Our daughter, aetat 2 and a bit, has been talking up a storm lately. The world, she has discovered, is a surprising place. When something happens that she doesn’t understand, her usual query is: “What just happened?” There’s an unexpected noise: “What just happened?” Her mother exclaims over a dropped stitch: “What just happened?” I scan the latest news out of Washington and mutter: “What just happened?”
It’s hard to know how to respond. One thing that happened is that she is already nearly $40,000 in debt: how precocious the young are today! A week ago, the Obama administration, aided by its Democratic allies in the House, passed one of the most unpopular and radical pieces of legislation in the history of the Republic. What just happened? The United States suddenly became poorer. How much poorer? It will take years, maybe decades, to tabulate. AT&T acknowledged the obvious by taking a billion-dollar charge in its first quarter to help pay for the anticipated cost of Obama’s experiment with socialized medicine. Caterpillar, 3M, Deere & Company, and AK Steel Corporation also announced that they would be taking huge charges in order to prepare for the government’s intrusion into their businesses. What just happened? The recession just got longer. Adding tens or hundreds of billions of dollars of liabilities to your balance sheet isn’t exactly a prescription for growth, is it?