By James Toedtman
Chief Economic Correspondent
February 21, 2004
Not a chance, said Edson Pardo, manager of the McDonald's around the corner from the White House. "We don't flip hamburgers," he said. "We just heat them up."
President George W. Bush raised the issue in his annual economic report.
In the report last week, Bush's chief economic adviser N. Gregory Mankiw called the definition "somewhat blurry" and asked whether it should be changed. "When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a 'service' or is it combining inputs to 'manufacture' a product?"
For an administration that has seen 2.6 million manufacturing jobs vanish since January 2001, raising the possibility of changing how manufacturing jobs are classified has provoked a sharp response, especially in an election year.
When Mankiw's remarks came out this week, Democrats had a field day.
"If fast food is classified as manufacturing, perhaps the neighborhood lemonade stand should be considered part of the military-industrial complex," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
In Ohio, presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said: "If this president is going to tell middle-class factory workers that even though their job has disappeared, they can still have a good manufacturing job at $5.15 an hour at McDonald's, let him come to Ohio."
The White House McDonald's, whose customers include many White House staffers, though no president since Bill Clinton, is an economic indicator of its own. Business has been slow and Pardo doesn't anticipate new jobs any time soon. "Maybe this summer," he said.
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.
Comment: And just last week Greenspan and the white house said that U.S. job's moving to other countries is good for the economy. Go figure, shake my other leg and it play's jingle bell's.