December 22, 2009

We made corn.

"In the 19th and 20th centuries we made stuff: corn and steel and trucks."

Another David Brooks first line.


Salamandyr said...

So have we discovered the theme for the day?

I almost wrote "how corny" but figured it was too obvious.

On the other hand, perhaps we shall all be amaized at the earful of corn related posts. Shucks, all we need now is something on ethanol subsidies.

Scott said...

Maybe Brooks was referring to Vaudeville.

PatCA said...

Thanks to well meaning but destructive liberal policy, we have outsourced all those dirty jobs where people used to make stuff.

Take a look at Detroit after 40 years of benevolent Democratic leadership and federal program dollars: it's a ruin.

We are all Detroit now.

Scott M said...

All your made corn are belong to us.

WV - "pacars" - Green Bay Wisconsin's cricket team.

rhhardin said...

Soybeans in alternate years.

TosaGuy said...

Seems Brooks et. al. continue to highlight only the "cool" part of the economy....the chattering and political classes seem to be forgetting about this one

Making stuff, growing stuff or harvesting stuff will always be the underpinning of any economy. Ideas do change how these products and resources are allocated and ideas create efficiencies with these resources. The economy that Brooks speaks of is in effect because we have such a tremendous wealth in the stuff area that we can devote such time, financial and intellectual resources to the protocol "non-stuff" economy.

Examine this new branch of the economic tree because it does hold vast promise and new difficulties, but always remember what makes up the trunk of that tree.

SteveR said...

In the United States over the last 150 years the yield of corn (bushels per acre) and total yield has increased dramatically. That increase also requires fewer people, freeing them up to do things like "write protocals", design video games, operate MRI machines and be opinion journalists.

So its a mostly good thing.

ricpic said...

Physical stuff is subject to the laws of scarcity: you can use up your timber.

And I'm supposed to take this guy seriously?

Big Mike said...

The best thing about this column was at the very bottom:

"Bob Herbert is off today."

Consequently the drivel is limited to what Brooks dishes out.

mccullough said...

I think he meant porn.

Rich B said...

Big Mike-

Drat - you beat me to it.

But, only off today?

JohnAnnArbor said...

If you can't grow it, it has to be mined.

But city kids like NYTimes readers tend to think food comes from supermarkets and electronics from Best Buy.

Sofa King said...

Take a look at Detroit after 40 years of benevolent Democratic leadership and federal program dollars: it's a ruin.

Apropos, for the interested:

Unknown said...

PatCA said...

Thanks to well meaning but destructive liberal policy, we have outsourced all those dirty jobs where people used to make stuff.

Take a look at Detroit after 40 years of benevolent Democratic leadership and federal program dollars: it's a ruin.

We are all Detroit now.

More like 75 years, but the point is still good.

Don't forget the Demos' handmaidens, the unions or, more to the point, the union bosses. Enforced mediocrity and over-inflated pensions and wages are a big part of the mix.

Issob Morocco said...

Ann did Brooks' smathering of nothingness make you maize and blue?

Does David Axelrod make propaganda?
See today's revised downward growth for the 3rd quarter, which when the government Cash for Clunkers is taken out becomes a decrease.

Likewise today's existing home sales numbers. Up 7.4%, the greatest increase since almost 3 years ago. What they don't say is that instead of being 6 feet in a hole we are now 5.5 ft. This is how percentages can lie, like David Axelrod. Take out the government stimulus to purchase homes and the numbers are level.

Are we now going to need government interdiction to make positive economic gains? That could get pricey, especially when no one buys our debt.

I make food but that is getting more difficult because the Nannies running the government, don't want a single person to die, unless they deem it okay. See Death Panels.

David Brooks should take Joe Cool Acid and habaneros to clear his mind, which seems to be closer to his sinus than his cranium with such drippy, runny commentary.

Scott M said...


This is one of my most enduring quandaries and the primary reason my views of the world skew to the right.

What is the left's fascination with mediocrity and their aversion to excellence?

It's a fundamental question the answer to which, I believe, is a basis for a great deal of what they do (or try to do).

Frankly, I just don't understand it.

Anonymous said...

"The best thing about this column was at the very bottom:

"Bob Herbert is off today."

Consequently the drivel is limited to what Brooks dishes out."

Mike,that brought a smile to my face too.

MadisonMan said...

Althouse is in love with a wonderful guy.

She's as corny as Kansas in August
She's as normal as blueberry pie
No more a smart little girl with no heart
She's in love with a wonderful guy

Salamandyr said...

