Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The trouble with Thomas Friedman

World Economic Forum photo

By Roger Madon

I have been reading Thomas Friedman, that well known columnist for the New York Times, for over a decade.  He’s informative, persuasive and articulate.  But, more often than not, he is dead wrong.

Reading Thomas Friedman is a like driving a bumper car.  It’s a lot of fun, takes a certain amount of concentration and skill but after it’s over you haven’t gone anywhere.

Let’s take his recent position about how the U.S. is going to get out this economic hole it just dug for itself what with the 2009 stimulus package, health care reform, financial reform, taking over the student loan program, the Chrysler and GM bailouts and its refusal to let go of the banking industry.  Friedman contends that the only way this country is going to dig its way out of this economic crisis is through energy technology.  He calls it ET.  He means that energy has to be cheap, clean and safe.

So far, so good.  But then he goes to say that the only way that is going to happen is through government intervention.  Does anyone with an ounce of intelligence really believe that government has the answer to ET development?

Just look at government’s insistence that the production of ethanol and its use in automobiles is the right way to go when scientists claim that its production and use has a worse affect than the production or use of oil.  Notwithstanding the government just recently approved the use of ethanol from 10 percent to 20 percent of gasoline.

Or take Friedman’s comment, which he repeats wherever he goes, that all he wants is one day in America when Chinese rules apply and America will be right again.  You know the rules.  Here’s a simple one: Speak against the government and you will find yourself in jail. Or take Friedman’s stand on Israel.  In today’s column in the New York Times he holds that Israel is a spoiled child because it refuses to stop expanding its settlements on the West Bank resulting in the end of negotiations with the Palestinians.  However Friedman fails to mention one small point: The Palestinians refuse to and will continue to refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.  So, Mr. Friedman, with that non-negotiable position by the Palestinians does the issue of expanding settlements really matter?

Thomas Friedman is an intelligent and entertaining columnist.  I just wish he would be right a little more often.


Roger Madon holds court at 4 PM New York time Monday-Thursday on the Paltalk News Network

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