April 3, 2009

Penn Jillette

You turn into a skid. You put out a fire in your mouth by putting it deeper in your mouth. These things are counter-intuitive. But they work.

On the other hand, you slow down when you're speeding at a concrete wall. That's an intuitive, not a counter-intuitive, way to minimize the damage you take when you hit it. Someone who says you speed up into the wall is wrong; the counter-intuitive solution will only make things worse.

So, is spending your way out of a deficit one of those cool counter-intuitive things that turn out to really work? Or is it like jamming down on the accelerator after you see the concrete wall directly ahead of you? Penn Jillette doesn't know, and he captures the angst so many people feel quite well.

Penn is a good writer. But he shouldn't be so wishy-washy about the situation. We are accelerating into a solid object. Especially dangerous when even liberal economists say that the recession has crossed the line into an actual depression.

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