(This piece will be more interesting if you can get someone to hum The Battle Hymn of the Republic while you read it.)
A man left his cat with his brother while he went on vacation for a week. When he came back, he called his brother to see when he could pick the cat up. The brother hesitated, and then said, “I’m so sorry, but while you were away, the cat died.”
The man was very upset and yelled, “You know, you could have broken the news to me better than that. When I called the other day, you could have said the cat was on the roof and wouldn’t come down. Then when I called the next day, you could have said that he had fallen off and the vet was working on patching him up. Then when I called today, you could have said the cat had passed away.”
The brother thought about it and apologized.
“So how’s Mom?” asked the man.
“She’s on the roof and will not come down.”
The economy is on the roof and will not come down.
When Washington with an eyes-wide-shut management style gives you lemons, the only thing left to do is to find the humor in it. Perhaps Thomas Paine was being prescient when he wrote “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Maybe he should have used the word ‘tire’ instead of ‘try.’ I am reminded of the scene in Young Frankenstein when the next thing heard after Dr. Frankenstein tells Igor “Could be worse…could be raining” was a resounding clap of thunder.
Whoever is trying to fix Recession 2.0 is doing so without a hall pass—what has been tried has defied or defiled the laws of physics. What had been a vibrant economy stepped off Checkhov’s veranda and bade farewell to the sisters of Prozorova while the sisters
It is raining while Washington scurries around like frightened mice passing out umbrellas and pretending the sun is shining. Washington has not learned that they can’t put the rain back into the clouds. The current economic plan—I know there is not one, but let us pretend—reads like a failure’s biography.
And now, with sang-froid calmness, Congress is on its summer recess—could there be a more apropos term to describe their daily activities—as opposed to all of their other recesses. While there is some debate about whether recess should be canceled, to not so gives me the impression of Nero fiddling while DC burns.
Perhaps the misérables came closest to getting correct the conversation between the electorate and the elected when they caused Marie Antoinette, sans head, to eat her cake. Their casus belli was the arrogance of the ruling class. We are not suffering as much from Washington’s arrogance as we are from the results of their collective ignorance and failure to lead.
The politicians’ camera-ready soliloquies have all the appeal of a cold omelet. While some, like the Marines, run to the sound of the gun that is fired, the people in Washington do not. Instead of running towards the sound of the gun many want to discuss the sound. Others question whether there really was a gun and question who owned it and whose fault it was, but none are running on our behalf armed with ideas about how to solve the problem.
Is it not better to have tried to lead and to have failed than to have never have tried. None are leading. According to the voices in my head, the conundrum facing us seems to be that those in Washington believe that without being reelected they will be unable to lead because they will not be around to do the leading. The overarching flaw in their understanding of their mission appears to be that instead of leading now, their efforts are always focused on winning the opportunity to not lead in their next term.
Any one of them could get reelected simply by trying to lead us to a solution. The solution doesn’t even have to work. Take the crayons out of the Crayola packet and try something. The time to argue about who started the mess is over–we all own it, let us fit it.