and it’s big and angry
For years the guys in Washington ducked the tough choices, leaving them for the future to deal with. Now the future is here. The business-as-usual pols in Washington who created the monster say they can save us from it. If we just raise the debt ceiling they’ll spend responsibly from now on, they promise. Some people don’t believe them. In fact, I don’t think many people do believe them, but they find it expedient to pretend to. Anyway, some of the more recently elected and more conservative Republicans are being stubborn about it. The mature responsible grown-ups who made this mess think the Tea Party should compromise. “The constituencies which make up the tea party do not necessarily understand how much of their life is underwritten by the government,” says Megan McArdle.
I think that’s true, but it’s the too-big-to-fail argument. Look how that worked out: the institutions that were too big to fail then are bigger now, and everyone is worse off but the pols and bankers. The same thing will happen again.
If we get out of the current financial jam, the politicians in Washington will drive straight for the next jam as fast as ever they can. Nothing substantive will have changed, nor ever will without some external force beyond the control of Washington – a large meteor, a terrorist EMP, or the election of a bunch of stubborn jerks to congress.
“When the situation was managable it was neglected,” said Winston Churchill. As long as it remains managable it will continue to be neglected. The bad things happening now are the long term we neglected for the last forty years. If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, bad things will happen next Tuesday. If we do, bad things will happen a week from next Tuesday; or in the best case, after the next election.