MadisonMan have you been playing Fallout 3?

Scott M said...


You know what's a bit strange? After playing all the way through Fallout 3, I found myself not throwing things away or wasting food in any way.

Kev said...

What is the left's fascination with mediocrity and their aversion to excellence?

I think it has to do with their fundamental desire for equality of outcome, rather than equality of opportunity.

Not everybody can be great at any given thing (and striving for greatness, but failing, might hurt someone's feeeeeeelings), but lefties seem to think that (with the government's help, of course), everyone can certainly be mediocre.

That equality of outcome is impossible is something that has thus far escaped them.

LonewackoDotCom said...

PatCA says: Thanks to well meaning but destructive liberal policy, we have outsourced all those dirty jobs where people used to make stuff.

PatCA is, of course, confused (as is PJTV). Globalists come in all stripes and are willing to lie and call their opponents names regardless of which parties are involved. "Liberal" policies have certainly played a role in creating problems for urban areas (which they then "correct"), however they couldn't have completed the job without help from their "conservative" friends who joined with them to promote shipping jobs offshore and the like.

The problem those who oppose that have is that their leaders aren't that smart or are corrupt. Here's a post about here's how to block healthcare reform. The same technique can be used for a wide variety of other topics, including opposing the depredations of the globalists.

technogypsy said...

As a ex farm boy, I thought he meant corn like you make out behind the barn where the revenuers can't find..

People still do that in Tennessee and Kentucky.

WV: Cryar - combination of crybaby and liar used to describe members of the Obama administration.

From Inwood said...

C'mon. Brooks was thinking of

"Make hay while the sun shines."

Right. Sorry, David. Hay is "made". One converts plant material into hay.

Make the angels weep.

Or as Tiger might say about "making" corn

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

From Inwood said...

Arnold Stang made corn.

PatCA said...

Yes, of course the unions and the Republicans are in on it. Votes for cash.

That's why I'm an independent. I hate to sound like Glenn Beck but I hate both parties.

Scott M said...


The real culprit is the innate human nature that causes power to aggregate more and more power. When you have political parties like ours that have been around for so long, full of career politicians, of course you're going to get what we have to currently deal with.

Perhaps what we need, then, are some basic guidelines. Term limits, of course, but just for giggles, what about a mandatory 30 year life span for a given political party? At the end of those 30 years, the members must reform into new parties, but no more than 30% of the members may be in the same party afterward.

And while I'm at it...a single six year term for president.

Steven said...

America grows more food now than at any other time in its history. But instead of taking 90% of the populace to do it, we do it with 3%. That's progress and efficiency, not decline.

Similarly, America actually manufactures more now* than it has at any other time in its history. It just does it with fewer manufacturing workers. That, too, is progress and efficiency, not decline.

* "now" defined as a multi-year average, since you of course get dips in output during a recession.

Scott M said...


This isn't a snide comeback. I'm sincerely interested in your basis for the comment that we manufacture more now than we ever have.

It could be that I'm just a consumer of mass sound bytes, but even a cursory study of the contents of my house say otherwise.

David said...

He was referring to the Grand Old Opry. Someone should tell him it's still in business.

DaLawGiver said...

I made some corn last week, for some reason my body just doesn't digest it all the way.

My dogs make earplugs. Sometimes I sleep wearing earplugs when my wife wants to watch TV late at night. If my earplugs fall out during the night the dogs will find and eat them. I find them, purple or dayglo orange jutting out of a brown turd, in the yard in the next day or so.

former law student said...

Mitt Romney's dad had as much to do with Detroit's problems as any Democrat. Inability of Detroit's leaders to cope with a changing world lies at the root of most of Detroit's problems. It's been all downhill for them since 1963.

Anyhow, they're better off than Cleveland. I see NCR has left Dayton after a century or so. Perhaps the most successful Rust Belt city is Milwaukee -- I wonder why.

careen said...

With acute mental agility, David *zooms* into 1997...

WV: luvin all. In the spirit of the season.

Steven said...

Sorry for the late response, Scott M, but the 2009 Economic Report of the President.

Specifically, real (inflation-adjusted) value-added GDP from manufacturing in 2007 was $1,615.8 billion, versus $438.6 billion in 1977. The durable goods sector went from $265.0 billion in 1977 to $926.7 billion in 2007.

At the same time, manufacturing went from being 21.6% of GDP to 11.7%, durable goods manufacturing dropping from 13.1% to 6.7%. So manufacturing became a much smaller percentage of the economy even while manufacturing output doubled and then almost redoubled.

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