December 19, 2008

Free Trade At Christmastime

Via Trade Diversion, we can see that the twelve days of Christmas, which will be upon us in less than a week, are going to cost more this year than they really should, thanks to protectionist trade practices on the part of this great nation of ours. Therefore, as applicable to the equipment and other gifts necessary for fulfilling the lyrics of that most annoying of all Christmas carols, we see that the Harmonized Tariff Schedule would apply as follows:

Drums: 4.8%
Pipes (no tariff)
Milking machines (no tariff)
Swans: 1.8%
Geese: $.02/kg
Golden rings: 5.5%
Calling birds: 1.8%
French hens: $.02/kg
Turtle doves: 1.8%
Partridge: 1.8%
Pear tree (no tariff)

As for the maids, ladies, lords, pipers, and drummers, they would likely need to qualify for H1-B visas and demonstrate that their skills of milking, dancing, acrobatics, and musicianship were not readily available at similar qualities to the satisfaction of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Department.

My guess is that the performers -- the nine ladies dancing, ten lords a-leaping, eleven pipers piping, and twelve drummers druming -- would have an easier time of it because the ICE does not make qualitative judgments about artistic and cultural events, so long as the tours of the artists are reasonably short in duration and verifiable dates of return to the country of origin are specified in the visa application. The eight maids a-milkin', however, seem to have only a generic sort of purpose for their proposed work in the U.S., which is at best semiskilled labor, and there would appear to be a substantial population already present in the U.S. who can perform the task. Therefore, the eight maids a-milkin' will have to be hired domestically.

Now you all know how a free-trade loving atheist lawyer looks at Christmas. Happy holidays!

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