Searching for the Least Bad

If you are of a mind to forgive politicians their excesses, you are a most charitable person. Currently the two major political parties are debating budget considerations. Fortunately for them, most Americans can’t decipher a budget proposal. Let me characterize the proposals this way: the Republican approach offers a slow and painful slide into oblivion; the Democratic approach is more of an assisted fiscal suicide. Neither plan is good, but the Republican plan is slightly less bad.

The plain facts are that we have huge expenses that we cannot afford. Something’s got to give – and probably a lot of somethings. We simply cannot afford Medicaid, Medicare, and our huge huge military.

Of course, politicians are smart enough to know that voters will resist such cutbacks. Hardly anyone will propose doing what voters hate. So, rather than address these problems directly, they will be worked out indirectly. This may be the most painful way for most Americans. Yet we only have ourselves to blame, so perhaps we should just  resign ourselves to having diminished retirements and for our kids and grand kids to have a much poorer quality of life than we did.

A lot of people, smarter than I, are trying to determine exactly how our economic collapse will occur. They mostly disagree with each other, except in the conviction that things are going to get ugly.

Nevertheless, I maintain a small bit of optimism. Churchill observed that America will do the right thing, but only after exhausting all the other possibilities. It might be true again this time. But it will first require that people realize that their prior vision of how things will be will not come to pass. The future will be radically different than we thought, and some of those differences will be very unpleasant. But we still have choices to make and not everything is inevitable. But how do we get ourselves smart enough to make good choices? It starts by thinking things through.


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