Thomas Friedman has gone from being a cheerleader for globalism to a cheerleader for un-American, command-and-control industrial policy of the type enjoyed recently by China and, less successfully, the Japan, Mexico, and Brazil of yesteryear. What he does not understand and is completely dishonest about is the widespread American rejection of the measures undertaken by Obama on the stimulus and healthcare that emulate these foreign models. He says for example:
That is why I believe most Americans don’t want a plan for deficit reduction. The Tea Party’s vision is narrow and uninspired. Americans want a plan to make America great again, and at some level they know that such a plan will require a hybrid politics — one that blends elements of both party’s instincts. And they will follow a president — they would even pay more taxes and give up more services — if they think he really has a plan to make America great again, not just bring him victory in 2012 by 50.1 percent.
That hybrid politics will require hard choices: We need to raise gasoline and carbon taxes to discourage their use and drive the creation of a new clean energy industry, while we cut payroll and corporate taxes to encourage employment and domestic investment. We need to cut Medicare and Social Security entitlements at the same time as we make new investments in infrastructure, schools and government-financed research programs that will spawn the next Google and Intel.
There is no evidence to support this. The American conservatives and moderates that rejected Obamanomics this last election have no interest in the kind of internal nation-building he calls for. Instead, they are aware of and have rejected the economy-destroying implications of big government. Some, no doubt, have not thought things through and still want generous benefits. But, nonetheless, they do not want more government, even if they want the unsustainable same amount. And they do recognize intuitively that large deficits create problems, not least inflation, but also constraints on the government performing essential tasks like defense. Finally, most Americans know that the first Google and Intel did not require government seed capital and direction; they simply required a government that did not get in their way.
Friedman has become delusional, and he is ensconced in a bubble of fancy dinners among wealthy foreign patrons and the carefree life created by his billionaire wife’s money.