Thomas Friedman Recommends Fighting Islamism With Carbon Taxes


If Thomas Friedman went stark raving mad, how would anyone tell? The man has written an entire book dedicated to the thesis that the earth is flat and responds to every major event by making up more words and trying to tie them into his globalized flat earth theory. No matter what happens, Friedman shoves into his feeder tube and out comes his randomly generated understanding of the universe.

But this time the randomness is truly random. The screws have come loose. The corks have popped. The springs are all over the place and Friedman is no longer just a self-parody, the wheels have come off whatever ramshackle bus there was.

Thomas Friedman starts out with the Boston Marathon, but he has nothing to say about it. He puts pedal to metal and rolls on straight to praising America’s diversity. But he can’t think of anything to say about that either. Only two paragraphs in and he’s mumbling something about the budget.

Rebuilding our strength has to start with healing our economy. In that regard, it feels as if our budget drama has dragged on for so long that it has not only been drained of all emotional energy but nobody even remembers the plot anymore. It’s worth recalling: What are we trying to do?

A better question is what is Thomas Friedman trying to do. What is he even talking about?

We need to keep investing in the engines of our growth — infrastructure, government-financed research, education, immigration and regulations that incentivize risk-taking but prevent recklessness. We need to reform Social Security and Medicare so they can support all the baby boomers about to retire. And we need to raise more revenues, in the least painful way possible, because we can’t just cut everything.

Thomas Friedman has never grown anything except a mustache and it shows. He tries to make up for this by using “incentivize” because he hears that’s what business people do. But all he’s doing is throwing out hollow cliches.

We must invest in the engines of our growth– homeless people, moonshine whiskey, space stations and universal kindergarten. It makes about as much sense as what Friedman just said.

We need a more “radical center” — one much more willing to suggest radically new ideas to raise revenues, not the “split-the-difference-between-the-same-old-options center.”

Only Thomas Friedman could use the term “radical center” without being struck on the head by his own stupidity.

And the best place to start is with a carbon tax.

Either that or mass suicide.

A phased-in carbon tax of $20 to $25 a ton could raise around $1 trillion over 10 years, as we each pay a few more dimes and quarters for every gallon of gasoline or hour of electricity. With that new revenue stream, we’d have so many more options.

Like the option to put half the country out of work. The option to completely price cars out of the range of working class people. Like the option to raise the price of absolutely anything that requires electricity or is delivered by fuel powered vehicles.

But with the new revenue stream, we could spend more money on food stamps and unemployment created by the carbon tax.

a carbon tax would enable a radical grand bargain that would be more fiscally responsible for the long run and more stimulative in the short run, paving the way to more sustainable growth.

Sure, just look at how well the seniors in the UK freezing in their homes have been cushioned from energy poverty.

I know: If we can’t get some simple gun control, how do we get a carbon tax to pay for all of this? With both, you have to try and keep trying, until the unimaginable becomes the inevitable.

The difference between Thomas Friedman and the cult leader waiting for the UFO is that the cult leader has some grasp of reality. Friedman does not. He blends the insipid treacle of a motivational speaker with a completely delusional worldview that he makes up as he goes along bolstered by politician style anecdotes of his world travels.

I hope the president swings for the fences. It’s the only way to revive the country and a moribund Republican Party… Maybe only big ideas from President Obama can give birth to New Republicans — and the revival of the country.

I don’t think Friedman understands what he’s saying here. Is he really proposing that an insane Carbon Tax proposal from Obama could finally wire up the Republican Party so much in outrage that it makes a complete comeback?

It’s no more insane than every other thing that Friedman just proposed.

No wait, I’ve made a terrible mistake. Friedman actually went insane two years ago.

The smart thing for us to do right now is to impose a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax, to be phased in at 5 cents a month beginning in 2012, with all the money going to pay down the deficit. Legislating a higher energy price today that takes effect in the future, notes the Princeton economist Alan Blinder, would trigger a shift in buying and investment well before the tax kicks in. With one little gasoline tax, we can make ourselves more economically and strategically secure, help sell more Chevy Volts and free ourselves to openly push for democratic values in the Middle East without worrying anymore that it will harm our oil interests.

Just think. We’ll make driving unaffordable, sell more Chevy Volts to government bureaucrats and let the Muslim Brotherhood take over the Middle East.

It’s a plan so crazy that it just might work. But it didn’t.

  • Jakareh

    I'll go out on a limb and make a bold prediction: in 10 years, there will be no New York Times. When your most influential columnist is someone this ridiculous and this irrelevant, how can you possibly hope to survive?

    • kafir4life

      I disagree. President Stinky (BO) Benghazi will bail them out and /or just make them part of the administration.

    • Danny Mann

      But Soros will find Tom a new place if needed and then he become more looney.

  • JacksonPearson

    "Muslims can no longer force Islam onto a world where devastating power lies in the hands of Infidels. But this enemy is counting on us to continue behaving like overly civilized non-Muslims in the face of their daily outrages. They will push us to the brink, because that’s what they do. The Muslim world will finally force us to change them the way we were forced to change Japan. They must be made to fully understand, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their entire culture is in the thrall of evil. They must be shaken from their faith, for the sake of the entire civilized world. Mohammed played them all for suckers in his getting them to believe that Islam was any more than his lust for power, and his legacy of evil will bring hell to those who are determined to perpetuate it. Our physical power stops the enemy from having their way with us, but our moral weakness encourages them to continue killing us. A timid good stands no chance against a righteous evil. The only way the enemy will renounce terrorism is when they come face to face with it."
    –Bosch Fawstin

    • HM Angowenyet

      I hate to disagree with you.. The Islamists will win from within. While the outside radicals attack, there is an internal version that speaks of Peace, Joy, Love, Acceptance, Community, and Patriotism. With the internals pacifying the low informed public, they will conform our laws to protect them. While the externals attack and destroy. The current administration is more then willing to assist them in this endeavor.

