When I was a kid my family used to go to Mexico every year. I fondly recall drinking Coca-Cola from glass bottles during these visits. Coke in Mexico just seemed to taste better than Coke in the US. Apparently, beyond the glass bottle, Mexican Coke differs from US Coke in that Mexican Coke uses cane sugar while US Coke uses high-fructose corn syrup. The differences between Mexican and US Coke has created a market for "bootlegged" Mexican Coke in US Latino communities -- something the Coca-Cola company has frowned upon
. In spite of this, the competition between US Coke and Mexican Coke is heating up. Bay Area COSTCO's are now carrying Mexican Coke
. I think this market is fascinating. Coca-Cola is now competing with Coca-Cola. I am curious to know how large is the market for Mexican Coke in the US and how Coke USA will respond to evidence of the size of this market.
I think we can count all this as a benefit from NAFTA.
On this, the fourth anniversary of the White House declaring "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq, Mr. Bush is going to invade Americans' TV screens tonight to say that he's going to veto the appropriations bill and, presumably, try to convince us that we should let him continue to prosecute this silly war without any plan for leaving. Sigh.
Seriously, Mr. Bush, when the expected benefit does not exceed the expected costs, you should stop. Sadly, I know this won't stop you (because the same statement with respect to Iraq was true in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and it will still be true in 2008, ...).
If you are interested in understanding what this fiasco has cost on a smaller (perhaps easier to digest scale), head here to see the costs of the war broken down by state
For my Oregonian readers, here are the numbers for Oregon:
- Number of Active Duty Service-Members in Iraq: 2,460
- Number of Reserve Forces in Iraq: 993
- Number of Service-Members Killed in Iraq: 54
- Number of Service-Members Wounded in Iraq: 403
- Cost of War to the People of Oregon: $3 billion (that's roughly what we spent on K12 education last year)
And if that isn't enough -- this news account of corpses being held for ransom
is among the most disturbing things I've ever read. Kudos Mr. Bush. Kudos.