The infamous P.T. Barnum once preached a philosophy of “they see what they want to see and they believe what they want to believe.”
That’s why it was so easy for Barnum to sell tickets to see General Tom Thumb, the Siamese Twins, the Tattooed Man, the Cardiff Giant, and the well-known “What Is It?”
For only one thin dime, one-tenth of a dollar you could receive Barnum’s best, which was usually “to put money in his own coffers.”
Fast-forward to the present-day, and P.T. would have been very proud of the way the President, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the mainstream media have utilized the glitter of the “fiscal cliff” in order to distract people from the “big top” to the “sideshow.”
The Budget Control Act of 2011, signed into law on August 2nd of last year, was intended to be the first step for the United States to start living within its money, not living within its means. At that time, the prevailing thought was that the economy would have been sufficiently improved by the time the next debt-ceiling discussion transpired, therefore, bipartisan agreement would be a jumping-off point for further spending cuts and revenue raises.
After all, infusing trillions of dollars by the Federal Reserve into the system was practically a guarantee for economic improvement.
Unfortunately, the harsh reality (definitely not a Barnum-type phrase), is that economic conditions have deteriorated to such an extent that the Fed has even changed course after 100-years by defining its objectives in specified terms, not arcane expressions.
The most recent news out of the New York Fed dovetails with Philly, Dallas, and other manufacturing indices which strongly echo the manufacturing slowdown that continues to build steam. In addition, real unemployment and job wages continue to reflect a nation of hamburger flippers, coffee servers, and union activists.
Yet, the sideshow continues. Does a 45-minute Obama-Boehner meeting signify an agreement to undo the agreement from last year?
Only time (a few days) will tell. And in true Barnum tradition, if a deal is reached will everything else be forgotten?
It seems that once again, we can all return to our homes feeling secure that we are much better off than the freaks we just watched and the chaotic world they have created.
And voters too.