• Why do I feel like I'm on the deck of the Titanic and frantically trying to point out to the captain, "Is it me, captain, or is that a big chunk of ice out there?"

    It's like I'm seeing this whole disaster play out in slow motion.

    I'd like to be wrong. Actually, I'd "love" to be wrong.

    But my opinion here? I think we're sinking fast. And we haven't even hit anything yet!

    We're just steering a scary course. And little more than five weeks away from sinking fast.

    Maybe something's going on behind the scenes...

    I'm just not seeing it.

    What I "am" seeing is a lot of icebergs.

    Iceberg One--Talk now the president not only is sticking to his tax-the-rich beta he's doubling down on it. Now insisting on $1.6 trillion dollars in "revenues" as part of any end-of-year budget fix. Says the economy can more than deal...even though it's actually weaker than it was two years ago, when he delayed those hikes because, as he put it then, the recovery was too fragile. It's even more fragile now.

    Iceberg Two--Democrats want to go much further on tax hikes. That means not just higher rates on wealthier taxpayers but shaking 'em down for still more dough by limiting their deductions and write-offs.

    Iceberg Three--Not a hint of spending cuts in return. Union leaders meeting with the president making it very clear, they're not interested in shared sacrifice, just sacrificing some annoying rich dudes. Don't believe me? Believe the education union president who had trouble coming up with so much as one cut he could offer or me.

    Which brings me to...

    Iceberg Four--total denial. Union leaders and progressives who say the election was a mandate to tax the rich, and the hell with the spending. I didn't see that in any exit voter survey did you?

    Iceberg Five--Retail sales are slowing. Maybe post-sandy, but definitely not dandy. This recovery's drowning, and instead of throwing it a life raft, we're throwing it an anchor? Holy "ship"! Paddle? Meet boat.

    Iceberg Six--Companies are scaling back health benefits from Wal-Mart and Applebee's to Darden and scores of other businesses they're battening down for the storm Washington doesn't see coming, by doing everything from cutting workers' hours to just cutting workers, period.

    Iceberg Seven--Nancy Pelosi says she wants to remain democratic leader in the house. And she'll likely get her way enough said.

    Iceberg Eight--Not one small business leader invited to the white house. Why invite the doomed to their own execution, I guess.

    Iceberg Nine--Republicans offering revenues but as yet, not so much as a kind word or a counter-offer from democrats, in return. What's the word here? Sap?

    Iceberg Ten--Fitch investors and moody's circling like sharks, ready to take a bite out of our credit rating, even before the first victim hits the water.

    I could go on. But why bother? You get the point. So many icebergs, so "little" time.

    Now let me be clear, all my postulating here is based on what I'm "hearing" not what might actually be "happening" behind the scenes.

    Maybe cooler, wiser, less hysterical heads are quietly cobbling together a fiscal plan to keep this ship afloat.

    So I can just ignore the total bull-ship I'm hearing politicians spout in front of the microphones.

    Because what I'm "hearing"...

    Scares me "shipless."