I WAS struck by one particular moment during President Obama’s State of the Union address. The president proposed a $1 billion investment to build a new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation to spur high-tech manufacturing in America. I’m sure that would be helpful, and I’m sure the president will have to beg to get any such funding out of Congress. Yet sitting up there in the balcony listening to the president’s speech was the chief executive of Apple, Tim Cook. Apple is currently sitting on $137 billion of cash in the bank. There are many reasons Apple has not spent its cash hoard, but I’ll bet anything that one of them is the uncertain economic and tax environment in this country. Think about how much better we’d all be if Apple, and the many other companies sitting on cash, felt confident enough in the future to spend it. These are the most dynamic companies in the world. They don’t need any government help to innovate.
From this demon seed, we can extrapolate the entire rest of the column. Friedman wants his GRAND AUSTERITY BARGAIN and he wants it now. The GOP will totally stop hating the President if he just gives the Republicans everything they want: massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare for future retirees, plus cuts to education across the board. If everyone currently under 50 suffers needlessly, then, and only then, will our corporate masters choose to invest in the government's place, ostensibly so that they get a say in how the country is run. That makes the cooling fluid in Friedman's cyborg technocrat heart pump race just a few percentage points faster.
But what makes Friedman's column this weekend so completely awesome this time around is this line here at the end:
After the whipping the G.O.P. took in the election, I believe there is now a group of Republican politicians and C.E.O.’s who would meet Obama in the middle, if the president showed he was ready to take on some of his base as well. If the president tries, and I am wrong, well, he’ll have a few bad weeks. If I am right and enough Republicans meet Obama on a Grand Bargain, it would both split the G.O.P. between the sane conservatives and the certifiable crazies and give the president a real foundation for a truly significant second term.
This is the Ultimate Friedman Fantasy put to words, a manifesto of moron, the epitome of Friedman's empty core. "If only President Obama will stop acting as though he won, the Republicans will come around!" You know, the same Republican party that has called the President a socialist, fascist, Kenyan usurper anti-Christ, the guys whose only goal was to make sure the President lost in November, and they lost huge.
Sure, they'll come around. All the President has to do is smack his base around, the dirty stupid hippies who voted for him, and then we can all enjoy a happy Grand Bargain where everyone not making a quarter mil a year gets fed to the grinder, but Friedman's sure that companies like Apple will step up and invest their billions in schools and roads and health care or something and save us all if only he would give the Republicans what they wanted...
So my only possible analysis at this point is Friedman's memory card is full, and someone needs to rip it out of his skull. Preferably with Ripley's cargo loader from Aliens.
He's learned nothing from the last four years. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
It makes my head hurt.