The president’s approach to tax policy might be bizarre or unfair. His approach to job growth is “delusional and doomed,” according to Fortune columnist Geoff Colvin.

The President is trying to create a narrative in which U.S. manufacturing fell into sad decline over the past decade but can be restored to its former glory and employ legions of Americans in high-paying jobs. “What was driving our economy was, we were spending a lot on credit cards,” he said in Schenectady, talking about the previous economic expansion. “Folks were selling a lot to us from all over the world. We’ve got to reverse that. We want an economy that’s fueled by what we invent and what we build.”

But that narrative, implying that U.S. manufacturing withered while we bought Chinese products at the mall, is simply wrong. American manufacturing boomed during the expansion. The value of “what we build” increased every year. The problem for the President — and it’s a giant, central problem for him — is that we did it with fewer workers every year. …

The President’s obsession with manufacturing jobs goes deep. “I’d like to once again see our best and brightest commit themselves to making things,” he told Georgetown University students soon after taking office. And that’s fine. Smarter, more sophisticated, higher-technology manufacturing is good for America. But one thing we know for sure is that the more advanced that manufacturing becomes, the fewer people it employs. At a time when the country desperately needs more jobs, manufacturing is obviously not the place to look for them.