In 2009, Air France Flight 447 tragically plunged into the Atlantic Ocean after the massive Airbus A320 jet suddenly lost lift, taking the lives of all 228 passengers on board. For several years thereafter, accident investigators were baffled as to the cause of the crash, and everything from mechanical issues to foul play was considered. It was not until the elusive “black box” was discovered that the true cause of the crash became known: a suspension of the ordinary rules of flight, and a pilot inexperienced in such circumstances. The current economic crisis in America has many parallels with the tragic crash of Flight 447; the regular rules of economic engagement are suspended, and the man at the helm is woefully inexperienced in economic matters.
The cause of the crash of Flight 447 turned out to be aerodynamic stall, which is when an aircraft loses airspeed and lift, due to excessive slowing and a change in atmospheric conditions. Flight 447 was in the middle of a thunderstorm, and the pilot tried to keep the plane from stalling by pulling its nose up; however, in the event of aerodynamic stall, the nose of the plane must be pointed down to speed up the aircraft, thus gaining the lift needed to sustain flight. Inexperienced pilots are not used to this “suspension of the rules” of flight. Thus, instead of putting the nose down to gain speed before trying to pull back up, the pilot of AF 447 pulled up, ensuring that the plane would plummet from the sky.
Just as the traditional rules of flight were suspended in the emergency on Flight 447, so are the “rules” of economic policy undermined in what economist John Mauldin calls our current “debt supercycle.” This means that the traditional gimmicks Washington uses to try and jump-start the economy just won’t work anymore. Government stimulus, printing of money, loosening of monetary policy, none of it works with an economy that is already over-stimulated and loaded down in debt. Like the Red Bull addict that no longer gets a sugar-rush from ingesting the beverage, so is our economy impervious to government gimmicks that try and cover for real fiscal reform.
Under such a suspension of the Washington economic playbook, we need leadership that is experienced in the real economy. Quick fixes and get-rich-quick schemes don’t work in the private sector, so why should anyone expect them to work any better in the public arena? Nevertheless, President Barack Obama and his liberal allies argue that we aren’t spending enough, that our economy needs more government spending, more deficits and debt, not less. They are trying to pull the nose up on a stalled economy, thus ensuring that we’ll come crashing down in what I call an “ecodynamic stall.” In order to keep our economy flying, we need real reforms that ensure we aren’t spending more than we take in, that we balance the Federal budget, and that we build up the private sector to employ the folks currently dependent on government jobs and / or government benefits.
The private sector alone can save America’s economy, and the only way this can happen is if a leader from the private sector is in the cockpit of the public sector. That’s why I believe Governor Mitt Romney has the skills necessary to right our economic situation, by gaining airspeed under our economy by freeing the private sector from the albatross of government that’s weighing it down. Only then can America avoid an out-and-out ecodynamic stall, and the ensuing crash of our currency and economy that will surely follow.