November 16, 2008
Friedman Talks His Book
Thomas Friedman has written a number of books and likes to talk about them for $50,000 per speaking engagement. But today he talks his book in a different sense.
In his column Friedman writes:
Now is when we need a president who has the skill, the vision and the courage to cut through this cacophony, pull us together as one nation and inspire and enable us to do the one thing we can and must do right now:
If you are going to fight a global financial panic like this, you have to go at it with overwhelming force — an overwhelming stimulus that gets people shopping again and an overwhelming recapitalization of the banking system that gets it lending again.
'Overwhelming force' - shock and awe at Walmart.
Does Friedman wants Bush back? After all, to go shopping was Bush's advice after 9/11.
Maybe, but this Friedman call for shopping is rather directly related to the likely bankruptcy of General Growth Properties Inc.
GGP.N shares fell 64 percent on Tuesday after the second-largest U.S. mall owner expressed doubts it could keep operating due to looming near-term debt.
General Growth shares closed down 88 cents at 49 cents after reaching an intraday low of 33 cents on the New York Stock Exchange. Nearly a year ago, the shares traded as high as $51.24.
The direct relation:
Friedman's wife, Ann, is a graduate of Stanford University and the London School of Economics. Her father, Matthew Bucksbaum, is the chairman of the board of General Growth Properties, the real estate development group that he co-founded with his brother in 1954. The Bucksbaums helped pioneer the development of shopping centers in the United States. As of 2007, Forbes estimated the Bucksbaum family's assets at $4.1 billion, including about 18.6 million square meters of mall space.
Dear Thomas, why not just wait six month? That seemed to be your preferred solution on other major issues.
And if you really want a big consumption orientated stimulus program, how about financing it with a 90% income tax on every dollar of the millions you make by giving bad advice?
Posted by b on November 16, 2008 at 03:58 AM | Permalink
Friedman's advice is sheer, sheer deluded madness. It's not unreasonable to suggest that Ron Paul would run a temporary increased risk of experiencing a heart-attack if he read his article. This advice is so wrong, on so many levels. With this type of attitude already floating around the mainstream media, I revise my predicton of a hyper-inflationary depression following the requisite deflationary period, from likely to definite. US citizens need to clear their debt & save, not spend!
Posted by: Al | Nov 16, 2008 6:39:25 AM | 2
This crisis is going to really show it ugly face soon when next shoe drops: credit cards crunch! There will be nothing similar to shopping then…
Posted by: vbo | Nov 16, 2008 7:25:47 AM | 3
That's what makes it so immensely satisfying to not buy some stupid shit ya don't need. It's like planting an IED in the consumerist Green Zone.
Posted by: ...---... | Nov 16, 2008 7:59:15 AM | 4
from what I understand of capitalism is that it must grow, if it stops growing it dies. it is like yeast in that respect, yeast constantly requires food which causes it to grow, if the container is finite eventually the yeast will occupy all the space there is and the poison it produces as a by-product will kill it.
Friedman knows this and the only solution available to him and his fellow capitalists is to give more food to the yeast. there simply is no other option for him. the future be damned! as many others say, "in the long run we will all be dead"
Posted by: dan of steele | Nov 16, 2008 8:11:31 AM | 5
Gee, Okay, Thomas, I'll go shopping, but the only thing I have left, since I'm all tapped out, is my good looks, and I'm afraid that won't get me any further than the local street corner.
Posted by: Obamageddon | Nov 16, 2008 9:39:45 AM | 6
Why are we bothering to continue to talk about Tom Friedman? I stopped buying his books long ago after listening to his insane chatter about Iraq. His insight and assessment of our attacking Iraq was so wrong that any and all pronouncements he might make would have to be considered inherently flawed. He had simply stepped into thin air, like the Wiley Coyote from the Road Runner cartoons. Let him fall to the canyon below. Just don't bring him back.
Posted by: PrahaPartizan | Nov 16, 2008 10:09:41 AM | 7
All Friedman needs to do is "Suck on this."
Posted by: Michael | Nov 16, 2008 10:47:53 AM | 8
Good catch, b. GGP was a shocker last week, sending shivers down the spines of commercial property managers across the country. Here's another: LVS. And a rollup: REIT Sector. Collapse in commercial property is following residential right down.
