AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
Are you feeling a whole lot better now that Congress finally reached an accord that prevented the United States from going over the “fiscal cliff?” Are you finally breathing a sigh of relief believing that your taxes aren’t going up?
Well, you shouldn’t be. And you shouldn’t be jumping up and down and believing one single word that is coming out of Washington, D.C. on what this deal did. While President Obama and the Congressional leaders may be patting themselves on a job well done not sending the U.S. economy into the toilet, in reality all that they did was continue to ‘kick the can’ down the road yet another time.
America’s financial problems are still every bit as worrisome today as they were before the new financial deal was struck. And the financial perils our country is facing are only getting bigger and bigger every day. While Congress and the President may have reached an agreement to avoid the trillion dollars in budget cuts that were slated to take effect in January, they did absolutely nothing to reduce the continuing growth of federal spending or to tackle the reduction of the nation’s debt.
In fact, as a result of the new accord, many Americans are going to see their income taxes go up and see the amount of money that they bring home with each paycheck go down. And while the new deal increases the amount of money that is going to be flowing into the nation’s treasury, that new revenue is being far exceeded by $4 trillion of increased government spending.
So somewhere along the line, as the Republicans and Democrats were both pointing their fingers at each other and blaming others for the fiscal problems of the nation, they decided to take the easy way out.
Maybe they thought that with enough puffery and pounding on the tables, Americans would fail to see that Congress and the President of the United States let them down again and had taken the easy way of the trouble.
Taking the easy way out has become a troubling pattern that seems to be the way things get done (or don’t get done) in Washington, D.C.
Instead of doing the hard work of trying to get government spending under control while making necessary increases to revenues that taxpayers can live with, Washington chose to do neither.
The fiscal cliff offered an opportunity for the President and congressional leaders from both parties to reach a compromise that would set the nation back on a course to financial solvency. But they failed miserably.
And in kicking the can down the road yet another time, they are just setting up another fiscal cliff in the coming months when Congress again is going to be asked to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
Democrats and Republicans alike claim that the deal that they reached at the end of December will now give them time to make the serious decisions that have so far eluded them.
With the country facing a $16 trillion debt and a government that continues to spend far more than it is taking in, one would hope that someone would finally decide it’s time to make the serious decisions.