I always enjoy those stories that crop up periodically on the local news where some 700lb guy who can’t get out of bed needs to go to hospital and the fire department has to slice off the second-floor clapboards and framing to winch him out of there. When you’re 50lbs overweight, it’s worth laying off the pasta and desserts. When you’re 500lbs over, you just lie there and wait for someone else to keep the chow coming – the Chinese, Japanese, Saudis, Russians… Hey, what difference does it make? And if the bed sores get too bad the Beijing Fire Department will be there to saw the wall off and get you outta there. After all, it’s in their interest, right?
A Baltimore reader sent me his guide to crisis management in advanced democracies:
Phase 1) A crisis is coming. But we still have time. There’s no need to act yet.
Phase 2) Yes, a crisis is coming. But we still have time. There’s no need to act yet.
Phase 3) We’re out of time. There’s no reason to act, because it’s too late.
Much of the political establishment is officially in Phase Two – sure, this stuff is a problem but not until 2080, 2060, whenever – but substantively in Phase Three.
Tyler Durden illustrates the issue with what he describes "the only charts that matter".
The federal budget is seriously, seriously out-of-whack.
The debt ceiling will be breached in the next month or two.
And, ominously, "for the purists, ... another chart, this time showing the continuing persistent deterioration in the budget due to mandatory spending. The question is where, absent someone discovering teleportation or some other revolutionary technological invention, will the paradigm technological step up allowing for a surge in revenues, come from."
And these are the important deadlines for the fiscal battles yet to come.
Does the House leadership possess the mettle to save America from fiscal calamity? Or will it allow the country to die, stuck in its chair, as it negotiates fiscal trivialities?