This would all be the height of hilarity if it wasn’t actually happening. When the screaming in my head stops, I have quiet time to imagine all these budget-, policy-, and financial services-types in Washington running around like a hundred Charlie Chaplains: leaderless, directionless, and ridiculous. What are they doing?!?! I don’t at all claim to have the answers to these economic problems, but it certainly can’t be the death-by-a-thousand-cuts profligate spending of which we’re suddenly so fond.
Many seem to be saying (you know who you are: thank you) that we can’t simply resolve this situation by throwing money at it, but no one is closing the spending floodgates. I’m as scared as the next person of a prolonged recession, or (God forbid) a full-blown depression, but I’m more afraid of weathering this storm only to face 50 percent income taxes and so much government intervention and regulation that capitalists and entrepreneurs flee for the hills. We can’t afford for the engines of American ingenuity to decide to shut down to avoid conflict with our government.
I wrote last time about the importance of us learning our collective lessons from this crisis. The government is doing us no favors in that regard. We’re being scolded for having spent beyond our means and buying homes our incomes couldn’t support. We’re also being told that only our spending as consumers keeps the economy growing, and until we start doing that again, they’re going to do it for us. That causes me to wonder: when we start spending again, will they stop? And if they stop (or especially if they don’t), how much of our paychecks will be devoured by taxes to pay for it all (including the interest on our national debt)? It already feels like a vicious cycle, and it’s barely begun. Hilarious, huh?