I realize I can see..
That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please
The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
So this is all I have to say
(From theme to Mash, “Suicide is Painless“
Take a moment to remember just how we managed to steer our way to the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
It was only a little while ago–the summer of 2011–that the conservative majority in the congress threatened to refuse to raise the national debt ceiling (nonsense in itself) and thereby drive the nation into default on money already borrowed and spent, undermining the nation’s credit rating.
Now do you remember?
To get unstuck a deal was struck between right wing ideologues and an overly accommodating left. The deal was essentially a suicide pact that started the clock ticking on a Doomsday machine. The machine was programmed to destroy our nation on January 1, 2013, by allowing all Bush era tax cuts to expire and drastically, automatically, cutting military and social spending.
The reasoning behind the creation of this bipartisan Doomsday machine was that the consequences of it’s detonating (economic chaos) would do intolerable damage to everyone on both sides of the political spectrum. It employed the cold war illogic of MAD–Mutually Assured Destruction–in order to force all parties to make compromises needed to sort our their differences.
The deal was struck–such a deal! Upon hearing the terms, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of US government bonds for the first time in our nation’s history, reasoning correctly that loaning money to insane people is not good business.
So now we sit together in our asylum listening to the ticking-down of our homemade Doomsday machine. With only a few hours left until zero, it seems our politicians have lost the code–or never had the code–to disarm the damn thing.
Pundits and politicians are scrambling to talk everyone down, saying that the suicide machine they designed to blow us to economic smithereens next Wednesday really won’t do what it was intended to do–at least not quite.
“Don’t worry”, they say, even though they have no code to disarm the thing, it will only explode in slow motion. You’ll hardly notice it going off.
Though it brings on many changes, suicide, they tell us, is painless.