Monday Brief

Breaking: Baroness Margaret Thatcher Dies

Will Restructuring Foreign Aid Hurt American Workers?
It seems a simple proposition: rather than purchasing food in the US and then shipping it to nations in need, purchase emergency food at markets in the countries the aid is intended to serve. Not only would this save money (shipping costs), it would increase efficiency.

According to Oxfam, simply buying grains from Niger rather than Nebraska, would produce enough savings to feed an extra 17 million people per year.

But, as Olga Khazan reports in The Atlantic, proponents of the old system – primarily farm and agribusiness interests contend this would result in the loss of thousands of US jobs. She cites a 2010 report by the research company Promar International that found “the combination of handling, processing, and transporting commodities from farms to U.S. ports, plus the cost of transporting those products to foreign ports, adds up to    $1,984,000,000 in output, $523,000,000 in earnings for households, and 13,127 jobs.”

(Not Everything Is) Made In China
Contrary to popular belief, not everything is made in China. As Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson notes, manufacturing output has actually continued to climb.

Citing Congressional Research Service reports, he says U.S. manufacturing production in 2010 was nearly $1.8 trillion — the largest in the world. This was “slightly ahead of China’s, about two-thirds higher than Japan’s and nearly triple Germany’s. China may now be No. 1, but the United States remains a manufacturing powerhouse. In 2011, near-record output was 72 percent more than in 1990 and six times greater than in 1950.”

In related research, Scott Andes and Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution recently made the case that manufacturing remains important to the US economy because “it is the main source of innovation and global competitiveness for the United States. Simply put, advanced manufacturing is the U.S. pipeline for new products and productivity-enhancing processes.”











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