If only... - Macleans.ca

If only…


I worry sometimes that the New York Times’ Tom Friedman is blowing a lot of his advantage as a columnist by spending too much time telling readers what should happen and not enough time telling them what’s happening. It’s always easier to write “If only” columns because you can ignore all the annoying reasons why people don’t behave according to your ideal. The resulting made-up people are invariably more boring than real people. If I read one more bit of made-up fantasy dialogue Friedman has written for a Middle East leader, I’m going to plotz. But this, from the bottom of today’s column, sure caught my eye:

If only — if only — we could come together on a national strategy to enhance and expand all of our natural advantages: more immigration, most post-secondary education, better infrastructure, more government research, smart incentives for spurring millions of start-ups — and a long-term plan to really fix our long-term debt problems — nobody could touch us. We’re that close.

Immigration, research, start-up incentives, and a long-term debt plan? Compare that list with the items in Stephen Harper’s Davos speech.


If only…

  1. “We’re that close.”

    Bordering on it, in fact.

    • Some might even say that in Canada, we’re actually doing it!

  2. Yes, we are THAT close…..but unless a miracle occurs, we’ll miss it….because we are also that arrogant and that stubborn.

    • Speaking for yourself Emily?

      • ‘We’ generally means ‘we’, not ‘I’, but you can look it up.

        • I thought you were using the “Royal” we.

          • Cons often have language difficulties, I’ve noticed.

          • Libs make assumptions that might not be based on reality.

          • @75aa791f17ad56e9367cb86488acc8d9:disqus 
            I wouldn’t know. I’m not a Lib.

  3. An evidence based analysis of immigration as currently implemented by Canada and USA shows that it is very harmful socially and a drag on the economy.  

    PSE is not federal jurisdiction in either Canada or USA and in any case the feds (and especially Friendman’s NYT) in the USA have embraced a wholly unscientific “blank slate” view of intelligence and education which has cost tens of billions of dollars and had few if any positive results.  Black students continue to score a standard deviation lower on aptitude tests just as they did in the 1960s.He provides a laundry list of enormously expensive government spending in the same breath as he champions a plan to “fix” government debt – at a time when the feds are spending $3.6 billion and only taking in $2 billion in revenue.  What he fails to mention is that raising the revenue to pay for his schemes – schemes which would make a Three Card Monte touting carny blush – would certainly kill an already ailing American economy.Smart incentives for startups is code for more corporate welfare, or crony capitalism, one of the few things both leftists and rightists broadly agree upon in that it has to stop.
    Ah, but Harper is saying much the same thing, you say?  Harper is a politician, Friedman has no excuse.  Harper is being realistic (“too much general willingness to have standards and benefits beyond our ability or even willingness to pay for them?”) while Friedman is not.  Harper calls for better immigration, Friedman just wants more immigration.

    I know it’s poor form to dismiss one’s opponents as stupid – but these are indeed stupid ideas and Thomas Friedman is, based on evidence based analysis, a very stupid man. 

  4. Captain Harper is looking almost brilliant compared to the floundering of some of the other heads of”G” countries.  Even scientists are bailing from the AGW ship – finally seeing the effect on world economies.  Over two thousand+ comments on this article.

    “A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls. This would be especially beneficial to the less-developed parts of the world that would like to share some of the same advantages of material well-being, health and life expectancy that the fully developed parts of the world enjoy now. Many other policy responses would have a negative return on investment. And it is likely that more CO2 and the modest warming that may come with it will be an overall benefit to the planet.”


  5. If I read one more bit of made-up fantasy dialogue…

    Reminds me of a series of “What I think Harper is thinking” columns.

  6. Well the New York Times’ Paul Krugman came through today calling the Cameron austerity program in the face of depression, “ideologically convenient  wishful thinking” and “austerity in the face of depression is a very bad idea”.
    Of course Harper is taking Canada down the same fork in the road, the wrong one.

    • Well! Paul Krugman wrote it, so let it be done! Al Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize too, ya know. And I wouldn’t be following any of his advice.

      • Actually Gore seems to have downplayed the severity of global warming, and totally misjudged how quickly events such as the disappearance of the polar ice cap would take place. So you’re right, he goofed. 
        And that climate genius Harper already heading north with jets and ships to make sure we get all that open water and shipping lanes, not to mention oil and minerals.

  7. Stephen Harper on the same page as loony-tunes Friedman?  I guess a stopped clock agrees with the correct time twice every day.

    I’ll give Friedman credit (an iota), for at least acknowledging there is a debt problem (and that taxing the rich more won’t fix it), which is something that most NY Times writers and most Democrats in Congress, including the president, are completely incapable of doing.  Even producing an actual budget seems to be a non-starter for those people.

    It’s been nearly 3 years now that the US government has passed a budget.  The last time the Senate passed a budget was on April 29, 2009.  The last budget produced by the president was voted down 97-0 by the Senate.  And you would never even know that from the likes of Friedman or any other Democrat-supporting media outlet.