New York Times columnist Tom Friedman argued yesterday (6/13/10) that, when it comes down to it,we’re all to blame for the BP disaster. And that’s not all we’re to blame for:
We cannot fix what ails America unless we look honestly at our own roles in creating our own problems. We–both parties–created an awful set of incentives that encouraged our best students to go to Wall Street to create crazy financial instruments instead of to Silicon Valley to create new products that improve people’s lives. We–both parties–created massive tax incentives and cheap money to make home mortgages available to people who really didn’t have the means to sustain them. And we–both parties–sent BP out in the gulf to get us as much oil as possible at the cheapest price. (Of course, we expected them to take care, but when you’re drilling for oil beneath 5,000 feet of water, stuff happens.)
So apparently “we” are all in “both parties,” and “we” participated in some sort of referendum that endorsed certain Wall Street practices and/or encouraged offshore drilling without meaningful oversight.
It’s also telling that this far into the crisis Tom Friedman still believes that the housing bubble was mainly a problem of selling houses to poor people.
But let’s not sugarcoat things. After all, maybe “we” decided to give him a newspaper column, too.