One of the reasons that Donald Trump gives for slapping new protectionist tariffs on steel and aluminum is that it will create manufacturing jobs, and by extension, greatly enhance income growth and standards of living in the United States. Trump is capitalizing on an enduring myth of American economic history in which it is believed that declines in manufacturing jobs are accompanied by drops in standards of living as well.What is often forgotten, however, is that manufacturing jobs, in proportion to the population overall, dropped significantly from the end of World War II through the 1950s and 1960s. And yet, during this time, real median incomes in the United States increased. Incomes stagnated somewhat during the 1970s, but then grew substantially again
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