Washington Post Archives - Shopfloor

Manufacturing Can Drive Our Economic Growth

By | Economy | No Comments

In today’s Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson writes about the current state of manufacturing in the United States. In the piece he makes a very interesting claim that the services industry in the United States depends on manufacturing.

It’s a mistake to romanticize manufacturing and disparage services, portraying them as separate economic realms in competition with each other. In reality, they’re completely intertwined. Almost all services depend on manufactured products. Air travel requires planes, the Internet needs computers, and health care dispenses pharmaceuticals. And almost all manufactured products generate services. Cars provide transportation, homes give shelter, and films offer entertainment. There’s plenty of industry left in post-industrial America.

His assertion that all manufactured products generate services would explain why manufacturing still has the largest multiplier effect of any other industry. For every $1 that is spent in manufacturing, another $1.48 is added to the economy.

With the right policies in place from the NAM’s Growth Agenda manufacturing can lead our economy and begin to create jobs for American workers. The natural gas boom is a clear game-changer that is making manufacturers more competitive and we can’t afford to squander this tremendous advantage. It’s time for policymakers in Washington to move forward with pro-growth policies so we can expand the manufacturing multiplier effect.


Paycheck Fairness Slogans Do Not Help Create Jobs

By | Human Resources, Labor Unions | 3 Comments

White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett has written an op-ed in today’s Washington Post in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Her piece uses outdated and inaccurate data to misrepresent the alleged pay gap between genders. In claiming women earn only 77 percent of what their male counterparts do, Ms. Jarrett conveniently ignores updated statistics from the Department of Labor that show the gap is much smaller. More interestingly, she ignores a more comprehensive analysis of the issue that the Department of Labor commissioned by the CONSAD group. This analysis available here was conveniently removed from the Department of Labor’s website after the Obama Administration took over the agency.

While the specifics of the alleged pay gap can be debated ad nauseum by economists, we understand why the White House felt it necessary to offer an op-ed to the Post the paper soundly rejected the proposal in an editorial in January 2009.

While we don’t always agree with the Post’s ed board on many issues, we strongly concur with their position on the bill. The Paycheck Fairness Act will not prevent actual instances of illegal pay discrimination. It will, however, allow the Federal government to second-guess almost all employee wages and encourage lawsuits that expose employers to unlimited damage awards. The bill substantially restricts employers’ ability to base pay decisions on legitimate factors such as professional experience, education, training, employer need, local labor market rates, hazard pay, shift differentials and the profitability of the organization. The legislation could  expose employee wages or salaries to peers, family, friends and competitors.

That’s bad news for employees, as employers are already facing tremendous amounts of uncertainty in today’s economic conditions.

It’s unfortunate that the White House and Senate leaders are pushing this type of legislation before the midterm elections for what looks to be political reasons. Congress should instead focus on getting the economy back on track and not make it harder for manufacturers to create and retain jobs.

Lessons for Journalists: Be Public About Your Contempt

By | Media Relations, Regulations | 2 Comments

A big story recently in the journalistic/political blogosphere was the short-lived Washington Post career of David Weigel. The Post had hired Weigel as an online reporter to cover the conservative/libertarian beat, the activists, think tanks and politicians on the right side of the political spectrum.

Unfortunately for Weigel, he had written ugly, over-the-top e-mails attacking some of his conservative subjects in an ostensibly private e-mail exchange, “Journolist.” Ezra Klein, who now blogs at the Post, had created the exchange (list-serv?) for liberal pundits, journalists and denizens of think tanks to kick around issues and check facts or, as critics characterized it, to coordinate the conventional (liberal) media wisdom.

Someone on Journolist wanted to bring Weigel down and so made public Weigel’s scurrilous remarks, which happened to be the kind of impolitic things people write in private e-mails, but too bad. Weigel, his ability to report compromised, resigned.

It was the right move: Your effectiveness as a reporter and analyst is seriously and perhaps irremediably damaged if the people you write about know you hold them in contempt.


From today’s Washington Post.

The problem in Washington is not that President Obama and the Democratic Congress have created a hostile regulatory environment for investment and job creation. Rather, the problem is the hyperbole and poisonous rhetoric from the business lobby that have created a hostile environment for political compromise. Over the years, Americans have shown that they can respond creatively, even profitably, to reasonable regulation. Apparently our business leaders have lost faith that we can do it again.

These condemnations of business come from Steven Pearlstein, the Post’s business columnist. It’s not unusual: Pearlstein often reviles business and business leaders as greedy, powerful, selfish exploiters of their employees and the country.

First Amendment…yes, yes, we know. But isn’t it odd?

David Weigel writes about his journalistic subjects with contempt in a private e-mail, and he feels compelled to resign.

Steve Pearlstein writes about his journalistic subjects with contempt in a newspaper column, and he wins a Pulitzer!

P.S. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has been blogging on Pearlstein’s pro-regulation, anti-business arguments, with a Journolist angle, this week. He’s skeptical:

HOW TO GET BUSINESSES TO INNOVATE: More regulation! Plus, more politically convenient Chamber Of Commerce-bashing. Is Steven Pearlstein a JournoLister? I mean, he’s really on a roll with the Administration spin.

Posted at by Glenn Reynolds on Jul 16, 2010 at 7:49 am Link

Earlier post, with lots of reader commentary, here.

Says Lots about the D.C.-Area Economy

By | Economy, Health Care, Media Relations | No Comments

The Washington Post today unveils its new weekly business supplement, Capital Business, inserted in a trial run in home-delivery copies and available online in a digital version. MediaDailyNews.com summarizes:

Headed by editor Dan Beyers, the new business title will offer a mix of enterprise reporting, analysis and commentary, industry trend-watching, and profiles of local entrepreneurs and businesses, with coverage of government contracting, tech, finance, real estate and legal issues. Beyers said: “Capital Business is intended to help the business community navigate the region’s dynamic economy at a time of great change and opportunity.”

