Over We Go...Maybe, but Definitely.

As I write this, 31st December 2012, I'm - with apologies to the King - looking out on a cold and grey Chicago morning (thankfully not in the ghetto) from a hotel room. The view is hideous...oh, right...that's the mirror...little to the right...yeah, cold and grey, pretty much how a lot of us are feeling now.

Shortly, I will drive over to a client and meet with a few of their senior officials - none of whom have had anything resembling a holiday these past few weeks - and make final recommendations as to an action plan that will be enacted if the US economy goes over that cliff - and as I go through the emails, SMSs and this weird hand written note underneath my door written in amazingly beautiful script, that looks like a foregone conclusion. In reality, we've long done the calculations, the models, the charts and prepared everything, so this meeting is a bit more about formalities, contingencies and myself just having a once over on some public announcements. And no doubt, I am going to hear some very interesting language...

It's been strange: we did this contingency plan almost 3 months ago and really, it was initially done more as an intellectual exercise than an actionable plan - no one expected to use it.

They couldn't be that silly, we all thought. No way would they let it come to actually not doing something.

But as the weeks dragged on, the lobbyists began to make worrying sounds: things are tense, bad...real bad. Sure, they'll probably come to an agreement at the last minute - they always do - but just in case... So, we fleshed it out more and more, tidied it up...and suddenly it became a living document. Maybe...no...but just in case...

And here we are. Perhaps, just maybe within the next few hours they will just make it...or maybe it will be a bit after. But either way, I believe America has really gone over a cliff, a cliff of good - or even remotely non-incompetent - government. Whilst Congress has often been divided in the past, I have been told by people with decades of experience on the Hill, it's never been so bitter as it is now in terms of what people hold dear. Never have individuals that are so ideological (ummmm...principled!) on either side of economic thought been present in so great numbers, in an environment that is so toxic. And with this, sensible governance is not possible.

This whole rolling wreck of the last few months has dragged my time away from other assignments, which were infinitely more productive to jobs, to growth, to new technologies and ideas. All so we could prepare for the outcome of a dysfunctional political system.

A sensible agreement was always going to be a concession too far....and the way of getting there has proven to be ridiculous.

The old world is over. Welcome to a new reality which we can't yet fully understand.

Welcome to 2013.