From Dean Baker at The American Prospect:
Thomas Friedman told readers that: "But now it feels as if we are entering a new era, 'where the great task of government and of leadership is going to be about taking things away from people,' said the Johns Hopkins University foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum."
Unfortunately, Mr. Friedman apparently doesn't talk to anyone who has ever taken any economics. There are no serious forecasts that do not project that productivity will continue to grow for the indefinite future, and many project that productivity will grow at a more rapid pace than it did in the years from 1973-1995. This means that there is no reason, except incompetent economic management and/or the continuing upward redistribution of income, why the vast majority of the population should not experience improvements in living standards. This would mean an increase in both public and private services.
This is the meme that the corporate overlords have been selling for the last 20 years.
Times are tough and global competition is tough, so you are going to have to work longer and harder to make less money.
You're going to have to give up your 40 hour work week and employer-provided vacations and your employer-provided health care plan (if you're lucky enough to have one.)
You're going to have to delay your retirement and work longer and harder longer into your old age (but not at a good paying job, of course...you'll be laid off and stocking shelves at Walmart or delivering pizzas to college kids for those golden years...)
And that's if you can get a job at all. As the NY Times reported today, plenty of people who once lived middle class lives are unemployed, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits.
Now of course the folks at the top - the Bloombergs, the Gateses, the Blankfeins, the Philip Falcones of the world - they'll be raking in gobs more money, sucking up more of the world's resources - while you're losing your stuff.
And according to Little Tommy Friedman, who lives in a 4,000 square foot house in Washington and writes books about how great the Indian economic system and education systems are, says there's nothing we can do about it.
About all we can do is get used to the new reality and socialize our kids to expect to work longer and harder for a lot less than we ever had to.
And that, of course, is where education reform and the charter school movement that forces a 60 hour/6 day work week onto kids, comes into play.
And notice who is driving the education reform/charter movement - the Bloombergs, the Gateses, the Blankfeins and the Philip Falcones of the world.
And they have Little Tommy Friedman and others of his ilk to to sell their jive in the media.
It's all so perfect.
Unless people wake up to it.
The problem is not education, the problem is not the American workforce.
The problem is that the corporate overlords are crooks and have rigged the system for themselves.
You can see the latest Matt Taibbi article for just how easily they've done it.
Until something is done to take care of the Bloombergs, the Gateses, the Blankfeins and the Philip Falcones of the world and the shills who sell their jive like Little Tommy Friedman, things are only going to get worse for the working and middle classes.
You can see the anger over a lot of this in the Tea Party Movement or the nutcase flying his plane into the IRS building in Austin.
But of course the crazies are directing their anger at the wrong people.
Sure the IRS and the federal government are stealing your money and screwing you over and over - but they're doing it for the Bloombergs, the Gateses, the Blankfeins, and the Philip Falcones of the world.