Delusional thinking is running rampant on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers are trying to convince doubting taxpayers that they are serious about controlling their spending, but have yet to offer any indication that they are up to the task. Adding to America’s disbelief are post-downgrade replays of the darkest days of the recession on Wall Street, when stock market volatility brought us breathtaking drops and giddy highs that depleted retirement accounts, and stymied hopes for the future.
Economists like to talk about confidence, something we have been short on lately. With job loss a catastrophe instead of a passing inconvenience, Americans have no reason to be confident, and no foundation to build confidence on. Mortal fear of the future puts a serious dent in even the most optimistic veneers.
Americans have been criticized for expecting instant gratification. We live in a fast society. Advertisers cater to our desire to get what we want, when we want it. Technology speeds the process, making information available in milliseconds. With jobs at a premium, businesses also demand instant gratification from their employees.
Opportunity is relative. What looks like an opportunity to one of the president’s money hoarding millionaires is very different from an opportunity for someone pounding the streets looking for work. Whatever last-minute fix lawmakers pull out of their bag of tricks late Sunday night, we need to prepare ourselves.
Rumor has it that if a killer asteroid is headed our way, the government will keep quiet because there is nothing that can be done. This is hard to believe because Washington loves a crisis, and politicians glory in the resulting media circus.
Unions comfortable with their hold over the government workforce, and optimistic about the president’s planned “Winning the Future” spending package, should be very nervous about what the debt ceiling conflict means for their future. Organized labor has powerful friends in Washington helping to spread the mantra of worker exploitation, but this may not be enough to stop the fallout from the debt crisis.
Orrin Hatch was a creative choice for Saturday’s Republican retort to a week of presidential debt ceiling harangues. In July 2003, Hatch unveiled the DREAM Act, a bill that Democrats are twisting to justify education and job creation spending. Hatch has since washed his hands of the DREAM Act, but in 2003 he told us:
What these critics overlook, however, is that without the DREAM Act, illegal immigrant children simply do not have the means nor the incentive to obtain a higher education.