Can we re-examine the “bail out” analogy?

First things first. Today is Veterans’ Day. If you’re American, take a bow or bend a knee.

I spooled up a little old-school luvin’ for my Army officemate:

And the Navy guys reminded me of the sheer awesomeness of our self-abnegating youth. There exists nothing cooler than this:

And give Canada its due for sharing a transcendent China-born American warrior-poet with the world.

Now. With humble thanks to all our protectors, this post is going Navy.

When Roger L. Simon’s latest column used the word “bailout”, I flashed on the origin of the word.

Bailouts began as a last-ditch effort to save a sinking ship. Didn’t they? I’m no sailor, but I’m pretty sure that’s right. And I’m about to run a theory past the office “nuke pukes”. The idea is that if the ship is taking on water, you really should plug the leaks before bailing it out.

UPDATE–Theory confirmed! (Though it seems “bailing out” a submarine requires more than buckets. Who knew? We’ll stick with surface ships.)

The U.S.S. “Economy” is the largest ship in history. Its common area is colossal, and connects to 50 separate “state” rooms. Many such compartments are larger than other entire ships. Their boundaries also serve as bulkheads. Thus the “Texas” stateroom is pretty dry, while the “California” and “Illinois” compartments are somewhere between kneedeep and neckdeep in water. Rather than plugging their leaks, their crews and passengers are clamoring to be bailed out.

It’s pretty obvious what the “water” is, right?

Note that every stateroom is also compartmentalized, with all variety of bulkheads, bilge pumps, and bailing mechanisms. And so forth, on down to individual spaces for each person. With respect to standing water, these range from bone-dry to “aquarium”.

The sum of all debt is the total volume of standing water in the U.S.S. Economy. And that water is rising.

The question is, how fast? My Navy buddy took pains to differentiate between “leaking” and “flooding”. One can be permitted and accounted for. The other cannot.

For the record, in this amateur swabbie’s opinion…WE ARE FLOODING!

Paul Krugman thinks bailouts are the answer. Not being a Nobel Prize-winning economist, to me the primary problem isn’t standing water…it’s the freakin’ leaks. Debt is the water. Deficit spending is the leaks. Krugman thinks that bigger buckets are the answer. Ladle that water into the central compartment! My recommendation? Caulk.

Plug the damn leaks before bailing!

No analogy is exact. This one makes Krugman seem smarter than he actually is. Because every federal bailout actually increases the size of the leaks into the common area.

Also, the tonnage of the U.S.S. Economy is dynamic, not static. Historically it has almost always grown. But it does shrink on occasion. And “shrinkage” is much more likely in a water-logged ship than in a dry one.

Isn’t it?

Government workers are the ship’s various crews, the rest of us are passengers who get to choose the officers. And we just had a large democratic uprising. Lieutenant Rubio & Co. have enlisted. They demand we replace the buckets of water with buckets of pitch. Patch the leaks, then bail if necessary.

The Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives, which controls appropriations. The very crew that can plug the leaks! The problem is that old-crew Republicans still belong to the Bucket Brigade. So we’ve got to stay afloat long enough to get more pluggers in there.

Finally…can we spare a thought for our passenger children? You know, the ones who’ve been given no say in any of this? They would be perfectly justified to mutiny or seize the lifeboats and let the rest of us sink.

Because we are drowning them.

About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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7 Responses to Can we re-examine the “bail out” analogy?

  1. DiogenesLamp says:

    Good Analogy. I use the ship analogy a lot myself, but rather than present the concept of flooding, I present the concept of loading. America is a great big ship. People put “baggage” on it and discover that it floats. They decide it can support an unlimited amount of baggage, and so continue loading it up, not realizing that it is setting deeper and deeper into the water. They believe that because it always supported whatever load they placed on it before, it will always be able to support whatever load they wish to add.
    There will come a time when they discover the problem with their beliefs in a sudden and horrifying manner.

    Of course I refer to both the Fiscal and Social insanity nowadays being portrayed as “normal.”

  2. Billy says:

    Cool analogy W.O.R.M. Thanks

  3. Yep, as a Navy wife, I concur. Good analogy. Nuke pukes, ha.

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