What if? What if everyone's wrong? What if the economy's not tanking? It's not a depression? What if the long doom predicted by economists who never saw it coming in the first place, have to switch places, again? Switch their views, again?

What if the really awful stuff suddenly isn't looking so awful? Still very bad stuff but getting better stuff. Slowly, incrementally, but increasingly.

What if GM is sincere when it says, as it did today, that it doesn't need anymore taxpayer dough for now? Things improving for now? What if Citigroup, reporting a surprising turnaround in the first two months of this year, is par for the course for lots of other banks this year?

What if Bank of America, saying the same today, is a sign this stuff might be spreading today? Companies like AT&T hiring. And just average folks buying; not a lot, but retail sales were a lot better than expected last month. And mortgage applications are moving a lot better than expected so far this month.

So what if, quietly, almost invisibly, things are getting better, but Washington doesn't see it? Keeps spending on stimulus maybe we don't need and boondoggles maybe we really don't need?

What if… what if... they have it wrong? The doom to support their dollars doesn't come close to approaching those dollars. Then what? What if we don't need a new New Deal now? What if we just need Washington to put the checkbook away now? Sort of log things and how they’re going now. Tell them it's our checkbook.

We'll spend if we have to. But maybe we don't want to. And what if they did? What if they just stopped spending and started watching? Because they realized that we're already spent and that we’re watching? And we are improving. What if they just put the shovels down? And stopped shoveling stuff at us?

Doubtful. But wouldn't it be wonderful if they did?

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