Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Free Market Capitalism, 10 Jihadism 0

That was the theme of our 9/11-anniversary show last night.

A big hats off goes to my good friend “Jimmy P” Pethokoukis from U.S. News & World Report who joined me on set for patching together the following picture on his blog:

“…Since September 11, the economy hasn't suffered a single down quarter. In fact, it has notched 23 straight quarters of economic growth…Overall, the American economy is, adjusting for inflation, $1.65 trillion bigger than it was six years ago. To put that gigantic number in some perspective, the U.S. economy has added the equivalent of five Saudi Arabias, eight Irans, 13 Pakistans, or 15 Egypts, depending on your preference. And while 9/11 did cause the stock market to plunge, the Dow is 37 percent higher than it was on Sept. 10, 2001, creating trillions of dollars of new wealth for Americans. What's more, the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent today vs. 5.7 percent back then. Not bad at all.”

You would think that these backward economic countries mentioned above would finally see the light and adopt the American model of free market capitalism. But unfortunately, they’re still stubbornly clinging to a heavy handed, top-down, quasi-socialist approach to government economic planning.

Now I don’t think for one moment that Osama bin Laden’s evil brand of jihadism would be solved by economic growth alone. Too many of the al Qaeda leaders come from comfortable, middle-class, well to do, even professional backgrounds. So that’s a titanic ideological battle. But creating dynamic, growth oriented economies and raising the level of prosperity while reducing poverty sure wouldn’t hurt in this long war against terrorism.

Moreover, a free trading zone located in the Middle East, one that would enhance pro-growth economic liberalism, would surely be a good thing and would be connected to the United States.