Today is December 28, 2012. The fiscal cliff awaits us on January 1, 2013. A self-imposed, fixed and immutable deadline. To paraphrase the old military saying: “three more days, and we wake up.” What kind of America will we wake up to on January 1? No one knows, and few seem to care. In the past few weeks, most Americans have been going about their daily lives, pre-occuppied with the holiday season. The last thing they want to think about is some political wrangling over a “fiscal cliff,” most of them don’t understand and don’t see how it will affect them anyway. To some extent, that is understandable. But, unfortunately, the representatives we have elected to look out for our interests, to govern on our behalf, to be the voices of reason, to overcome their political differences and do the “right thing” for the good of the whole country rather than their respective self-serving narrow interests, have failed us utterly and irresponsibly. They are still, at this late date, engaged in rhetoric over reason.
The latest polls show that roughly 44% of Americans blame the Republicans for failure to resolve the impasse; roughly 33% blame the Democrats and the rest blame both parties. Of course, that is ludicrous. Those who have been following the issue closely realize that there is equal blame on both sides. Personally, I blame the leadership of BOTH parties, including President Obama and the Congressional leaders, who have failed to rein in their fringe elements on both the right and left so that common ground can be found for the good of the country as a whole.
CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION
Some of you may recall that I have published two previous blogs on this subject. On November 24 I posted “Deal or No Deal” in which I challenged our government representatives, including the President, to “step up” politically. (We see how well they responded to that challenge.) I predicted “rhetoric and fingerpointing” but no meaningful deal. On November 30 I posted “Will America Fall Off the Cliff?” in which I listed the major negative effects of a failure to reach a meaningful agreement. I predicted a last minute deal, but not a meaningful one. Unfortunately, it appears that both predictions were pretty close to the truth.
People take heed! It’s not just about tax rates. If we go off the fiscal cliff 90% of you will see a tax increase, including virtually everyone who pays income tax, works, sells property or, yes, dies. And, that does not include the Obamacare tax (Yes, it is a tax. The Supreme Court said so.) and the incalculable effects on our economy and credit rating.
When all is said and done, don’t be surprised if there is a much ballyhooed last minute, face-saving deal that technically avoids the fiscal cliff but yet fails to resolve the larger economic problems. One thing our government is good at is the old children’s game of “kick the can.”