You know that scene near the end of the movie Titanic, in which Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet are holding onto the rails and looking over the edge of the great ship, which bobs completely upright for a few moments before plunging into the icy Atlantic forever? As the ship starts to descend, Leonardo yells "This is it!".
Well that's exactly how I feel about the state of our government, our leaders, our economy, and our prospects about now. This is it. We're going down, it's going to be bad, really bad, we have no control, and all we can do is hang on for the ride and hope that we can hold our breath long enough to come to the surface without being dragged down by the colossal beast. And then once the ship sinks, it's still going to be rough, and who knows if we'll survive the aftermath?
After hearing Obama's plan to throw everything AND the kitchen sink into his stimulus plan, I'm even more anxious. Does he just not have a clue, and figures that if you throw enough crap against the wall, some of it's going to inevitably stick?
Or will we be handed the new Socialist States of America on a platter, cooked up and served so quickly that we didn't even have a chance to look at the menu?
I just can't get some gnawing little questions out of my head. Where is the money coming from and what are the future ramifications? I was brought up to be responsible with my finances, so perhaps that's why I can't get this question out of my mind. Many Americans, apparently, have never given a thought to this issue regarding their own expenses, so why would they worry about the government's borrowing habits? Then I read editorials like Mr. Krugman's in the NYT today, in which he begs Obama to spend more, baby, more, and oodles of commenters say "Yeah!". Huh? What fantasyland do these people live in?
Then there are the pesky details about the spending, which, in order to be implemented, are huge roadblocks. Even if projects are shovel ready, roads and bridges and infrastructure need permitting and reviews and approvals by a gazillion state and local committees, which take FOREVER to work their way through the bureaucratic process. Having worked on a small town Historical Commission for 10 years, I saw this process up front and personal on a very small scale, and the bureaucracy was mind boggling. Government just doesn't DO fast.
I understand that nobody has had a chance to read the plan yet, but why are fiscal conservatives afraid to speak up? Isn't it their job to do so if they were elected under such a premise? We are not talking small numbers here; we're talking about mortgaging our kids' futures. Economists are already saying that the proposed tax cuts are a waste of money and will do nothing to stimulate the economy. So why waste that $300 billion. Save it, man.
But I fear that nobody is listening, and nobody in charge is heeding the lessons of history. So here we are, looking over the precipice. We're going down. This is it.