After all, when you’re swimming in a multi-trillion dollar sea of red ink, you’ll always be able to say it’s all chump change, not worth squabbling over.
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. Not a good sign, and it should be resisted on every front.
(More in my weekend column.)