Friedman on Obama's Last Push on Health Care: 'They Don't Get Something'

Perhaps President Barack Obama might have preferred New York Times columnist Tom Friedman to reserve these comments for their golf outings together, but has Friedman recognized this path toward a larger government is unsustainable?

On MSNBC's March 5 "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough recounted his childhood in the early 1970s and the poor economy. He explained there was a different focus - that his family was hoping for the economy to turn around and could have cared less about the other issues of the day - Vietnam, Watergate, etc. It was all about the economy.

"You know Tom Friedman, I remember in the early '70s, my dad worked for Lockheed, got laid off and he was without a job for 18 months," Scarborough said. "This is in the middle of Watergate was blowing up on TV and in the middle of Vietnam, as it was grinding to a very bloody, messy ending. And my family, we just cared about one thing. When we watched Walter Cronkite at night, we wanted to know if the economy was turning around. And we didn't understand what was going on in the college campuses."

Scarborough juxtaposed his scenario with what was going on now - that the debate about health care has distracted the so-called laser-like focus on improving unemployment in the United States and asked Friedman if the president and the rest of Washington just aren't getting it.

"My dad just wanted a job so he could take care of his family," Scarborough said. "I wonder if as Mike said, Washington and this administration still don't get that?"

And Friedman admitted the administration isn't getting it - well at least something. Friedman said should health care pass, Obama has to tell the American people this is it for entitlements for a long time and the new focus would have to be put on the United States building its stature back up in the world.

"Well, I think they don't get something here, Joe," Friedman said. "If this health care thing passes and I were the president the one thing I would say to the American people is, ‘Folks this is the last slice of pie you're going to get in a long time because the future is going to be about building a bigger pan. If we don't building a bigger pan with a more innovative America and more competitive America, this is the last slice you're ever going to get for a long time."