"All I could think to myself was: If we’re so smart, why are other people living
so much better than us? What has become of our infrastructure, which is so
crucial to productivity? Back home, I was greeted by the news that General
Motors was being bailed out — that’s the G.M. that Fortune magazine just noted
“lost more than $72 billion in the past four years, and yet you can count on one
hand the number of executives who have been reassigned or lost their job.”"
Are you really that fucking naive? Haven't you been paying attention to what's been happening in this country for the last 35 years?! Our infrastructure is toast because in the 80s, when that very infrastructure was due for repair and rennovation the Gipper decided that that work was not to be done by the government because "government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." Free Market Capitalism, something you have championed, Mr. Freidman, has caused our infrastructure to deteriorate; has cause the economic problems we're facing by calling regulation "socialist" and saying that regulation is bad. The rest of the world, sir, is "so much better than us" because we've had George W. Bush for president for the last 8 years and he's done his damndest to make sure that we give all of our tax dollars to Haliburton, KBR, CH2M Hill, CACI, and the rest of the disaster capitalist companies instead of doing the work ourselves because "government is the problem".
Over at the Agonist, this article was touted as being about Thomas Freidman wanting the US to be like the rest of the world. Well, I've been reading Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, and I can tell you the US is like the rest of the world -- except for the evil socialist parts. In the last 8 years, the Bush Crime Family has succeeded in doing something that Milton Freidman (the original Freidman) had been dreaming of for 30 years -- something even Richard Nixon refused to condone (in this country). Bush and his crony disaster capitalist pals turned what should have been government-run projects into cash-cows for their coroporate buddies.
You don't need to look beyond the current headlines to know that this is true. The Troubled Asset Recovery Program funds were dolled out to banks who have refused to account for how that money is being spent (on corporate spa trips and bonuses). We've gone from a 236 billion dollar surplus to nearly a trillion dollar defecit in the short time period of 8 years because Bush has kept close to the "free market" principles of deregulation, lower (corporate) taxes, and union busting. People are losing their jobs because of this. Our country is falling apart because of this. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is the best example of this locally, and you know that, like in Iraq, the reconstruction hasn't been finished because the same contractors were hired for that job too!
America, we have a disease. And while it's not as bad as some of the other economic models out there, we have to regulate it in order to keep ourselves from being miserable SOBs with sores all over our bodies; we also have to regulate it in order to prevent ourselves from doing further harm to the rest of the economies around the world. We DON'T have AIDS. We DON'T have Syphillus either. We have the capitalist strain of herpes. It's not fatal, but we've ignored it for far too long and it's caused us a lot of suffering. If we don't keep our capitalist herpes in check, we could end up with other illnesses that get in through the free market sores. Illnesses like totalitarianism, genocide, civil war, and the people responsible getting off scott-free because they made enough money to be above the law.
Look. You, as well as Mr. Freidman, need to read The Shock Doctrine. It'll make you FRANGRY, but you need to read it.