Noting the “extraordinary emergence” of the capital-area business scene, Steve Hills, The Washington Post‘s president and general manager, promised: “Every issue should produce a potential lead to a business opportunity or tell our business audience something they didn’t know.”

Good luck. The Post dropped its separate business section a while ago, and it’s good to see coverage coming back in another form.

Today’s lead story does say lots about the local economy, that is, its reliance on government, “The pieces are in place for the next great burst of business across the region“:

The pieces are now in place for the next great burst of business in Washington. There is a new wave of government activism underway, and with it, new opportunities for the private sector: Cutting down on paperwork in the health-care system, developing greener energy supplies, making information more secure, overhauling education. And following the last three booms, Washington has more skilled workers and capacity for businesses to grow than ever — including hundreds of now-seasoned executives who have built companies, and are ready to do it again.

Makes you wonder whether there was a piece in the Post or Star or other Washington newspapers in early 1942, “Boom Time: Local businesses to expand to serve overseas activism.”

In other Washington Post specials, Politico reports, “Health care reform: The book!“:

A few weeks back, publisher PublicAffairs and the Washington Post announced they were teaming up for an “instant” book on the recent passage of health care reform.

“Landmark: The Inside Story of America’s New Health-Care Law and What It Means For Us All” will come out April 26, earlier than expected since “the project has moved exceptionally quickly,” according to PublicAffairs publicity director Jaime Leifer. “[T]his book will be the first book on the new health care law, and will answer our most pressing questions about the legislation’s impact on individuals, small businesses, and the health-care industry.”


If FTC Regulates Blogger Conflict of Interest, What about the Post?

By | Communications, Media Relations, Regulations | No Comments

From (our new favorite) the Consumer Advertising Law Blog, “FTC Prepares to Crackdown on Conflicts of Interest in the Blogosphere“:

Controversy is brewing over whether the FTC will exercise its enforcement discretion and go after bloggers for violations of the current testimonial guides or the revised testimonial guides once they are approved (likely later this summer). The issue is whether a blogger who is compensated by a manufacturer should disclose the connection when recommending the product. The compensation can be in the form of cash, advertising dollars or products, such as a free computer or a free vacation. Does compensation in any form affect the bias of the blogger such that a failure to disclose violates Section 5? Should the concern be limited to cases of cash payment but not free product? Does it depend on the total value of the compensation, whatever the form?

Conflict of interest for bloggers, eh? And if the FTC has the power to regulate that, well…

From Politico, “Washington Post sells access, $25,000+“:

For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post is offering lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to “those powerful few” — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer is detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he feels it’s a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff.”

The offer — which essentially turns a news organization into a facilitator for private lobbyist-official encounters — is a new sign of the lengths to which news organizations will go to find revenue at a time when most newspapers are struggling for survival.

Dear Washington Post: It’s Still Not Nationalization

By | General | No Comments

As documented in posts here and here yesterday, The Washington Post has called the Administration’s decision to invest $250 billion in banks “nationalization” and said the act represented a move “to partly nationlize.”

It’s an inaccurate and inflammatory terminology. Here in the United States, nationalization means a government takeover, control, ownership.

In today’s Post,  Dana Milbank uses the term, but he’s a columnist who specializes in political mockery, so who cares?  A front of the business section story also mentions nationalization, but only to describe Secretary Paulson’s objections to the appearances of nationalization. Harold Meyerson, a left-wing, anti-business Post columnist writes that “the most right-wing administration in modern American history [is] scurrying to nationalize the banks.” But Meyerson is a predictable scold and Bush detractor, so again, who cares?

Meanwhile, the editorialists and business writer Steven Pearlstein eschewed the term. All in all, seems like editors are doing their job. Except on Page A6, written early in the day by political reporter Dan Eggen, “Signaling a Shift to Europe’s Path“:

In announcing plans to partly nationalize nine major banks yesterday, President Bush found himself in the unusual position of having to reassure Americans that he was not, in fact, opposed to capitalism.

That’s just flat-out WRONG.

Treasury describes the capital purchase program here.

Under the program, Treasury will purchase up to $250 billion of senior preferred shares on standardized terms as described in the program’s term sheet. The program will be available to qualifying U.S. controlled banks, savings associations, and certain bank and savings and loan holding companies engaged only in financial activities that elect to participate before 5:00 pm (EDT) on November 14, 2008. Treasury will determine eligibility and allocations for interested parties after consultation with the appropriate federal banking agency.

The minimum subscription amount available to a participating institution is 1 percent of risk-weighted assets. The maximum subscription amount is the lesser of $25 billion or 3 percent of risk-weighted assets.

That’s not nationalizing. It’s not partly nationalizing. It’s the government buying shares in a bank in order to boost their capital, a major and even history-making policy and regulatory step, to be sure. But calling it partial nationalization does the reader a disservice.

Are we being too cranky? Too paranoid? Too distracted by trivia? Too amused by emulating a Soviet-era Kreminologist poring over the lines of Izvetsia?

Don’t think so. As Meyerson’s column demonstrates, the use of the term “nationalization” to describe the Administration’s actions is an element of a political attack.  A mulitprong attack, perhaps:

  • “Lousy plutocrats. They don’t believe in capitalism, just in lining their own pockets. We ought to really stick it to them. The caps on executive compensation are good, but next ….”
  • “Hey, we’ve already nationalized the banks. Why stop there?”

Ultimately, the most important reason the term should be dropped from the lexicon of serious, fair-minded journalists is because it misleads and misinforms the reader about an important matter during a time when markets and public confidence are fraying. Accuracy is essential.