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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thomas Friedman, "Taking One for the Country": Did It Really Require 59 Pages of Gobbledygook?

I can't make sense of Chief Justice Roberts's 59-page opinion supporting the constitutionality of Obamacare, and apparently neither can Thomas Friedman, as evidenced by his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Taking One for the Country" (

Regrettably for me, I also can't make sense of Friedman's 13-paragraph essay.

Friedman begins by telling us that Roberts may have been motivated by the premise that the "big" political questions, such as Obamacare, should be left to the politicians. Leave it to the politicians? In fact, Obamacare should now be left to the voters, who can decide in November whether they want this highly unpopular piece of legislation annulled.

But really now, is it necessary to write 59 pages of gobbledygook to achieve this end? Next time, Chief Justice Roberts, just come to me, and I'll save a lot of ink and paper by telling it like it is:

"In 2008 you voted for Obama and a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, and they've arranged for you to pay this new tax. The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution says, 'The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.'

So stop with the bellyaching, and pay up.

C'est tout."

That wasn't so hard.

But then there's this improbable segue in Friedman's opinion piece, essentially telling us that if Roberts could think "big," maybe it's also time for Obama to do likewise:

"If we can just get a few big things right today — a Simpson-Bowles-like grand bargain on spending and tax reform that unleashes entrepreneurship, a deal on immigration that allows the most energetic and smartest immigrants to enrich our country and a plan on energy that allows us to tap all these new sources in environmentally safe ways — no one could touch us as a country. Connect the dots for people, Mr. President — be the guy taking the risk to offer that big plan for American renewal, and Romney will never be able to touch you."

Well, let's see. Four months prior to November, and Friedman is asking that a paralyzed, dysfunctional White House suddenly get its act together? Thanks, Tom, but it's a little late for that "big plan" of yours, but I like your suggestion about only allowing the smartest immigrants into the country. Let's propose administering an IQ test to everyone seeking a Green Card and see how that goes over with the electorate.

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