Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Friday, December 05, 2008

Meditations in an Emergency

I've said many times in recent years (and I'm OLD, so recent goes back like a decade) that we certainly do live in interesting times. In the last decade, more or less, we've seen a president impeached, a deadlocked presidential election decided (effectively) by the Supreme Court, a major terrorist attack on the "Homeland," two wars, a black man elected president, and now . . . an effing Great Depression 2.0?

How I long for the good old days when the biggest issue of the day was term limits. Or a line item veto. Or a balanced budget amendment.

At this point, I don't think we'll see a balanced budget while I'm in the workforce. And given the state of my "201K"--and yes, I've heard that joke like a million times in the past month or so--I will be in the workforce for quite a while yet.

If you're OLD like me, and we all are, then you remember what I'm talking about. The 1990s were an immensely silly time. In retrospect, it's almost like the last half or so of Tuchman's Proud Tower, which is about the end of the 19th century and the coming of the Great War. In the 1990s it was almost possible to forget that history doesn't necessarily move in a linear fashion . . . although in the 1990s we debated "the end of history." Oops. That seems to have been premature, in retrospect.

I think we're going to see quite a bit of history in the next few years. Let's hope that the darkest possibilities do not come to pass. Let's hope (or pray, if you go for that sort of thing, please do pray) that history is cyclical, and that the upturn follows the down.

I was at a work meeting this week (thus no posts), and let's just say that it's very hard for anyone to be optimistic at this point about the short- and medium-term. Even the folks who have the job of institutional cheerleader.

When the occupational optimists say that we're in for a rough stretch, then the pessimist in me applies the discount rate and says d'oh.


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