Funny Fighting Words

It’s not that I haven’t been writing, it’s just this is supposed to be a humorous financial column and my recent essays (that I’ve trash-canned) just haven’t been all that darn funny.

Wouldn’t it be humorous if an unnecessary debt ceiling fight threw us back into recession? See, not so easy to be funny about that.

Maybe I’m the wrong guy to understand picking fights. I never did. The other guy hit first when I was eight and when I was thirteen. In the first bout, the other guy was twelve and had reach and experience, so I got the black eye. My next fight was between equals. I countered his wild swing with an overhead right aimed at his head, hit him in the arm and broke it clean. We both ran home crying. My conclusion, fighting is stupid and someone always gets hurt, usually both involved.

Can you even imagine Eric Cantor in a fight? He was the guy who always got pants-ed by the tough kids. He’s still angry and finally has a way to hit back. In fact, I can’t imagine any of our leaders in a fist fight. Boehner would cry, Nancy would hit like a girl, Harry I suspect is tougher than he looks and Obama would convince potential combatants that he just wants to be the referee.

So why are these people who would never engage in personal combat so determined to fight rather than compromise? Because they are fighting by proxy. No matter who wins an ideological fight in Congress, most members in gerrymandered, politically save districts come out without a scratch. This is a bad show no one is enjoying. Who wants to go to a fight when only the audience gets hurt? Welcome to the debt ceiling debate.

It’s not even a real fight. It’s more staged than pro wrestling. I visualize it as “The Crying Orangeman” versus “The Black Professor”, endlessly circling in the ring, throwing only taunts at each other and an outside crowd of million watches while being pelted by a hail storm. Only the ring is covered. This is a bout that could only happen in Washington, D.C.

Ideological fights are boring at best and even a little scary when the only ones who want blood are not in harm’s way. Maybe Don King should throw his hat in the presidential ring.

So, let’s call off this charade of a fight, get the combatants to embrace a true compromise so we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming. The financial markets provide much more sophisticated theater and are lots more fun to write about.