America After the Tooth Fairy

Yes…yes…see just ahead? That hulking, frozen white mass protruding from the ocean? Yes, that is an iceberg. Dead ahead. Can we form a committee to discuss the possibility of looking into the prospects of alerting the crew to the immediate need to change course?

The latest call to avert a pending Greece-like financial disaster (What’s a Grecian earn? Almost nothing!) comes from NYT supercol Tom Friedman, who also reports the shocking news that The Tooth Fairy is dead. Key quote:

We baby boomers in America and Western Europe were raised to believe there really was a Tooth Fairy, whose magic would allow conservatives to cut taxes without cutting services and liberals to expand services without raising taxes. The Tooth Fairy did it by printing money, by bogus accounting and by deluding us into thinking that by borrowing from China or Germany, or against our rising home values, or by creating exotic financial instruments to trade with each other, we were actually creating wealth.

Friedman has much more, but in a rare moment of Told-You-So-in’ , I have to point out once again that economic Cassandra, Scott Burns, and his now-five-year old book The Coming Generational Storm, which was talking Debt Meltdown before Greece was on fire.

But, given our political straightjacket, how do we avert the iceberg? Unless somebody educates the public about the need to banish Tooth Fairies from our political lexicon, the Congress that tries to initiate the deep cuts (including, yes, Baby boomer bennies and the military)  and higher taxes needed will be swept out by the other party’s demagogues. Who will tell the people that things cannot go on as they are?

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