Friday, December 21, 2012

So What Else is New?

If you are surprised that there is no agreement in place to avoid the “fiscal cliff” with only 11 days left before we go over the cliff, you aren’t paying attention.  Latest evidence: Yesterday’s debacle for John Boehner and the Republicans, who couldn’t even agree to pass his Plan B, which had the audacity to propose a tax increase for people making more than $1 million a year.

Any hope or expectation that the 2012 election, the Newtown slaughter and plain common sense for the good of the country would moderate obstructionism and gridlock in Washington is, not surprisingly, a pipedream.

But here’s the bright side: Going over the cliff is no big deal.  What will happen?  Tax rates will go back to where they were a few years ago.  Yes, that will hurt the middle class, many of whom are already struggling.  If it makes them angry, no problem.  Let’s just hope they are mad enough to take it out on the politicians who would rather stick to their ‘principles’ than help people and put the country first.

The cliff also involves spending less money, even on defense.  That is not a bad thing.  Yes, some worthy programs and initiatives will be hurt.  But maybe we need some really unpleasant medicine to help us get our priorities straight.  If we don’t get our house in order we deserve what we get.  If we finally take steps that are needed on both the revenue and spending side, that will be a good thing. 

Democrats need to accept the fact that entitlements need to be modified.  Republicans need to accept the fact that taxes are needed to pay for essential government programs.  The biggest mistake made in recent years was to ignore the Simpson-Bowles proposals.  What they suggested was not perfect, but it was based on common sense reality and challenged the cows held sacred on all sides.  It is past time to resurrect Simpson-Bowles.  


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