Wednesday, January 28, 2004

In search of the Ur-text:

The Washington Post has an editorial that makes light of the current jobless situation. Many in the blogosphere have attacked it, including Brad DeLong. As bad as the editorial is, we did a little textual criticism and it sure looks like a rewrite of an unpleasant Robert Samuelson column of 14 January, The Specter of Outsourcing. In the Post editorial, we read:
If a U.S. firm shifts employment abroad, the savings flow back to the United States in the form of lower prices for consumers and higher dividends for shareholders; the consumers and shareholders will direct their new spending power at things that create employment.
Samuelson, two weeks earlier:
Cheap foreign labor has threatened individual U.S. workers but not the economy as a whole.

The reason is that imports also create gains. Despite job losses, consumers or companies gain. Lower prices boost purchasing power or profits. That creates more demand at home. Consumers can spend more; businesses can invest more.
Samuelson - the man behind the curtain.


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