FISCAL CLIFFS LOOMS AND RHETORIC TRUMPS REASON

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.”

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3 thoughts on “FISCAL CLIFFS LOOMS AND RHETORIC TRUMPS REASON

  1. I agree Congressional and Administrative incompetence is widespread and not housed in one political party. The extreme 20% on left and 20% right hold the middle 60% hostage. It would be great to have the moderate 60% unite, even if it made a third party. Think of Joe Lieberman/Rudy Giuliani calling the shots. Moderate views would prevail – call it the Common Sense party.
    As for the fiscal cliff, “normal” logic would indicate a fairly meaningless last minute agreement to essentially kick the can down the road. However, there are political reasons the President and Speaker Boehner might be quite willing to go over the cliff – for a short period. The President may believe he can “blame” the GOP for political gain and Boehner can claim he did all he could and did not “cave” to keep his position as Speaker. Many GOP Congressman pledged not to raise taxes and remember what happened to G.H. Bush when said “read my lips” – no taxes – and then raised them in an act of political courage to do what he felt best for the country. He then lost. Ironically, if we go over the cliff and all tax rates rise and a few weeks later there is a compromise with rates lowered to somewhere between Clinton and Bush rates, the GOP members, using a Clintonesque logic, could say they kept their pledge and voted to “lower” taxes. Yes, America is now in an upside down logic mode – the Mad Hatter and friends now reside in and run Washington.
    To me, some moderate across the board tax hikes make sense. It would broaden the tax base and many of those “47%” would have a stake in encouraging Washington to spend “their” money with greater care. Also, we never should have had such big cuts under Bush while borrowing from foreigners to pay for two wars. I suggest, however, big tax credits/rebates for businesses increasing hiring/headcount – say $15,000 or more per new job created. This puts back money for “rich” who actually hire and not the “rich” flaky athlete, entertainer, derivatives trader, etc. who create no jobs. Plus, responsible parties need to cut waste and make long-term sensible spending cuts. Real stimulus spending could work, such as modernizing our electrical energy grids in US, expansion of oil/gas pipelines, safe expansion of off-shore drilling, building a modern railroad system, and so forth and eliminating silly-failed programs like “cash for clunkers”; and electric battery/solar plants that are so inefficient they go bankrupt.
    Washington now reminds me of the story of Sodom and Gemorrah where G-d tells Abraham if there are just 10 righteous people he will save the cities. This requirement could not be met and fire and brimstone hailed down on them. I say those in Washington should try to learn from this experience or they may, too, be consumed – this time by the wrath of the American people.

    • Wow! I really awoke a sleeping giant! Hate to say it, but a lot of what you said actuallly made sense. Agree that O’s and B’s motives for delaying deal as you hypothesized are a possibility. Would favor anything that ecourages small businesses to hire and/or invest in selves, but doubt it would get votes. Romney couldn’t “sell” his small businesses incentives. I recall Bush 41’s pledge and subsequent backtracking. We’ve already discussed 3rd party scenario. I don’t agree only because historically they have never worked. Only resulted in electing someone who otherwise might not have won, i.e. Bull Moose Party swung election to Wilson (1916?) & Goodell swung NY Senate race to James Buckley (1970?). Don’t recall affect of Wallace & Perot.

      • It is a bit scary that you agree with a lot of what I said. Like I used to kid my mother, if I found I myself agreeing with you too much about something, that would be a sign for me to re-think my position. FYI, Wallace won 5 Southern states, which at that time used to go Democratic, so who knows if it was enough to tilt the election from HHH – it was pretty close…and Perot got about 19% of the popular vote in 1992 – could very easily taken votes from GHB (opinion mixed), e.g. Perot did well in Maine and Clinton won that state over its most famous resident. A third party like I am suggesting would be somewhat different – usually an extreme element wants to be heard, so it breaks off from one party – here – the people I want are the moderates of both parties. Before Bloomberg ran for a 3rd term and turned so far the left, I thought he matched that description and had the money to finance himself for a 3rd party run. Trump was too off the wall the other way, but what if a moderate conservative like Rudy G. type (who won in Democratic NY) had the same personal money to spend – would be interesting…Looks today like Congressional wimps may execute a short-sighted “fix” – reminds me of those sad junkies you see in “B” movies who will do anything for the next high.

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