Last week Tom Friedman flew from Hong Kong to New York, and the contrast between the two cities' airports was "like going from the Jetsons to the Flintstones." For the New York Times columnist, American infrastructure has become a symbol for a country that, for all its intelligence, has failed to move into the future. "We as a country have become General Motors"—profligate, polluting, and shamefully unproductive.
For Friedman, the next few months, as Barack Obama takes office, are "among the most important in US history." With $1 trillion in stimulus to spend and broad bipartisan support, we can choose to educate a new generation of scientists and researchers, or we can plow it into failed companies like GM that will lead America to ruin. "We don't just need a bailout," writes Friedman; "we need a reboot."