Reshoring: Let's stick to the facts, please

J.M.Barrie, the Scottish writer who created Peter Pan, once said: "Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough."

This comes to mind because of the recurring media stories trumpeting a reshoring of manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Well, in yesterday's New York Times, Steven Rattner rained on that parade with a strongly argued opinion piece headlined: "The Myth of Industrial Rebound". Rattner is a consultant, former investment banker, and lead adviser to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry in 2009. Rattner's work on General Motors and Chrysler turned out pretty well, even though I was among those strongly opposed to government support of the auto industry.

Rattner starts his column with this statement: "With metronomic regularity, gauzy accounts extol the return of manufacturing jobs to the United States." He cites the anecdotal articles of company X landing a job formerly in China, and then goes on: "But we need to get real about the so-called renaissance, which has in reality been a trickle of jobs, often dependent on huge public subsidies."

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