If You Bail Out Detroit, Then Bail Out. . . Part 3

The most important cost of any bailout, or lack thereof, is the human cost. Failure of an industry, business venture, municipality, or career, in the end, effects people, families, and communities. Today, for instance, we learned that the CEOs of the so-called Big Three were so concerned about the human cost of this bailout that they flew directly to Washington on a corporate jet, easily spending $20,000.00 to emphatically make their case that they need Federal (ie your) money. Rather than flying coach on United, they spared no expense, because if they don’t get the bailout, people are going to lose jobs.  Starting with the jet’s pilot, crew and maintenance team, right?

So if GM is simply too big to fail, and the human cost of the GM corporate jet pilots and crew losing their livelihoods is a red line Congress refuses to cross, surely there are other Americans in precarious situations equally deserving of a Federal bailout. How about a down-on-his-luck newspaper columnist like Thomas Friedman?

Bard of the Flat World
Friedman, Bard of the Flat World

Tom Friedman was once the most beloved columnist and writer to grace the editorial section of any newspaper. Just read the dust jacket of any of the many excellent books he’s written if you don’t believe me about how influential he is. His down to earth, colloquial writing style helped everyone understand what exactly this globalization thing was all about,  and how great it was. No two countries that have McDonalds restaurants will ever go to war, remember that? That was Friedman!

Friedman: Globalization Made Simple!

Well, Mr. Friedman, despite his ability to see complex trends and simplify them for all of us to understand (the world is flat, that’s one of his things, too!), his exalted position on the editorial pages of the New York Times, and his serendipitous marriage to a billionaire heiress, has fallen on hard times in recent years. It probably began when Matt Drudge de-linked from his column, an ill portent if there ever was one. Mr. Friedman started out as a firm supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, to the dismay of many of the center–left establishment crowd he hung with. Then, as he grew dismayed with the United States’ lack of progress in Iraq, he spent over three years writing nearly identical columns stating that “the next six months” are critical to the success or failure of the mission there (a period of time mockingly referred to as the Friedman Unit). The left, already somewhat upset with his free trade cheerleading, abandoned him after his support for the Iraq War.

He wrote a book about global warming to suck up to the establishment, but so far it hasn’t worked. People have even resorted to throwing pies at him. And now, adding insult to injury, his wife’s holding company has lost a fortune in the recent stock market downturn. How terribly ironic it seems, to find the bard of the flat world a victim of the global economy.  A federal bailout of Thomas Friedman could be accomplished at minimal cost to the taxpayers, though. The Friedmans, despite getting walloped financially, still have plenty of money to go sustain them. What Tom needs is his prestige, so he can saunter proudly through the halls of the New York Times, testing out new buzz phrases (“Hey Maureen, the world is flat, what do you think?”) without fear of someone tossing a pie at him.  Award Friedman the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Freedom Medal FOr Friedman?
Freedom Medal for Friedman?

This award would restore his standing among the center left (but only if it is awarded to him after the inauguration; President Bush has given this medal to a bunch of total losers!); the added prestige of having an award winning columnist on the editorial page might even lead to an uptick in newspaper sales, another economic sector that is in about the same dismal situation as Detroit’s Big Three.

Tom Friedman is important to the United States of America. Friedman taught us all about Hama Rules, the Flat World, and that whole McDonald’s in two countries don’t go to war thing. He is simply too big a columnist to fail. If Friedman can no longer write his column due to diminished status, Maureen Dowd, and Bill Kristol are probably next. Krugman just won an award, so he should be good for awhile before he needs a bailout.

President-elect Obama should probably put a good word in to Matt Drudge to get his link restored on the Drudge Report; that would be a big help, too.

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4 thoughts on “If You Bail Out Detroit, Then Bail Out. . . Part 3

  1. Well, I read a small, but interesting book, by Aronica and Ramdoo, “The World is Flat? A Critical Analysis of Thomas Friedman’s New York Times Bestseller,” which offers a counterperspective to Friedman’s theory on globalization.

    Interestingly enough, the book written about two years back, discusses in the following chapters,
    “Debt and Financialization of America”
    “America”s Former Middle Class”
    “A Paradigm Shift for America” with prescriptions for the future

    the debt ridden American society, deregulated financial institutions, mortgage crisis and other related issues, with clear pointers to the economic crisis gripping US today. For more information regarding the same, check this out: mkpress.com/FlatExcerpts.pdf

    This is a small book compared to the 600 page tome by Friedman, and aimed at the common man and students alike. As popular as the book may be, some reviewers assert that by what it leaves out, Friedman’s book is dangerous. The authors point to the fact that there isn’t a single table or data footnote in Friedman’s entire book.

    “Globalization is the greatest reorganization of the world since the Industrial Revolution,” says Aronica.

    You may want to see http://www.mkpress.com/flat
    and watch http://www.mkpress.com/flatoverview.html
    for an interesting counterperspective on Friedman’s
    “The World is Flat”.

    Also a really interesting 6 min wake-up call: Shift Happens! http://www.mkpress.com/ShiftExtreme.html

    There is also a companion book listed: Extreme Competition: Innovation and the Great 21st Century Business Reformation
    http://www.mkpress.com/extreme
    http://www.mkpress.com/Extreme11minWMV.html

  2. Not only that, they have no loan agreements on the 16 trlilion. They basically gave the money away if there is no payment schedule or interest being charged.If Wall St can’t stand in the economy it created let it fall. Ef propping up corporations while we all struggle through this hyperinflation. If the market hits rock bottom, prices will be low, good for us, and the market will be stable when it comes back up, good for them. Our economy isn’t going to come back until we do it.

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