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The Most Predictable Economic Crisis in History   June 15th, 2011
It's coming folks... we know it's coming, they know it's coming. It's coming.       

 
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Many of us have been predicting the most predictable economic crisis in history for years. Now this is finally being discussed in polite company, such as President Obama's deficit commission (whose recommendations Obama ignored).

Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), co-chairman of President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, said Tuesday that he agreed with his fellow co-chairman, former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, that the United States faces 'the most predictable economic crisis in history' within the next two years....

'Everybody asks that, ‘Where the hell is the tipping point here?' I think it will vary within the next 18 months. Erskine thinks it's a little longer; some say 6 months. But I'll tell you when it will come: it will come when the rating agencies find out we have no plan whatsoever,' Simpson said...

'This debt and these deficits that we are incurring on an annual basis are like a cancer and they are truly going to destroy this country from within unless we have the common sense to do something about it,' said Bowles.


Indeed we don't have a plan.

We can't (and won't) raise taxes because we can't raise them enough to solve the problem and we'd kill any potential economic recovery in the process. We can't print more money without destroying the dollar. And every indication is that our elected officials will refuse to make the major spending cuts necessary to avoid the crisis.

The individuals in the article above went so far as to say, "We need a plan. And it doesn't have to be big, and we don't even have to start on it. But we gotta have one."

I somewhat agree and somewhat disagree. I think it's extremely important we actually start cutting. If we have a plan but don't start executing, it buys some time. How much time? No-one knows. It's a gamble.

But this does take me back to what I suggested months ago: a balanced budget amendment in return for raising the debt ceiling. No, it's not an immediate solution that would immediately cut spending. But it would be the first semblance of an actual plan, and a commitment to get this thing under control. It won't automatically fix anything today, but it might buy us enough time to fix our spending.

If we don't make actual, real cuts in spending this year, we better at least pass a balanced budget amendment.

Otherwise, "rating agencies [will] find out we have no plan whatsoever." And that may very well be when things hit the fan.




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