Physicians and clergy are fond of saying that if there's a pulse, there's hope. As the new year begins, many public agencies are rightfully worried about their vital signs after what's been a punishing and traumatic season of fiscal and social disruption.

Some have relied on federal stimulus for life support and the promise of resuscitation until a recovery takes hold. Others see the problem in bleaker terms, suggesting that nothing short of resurrection is needed.

Author, columnist and progressive political operative David Sirota concluded that many of our institutions don't need life support, but a decent burial. That's not going to happen. In popular culture, post-collapse economics and politics the undead are too big to die.

Sirota noted how easily the phrase "zombie banks" entered the cultural lexicon to explain the unfathomable: "From a balance-sheet perspective, many of these firms were dead. But they were quickly reanimated as zombie banks with trillions of taxpayer dollars."

And it spread from there -- "On Wall Street, we have zombie executives." At the White House, zombie advisers ... "now sit in high government office letting out moans in support of the zombie banks." At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Sirota continued, "Decrepit zombie politicians with the funk of 40,000 years stalk Congress with the very zombie lobbyists that the election was said to disempower."


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Paul W. Taylor Paul W. Taylor  |  Chief Content Officer, e.Republic Inc.

Paul W. Taylor is the Chief Content Officer for e.Republic. He also serves as the Editor-at-Large of GOVERNING magazine. In his role as Chief Content Officer, Paul works with e.Republic’s editorial, research and conference teams to identify issues and content initiatives vital to public service, coordinating the combined resources of Governing, Government Technology, Emergency Management, Public CIO, the GOVERNING Institute and the Center for Digital Government and Center for Digital Education to ensure that relevant and useable content is comprehensively developed and delivered to e.Republic’s audiences.