Erik Larson

Feb 13, 2009

Finding Logic in Politics, Part I

(1) Running up the deficit is bad (tenet of responsible government, as both Democrats and Republicans insist)

(2) Republicans ran up the deficit (fact)

(3) Democrats say: Republicans shouldn’t lecture Democrats about running up the deficit (refer to (2))

(4) Democrats are now running up the deficit (fact)

(5) Republicans say: Democrats shouldn’t be running up the deficit (refer to (1))

So it goes that both sides score political points that sound good on cable news, but given the bi-partisan acknowledgement that running a large (nay, massive) tab for future tax payers is bad, the parties are as usual tangled in their own webs. If the stimulus bill doesn’t work (and by the way, with something as complicated as the modern global economy, no one knows what will work ), the Democrats just voted themselves out of office two years in advance. Republicans, perhaps not from an appreciation of the unpredictability of complex systems per se , have sounded off in usual form about “pork”, but in factual support of their opposition our deficit grows larger now on the Democrats’ watch, and add to this, no one currently breathing air today has any clue if the latest bill will end the recession sooner, or prolong it by creating inflationary problems, or do nothing. No one knows. How could they? You’d have to be Laplace’s Demon. And so it’s a bold, swift move indeed.