Over the weekend, Digby went up with this post refuting another one of Tom Friedman's inane columns about telling grandma she has to suck it in because, austerity. She links to Brad DeLong's clever take down of Friedman's Sunday column pleading for the great wise men to come together and form that long elusive Grand Bargain. Friedman's latest display of classic Beltway groupthink:
After the whipping the G.O.P. took in the election, I believe there is now a group of Republican politicians and C.E.O.’s who would meet Obama in the middle, if the president showed he was ready to take on some of his base as well. If the president tries, and I am wrong, well, he’ll have a few bad weeks. If I am right and enough Republicans meet Obama on a Grand Bargain, it would both split the G.O.P. between the sane conservatives and the certifiable crazies and give the president a real foundation for a truly significant second term.Apparently Tom has been asleep for the three months since the election dreaming about the Republican unicorn that's about to knock on the White House door to make nice. He's obviously seen something I haven't: a "group of Republican politicians and CEO's" prepared to meet Obama at the middle. The middle being where the catfood is flavored to taste like sushi grade tuna, not just the Chicken of the Sea kind. Name one of those guys, Tom. Lindsay Graham, perhaps?
DeLong's deconstruction is classic DeLong -- witty, smart and devastating. Please read it. In the end, he asks his readers each to hand his graphs to a cabdriver, so Tom will be sure to get them. Cab drivers, of course, being Friedman's favorite source of column fodder. But that's not the point of this diary. The point of this diary is to call out Digby for being so mean. Please, keep reading.
She headlines her post "Another Billionaire Calls for Human Sacrifice." At the close, she reminds us that Tom made his money the old fashioned way -- he married into the Bucksbaum family, the owners of General Growth Properties, once the largest shopping center owners in America. I say "once" because GGP flamed out spectacularly in a huge bankruptcy at the start of the financial crisis. HuffPo identified Tom as one of the biggest casualties of the financial crisis:
But like others on this list, Friedman saw his family's net worth slide from billions to mere millions during the housing crisis, when GGP's revenues took a nosedive. The Friedman family trust went from $3.6 billion to less than $25 million.
Wow. They lost something like 99% of their wealth. Now I can see how well he understands the struggles America's middle class will be facing. He can credibly argue that the sacrifice should be shared. Off to Sam's Club to stock up! Perhaps this gives us a new perspective on the unselfish nature of Tom's call for austerity. No doubt he's practicing what he preaches. Betcha he has to fly in mere first class every once in a while these days. I just wish Digby could show some empathy for the underprivileged.