US taxpayers are going to end up on the hook for this, just like we're going to end up on the hook for auto/loan/defense/aerospace, long after they're in dire straits, essentially bailing out preferred shareholders and pension funds.
Pension funds that Joe T. Plumber does not have. Wait until carbon taxes hit 2009!
Where do they suppose discretional cash comes from?! Ben, fire up the helicopters!
Dow, 30,000 by 2008 - Why It's Different This Time! - Bob Zuccaro - 2nd Printing
Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting From the Coming Rise in the Market!
Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust - And How You Can Profit from It!!
Posted by: General Issimo | Nov 16, 2008 12:18:40 PM | 9
20 Reasons Why U.S. Consumers are Capitulating, Triggering Worst U.S. Recession
Nouriel Roubini | Nov 14, 2008
Today’s news about October retail sales (-2.8% relative to the previous month and now down in real terms for five months in a row) confirm what this forum has been arguing for a while, i.e. that the U.S. has entered its most severe consumer-led recession in decades. At this rate of free fall in consumption real GDP growth could be a whopping 5% negative or even worse in Q4 of 2008. And this is not a temporary phenomenon as almost all of the fundamentals driving consumption are heading south on a persistent and structural basis. Consider the many severe negative factors affecting consumption. One can count at least 20 separate or complementary causes that may sharply reduce consumption in the next several years."
G20 Nations Agree to More Concerted Efforts, Regulatory Coordination ... next meeting kicked down the road to MARCH 2009!
Posted by: Gee Haw | Nov 16, 2008 12:34:47 PM | 10
Go shooppping! it sounds like satire.
Of course from Friedman’s pov it is the only thing that is left. The debt slaves have to produce and consume, otherwise how can you skim anything off the top? The global company store!
Posted by: Tangerine | Nov 16, 2008 12:49:12 PM | 12
sorry for the ot, but, #9, is your nick from spanish murderer dictator general Francisco Franco? kinda bad taste, no?
Posted by: rudolf | Nov 16, 2008 1:49:59 PM | 13
While not coming to the defense of Friedman, I'll grudgingly admit that he has a point--if only people had money to shop with.
Our entire capitalist system is based on the whim of emotion. We have fiat currency that's worth whatever people believe it is--and much of that belief is based on trying to guess what other people believe.
Famine and drought, pestilence and war, these are the real things. What a dollar or dinar is worth is a matter of collective opinion and belief--the one true world religion. Major market moves are rarely directly related to any particular news event, but rather the herd mentality's reaction to them.
So, by all means, buck the trend, be the heretic and go shopping, if you're able. Someone might believe you.
What our economic system really needs is a Luther.
Posted by: Obelix | Nov 16, 2008 2:00:02 PM | 14
Ah, this is rich, as rich as Tommy Friedman!
Ya know, the bull on Wall Street up and died. There is no such thing as an investment bank up in that neck of Manhattan any more, There's just swine wandering the alleyways, snuffling and rooting for cash, and Mister Paulson is out there filling every trough in the back rooms, and in other unholy places where the public is not allowed.
Wall Street is a ghost of its former self. The international shipping trade is as well. The malls and supermarkets of America are already ghost towns full of wraiths with thin wallets as the Christmas shopping season approaches. The only things flying off the shelves is Spam, Velveeta Food Product, rice and beans.
That's your retail sector, Tommy me boy. There are a whole lot of families who will be happy about having some goddamned Spam under the tree five weeks from now.
Posted by: Antifa | Nov 16, 2008 2:31:00 PM | 15
We love yeast for its by-products, not for the yeast itself. The consumers will drown in poisons while the banksters quaff the brew.
"Let's drink a toast, all those that are present
To the billion farting yeasties that make it effervescent!
We don't need bottles, we don't need draughts,
We'll sit around the carboy and pass around straws
Stir the wort and now boil it down--
Gonna have a homebrew!"
(The Brewin' Song)
Posted by: catlady | Nov 16, 2008 3:29:45 PM | 16
"So, by all means, buck the trend, be the heretic and go shopping, if you're able."
