Friday, October 12, 2007

To Bush Freedom Equals Free Trade

President Bush told the now Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal that freedom and free trade are synonymous. He vowed to revive America's free trade agenda and added:

"We have lost sight of what it means to be a nation willing to be aggressive in the world, and spread freedom or deal with disease."

Terrorism is the disease resulting from a lack of freedom, according to past statements from the President. So which countries have the most restrictive trade agreements? Norway employs draconian trade restrictions but has no terrorists. Yet, it helped poor countries in other ways, investment, migration. It was enough to earn Norway third place, behind the Netherlands and Denmark in the Center for Global Development's rankings. Japan greatly restricts trade and they are one of our allies. Are they contributing to hopelessness and terrorism as that country came in last in global development? The center ranked the United States 14th, in part due to our protectionist policies on agriculture and tying foreign aid to products from American companies.

The President may need to worry how his words are taken domestically. If freedom equals free trade, American cardiac device makers and the hospitals in which they work must feel Norwegian. They have no freedom to price their implantable products for sale to Medicare patients. I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so...