Evidently, as my sainted mother used to observe, it's just one "D" thing after another. A handy letter, D, standing for debt along with other insalubrious things. Our economic traumas begin with debt (and don't we know it?) What we don't know, is what comes next.
Let me make a slight suggestion here: The 2012 election comes next. Before it, nothing definitive is likely to happen; after it, the ship could start to slowly come around.
I don't like to engage in naked politics (preferring as I do the chastely clothed kind). Though, at this point, there's nothing for it.
We have to throw out those Democrats who are presently in power. Not on account of their being Democrats; rather, because of their -- I don't think it's incapacity -- blinkered refusal to face the facts. This welfare state economy is based on the labors of only half the population -- the half that pays income tax - and it doesn't work. It has to go.
I know no other way of putting it. We need freedom. We need, in economic terms, the restoration of something that looks and works like a free market economy. An economy wherein bills generally get paid and decisions bear some relationship to economic needs rather than to the baser sort of political calculation. That's the message to be preached from every street corner for the next 15 months.
To such politicians, of any or all parties, who think something is wrong with freedom -- throw 'em out, vote 'em down. Put in their places people who do believe in freedom, or anyway, who say they do and can be reminded at strategic intervals of that commitment.
The sometimes-tolerable edifice of an economy that is part free, part-government-dominated used to satisfy most people (or "folks," as our Harvard Law graduate president likes to call them). No more. Government runs the show. And what sterling effects we see: a terrified stock market, and a White House, Senate team leagued against "folks" who believe we have to start paying down the D word -- the debt.
It would be pleasant to think the president and the leaders of the Senate had more than rhetorical regard for the rewards of freedom. They don't get it. They don 't get much of anything else, to be truthful. Here was the president on Monday, for instance, averring that we don't need "some agency:" -- meaning Standard and Poor's -- to define the credit worthiness of the United States.
Doesn't he understand that S and P defines nothing? It wasn't S and P that called the administration's hand. It was that great anonymity, the marketplace -- the sum of millions of daily decisions and intuitions -- that called the administration on its inability to understand anything more than the politics of bashing opponents for the evidently treasonable offense of facing reality.
It's a wonder then this sort of thing didn't happen years ago -- the moral collapse of a political party for consistent and unyielding failure to acknowledge the truth and, so acknowledging it, tell it to the people. The party of Barack Obama -- its lineage traceable to Jefferson and Jackson -- seems to not really believe that something called the truth indeed exists.
This poses a challenge when it comes to setting the country's affairs correctly. What spirit of sincere cooperation does one find among the leaders of a party convinced the country should sell more debt and raise people's taxes? How do you work with such people? With care, certainly, but more to the point, with the intention to eject them from power.
The Republican Party -- the Grand Old Party -- has its share of loons, dolts and knaves. It merely seems, at the present moment, to have fewer of these in its ranks than does the party of Pelosi, Frank, Schumer and Kerry (mentioning only Congress members). If they come to power, they'll bear careful watching, however correct their rhetoric. The priority will remain: human freedom -- the sole economic recipe recent Congresses have failed to attempt.