Defining Insanity Down

Jonathan Cohn has a brand-new idea to pump up that faltering economy:

Are President Obama and his advisers alarmed about the tepid recovery? Are they working feverishly to think up new interventions, the kind that involve increasing short-term deficits, to strengthen it? I would like to think the answer to both questions is “yes.”

“Increasing short-term deficits.” I just love that phrase. What it means is, “Even though I’m spending way beyond my means already, I’m going to put even more on my credit card. But only until I’m back on my feet. It’s short term.”

Except the accumulated debt isn’t short term. It’s pretty much forever. There will come a time — perhaps soon — when we won’t even be able to make the interest payments. And there is no plan, no plan whatsoever, for dealing with the structural deficit. And paying down the principal? Fuggidaboudit.

It’s this “short term” thinking that got us into this mess. And it’s short-term thinking like Cohn’s that keeps getting us deeper into it.