October 16, 2013 Last Updated 3:23 pm

Brother can you spare a dime? Waiting on the Congress to determine fate of the economy

“Strangely enough, it all turns out well.” “How?” “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

Morning Brief:

It is hard to write about digital publishing matters when one is waiting around to see if the world economy will be turned upside down by a bunch of yahoos in the Congress. One assumes that the Senate will act and pass a debt limit bill and the House will act responsibly and follow through with approving it. One has to assume that because the alternative is unthinkable.

“Unthinkable.” I am reminded of the scene in the film Awakenings when Robin William’s character asks Max von Sydow what those patients he is treating that are in catatonic states could be thinking. “Nothing” replies Von Sydow, the disease has attacked the brain so that these people are oblivious. When challenged as to whether this is known for sure Von Sydow says “yes” as the alternative would be unthinkable.

Surely it is “unthinkable” that the US will go into default. But here we are anyways.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is unthinkable. There is money to be made in the process. I daily receive emails asking for contributions to this or that PAC as the Congressional crisis continues. Why change things? The system is providing the desired results, the political system is awash in money (and the Supreme Court will likely make it more the case that money flows to Washington).

Let’s hope that the ending of this movie is more like Shakespeare in Love than the movie Melancholia (where the Earth is destroyed by a ‘hidden’ planet). As the characters say when all seems lost…

“So what do we do?”

“Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.”


“I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

Update: For those TNM readers from outside the U.S. reading this post later in the day, the update is that “it all turns out well.” That is, the Senate leaders were able to work out a deal that is really nothing but what was agreed to a few weeks ago. The real change is that the House Republicans, beaten down by polls showing their popularity at a historic low, are now willing to pass the Senate bill. That will reopen the Federal government and raise the debt ceiling – at least until early next year when we might once again face another crisis.

But for now, the mystery is “why did any of this craziness have to happen? and how did it all work out?”

“It’s a mystery.”

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