By Simon Johnson
Following President Obama’s State of the Union address, there is a great deal of discussion about whether we might now be edging our way towards fiscal responsibility.
Unfortunately, most of our political elite – both left and right – is still living in a land of illusions. They cannot even seriously discuss what would be required to bring our true fiscal position under control – remember that most of the recent damage to our collective balance sheet was done by big banks blowing themselves up. No one who refuses to confront the power of those banks can be taken seriously as a fiscal conservative.
Even those interest groups that prominently espouse fiscal responsibility refuse to confront this reality. There are no fiscal conservatives in the United States; at this stage it is all pretence.
Pretence is apparently all we are likely to get, as long as the money keeps rolling in (see Argentina for details).