Friday, November 16, 2012

Fiscal Cliff? Give The People What They Want

I need to go ahead and get this one off my chest before somebody gets hurt. The news is now filled with talk of the coming “fiscal cliff”. I’m already tired of this media construction. There is no cliff. That would suggest that if someone went over said cliff, they would plunge to certain and immediate death. Someone who plunges off of a cliff doesn’t die 6 months later of complications. Death is immediate, instantaneous, and relatively painless, if I correctly understand the functioning of the nervous system. No, the fiscal cliff involved here would result in higher federal income taxes for every working American, and automatic, across the board spending cuts for all departments of our government. (In other words, the fiscal cliff is what regular people would be forced to do if their family budget was under water, get a second job, and cancel cable). How high and how broad? Well, the fiscal cliff would increase tax revenue to the government by 19%, while reducing government spending by .25%. Yes. You read that right. We are talking a “draconian” slashing of government spending by .25%. This is what we are told will produce untold devastation to our nation, causing much rending of garments, gnashing of teeth, and social dislocation not seen since the destruction of Pompeii by Mount Vesuvius in 79AD.

Having said all that, a deal needs to get done, and soon. While I can make an argument that we would be better off long term if nothing was done, the American people have made it abundantly clear that they don’t care about the long term. What, we’re racking up one trillion dollars a year in debt, you say? Screw it, I want my food stamps, I want the interest deduction of my mortgage, and don’t even think about messing with funding for Sesame Street.

Ok, so here’s the deal. I have some advice for the Republican party. This is not the time to dig in your heels. You want to drive a hard bargain in these sort of negotiations? Well, win an election! President Obama just kicked your ass running on a clear platform of raising taxes on people making over $250,000 a year. The American people were fine with that. So, why are you drawing lines in the sand over a position that was just repudiated by the America people? Listen guys, if you think that the country will be destroyed by higher taxes on the rich, then enact them. Then sit back and watch the economy tank, and in two years send your candidates out there with the message, “See, we told you this was going to happen!!” Elections should mean something. You guys lost. Take your medicine. If you block a deal, the President will hang the fiscal cliff around your collective necks, and blame your party for everything bad that happens as a consequence…and he will be right to do so.

Any deal that is reached will make our debt problem worse than it would have been without a deal. But the American people don’t care about debt, and they have just spoken on the subject. Give the people what they want.