Today I have to fly out of the Cincinnati airport tonight. If you’ve never used it, it’s an eerie experience because the airport is largely deserted.
Cincinnati is one of those airports that was a bustling hub once, but is no longer. The facilities therefore are totally outsized for the flights and passengers, and you see huge empty spaces as shown in this picture I took tonight as I was walking in B Concourse, my footsteps echoing in the emptiness.
It’s like a neutron bomb went off, or you’ve suddenly been shoved into one of those post-apocalyptic episodes of The Twilight Zone. You expect to see a tumbleweed rolling down the concourse, or zombies staggering past. It adds an exciting thrill of weirdness to the pleasures of business travel.
Doesn’t it sometimes seem like we’re caught in some kind of Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode where nothing ever changes? Every week or so they’ll be some big story that dominates the news, and when the coverage finally subsides, we realize we’re right back where we were before.
So it is with the Supreme Court health care ruling. We now know that the Affordable Health Care Act (h/t to Cousin Jeff) has survived, and when we raise our heads and look around, things everywhere are still stuck in neutral.
Guess what? European leaders are having another meeting to try to figure out how to solve — once and for all! — that sovereign debt crisis that never seems to end. (Hey, but this time they’re serious!) The European debt crisis must be the longest-running, most ineptly handled financial crisis in history. We keep hearing that the crack-up is coming, and it surely is, but European leaders merely respond with another “summit” that produces talk and resolutions and a shrimpy bailout approach that doesn’t do the trick — and in a week or so the process starts all over again. In the meantime, economies are moribund, and the European unemployment rate rises. It’s like a kind of torture, wondering when the big, crushing crack-up will come and the European “leaders” can dither no more.
In America, different pieces of economic news roll out every week, and they’re inevitably bad. Consumer confidence is falling. The unemployment rate is ticking up. Home prices are dropping again. And most recently we learned that the domestic manufacturing sector of the economy, which had been a relatively strong performer, is now contracting. There don’t seem to be many glimmers on the horizon, or “green shoots” in the American economic soil — just more of that sapping, ever-present bad news. We’re being conditioned to cringe in anticipation whenever the business news is announced.
Could Rod Serling please appear and bring this episode of unrelenting sameness to an end?