By Thane Peterson
DIGGING A HOLE. So, let's say a crisis like a SARS outbreak -- or some combination of a SARS outbreak and another shock -- causes a sudden downturn in the U.S. economy. Underlying weaknesses in America have been ignored, dangerously, in my view.
The obvious immediate worry is the federal government's deteriorating financial situation. In two short years, it has gone from projected surpluses to a deficit of around $400 billion for this year alone, as post-September 11 spending on military and homeland security has soared.
This is clearly unsustainable. How can the U.S. fight a long-term battle against terrorism if it already has plunged into such a deep hole of deficit spending? Yet Congress, far from shoring u