Thursday, November 27, 2003


As I relax and read the paper during this Thanksgiving holiday while the kids oversleep and then fight about the hotel room T.V. and we never get anything done even though it's a beautiful day in New York City, a few questions come to mind.....

Why does "free trade" seem to mean a race to the bottom? Environmental improvements (e.g. California regulation of MBTE or REACH in Europe) are bad because they restrict trade of hazardous chemicals. Using government's power to negotiate down pharmaceutical prices is bad because it hurts the U.S. pharma industry.

No one's allowed to restrict the sale or use of any poisons because it might disrupt free trade? I mean, sure, free trade may be good in theory. It's always good to sell exports, and comparitive advantage and all that. But is it more important than people's health or working conditions?

And if so, why can't North Korea claim that these stupid nuclear non-proliferation treaties keep it from selling nukes to Sadaam where ever?

Why is it good for a bunch of private sector companies to try to negotiate better prescription drug prices, but not not for the government (which has more ability, being big) to negotiate down prescription prices -- either here or in Australia? The new Medicare/Prescription Drug bill not only neglects government's ability to negotiate lower prices, it actually prohibits the government from negotiating lower prices.

OK, back to my paper....