In terms of the economy, right now there are two types of people in the US. Dumb people and smarter people. Dumb people will continue their trips to the local shopping centre to buy products made in China. Smarter people will not. Smarter people will clear their debit, save and not spend unnecessarily (unless they are very wealthy). This deluded mentality that maybe, just maybe, all the US economy needs is a bit of extra consumer spending so as to endure these tough times, is simply laughable for those who understand economics. Just like "stimulus package" = increased debt, increased (eventual) inflation and a decreased (medium-long term) standard of living for the average taxpayer.
For the last 30 or so years the US has relied on issuing debt (much of it now held by foreigners) in order to sustain its addiction to consumerism, which it could not otherwise afford. Issuing debt to sell to foreigners is now increasingly not an option, yet despite this, just like a drug addict, there are some who still insist that things cannot change & consumption must prevail. The binge is over, get it. Clear your debts and save, or, become further enslaved under a pyramid of debt. Unless you're very wealth, these are your two options.
Posted by: Al | Nov 16, 2008 5:26:39 PM | 17
is there a statistical relevant relationship between the amount of money you marry into and the amount of words designed to fog the reader's eyes, cuddle your father-in-law's vanity and kiss your wife's a... mind-set?
In nature what grows dies eventually, after reproduction was taken care of. These suckers don't want to die and don't want to reproduce, too nasty things that demand work and grace, which billionaires don't seem to like or have.
Posted by: mimi | Nov 16, 2008 6:46:28 PM | 18
The financial system as we know it today relies more on expanding debt than it does creating some object or service of real worth. The fact that US consumers have been stampeded into going into debt to buy things they don't need to stoke the furnaces of economic expansion bears witness to the success of marketing campaigns.
This is why, in my opinion, the G20 will not let the US economy go down the plughole without a battle. It would become necessary to inculcate a whole new set of consumers to the effect that it's perfectly sane to borrow beyond their means.
Who, in your experience, talks about purchasing something because one "needs" it--in the truest sense of "need". Most of American purchasing is performed on the basis of impulse, not need. Who the hell needs cable TV? Yet everyone I know of has it. Most even subscribe to "premium" channels.
So we Americans accumulate mountains of junk and build large houses and rent storage space to hold it. And we do this gladly, without thinking of the endless hours of servitude that it will take to pay for it.
Think of the effort that educating, say, the Chinese to behave in a similarly insane manner would entail!
(P.S. I own my home, have no debt and no cable TV)
Posted by: Obelix | Nov 16, 2008 8:06:47 PM | 19
Well, it's good to know you're debt free. Obviously this is because you fall into the 'smarter' category. I would advocate for more people to shift into this category, opposed to encouraging or making acceptable to those not already in this category the further extension of their previous mistakes, for the sake of redeeming their own personal security.
Posted by: Al | Nov 16, 2008 9:07:23 PM | 20
Posted by: rudolf | Nov 17, 2008 1:13:24 AM | 21
Thanks for the exposé; here is another in a similar, but more generic, and
Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 17, 2008 1:45:50 AM | 22
Arriving late. I am with Praha P @7. Wasting time on Friedman is an acknowledgement of him, and a waste of your own time. Needless to say I didn't read the original entry or the comments because of the subject person.
The fact that this glob of slime is still in the employ of NYT also says a lot about that "paper of record" and its owners & editors. If your objective is to read, listen to, and spread false propaganda then by all means cuddle up to Friedman, interview him on your TV show, buy his books. He has somehow locked himself into a gig where, no matter what he says, people think its cool to quote him. Yuck.
Posted by: rapt | Nov 17, 2008 12:53:34 PM | 23
Mall Owner Lines Up Bankruptcy Law Firm
Debt-laden mall giant General Growth Properties Inc. has hired the law firm Sidley Austin as bankruptcy counsel while it negotiates with lenders for more time to restructure its $27 billion debt load.
Posted by: b | Nov 20, 2008 3:36:20 AM | 25
Not to worry kiddies. Whatever Lola wants/Lola gets...Obama announced yesterday that from day one of his administration we're all going to be put back to work fixing the US infrastructure--years and years of work, and the credit is easy, manufacturing more butter so we can shop while we oil the guns of further war. What with a tax cut to boot, I guess China is expected to pay the bills.
Posted by: Lola | Nov 23, 2008 4:45:31 PM | 26