Sunday, November 12, 2006

Coyote Blog: Will Democrats Be Neanderthals on Trade?

Coyote Blog has a way of working the body before delivering a knockout blow to the 'head':
I was wondering this morning if I could turn public opinion against penicillin. After all, hundreds of people die every year from taking penicillin. If I ran a newspaper, every day I could feature another heart-rending story about a small child or a single mother with four kids dieing from a penicillin allergy. Sure, some heartless fools who don't understand these poor people's suffering will say that penicillin is a net benefit. But that will be easy to counter - I'd ask them to show me who was saved. Sure, lots of people take it, but how can you prove they would have been worse off without it? How can you prove how many people would have died without it? I would have an easy time, because the victims of penicillin are specific and very visible, and the beneficiaries are dispersed.

I thought of this analogy while I was reading Jon Talton's column on the front page of the Arizona Republic business section celebrating the Democratic victory in Congress because we may finally be able to get rid of this awful free trade stuff. As an aside, Talton has always been an interesting choice as the primary business columnist in the Republic, given that he doesn't really feel bound by the teachings of economics and he really does not like business. His socialist-progressive formulations may be appropriate somewhere in the paper, but seem an odd choice for lead business columnist, sort of like finding a fundamentalist evolution denier, who still accepts Archbishop Usher's age of the earth, as lead science columnist.



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