The Developing States of America?

Telegraph columnist Nile Gardiner jumps all over President Obama today for his latest embarrassing gaffe, calling the United States and Europe “developing” countries:

You can imagine the derision that would have flowed from the liberal “mainstream media” if George W. Bush had referred to the United States as well as its European allies as “developing countries.” This is exactly the term he used in an interview with The New York Times, which has just been published. In the interview, given in Galesburg, Illinois, the site of his distinctly unimpressive speech on the economy at Knox College last Wednesday, President Obama had this to say to reporters Jackie Calmes and Michael D. Shear:

“And one of the interesting things that we don’t talk about enough is the contrast between what’s happened in the United States and what’s happened in a lot of other developing countries, Europe in particular.

Well, yes, Gardiner is right to point out that Obama is indeed lost without his Teleprompter, but I wonder whether this is a rare “Kinsley gaffe” that tell us a deeper truth.  I’ve argued for a long time that in some sense the United States should be considered a “developing” nation for, among other reasons, its high rate of immigration, thereby requiring it to have high rates of economic growth and innovation.

Of course, if Obama were to take this idea seriously, he’d need to embrace pro-growth policies toward resource development, low taxes, etc.  And the U.S. would need to be grouped along with other developing nations in things like international trade and climate treaties (that is to say, exempt or placed with the most favorable terms).  I’ll take that deal.

So maybe Obama was just looking ahead when he talked about the “57 states” of America.


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