Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Analogy

Hello!  Get Me Outta Here!
The following was contributed by John Doyle, Esq., a good friend of the show.

Amidst a never-ending recession in the United States, we find ourselves subject to a never-ending fiscal showdown, whether it be “fiscal cliffs”, “debt ceilings” or “sequesters”.  It makes me think of America as a person trapped at the bottom of a well.


The well is narrow and cannot fit another person to climb down without being on top of that person.  Two groups of townspeople have come - one with a ladder and another with a rope. Each has their own solution:

The first group believes they should use a firm steel ladder, set it down the well and let the person climb out, knowing there is something firm and steady underneath it while the townspeople will be there to monitor the process.

The second group believes they should use an old rope and they all should pull this person out because thye think the ladder is unsteady and will could slip.

In response, the first group points out that the rope might fray and break under such immense pressure and that the person may also be swung about and injured along the way by slamming into the sides of the well.  They suggest  to take the rope and tie it to the ladder to firm it up even more, but to otherwise let the ladder – and the person climbing up – to do the work.

The second group is horrified that the first group would rather let the person climb up a ladder  accusing the first group of refusing to lift a finger to help the person themselves.  They even call the first group selfish.

The first group points out that not only is the ladder is firm and steady to be used now, but it can be used again afterwards just like it has been used in the past and would be used now.  Its steel  construction is tested and will last longer,  while the rope has, at best, and shorter and temporary lifespan.

Ultimately, both groups move to send down both the ladder and the rope and get nothing done at first because they are fighting over room to work.  The first group again suggests to use the rope to shore up the ladder because the ladder is the superior tool.  The second group again calls the first group selfish.

Finally, the first group, in an effort to get something done, suggests to send both the ladder and the rope down to let the trapped person select.  Both groups send down their tools, but only after the second group insists that another rope is tied to the first group’s ladder.

The person in the well sees both and is about to select one when the second group yells down  to the person “Don't pick the ladder! Those people who sent it to you are selfish and don't want to pull you up! We all want to pull you up!”

Again, the first group insists that the ladder is strong, steady and firm and while it may shake a little given the severity of the situation, it is tied by another rope and is the clearly stronger choice. The second group persists in attacking the first group’s “bad intentions” and insists it cares more about the trapped person than the first group.

The person decides to tie the rope around him.  As the second group begins to pull, they insist that the trapped person tie the rope tighter and tighter around himself.  He does, but the second group says that it’s still not tight enough – it must be tighter.  At this point, the trapped person can barely breathe and is extremely uncomfortable and in pain.

Despite all the instructions and efforts, the trapped person is not freed from the well.  In fact, the trapped person is initially jolted by the impact, not expecting how tight the rope would get.  In the little progress made, the trapped person is swung about in all directions and is gets battered against the wall of the well.  Along the way the group pulling gets winded and take a break, leaving the person swinging in the breeze within the trapped well.  They start again with another firm jolt, but this time the force is too much for the rope to bear and it snaps, sending the person back down to the end of the well.

Having the wind knocked out of them, the trapped person is back where he started, but in more pain than before.  He need time to recover.  When looking to try again, they see that the ladder is still there, untouched and just as strong as it ever was. After much effort to untie the remnants of the rope, the ladder is sent down into the well, and the trapped person begins to climb up the ladder.

It's a long, arduous climb. The person has to take it one rung at a time.  But the ladder does not shift.  It does not budge.  Each rung is there one after another.  Eventually, the trapped person will reach the top of the well and the first group will be there to give them a free hand to help him completely climb out.

***

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the trapped person in the well is our country, the well is this long-lasting recession, the rope is the government tax, spend and regulation scheme, the ladder is the free market system free from overburdened governmental policies, the first group are Conservatives, and the second group are Liberals.

We can always keep trying to use the rope and get roughed up on the way to getting nowhere, but to get where we’re going, we’re going to need a ladder.  That doesn’t mean that the rope can’t steady the ladder, but it's no replacement.

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