I recently viewed the National Debt Clock, which as of this writing is 6.999 trillion dollars. Within the next day or so, it will hit the big 7. Of course, the debt clock runs off of an algorithm, so the figure may not be exact. Additionally, just having the counter fall over doesn't mean much, but it is an important landmark in our continuing upward spiral of National Debt.
After writing my congressman, I thought I would write something about the debt, but I couldn't think of what else to write, since all the other comparisons on how many cubic meters of Lil' Debbie Snack Bars the national debt could buy have already been done.
There is another node I have been wanting to write for a while, about why the widespread popularity of Dilbert in the past ten or so years has perhaps had a bad effect on people's estimation of some situations.
How, exactly, does a spiralling, perhaps crushing, National Debt relate to a crudely drawn comic strip mocking business manners?
The workers at Dilbert's corporation have enjoyed 15 solid years of incompetent management, and financially suicidal business plans. And yet, after every decision to outsource to Elbonia, which leads to the company getting slapped by a multibillion dollar lawsuit, the company returns to normal the next week. It might seem like a silly thing for me to rail against: after all, this is a comic strip, and to say there is something wrong with it returning to the status quo is a little like me complaining that Fred and Barney's friendship is returned to normal after each disastrous episode.
I think, however, to a large extent, that in the 1990s, the idea really did sink into people's heads that no matter what fuck ups those in power engineered, things would still manage to continue on an even course. There was a kind of easy cynicism that said that the world would continue functioning normally no matter how much corruption and stupidity it underwent. During the 1990's, I actually saw a corporation prosper despite occasionally terrible, mind boggling short sighted and selfish policies.
Eventually, though, bad decisions will catch up to people. Running up a 7 trillion dollar public debt is one of the things that can cause serious problems, although very few in America seems to even accept conceptually the fact that actions have consequences. Not unavoidable, and not irreversible, but actions have consequences. Everything will not just return to normal.