On the bright side, during MSNBC's State of the Union Coverage, correspondent David Shuster pointed out a couple of "misleading" claims made by Senator Jim Webb in the Democratic Response. After critiquing some of President Bush's statements, Shuster moved on to focus on Webb's speech. In response to Webb's complaint that wages "are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth," Shuster countered that "when you compare wages and salaries to cost of living," as economists normally do, "the sky is not falling in the way that Jim Webb suggested." And in response to Webb's complaint about manufacturing jobs being transferred overseas, Shuster pointed out that "high-tech jobs are coming to America." (Transcript follows)
Below is a complete transcript of Shuster's critique of Webb's speech from January 23:
David Shuster, 11:44 p.m.: "In the Democratic response, Jim Webb spoke mostly in platitudes, didn't offer specifics about Democratic plans, and the way he described the current economic situation in this country was a bit misleading. Watch."
Senator Jim Webb (D-VA): "Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world."
Shuster: "Now, that's a pretty compelling argument except for the fact that economists say they usually never measure wages and salary as a percentage of national wealth. They measure it compared to the cost of living. And when you compare wages and salaries to the cost of living, the sky is not falling in the way that Jim Webb suggested. Jim Webb also said this about American manufacturing."
Webb: "Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them."
Shuster: "That is true that American jobs in manufacturing are going overseas, but it's also true that high-tech jobs are coming to America, and a lot of people who support global economic integration say that when you only talk about the jobs that are leaving, you fail to look at the big picture as far as efficiencies and economic integration and the way that everybody may benefit from the right kind of trade deals. Are there problems? Of course. But some people would suggest, Chris and Keith, that the way Jim Webb described it, at least that one line, was also misleading."