Accelerating Into The Wall

Penn Jillette on spending your way out of debt. Or rather, on Obama’s plan to spend America out of recession.

Counterintuitive action makes a fellow feel smart. When I first got my driver’s license, I took my old Ford Falcon into the Greenfield Public High School parking lot when it was freshly covered with fresh powder on top of wet slippery Western Massachusetts snow and ice. I turned fast, gunned it and lost control of the car in a skid.

I turned into the skid and instantly gained control of my car. Telling someone to turn into a skid, that’s crazy talk. It seems so wrong, but my Dad knew it worked. Dad suggested I do it over and over in the parking lot, so I would conquer my intuition to be ready when a real emergency arose on a real road. Counterintuitive actions prove we can trust real knowledge and do the opposite of what we feel makes sense.


But there are some things that are just intuitive. Did you know, that if you’re going 100 mph, directly at a very, very thick, reinforced concrete wall, and you speed up, so you’re accelerating right when you hit the wall that the accident you have is going to be much worse than if you’d jammed on the brakes as soon as you saw the wall at the end of the street? Did you know that? It’s exactly what everything you know and feel would tell you, and it’s exactly true. Most times when you’re driving, or playing with fire, or handling money, the thing that makes sense to you is also true.

I way hope we’re turning into a skid and not accelerating into a concrete wall.

Read the whole thing, it’s worth your time.

We’re accelerating into that wall, I suspect. Or rather, we are being accelerated into that wall by the lunatics at the wheel of the car. 

There’s a difference between what is happening now and what happened in past economic crises. During the Second World War, the country, the average people, sacrificed as a nation in order to finance fighting the war. Those sacrifices won the war and finally killed the Great Depression. This time, the madmen behind the wheel are telling people we can spend like maniacs while only making the rich pay for it all.

The madmen behind the wheel are spending our money, our children’s money, our grand children’s money – heck, I am not sure how many generations out this is now. There has never been anything like what is going on right now.

There’s a joke out there on the internet that says something to the effect: “When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather did. Not crying and screaming like the passengers in his car.”

There are an awful lot of folks sleeping right now. The wall is getting closer.

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