Building The Fiscal Cliff, One Dollar At A Time

by Robert Cleveland | December 26, 2012 6:02 am

To hear the politicians tell it, you would think that the Fiscal Cliff negotiations were a case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. President Obama and the Democrats won’t budge on their oh, so essential tax hikes on the evil rich, and those stiff-necked Republicans won’t budge on their insistence that tax rates not be raised.

But as is the norm in modern American politics, the truth tells a different story.

Republican leadership has been quite malleable in the Fiscal Cliff talks, willingly abandoning the “no new taxes” standard. First they proposed raising taxes by eliminating deductions. The Democrats laughed in their faces. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it was time for the GOP to “get serious.” To hear Democrats on the Capitol Hill tell it, you would think that John Boehner had proposed raising revenue by selling unicorn rides to fairyland.

Then, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed that the Senate vote on President Obama’s own plan. Harry Reid called it a “stunt,” again saying that Republicans were not serious about avoiding the Fiscal Cliff.

So Republicans came up with another counter-proposal, their “Plan B,” which proposed raising taxes on people making over $1 Million per year. This was also known as “The Pelosi Plan,” as it had been pitched by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the summer. This represented a major departure from the conservative wing of the GOP, and certainly hasn’t scored the party leadership any points. But yet again, to hear the Democrats (including Nancy Pelosi) tell it, this plan was a joke, and not even worth considering. Harry Reid pledged that it would never be voted on in the Senate if it managed to pass in the House. Then he adjourned the Senate so he could go watch a movie.

John Boehner announced last week that Plan B had failed because he was unable to get enough votes for it to pass in the House…which really just counts as another messaging failure but the de facto head of the GOP. Boehner may just as well have told the real truth, which was that if Harry Reid was poised to block any and all Republican proposals that passed in the House, then there really is no point in voting on Plan B, or continuing the negotiations at all…they may just as well all go home.

Of course, they may just as well all go home anyway, for all the good fixing the current Fiscal Cliff will do for our nation. The truth that no one seems to want to face in Washington is that for all of the fiscal crises our nation has faced since President Obama was elected, all of the “solutions” have been short-term fixes.

The real problem is not the fiscal cliff we’re about to plunge off of on January 1. The real fiscal cliff is the wall of spending our government has been piling up in front of us for too many years now. Federal debt is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it gets paid off, but we are racking up debt faster than ever, and don’t even seem to have an intention to pay it off.

The question is, what will our government do once we are unable to pay for all of the extra things our government provides? The amount of government spending relative to our nation’s GDP has been steadily increasing – and too few in Washington seem to care. Too many rounds of quantitative easing, where the government prints money to buy up our debt, are causing inflation – and too few in Washington seem to care. It’s bad enough that too few Americans care about the moral decay that plagues our nation, but far too many of the politicians that were elected to lead our nation don’t seem to care about America’s financial decay – and many of them are complicit in it.

We are heaping debt upon debt, and eventually the system will not be able to bear the weight – it’s only a matter of time. This is the true irony of the state of our nation: the politicians continually spend more than we can afford, but then they put forward meaningless “fixes” that do nothing to fix the root causes of our economic problems. It won’t help anything if the only “cuts” we ever implement are by raising spending less than we originally planned to.

We are so concerned with the contrived crisis of higher taxes and spending cuts that will kick in less than a week from now, but the true Fiscal Cliff is the wall of spending we are building in front of our nation. It is enough of an uphill battle for our nation to try and recover from the economic stagnation that we have been saddled with for too long. All these temporary fixes manage to do is to prolong the pain – they may help us to overcome the immediate “crisis,” but it only means we’ll need to make deeper cuts later on.

The Left seems to embrace a mentality of “no consequences,” and when it comes to our nation’s fiscal situation, it could very well mean the end of our nation if we don’t bring our spending into check sooner rather than later – and that is not hyperbole; nations have ended for less. These endless games of chicken played over and over by the politicians because of crises built by those very same politicians is causing real harm to our nation, and it is the everyday people of America who are bearing the consequences of their poor decisions. We don’t need a ruling class in America that refuses to take our serious fiscal problems seriously. We definitely don’t need a ruling class in America that will use contrived crisis after contrived crisis to convince the electorate that they are doing what is best for our nation.

We need real leaders who will take charge and fix our financial problems. That isn’t Barack Obama – if he was anything approaching a responsible leader, he would have taken time out of his presidential campaign to fix this “fiscal cliff” six months ago. It isn’t John Boehner – if he was anything approaching a responsible leader, he would not be so eager to sell out his principles in the hopes that he will be able to cut his political losses. It isn’t Nancy Pelosi – she was one of the architects of our overspending problem. It isn’t Harry Reid – not only was he one of the architects of our overspending problem, but now his entire function seems to be spreading lies about his party’s political opponents.

The morons on the Hill aren’t getting the job done. It’s time for the people to demand change.

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