Tom Friedman Is Not Smart. Why Is He Rich?

Sometimes it’s really baffling that Thomas Friedman is considered one of our nation’s most important thinkers on political and economic matters. Here he is today (2/11/09) channeling what “non-Americans” have to say: Dear America, please remember how you got to be the wealthiest country in history. It wasn’t through protectionism, or state-owned banks or fearing free trade. No, the formula was very simple: build this really flexible, really open economy, tolerate creative destruction so dead capital is quickly redeployed to better ideas and companies, pour into it the most diverse, smart and energetic immigrants from every corner of the world […]


Silver Lining in Economic Crisis: Obama Can Betray Voters

The media trope that presidents-elect ought to break progressive campaign promises really displays the anti-democratic and pro-corporate biases of the press at their most glaring. Who cares what you told the voters? Here’s what the interests that really matter want you to do. The latest instance in this sad series is a USA Today editorial (12/2/08), which eagerly spots a silver lining in the economic crisis: During his campaign…Obama endorsed a number of smaller bore ideas more for the sake of their political appeal than for their economic usefulness. The financial crisis gives the incoming president a compelling rationale to […]


Which Kind of Trader Needs Quotation Marks?

Today’s Washington Post (11/14/08) explains that Obama’s economic advisers “span the policy spectrum:” They include free traders and “fair traders,” deficit hawks, Wall Street executives, corporate moguls and labor advocates. Why the different typographical treatment of free trade and fair trade? The implication is that “free trade” really is free, whereas “fair trade” is just what its supporters call it. This treatment of so-called “free trade,” as economist Dean Baker has long explained, “reflects deeply held biases in the media. The most important point, which I unfortunately have to keep repeating, is that these are not free trade agreements. They […]