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A Convenient Myth

Posted By Don Boudreaux On July 2, 2010 @ 4:19 pm In Data,Myths and Fallacies,The Hollow Middle | Comments Disabled

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

As if repetition makes what is false factual, Harold Meyerson again repeats the myth that American manufacturing output is declining (“In recession battle, Germany and China are winners [1],” July 1).  In fact, if Mr. Meyerson would visit this link [2], he’d discover that data compiled by the Federal Reserve show that the inflation-adjusted total value of industrial output is today (May 2010) – despite the fact that we’re in a recession – 67 percent higher than in January 1986.*

Perhaps Mr. Meyerson wishes to compare today’s manufacturing output to that of 1979 – the year prior to America’s alleged embrace of laissez-faire capitalism.  He can do so by looking, in addition, at this second link [3]:

He’ll discover that manufacturing output today is about 80 percent higher than in 1979.  Or maybe Mr. Meyerson would prefer to compare today’s manufacturing output to that of the mid-1950s, when America was supposedly at the peak of her industrial might.  If so, Mr. Meyerson will discover that the real value of today’s manufacturing output is 351 percent higher than in 1955.

Mr. Meyerson should cease and desist from all efforts to manufacture the myth that Americans no longer make things.

Sincerely,

Donald J. Boudreaux

* This link [4] below explains how to read the links in my letter, with a key sentence being: “The production index measures real output and is expressed as a percentage of real output in a base year, currently 2007.”

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URLs in this post:

[1] In recession battle, Germany and China are winners: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/30/AR2010063004199.html

[2] this link: http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/ipdisk/ip_sa.txt

[3] this second link: http://cafehayek.com http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/iphist/iphist_sa.txt

[4] This link: http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/About.htm

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