Crawl Across the Ocean

Sunday, February 13, 2005


It's not often that I agree whole-heartedly with NY Times op-ed columnist Thomas Friedman, so I thought I'd mention his most recent column, No Mullah Left Behind.

Here's the essence of what he's saying,

"Imagine if President Bush used his bully pulpit and political capital to focus the nation on sharply lowering energy consumption and embracing a gasoline tax.

What would that buy? It would buy reform in some of the worst regimes in the world, from Tehran to Moscow. It would reduce the chances that the U.S. and China are going to have a global struggle over oil - which is where we are heading. It would help us to strengthen the dollar and reduce the current account deficit by importing less crude. It would reduce climate change more than anything in Kyoto. It would significantly improve America's standing in the world by making us good global citizens. It would shrink the budget deficit. It would reduce our dependence on the Saudis so we could tell them the truth. (Addicts never tell the truth to their pushers.) And it would pull China away from its drift into supporting some of the worst governments in the world, like Sudan's, because it needs their oil. Most important, making energy independence our generation's moon shot could help inspire more young people to go into science and engineering, which we desperately need."

and he doesn't mince words (not that he ever does) in his conclusion,

"But no, President Bush has a better project: borrowing another trillion dollars, which will make us that much more dependent on countries like China and Saudi Arabia that hold our debt - so that you might, if you do everything right and live long enough, get a few more bucks out of your Social Security account.

The president's priorities are totally nuts."

Now if he (Friedman) could only get over his rose-coloured glasses love affair with laissez-faire global capitalism, we'd really be making progress, but this is a good start.

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