Monday, February 09, 2009

Ice, ice, baby

Latest edition of the Bobcast is up.
Audio is here. Text is below.
Over the weekend, the local sheriff in Oak Harbor, Ohio, called it "idiotic," the tale of 134 fishermen whose makeshift bridge along a thin stretch of ice failed, leading to a breakway ice floe on Lake Erie that stranded the anglers for hours and left one dead
A more charitable view is that they successfully presented the nation with a perfect metaphor for the economy and the need for a spending plan.
Also over the weekend, official Washington wrangled over the stimulus package, watering down the spending and beefing up the tax cuts.
It’s all so familiar.
In order for the fishermen to get where they wanted to go, they needed to cross a crack in the ice. Their brilliant idea: Lay down some wooden pallets and cross over the bad stretch. It worked great until the ice gave way and stranded them 1,000 feet off shore.
Some very smart economists with Nobel Prizes are warning us of something similar.
Some in Congress want to patch over the economy’s vault lines with "fixes" that (a.) got us in this mess in the first place and/or (b.) with tax cuts that are about as reliable as these wooden pallets.
"We get people out here who don't know how to read the ice," Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton said of the Lake Erie catastrophe.
With the economy slumping, the nation must now heed its reliable ice-readers.