That said: Dr. Krugman--Paul--this sort of thing must stop.
Economic data rarely inspire poetic thoughts. But as I was contemplating the latest set of numbers, I realized that I had William Butler Yeats running through my head: “Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer; / Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”I'm going to right now declare a Mandatory Global Moratorium on the use of "The Second Coming" in any discussion of Current Events. Yes! Of course I've done it. We've all done it! It's so easy, and it always feels horrifyingly appropriate! But that's why it's a cliché! You think oh just this once, it won't hurt anyone; anyone can see that the tragedy is that THE BEST LACK ALL CONVICTION! How true that is! And things falling apart? Hell, that happens to me ALL THE TIME.
Really, anybody who's used that "worst are full of passionate intensity" bit in the past decade--and you know you have!--has to remind themself that they probably don't agree with old W.B., or he wouldn't agree with them, about who exactly the "worst" are. But that's not even the point! We've done him the courtesy of overlooking that whole Unfortunate Politics thing because of the whole Genius thing, and rightly so. But for the sake of decency, we also have to stop beating this creepy poem into the rhetorical ground.
So let's just leave it here. The center cannot hold. Fine. Let's all agree to find another way to point that out. No more blood-dimmed tides! No more mere anarchy loosed upon the world! And for the sake of all that is holy, no more slouching of any kind by anybody towards anywhere! There's a book on my shelf called Slouching Toward Fargo, for the love of god! About minor-league baseball! And of course one-time Supreme Court nominee (and present-day batshit crazy Mitt Romney fan) Robert Bork really did in all seriousness put out a book called Slouching Towards Gomorrah. (For somebody worried about the Decline of the West, that's a spectacularly incoherent mash-up of two different pseudo-Biblical tropes that have long since outlived their usefulness.)
(The same goes for any unironic citing of Polonius's advice to his children. Never do what that guy tells you! Go ahead, kids, be a borrower. It's fun!)
[Footnote: while typing this, I for one brief moment had the title of the poem written as "Teh Second Coming," which should provoke giggles in other online children like myself. That's the perfect shorthand for this kind of Media Yeats Abuse! Yeats r00l1z!!!!11 Ezra Pound is teh suck!]