Our Economy: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't Short-term fixes needed, but they hurt our long-term prospects By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jul 2, 2010 1:58 PM CDT 28 comments Comments States and local governments are in trouble. Expect tax increases. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (Newser) – Steven Pearlstein surveys the mess of our economy and finds that we're in quite a pickle: "To fix the economy in the long run, we have to weaken it in the short run—yet weakening it in the short run makes it just that much harder to fix it in the long run," he writes in the Washington Post. "Any way you look at it, the economics are terrible, and the politics are even worse." State and local governments can't escape a simple reality: They're spending too much relative to tax revenues. Something's got to give, and it's going to hurt. "The only real question is how this pain is distributed, which in the end is what these fights are all about," writes Pearlstein. Should the feds give states emergency aid? Yes, but not blindly. Only those that take "credible steps" to close their budget gaps deserve it.