Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Everyday Economist

The Everyday Economist: "The Facts About the Port Deal
February 22nd, 2006 by Josh

The recent announcement that a company from the United Arab Emirates was seeking the rights to manage six major U.S. ports has set off a firestorm of political criticism of the Bush administration on the left and the right. These attacks are entirely the result of political grandstanding. Democrats and Republicans fear that by allowing an Arab company to manage our ports, we are somehow endangering our country. Comments have even been made that the ports should only be managed by a U.S. company. Those complaints are all well and good, but here are the facts:

* The free market emphasizes specialization. Those who can best provide services should do so.
* The ports are not currently managed by a U.S. company. In fact, not one U.S. company bid to manage the ports.
* The people working at the ports will not change. The same individuals will go to work each day. The only change will be the name of the company on their paychecks.
* Those who manage the ports are not responsible for the security of those ports. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. is not outsourcing its port security. The Coast Guard as well as U.S. Customs agents are responsible for port security.
* Critics are quick to point out that some of the terrorists who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were UAE citizens. This argument is hardly an indictment of the UAE company. After all the terrorist responsible for the London bombings were British citizens and a British company currently manages the port.
* Critics also fail to mention that the UAE was the first country in the Arab world to open its own ports to U.S. inspection."

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