The patient takes vitamins and minerals in doses recommended by most physicians, and gets plenty of exercise.
The patient eats a reasonably healthy diet. However, the patient depends to a large degree on imported food, which has become very expensive, and while the patient could grow plenty of home grown food, the patient hasn’t been planting enough lately to sustain present and future dietary needs. So the patient is hungry, and losing weight
The patient is mysteriously ill. Upon examination, it appears that the patient has been slowly poisoned. The patient’s immune system and general state of health might have been sufficient to cover the symptoms of the poisoning longer, except for the strain imposed by the recent hunger and weight loss. The symptoms have been coming on for sometime, but only recently have they become indisputable.
Some physicians suggest simply stopping the poison immediately, engaging in a crash program to feed the patient, and growing lots more food for the future, starting today. The basically healthy patient’s immune system and generally good habits will reverse the effects of the poison.
Some physicians suggest continuing the patient’s calorie restriction, cutting back on the vitamins and exercise, and switching to a different poison, but reducing the dose. When it’s pointed out that the vitamins and exercise are usually good things, and that poison is usually a bad thing, these practitioners assure the patient that the problem was an unexpected reaction between the nutritional supplements and the low grade poison dose, and the new poison is really a purgative to help clear the system of the effect of too many vitamins, and won’t do any harm. When these doctors are asked if the patient really shouldn’t be eating more, they say it’s good to be skinny, and research shows that skinny people live longer, anyway. They point to all kinds of studies that seem to prove all of this, and cite complicated sounding theories to justify the counter-intuitive nature of their prescriptions. Trust them: they’re the experts. And besides, even if the patient starts growing more food again, it will be many years before enough can be grown to adequately feed the patient (aren’t growing seasons usually annual things?). And even if the patient eats more, the patient will just start exercising more again, and burn the calories, and what good will that do?
I know which advice I’d follow, if I was the patient.
The patient, of course, is the US economy.
The vitamins and exercise are the tax cuts put in years ago by the Bush administration and Congress. Strictly speaking, the vitamins are the tax cuts (think antioxidants that prevent cross-linking), and the exercise is the additional economic freedom those cuts created for productive activity that drove the huge success of our economy for six years after 9/11, until the combination of oil prices and the housing/financial meltdown drug it down about a year ago.
The diet is oil and energy, and we don’t make anywhere near enough of our own, which is part of the reason prices have gone up so much. (Don’t be fooled! Even at the currently reduced prices, off the $150/barrel highs, oil is still WAY too high. Are you actually willing to settle for $3.50/gal gasoline as the new normal?) You can’t have a speculative bubble without an underlying shortage. That’s why there is no speculative bubble in the price of water. We are slowly starving for oil and energy, the fuel for our economy. When we reduce oil and energy usage, we reduce economic activity, and it drags down the entire economy.
The mysterious poison is government interference in the marketplace, particularly in trying to repeal the basic laws of economics. One of the main things poisons due is interfere with normal biological processes, and market interference is little different. There are many of these poisons, and when one of them is having an obviously negative effect on the patient, too many so-called experts suggest we try a different one. The problem is that all such interference is toxic for our economy. Some amount of government interference is probably inevitable; after all, we take medicines that are essentially poisons, because our overall organisms can handle it in small amounts, and the medicine sometimes helps resolve a short-term problem. But you will die young on a steady diet of high doses of all kinds of medicine, regardless of how beneficial some medicines are in short term use for very specific problems. A body can tolerate just a very few “maintenance” medicines for a long life, and they must have very mild side effects to be survivable.
We are toxic with government economic medicine right now. The physicians who are prescribing it were wrong about the LAST ten prescriptions, with side effects they claimed we wouldn’t experience, and with frequent failure in the purpose of the medicine, even WITH the deleterious side effects. And they are planning to send us the bill for their professional services, anyway. The very best thing they could do is to withdraw all but the very minimum of economic medicine (meaning a tolerable toxicity), and let the body heal itself. It will.
Both of our candidates for president have big plans. You’ll have to decide which candidate is which in our little analogy. Do you really want to elect the candidate who plans to put you on about a dozen VERY STRONG maintenance medicines for life, and send you the bill?