Thursday, April 01, 2004

Bush Creates New Manufacturing Sector

Job opportunities in the American manufacturing sector are experiencing a revival this year, thanks to a new Bush administration initiative to rethink the meaning of blue-collar work.

"The definition of a manufactured product is not straightforward," states the annual Economic Report of the President. "When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a 'service' or is it combining inputs to 'manufacture' a product?"

Traditionally, manufacturing has been defined as anyone "engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products." But the report notes that many convenient marts and fast-food chains now possess the technology to manufacture products which previously were best attempted in industrial settings only. One example, the hi-tech McGriddles breakfast sandwich, features a McDonald's-patented syrup-infused bread-roll, which boasts real maple-syrup flavoring without the inconvenience and mess of conventional syrup applicators.

"The McGriddle has a reputation for being capital-intensive because of its advanced assembly process," a senior-level McDonald's spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal last week. "But, ultimately, baking a controlled syrup-flavoring into the bun cuts costs when compared to the interminable handing-out of syrup packets."

The assembly-line method of McDonald's food production seems to fit well with the Bush administration plan to reinvent a new manufacturing sector.

"If mixing water and concentrate in a Chinese factory to produce soft drinks is classified as manufacturing," White House spokesperson Scott McClellan told reporters Tuesday, "why shouldn't the American who renders the beverage to end-users share the same benefit and prestige of a manufacturing position as his Chinese counterpart?"

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