It was my corporate executive spouse who first described the “turd on the table” effect to me. Simply put its the really awful thing that is on everybody’s mind in a meeting (and who wouldn’t notice a turd on the meeting room table?) but that no one will bring up as far less pressing subjects on the agenda are ticked off. In the debt ceiling talks the turd is the baby boom. Robert Samuelson points this out. Here’s his column on the turd that my buddy sent me:
The essential budget question is how much we allow federal spending on the elderly to crowd out other national priorities. All else is subordinate. Yet, our “leaders” don’t debate this question with candor or intelligence. We have a generation of politicians cowed and controlled by AARP.
For the GOP, however, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are even more terrifying. Rush and company talked the GOP out of a short term solution that would have given them a lot of what they wanted. Instead they will take us to a budget crisis that will make solving the problems Samuelson outlines just that much harder to accomplish. We civilians, in turn, will get the pleasure of a year’s worth of partisan finger pointing until the 2112 election.
Next year I will only get to point my finger at one Congressman – mine. He can be sure I’ll give it to him.