We Haven't Hit Bottom Yet
By: Ara

[cross posted at E Pluribus Unum]

My son has asked me on more than one occasion recently, "So what do we do now?" Usually, in that conversation, I start out apologizing to him for the mess my generation has left him to deal with. Which leads to him asking his question.

What I tell him is that we don't really have a good idea yet because we haven't yet hit bottom. We don't know quite how big this whole thing is. Every so often we think we have an idea, then a guy like Krugman puts in his two cents and then we get scared all over again.

"No analogy is perfect," I say, "But It's kind of like an enormous explosion has occurred. We've been thrown in the air."

"It's going to hurt when we hit the ground," he says.

"Well, yeah, eventually. But at this moment we don't even know yet if we're still going up or if we've started coming down. It's hard to say because we've lost our bearings in the shockwave after the explosion. All we know is that we're suspended somewhere between the earth and the sky."

"Not a happy place. Then what?"

"Well, at some point we're going to come all the way down to earth. We'll land -- with a crunch -- in some sort of blast crater."


"No shit sherlock. But even then we won't know how big and deep the crater is until we start trying to climb out of it. It'll be like rock climbing a sheer wall. Brutal."

"I'm so glad I asked."

"You asked and I'm telling."

"So once we've climbed out then we're out of trouble?" he asks.

"Not exactly," I say. "Only after we've climbed all the way out and walked away and then looked back, will we be able to begin to understand how bad this thing really was...and what we can do to make sure it doesn't happen again."

"No wonder Krugman is so freaked out."

"Yeah. And he's not the only one."