Monday, August 31, 2009

What Carly Fiorina can do for America

Carly Fiorina is running for US Senate in California. She's also the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and she's facing questions about the sale of HP printers and such in Iran.

These questions are being spun as potentially damaging to her campaign, and maybe they are. But there's one thing Carly Fiorina could say right now that would do America a lot of good, and it would go something like this:

You're damn right HP worked to find legal ways to work around the idiotic US embargo of Iran. Selling HP products in Iran is a good thing.

It's good for the company, good for the company's shareholders and good for the company's employees because it produces a profit and creates jobs.

It's good for our American customers because the more units we produce, the lower the unit cost, and therefore the price, goes.

It's good for our Iranian customers because we can offer them a better product at a better price than other companies can.

And it's good for America because the single best way to turn enemies into friends is to trade with them.

Embargoes don't work. They never have worked and they're not going to start working now, at least not if the objective is peaceful relations among people and nations. Sooner or later, as Bastiat reminds us, if goods don't cross borders then armies will.

Under my leadership, Hewlett-Packard went to great lengths, at great expense, to ensure that it remained in compliance with the letter of US law regarding export of our products. As to the wretched, un-American spirit of that law, I offer no apologies for repudiating it in thought and practice at every opportunity.

Such a statement might scuttle her Senate aspirations. Or it might not. Either way, it's something that needs to be said, and to be effective it will take someone like Carly Fiorina to say it.

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