An Idiot's Guide to Tom Friedman's Idiocy
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Tom Friedman may be the single stupidest figure in American public life, and certainly is the supidest writer with such a large platform. I don't mean that he's wrong on everything (although he is substantively wrong on a lot of things) - I mean that he's actually an extremely dim bulb in that he displays a stunning lack of basic cognitive function. Specifically, he shows almost zero ability to realize that the arguments made by Tom Friedman often undermine the arguments made by Tom Friedman.
A great example of this is Friedman's recent column, decrying the truly lamentable fact that federal stimulus money is subsidizing job offshoring and foreign green industries, and not building jobs and green industries at home:
So, right now, our federal and state subsidies for installing solar systems are largely paying for the cost of importing solar panels made in China, by Chinese workers, using hi-tech manufacturing equipment invented in America...if you like importing oil from Saudi Arabia, you're going to love importing solar panels from China.
He's right on the substance, of course. Stimulus money is subsidizing all of that, as many of us predicted well before the stimulus passed. Why? In part because Tom Friedman, other pundits and corporations all made sure that the stimulus's "Buy American" provisions were severely watered down. Here was Friedman not-so-subtly attacking "Buy America" provisions as "protectionist" back during the stimulus debate:
President Obama has been doing his best to keep the worst protectionist impulses in Congress out of his stimulus plan...Each Indian state tries to protect its little economy with its own rules. America should not be trying to copy that...Protectionism did not cause the Great Depression, but it sure helped to make it "Great."
David Sirota was the top spokesman for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. He is currently writing a book on the middle class economic squeeze for Crown Publishers. You can contact him at Davidsirota.com.