be productive for their families (assuming they didn't live in Islamic societies who don't allow women to do anything other than wear solid black head-to-toe clothing, no matter the fact that black ain't exactly the color you want to wear if you live in the middle of a freaking desert). Those steel workers will find something better too. Either that, or they'll suffer horribly and wind up miserable and homeless (i.e. living off the state). Regardless, do you think the average steel worker, assuming he can be honest with himself, really wants his children, grand children, and great grand children to be welding steel? John Kerry does. Hell, where else is he going to find cheap labor to help maintain his mansions?

I conclude with an excerpt from a NYT op-ed piece (free registration required), quoting from an American educated Indian woman living in Bangalore:

"I just read about a guy in America who lost his job to India and he made a T-shirt that said, `I lost my job to India and all I got was this [lousy] T-shirt.' And he made all kinds of money." Only in America, she said, shaking her head, would someone figure out how to profit from his own unemployment. And that, she insisted, was the reason America need not fear outsourcing to India: America is so much more innovative a place than any other country.

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