In today’s White House briefing about President Bush’s ideas for fiscal stimulus, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson made a good point about machines and our manufacturing base:
You may not know it, but who is the largest manufacturer in the world? The U.S., by a lot. It's fascinating. When I had looked at the data in 1950...manufacturing jobs in the U.S. were about 30 percent of the country then, and there are about 15 million manufacturing jobs, OK? Today, we've got the same 15 million manufacturing jobs; they're about 10 percent. But the output has gone up seven times over that period, and...our manufacturing base is two-and-a-half times larger than China, it's bigger than Japan, it's bigger than Germany. This is a story about automation.