I have a definite ambivalent relationship with Brooks ... he is supposed to the "conservative" in the NY Times editorial staff, and he voted for Obama TWICE!
I find this column to be very close to spot on however ... just read it.
The Fraser Institute is a free-market think tank that ranks nations according to things free-market think tanks like: less regulation, free trade, secure property rights. The freest economies in the world are places like Hong Kong, the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Latvia, Denmark, Mauritius, Malta and Finland. Nations in the top quartile for economic freedom have an average G.D.P. per capita of $36,770. For those in the bottom quartile, it’s $6,140. People in the free economies have a life expectancy of 79.4 years. Those in the planned economies have a life expectancy of 65.2 years.