America Is Falling Behind: Friedman


The U.S. has abandoned its five-part formula for success over the past 20 years and our politics is holding the economy back, author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman told CNBC’s “Squawk Box”on Tuesday.

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“If you fly from Singapore or Hong Kong to LAX, it’s like flying from the Jetsons to the Flintstones,” Friedman said. “We didn’t just get into this quickly, we’re not going to get out of it quickly.”

“We got into this because we got away from what has been our long-term formula for success,” he said. Friedman said this formula contains five parts: education, solid infrastructure, open immigration policies, sound rules and regulations, and government-funded research.

But over the past 20 years, the U.S. started to “buy our growth with massive credit at the household and federal level, at a time when the world was getting flat, others could compete better with us. We have to get back to basics.” (Read More: Foreign-Owned America.)

The good news, he said, is the U.S. economy remains dynamic. “You can’t put his economy down,” Friedman said.

“The country is still just alive from the bottom up, full of people who just didn’t get the word that China is going to eat our breakfast or Germany is going to eat our lunch,” he added. (Read More: German Small Businesses Reflect Country's Strength.)

Turning to the U.S. election, Friedman said he would like to see three grand bargains. He wants to see short-term investment in infrastructure paired with long-term fiscal rebalancing, environmentally friendly natural gas exploration, and immigration reform.

“Give me those three bargains and you will see a melt up in the stock market I think like nobody has seen,” Friedman said. “The country is poised for that, but right now our politics is holding us back.”