Now that we’re past the “fiscal cliff” (note I didn’t say “safely” past), we really ought to try to promote a term that is more accurate to our real predicament, which is much worse. How about “fiscal abyss”? This is the term of art we ought to use as we approach the political sequel to the fiscal cliff, which will come with the expiration of the debt ceiling sometime in the next 60 days. I’ll leave it to another day to discuss strategy and tactics for this next cage match with Obama (though I commend as an opening bid Pete Wehner’s thoughts on this). For now, it I worth taking in Churchill’s discussion of the political problems facing democratic governments at the beginning of the Great Depression, in his essay “Fifty Years Hence” that applies with equal perspicacity to our current situation:
Democratic governments drift along the line of least resistance, taking short views, paying their way with sops and doles, and smoothing their path with pleasant-sounding platitudes. Never was there less continuity or design in their affairs, and yet towards them are coming swiftly changes which will revolutionize for good or ill not only the whole economic structure of the world but the social habits and moral outlook of every family.