Friday, November 14, 2008



It would be easy to dismiss today’s rant (however spot-on it might be) by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as yet another ideological tirade against the U.S. automobile industry. But based on the bad news coming out of shopping-mall owner General Growth Properties [GGP], it is no wonder Friedman is feeling crankier than usual. That’s because the author’s wife, Ann (née Bucksbaum), is an heir to the General Growth fortune. In the past year, the couple—who live in an 11,400-square-foot mansion in Bethesda, Maryland—have watched helplessly as General Growth stock has fallen 99 percent, from a high of $51 to a recent 35 cents a share. The assorted Bucksbaum family trusts, once worth a combined $3.6 billion, are now worth less than $25 million.

Now, Tom, imagine what it would be like without the $25 million you have remaining, and you will fully understand how the vast majority of Americans feel right now. Also, it will put a completely new lens on the bailouts of the past few months. You might even find yourself muttering “We are bailing out who? What? WTF?” several times.

Now all that needs to be done is to replace him with a immigrant so we can see how well he does at "reinventing himself to become a member of the new economy."

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