If I were Barack Obama, I’d think twice about presiding over this irresolvable muddle of engineered swindles, sinking prospects, booby-trapped budgets, and played-out lies for another term. Let Hillary step in and try to keep this leaky Flying Dutchman out of the drink. She’s looking more and more like Winston Churchill physically every day now, anyway. Maybe she is acquiring something like his stolid habits of mind, too. If I were President Obama, I’d just call it quits and sign on with the home team: Goldman Sachs. He can have Mario Draghi’s old job – chief of the international division. They’ll love him in all those peculiar little countries where people wear hats that look like rat-traps and flavor their beer with the cocoons of nectar-sipping moths. They’ll enjoy it when he forecloses on them, and maybe even ask for more. “Here, take our grandchildren’s baby teeth, too!” I wish him and his beautiful family well in their new life as distinguished private citizens-of-the-world. I just hope Michele Bachman and her probable running mate, Jesus, don’t steal the next election. They’ll rip out the Obamas’ vegetable garden and put a Nascar track there so that all of Ms. Bachman’s 27 children can have jobs selling miniature bibles in the parking lot. (“Prayed over by qualified preachers twenty-four hours a day!”)
By the by, many observers were amused by last week’s cute trick of releasing sixty million barrels of oil from the world’s strategic reserves at the rate of two million-a-day in an effort to pretend that the world doesn’t have a basic oil production problem. It is, of course, at the bottom of the world’s financial disarray, because if you can’t increase energy inputs that feed an industrial economy you don’t get growth and then the whole idea of compound interest falls apart because it is predicated on a perpetual increase in wealth. Hence, debt collapses in on itself. The world is caught up in an epochal contraction now, and it manifests in situations like the Greek emergency. But soon it will be a universal emergency.
The lesson, if I may be tendentious for moment, is that the human race is welcome at any time to begin living differently, at a smaller scale, much more locally, with fewer automatic machines doing all the work for us, and more time spent on useful and necessary activities than on television fantasies. Got a problem with oil? Don’t imagine that you’re going to run WalMart – or, for that matter, Goldman Sachs – on wheat-straw distillates. Something is in the air this week and it is making a lot of people very nervous. If you loaded up the old investment portfolio with shale gas stocks, I feel especially sorry for you.