Friday, February 13, 2009

Thanks, Sherlock.

Each weekday, walking through NYC's Grand Central Terminal, I pass through a corridor (pictured above) with some nice shops selling luggage, eye glasses, men's fancy shaving equipment, decorative items, etc.

It's been a little alarming (if not surprising) in the past few weeks to see a few of these businesses closing or moving.

Peggy Noonan recently went for walk on Manhattan's Upper East Side and saw some of the same -- on some of the wealthiest blocks in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in America.

She notes:

Politicians keep saying, "People have to begin to understand we're in bad shape," and "People should realize it's a crisis." I think they know, Sherlock. Do you? Our political leaders are like a doctor who rushes to the scene of a terrible crash, bends over a hemorrhaging woman and says, "This is serious, lady, you can't take it lightly." She looks up at him: "Help me, do something, I'm bleeding out!" The doctor, to the local TV cameras: "I hope she knows she's in trouble."

There's a sense that everyone's digging in. President Obama has dug in on this stimulus bill: Pass it or see catastrophe. Republicans are dug in: Pass it and see catastrophe. The digging in is a way of showing certitude, and they're showing certitude because they're lost.

We hire politicians to know what to do about empty stores, job loss, and "Retail Space Available." But they don't, and more than ever we know they don't.

I believe the photo above is by Patrick Andrade for The New York Times. It is from here.

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