Many things remain perfectly normal.
For instance, I often lose my car keys and sometimes misplace my cell phone. The University of North Carolina is still good at basketball. My youngest almost always begs for a Slurpee or candy when we drop by 7-11, and my 17-year-old never laughs at my jokes.
But when I read the paper or turn on the radio or TV news, the world has been turned upside down. It’s as if I’ve slipped into a parallel universe.
I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, wanting so badly to get back home.
Perhaps I feel this way because government officials — from President Barack Obama to the too-big-to-fail treasury secretary, from finger-pointing congressmen to my county commissioners — resemble “that man behind the curtain.”
I’ve worked hard to put a roof over our heads and two cars in the driveway. To save money for college. To fund retirement so my wife and I can enjoy our golden years. As much as our savings have been socked by the market collapse, I feel we can weather that catastrophe. It’s the government-created catastrophes that have followed and more that will follow that produce my fear.
Years of easy credit, wild lending, and deficit spending are said to be solved only by more of the same. Much more. And if that doesn’t work, even more than that.
What? Electroshock to the frog won't make it leap? Then super-size the stimulus. What? Not a twitch? Then super-dooper-super-size it, man, fast!
If we were suffering from a hangover after a night of heavy drinking and asked our leaders for a prescription, their debate would be between slapping back a half-dozen shots of rum the next morning or downing a whole bottle.
Uh, two bottles? Really?
The world has always been a strange place. Even John Maynard Keynes’s crazy ideas, though obviously misguided, were not totally surreal. The surrealism stems more from the constant repetition that no matter what the problem there can be only one solution: pump money to someone somewhere.
Or everyone everywhere.
Any failure of this brilliant strategy must be a failure of amount, of not pushing a large enough dose.
As a byproduct of the federal government taking over the economy, bailing out financial institutions and car companies and specifically AIG, we are now treated to an Orwellian “two-minute hate” at the AIG bonuses. Before that we were supposed to envy their corporate jets.