People keep talking about economic recovery, and it’s time to pause and reconsider. The way people are framing success is to recapture our previous activity as an ideal. This is insanity, as this is the exact behavior that caused the problem in the first place.
Our problem isn’t that we’ve fallen from a good place and that we need to get back; the problem is that we’ve been telling ourselves that a bad place was a good one.
If you’re 19 years old with a rich family and unlimited credit cards, and you run around collecting debt, failing to save, and generally living way above your means–there will come a time when reality will stop you. Your parents will cut off your credit and people will start calling for what you owe them.
America is that kid.
So, once you’ve wrecked your car, and are sitting in the hospital with a pile of bills, the answer is precisely not to figure out how to get our credit line back, or how to get re-invited to those crazy parties. No, the answer is to grow up and find another way to entertain ourselves. Stop using credit. Start a savings account. Read a book. Talk to a friend.
What America needs isn’t a stimulus package to get us back to how we were; what we need is an intervention.
Listen, buddy…you can’t live like this anymore. You’re not 17. You can’t spend money you don’t have, live like a fool, and act like there are no consequences. Grow up.
Any “stimulus plan” that doesn’t involve America learning this lesson is guaranteed to fail. A return to illusion-based prosperity will only extend our misery and make any true recovery later on (if it ever happens) that much more painful. ::