|If we were in Sparta-this would be the answer to the fiscal cliff|
The congressional-constructed fiscal cliff has received more than the attention it deserves.
While the measures seem extreme and even draconian, with higher taxes and significant spending cuts, could it be it's just tough love or, maybe, hard medicine to swallow? I think everyone agrees that the United States government is spending too much. But spending cuts alone won't help cushion the fall of the true cliff hanger. Given the support of moderate Republicans for the Simpson-Bowles plan, I would guess that not less than 75% understand that additional revenue is needed to fill the growing hole. A hole that's been created by unprecedented natural catastrophes, 9/11, and an incredibly prolonged war that demands huge cash outlays for machinery and manpower.
But right-wing Republicans don't want to cut military spending or raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. And left-wing Democrats don't want to cut any spending or increases in Medicare and other entitlement spending.
Simpson-Bowles seem the closest to a common sense-tough love approach that we need. It may not be as draconian as the cuts and increases the fiscal cliff could drive on January 1st, but it goes a long way to address both spending and revenue. If the spending cuts and new taxes that will be enacted, should we tumble over the cliff, go too far......then maybe we should step back from the edge and make the solution more tolerable. Maybe we should ratchet the new taxes and spending cuts to 50% of what is proposed. That means instead of the approximate additional $2000 a year in taxes that I will pay......I would have to pay $1000.00. Maybe I'm just too simple-minded here, but clearly I haven't been paying my fair share if the national debt continues to rise. I'm enjoying the peace and security the multi-trillion dollar war is providing, the patch-work infrastructure improvements being undertaken, the so-called education my children are getting, and the nearly sufficient care the seniors I know are receiving......so, if I need to pay a little extra, I'm glad to kick in my fair share.
Personally, I don't want my taxes to go up. Who does? But if both parties can't get serious about spending cuts and tax rates that roll back the clock (to maybe our most prosperous times in recent history-the 90s) maybe it's time to go off the edge.
And I wonder if that's not what everyone in Washington DC is thinking. If I were on the far right and saw the writing on the wall, having taken the pledge "no new taxes" (don't read my lips), what better way to NOT be responsible for taxes to go up. It gives me the perfect "out" when I come back home to answer to my constituents because I never cast the vote to raise taxes....it just sorta happened. And what better way to ensure really necessary spending cuts in both defense and entitlements, than to NOT have to make that decision.....it just kinda happens too. The fiscal cliff may in fact have been an ingenious plan, not as an impending deadline with lots of coverage, but as a scapegoat for doing what really needs to be done.
In many ways I'm hoping we go over the cliff and pick up the pieces on the other side......doing only what absolutely needs to be done. I just hope you've got your parachute packed.