The Washington Post

Will I write anything substantive ever again?

After a week of writing personal stuff, I begin to wonder myself. Can I still write about Important Policy Questions? Do I want to? Are there such things? Is the Fiscal Cliff one of them? I’ve had a cold. Maybe I’m running a low-grade fever and that’s why everything seems just a bit unreal. Or does it seem that way to you too?

Start with the cliff. Will $500,000,000,000 disappear out of the economy on January 1st, if a deal isn’t reached? As far as I can tell, no. As far as I can tell on January 1st laws will take effect that will lead to $500,000,000,000 disappearing out of the economy is a deal if NEVER reached, but it seems to me a deal on say, January 4th could make the numbers be whatever Congress and the president want them to be. So where is the ‘cliff’? If it’s anywhere, it’s back when the laws were passed that created the ‘cliff’, or the date next year when negotiations break down permanently, except there IS no ‘permanently’ in politics, except the endless posturing.

We are told that businesses won’t invest their Giant Piles of Money that are Sitting on the Sidelines until the ‘cliff’ is resolved, because Businesses Don’t Like Uncertainty. Now when did THIS new Law of Business get invented? I thought Uncertainty was was very fuel of risk that so motivated our Dynamic Entrepreneurial Spirit. No risk, no reward! No guts, no glory! None of that for today’s Alt Galt. Now it’s all green eyeshades and ledgers and teeth grinding and waiting for a Sure Thing, like “Housing Prices Will Always Go Up”, which was the last Sure Thing that these Uncertaintyphobes found solid enough to bet the global economy on. That and Mitt Romney’s Inauguration Ball. Where’s the aspirin?

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.


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