(For musical background, if desired, here’s “Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity,” from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Wonderful music. Last summer, my wife and I paid our respects at the memorial to Holst in Chichester Cathedral, where his ashes are buried.)
It’s been 1361 days — that’s one thousand three hundred and sixty-one days — since the Senate of the United States passed a budget, which it’s legally required to do annually.
This year, for the fourth time in five years — more than any other presidential administration in history — the Obama Administration will be late in submitting a budget proposal to Congress.
Last year, the Senate rejected Mr. Obama’s initial budget proposal by a vote of 99-0 (which seems at least vaguely bipartisan and suggests that the proposal may not have been a very serious one).
Not to worry, though. The relevant laws don’t specify the planet to which they’re referring, and a year on Jupiter is equivalent to 11.86 earth years. Which means that, if we can just avail ourselves of expert legal interpretation and a compliant Supreme Court, we’ve got lots and lots of time. And it may also mean that the Four More Years of Hope and Change that we’ve just given ourselves will actually translate into almost forty-eight terrestrial years! Barack Obama is still relatively young, and there’s a great deal more that he can achieve.
Four more Jovian years!
The problem, thus far, is that our children will typically live for only about 5.8 or 5.9 Jovian years — a fact that will probably be cured by Obamacare, of course — and that the debt issue seems to have ramifications for their entire lives and well beyond.
But so what?
“The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs,” said John Maynard Keynes (a major influence on Obama Administration economic thinking) in his 1923 Treatise on Monetary Policy. ”In the long run, we are all dead.”