Live Free or Die Hard (Unrated Edition)
By Bruce Willis
In most cases, there are many ways to accomplish a task. If you enjoy the occasional Hollywood film, you might have noticed that in certain cases, there seem to be only two ways. The easy way…or the hard way. Generally, the easy way involves accepting your fate and the certain suffering that awaits you, paying the price that should be paid. Generally, the hard way involves trying desperately and recklessly and bravely to avoid the certain suffering that awaits you, putting everything you’ve got into incredible space-time gymnastics to get away without paying that price. In reality, successfully going the hard way is much less common than it is in Hollywood movies.
I think that we are at such a dilemma in the U.S. as it relates to our national debt. We can accept the fact that we need to pay our debt down, and make the very difficult sacrifices that such a feat will require of us as a nation. We can reduce our consumption to sustainable levels and live within our means, stop trying to save the world one war at a time, and cut bureaucratic waste. We can take on the increased responsibility that comes with recognizing our culpability in the situation and work together, and be willing to do the kinds of dirty jobs that helped build all the great things we have.
Or we can try all the fancy legislative, regulatory, financial, and statistical maneuvering that has a very slight chance of actually working in the long run, and the longer that run, the closer that chance gets to zero. We can bury our heads in the sand and hope that the shrapnel from the impending economic explosion doesn’t kill us. We can blame it on whatever group we happen to not like and conveniently ignore our own contributions to our society’s wastefulness.
So will we go the easy way or the hard way?
Or if you like, feel free to reassure me that the debt is just not that bad, that having negative stacks of cash the size of the Empire State Building is totally cool and not a problem.