They say there's always a silver lining. Yesterday there wasn't. Markets around the globe sold off in a chaotic day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average's hair-raising ride ended the day down 512 points. The discernible theme among the wreckage was a generalized loss of confidence in the policy-making role of governments, here and in Europe.
The economies of Europe and the United States have arrived at the moment when they no longer have any conceivable hope of being able to pay for the huge public commitments they've amassed the past 40 years. This year's "debt crisis" has been building for decades.
In the wake of the debt deal, liberal economists are now complaining that the downward pressure on spending violates the Keynesian commandment to flood a faltering economy with government outlays.
We've done that. From the first months of the Obama Presidency, billions of stimulus have been injected into the economy, budgeted federal spending has grown toward 25% of GDP and the Federal Reserve has poured oceans of cash into the markets.
The Keynesians have fired all their ammo, and here we are, going south. Maybe now President Obama should consider everything he's done to revive the American economy—and do the opposite.