Today’s FT has this mind boggling headline: “Summit to tackle ballooning US deficit.” It reads: “Mr Obama will host a bipartisan summit on fiscal discipline next Monday that will aim to address America’s long-term struggle to control entitlement costs in healthcare and social security.” Fiscal discipline! What a concept!
When reading this, my first thought was: “Did I sleep for a very long time? Is it April First?” But no, the dateline on the article is February 20, 2009. So I guess it’s a real story.
What’s next? Madonna leading a summit on virginity? Octuplet lady convening a conference on family planning? I mean, talk about locking the door after the horse is well and gone.
I would feel better if this newfound commitment to the old time religion had occurred before a $800 billion fiscal stimulus bill, $300 billion mortgage bailout proposal, a potentially immense commitment to banks, and to automobile companies, and other mendicants. Moreover, given the statement about “control[ling] entitlement costs in healthcare” I suspect that a newfound commitment to “fiscal discipline” may just be a cover to justify massive (additional) government intervention under the guise of economy.
But even putting aside that possibility, this summit is an absurdity, and the fact that it is apparently being proposed with a straight face is a testament to very deep cynicism. This is talk the talk, after the money has already walked. It merely adds insult to injury.