Among the Troubles We’re In

How’s 2023 going? The condition of the patient (the U.S.A.) is guarded. The Treasury has warned us that unless Congress authorizes a rise in the debt ceiling, the United States will default on its obligations this summer, which would please dictators hostile to our country by causing economic and political chaos and imperiling our national security. Republicans think that might not be too big a price to pay in order to teach Democrats an unintelligible lesson.
The nation’s fiscal plight was greatly exacerbated by the Trump tax cuts and tax breaks for the rich and especially for the super rich, people like the fellow in East Hampton, New York, who, the local newspaper reports this week, feels deprived because the house he bought for $57 million isn’t directly on the ocean, a flaw he’s attempting to remedy by applying for a permit to build an elevated walkway through the dunes. I wonder if the town will permit this desecration of public lands, sculpted by the winds, to spare him what ordinary rich people have to endure — walking, biking, or driving, sometimes hundred of yards, to get to the beach. Wealth inequality is out of control, which is one of the troubles we’re in.