    • Drakken

      I have always said, when islam gives you jihad, return the favor with a Crusades. When the muslim fears you, he will respect you.

  • texasron

    A liberal's solution to anything is raising taxes. That is, until they get and spend every last penny that belonged to the public.

  • K Zatman

    This man lives in a huge mansion and talks about carbon credits. How can Mr. Friedman be taken seriously (concerning carbon credits) when he lives in a huge, opulent mansion. Please.

    • EarlyBird

      How do carbon credits and big mansions conflict? He would be paying the additional fees on carbon he is proposing along with anyone else.

    • Danny Mann

      But he is a big D and D's are never subject to the same Jihads that R's get just for being a R.
      Think Gore who's mansion is HUGE. Tennessee Center for Policy Research charged Monday that the gas and electric bills for the former vice president's 20-room home and pool house devoured nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours in 2006, more than 20 times the national average of 10,656 kilowatt-hours.
      "If this were any other person with $30,000-a-year in utility bills, I wouldn't care," says the Center's 27-year-old president, Drew Johnson. "But he tells other people how to live and he's not following his own rules."

  • Greg J.

    Let me see if I follow this correctly: He proposes a $1-per-gallon gas tax to raise revenue, which will in turn drive more people to purchase more Chevy Volts, which are far more expensive to maintain long-term due to replacement battery packs, which will, in the long run reduce revenue from the gas tax due to less fuel consumption. Then, he'll pile it on those new Chevy Volt owners when we implement his full carbon tax, raising the cost of electricity and thereby, the cost of owning said Chevy Volt even more, forcing people to sell their Chevy Volts for more fuel-efficient gasoline-powered cars, still reducing tax revenue and increasing the overall carbon footprint and waste from manufactured Chevy Volts no one wants. Yep…makes perfect sense to me.

  • Judenlieber

    We're going to fight Islamism with a carbon tax?
    I think we should impose a sulfur tax on the entire religion.

  • EarlyBird

    How is this so obviously mockable?

    "We need to keep investing in the engines of our growth — infrastructure, government-financed research, education, immigration and regulations that incentivize risk-taking but prevent recklessness. We need to reform Social Security and Medicare so they can support all the baby boomers about to retire. And we need to raise more revenues, in the least painful way possible, because we can’t just cut everything."

    These are the real issues that need to be solved to ensure continuing American greatness. These are the big challenges we're facing right now. These are what threatens American way of life, not Iranian nukes or Muslims or Obama or "communism!"

    • Murray

      Because it relies on bureaucrats, legislators, and their cronies to fix everything. That got us into this pickle.

      • EarlyBird

        His call for renewal of the "engines of growth" are exactly the kinds of things which made us into a modern superpower. Yes, that includes – eeek! – bureaucrats and legislators to do big things that individuals on their own can't and aren't include to do. Like say, building highways, bridges, electrical grids, rail systems, water treatment and sewage plants, fund basic science research, etc., etc.

        Individualism built America, with a huge helping of government investment. The idea that the lone, hard-scrabble pioneer hewed the country out of his own sweat totally by himself and without any government support, is a very, very wrong-headed myth.

    • Drakken

      Your reliance on government to solve all your problems and your belief in this complete idiocy is truly stunning. Your hero Comrade Obummer is crashing this economy faster than you can say progressive and the useful idiots of the left like you love him for it.

      • EarlyBird

        Right. My belief that we should maintain a modern infrastructure is equal to believing that government should solve all of our problems. Are you actually getting stupider, General?

  • Judenlieber

    Along with the Left's inability to detect the odor of sulfur, their other great weakness is their seemingly total lack understanding of economics. Their habitual use of the word "revenue", along with "revenue enhancement", is almost never accompanied by the concept of "wealth creation". America is sitting on top of an ocean of oil and gas. If we drill for our own oil and natural gas, we can not only eliminate our massive trade deficit for the first time since 1970, but we can break our suicidal dependence on the Islamic world. Our dependence on these people is the single greatest cause of our ongoing national suicide.

  • Silver Gonzales

    Journalists and Politicians: what a waste of lungs and blood. Time to take care of things

  • Jersey Dave

    This is show civilizations fall, like Rome when a small group has their own parties and court games and nose in the air attitudes running things, while they pay no attention to the actual real world. Louis XVI comes to mind too. "No I won't have my troops protect me from the rioting mob that is coming to get me, that might upset the rioting mob that is coming to get me." What amazes me is that these journalists and leaders who ignore reality are often from cities, like New York, where the attacks of the enemy should have made things clear enough for anyone to understand.

  • Rich Miller

    So, Tom Friedman is crazy, Bowles-Simpson is ignored and the AARP doesn't want their constituancy impacted but doesn't offer any solution to the debt…So all you whiners out there need to come up with a viable solution which our Congress might be able to pass, or do we just keep adding to the our federal debt until our Country falls to it's knees. I've read all 66 pages of the Bowles Simpson report and listened to Tom Friedman on the radio yesterday. Sorry but each plan seems a viable way to attack our debt but each will require some small sacrifice for each of us – or do we just wait and put a much larger sacrifice on our grandchilden…shame on us all if that's what we do!

  • Linda Starr

    Richie, "a viable solution which our Congress might be able to pass" implies that (a) Congress could acutally come up with a "viable solution" and that (b) "passing" something is in itself an answer.

    If you had a job that required you to "pass" something in order to keep your job, would you keep creating stuff to pass?

    Of course you would, and that's one of the major problems (if not, the biggest one).