It is time to face reality. I am not nearly well-informed enough to offer even an educated guess as to the immediate cause of the market crash and subsequent recession/depression. But it seems painfully clear at this point that a substantial portion of the economic growth we enjoyed in the years prior to 2007 was entirely illusory and funded by ill-advised and unsustainable lending practices. This is a problem that doesn’t solve itself overnight. And moreover, when it is “solved,” a substantial portion of us will nonetheless have to accept a lifestyle that is much less comfortable than the ones we enjoyed 5 years ago.
What scares me – I mean, truly terrifies me – about this entire situation is not what I am going to do about my own predicament (although I would be lying if I said it did not cause me substantial amounts of stress). It is that no Presidential candidate who stands a chance of winning can afford to say anything like the preceding paragraph. It would be political suicide for any candidate – Republican or Democrat – to suggest aloud, “You know what? As a candidate I can fix things around the edges and start us on the road to recovery, but if we’re being perfectly honest with each other, it’s going to be a long time (if ever) before things get back to the way they were.”
And if the American people cannot stand to hear that message even when it is the manifest truth, we are in serious trouble. Because what it means is that we have become a nation in which people cannot be told to act like adults because we are no longer capable of doing it. And a nation where people have to be promised free ponies and unicorn dust even when everyone can see there’s no more ponies in the stable is a nation that’s just biding its time until final collapse.