Oh LOOK, professional centrist Tom Friedman used his position at the “best job in the world,” which we are all “jealous of,” to share with us some deep thoughts on how we should be fixing the economy. See, the whole problem, you guys, is that we haven’t created enough of something called “startups.” If 2,000 people in each town would just make one of these startup thingies, he says, and also if we kept our markets the “freest” and “most trusted,” well, everything would be FINE and Tom Friedman could go back to getting paid craploads of money for using mixed metaphors and advocating for a third party that does exactly what the other two parties already do.
Via the New York Times:
Obama should aspire to make America the launching pad where everyone everywhere should want to come to launch their own moon shot, their own start-up, their own social movement. We can’t stimulate or tax-cut our way to growth. We have to invent our way there. The majority of new jobs every year are created by start-ups. The days when Ford or G.E. came to town with 10,000 jobs are over. Their factories are much more automated today, and their products are made in global supply chains. Instead, we need 2,000 people in every town each starting something that employs five people.
We need everyone starting something! Therefore, we should aspire to be the world’s best launching pad because our work force is so productive; our markets the freest and most trusted; our infrastructure and Internet bandwidth the most advanced; our openness to foreign talent second to none; our funding for basic research the most generous; our rule of law, patent protection and investment-friendly tax code the envy of the world; our education system unrivaled; our currency and interest rates the most stable; our environment the most pristine; our health care system the most efficient; and our energy supplies the most secure, clean and cost-effective.
No, we are not all those things today — but building America into this launching pad for more start-ups is precisely what an Obama second term should be about, so more Americans can thrive in a world we invented. If we can make America the best place to dream something, design something, start something, collaborate with others on something and manufacture something — in an age in which every link in that chain can now be done in so many more places — our workers and innovators will do just fine.
So much to choose from here. Choices, choices. But let’s start with this: does Tom Friedman actually ever bother to READ the New York Times? Your Wonkette thinks he does not, because if he did, he’d know that small companies and startups DON’T actually create the majority of jobs each year. But yes, just for funsies, let’s talk more about these “startups,” and how they will save the economy so long as we “invent our way there.” When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion dollars, it was making no money and employed only 13 people. At last count, Kickstarter had collected over a million backers and only had 32 employees, and Pinterest, which was valued not too long ago at $1.5 billion, has only 31 employees and it looks like generates revenue through the legal but shady practice of tracking people’s pins without telling them.
So great idea Tom! If we somehow manage to cut corporate taxes, improve our bandwidth, and keep our markets the “freest” AND the “most trusted” while simultaneously realizing that we can’t actually rely on any Job Creators or stimulations to claw our way back to prosperity, then best case scenario — judging from the recent past — is that 2000 people in every town will make startups that produce nothing, employ next to no one, and have no discernable revenue stream. Welcome to the future.