I go into restaurants these days, look around at the tables often still crowded with young people, and I have this urge to go from table to table and say: “You don’t know me, but I have to tell you that you shouldn’t be here. You should be saving your money. You should be home eating tuna fish. This financial crisis is so far from over. We are just at the end of the beginning. Please, wrap up that steak in a doggy bag and go home.”Friedman titles his NYTimes Op-Ed "We Found the WMDs" ... in our own backyard (the seeds of the financial crisis). This apologist for invading Iraq now wants to solve the problem by blowing up the restaurant industry. How misguided can you get? (Similar comment string online.)
What's to be gained if "young people" go home to their rat-infested hovels and eat canned tuna? The economy doesn't improve if consumers hunker down, it grows when people spend. Friedman can stay comfortably in his bourgeois manse, sipping from a stash of upper-middle-class beverages and eating Omaha steaks from the freezer while denying his fellow citizens the right to a beer and a pizza? Leaving aside the issue that restaurants are major employers, major purchasers of food and wine, and major consumers themselves of services as varied as the guy who brings clean laundry, the guy who adjusts the dishwashing chemicals. You tell "young people" to stop going to restaurants, Mr. Friedman, and you'll have chaos. It's a $500 billion industry that employs 15 million people, as important as automobile manufacturing. And it's working just fine without government subsidies. So please, Mr. Friedman, just shut up and go home.