In a sane society he would be showered with the big money now paid to US Major League Baseball players, drug-addicted rock stars, and CEOs of huge and soon-to-be-bankrupt corporations. He might be dogged by paparazzi when going to a movie. His statements would be lead items on teevee newscasts.
Thomas L. Friedman is, I hope, not starving, but I doubt the NY Times signed him up with a contract for tens of millions in compensation. He understands the Mideast, the oil and energy situation, and many other issues critical to our survival, and explains them in newspaper columns and books so that simple people like me can understand them.
He is a genius. We should listen to him.
But we’d rather obsess endlessly over Paris and Lindsey and Britney and the Thug of the Week in professional sports and American Idol.
Friedman’s columns are syndicated and I get to read them in The Denver Post. Today’s is a classic – even unto the title, “Dumb as we Wanna Be” – and I am going to reprint it right here because I devoutly hope that as many people as possible will read it and think. It is copyrighted and owned and possessed and controlled and whatever by the author and/or the New York Times and believe me when I cross my heart and look heavenward and swear and affirm that I have no designs, carnal or commercial, on this copy, and am only hoping to spread the message of a very wise man who walks among us.
In case you don’t read it all, here’s the last line, the money quote, amen:
[T]he biggest energy crisis we have in our country today is the energy to be serious — the energy to do big things in a sustained, focused and intelligent way. We are in the midst of a national political brownout.
And here’s the full column:
Dumb as We Wanna Be
It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away. Hillary Clinton has decided to line up with John McCain in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer’s travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.
When the summer is over, we will have increased our debt to China, increased our transfer of wealth to Saudi Arabia and increased our contribution to global warming for our kids to inherit.
No, no, no, we’ll just get the money by taxing Big Oil, says Mrs. Clinton. Even if you could do that, what a terrible way to spend precious tax dollars — burning it up on the way to the beach rather than on innovation?
The McCain-Clinton gas holiday proposal is a perfect example of what energy expert Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today: “Maximize demand, minimize supply and buy the rest from the people who hate us the most.” (more…)
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