Monday, December 31, 2012

The ICU for Pneumonia, but afflicted with Leukemia

Almost two decades ago my father in law, perhaps the sweetest man I ever knew, was diagnosed with a leukemia so intractable that if remission could ever be achieved, it was for 10-12 months, and could NEVER be achieved again. It had proven so stubborn that treatment had not advanced from 1968 until that day.
Of course, among the physicians at this excellent institution, no one would be brutally honest, and only a pointed set of questions based on my own information seeking alone with the head of oncology revealed this situation. When I asked the rest of the family if they wished to know all I knew, they were unanimous.
Later, as treatment increased, my father in law contracted pneumonia. It was severe and he was moved to the ICU. The staff worked frantically to drain the fluid from his lungs.
They described to us all they could do to save him.
Heroic measures. They fought among themselves over the right heroic measure.
It was touching, and pointless, of course. If all they did saved him, it would return him to his intractable leukemia, and futile treatment.
The US national debt is intractable leukemia.
And we are fighting about this pneumonia of a fiscal cliff.
The current treatment for our debt, creating more dollars will be as effective and is as well conceived as the 1968 marrow destruction treatment in 1994 for leukemia. At best a brief respite before the deluge.
Unless we can get to growing economy, and as time passes a more and more rapidly growing one will be compulsory, the leukemia WILL KILL US.
In 7 years the INTEREST on the debt will exceed $1 trillion a year.
And who, in the American family wishes to know what we who have understood this debt know?
Finding a solution to this cliff will not save the patient.