I coined this dilemma years ago due to some circumstances that then surrounded my life and it has served as a pretty good analogy since. I can't help but think of it now as I look at America's (and Europe's) fiscal woes. Anyone willing to look at the run-away debt, while also daring to take in the steepening grade of looming unfunded Utopian promises of security for all, should be able to relate to this dilemma. As with the skier, the opportunity for choosing the best and least painful choice is running out. Like the skier the natural urge is to forestall the inevitable; to lie to ourselves. This will take place by the suggestion that we can avoid pain by printing money and taxing. But we know this not to be true. Governments' consumption of money are like the grave taking in the dead, or oceans taking in rivers, or fire's consumption of wood. They are never satisfied; they never say that's enough. Such a tact will only ultimately have the effect of deception and increasing our "speed" causing the pain and suffering to be worse when we fall. The best choice is obvious to the sensible: cut spending now.
As we watch the skier barreling out of control down the icy slope, it is easy for us to know what is his best and most sensible choice. But this is not how the true tests of sensibility are presented. It is our circumstances with which we are faced, and within which we must prove ourselves sensible, not someone else's. The bottom line for us at this point of out-of-control taxing/borrowing/printing and spending is that we have accumulated too much speed for a painless resolution. The only question left for us at this point is are we a sensible people? Time will tell; and the next two years of enduring an all out 24/7 attack add posing as "news" will reveal much of that telling.