Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Real Cliff We Face

This so-called “fiscal cliff” we face resulted from an agreement reached last year between Democrats and Republicans in Congress to increase the debt limit high enough to fund the government past the 2012 election. Now that the election is over, the result of that agreement - about $670 billion in budget “adjustments” - is upon us. Those “adjustments” will come, unless Congress acts sooner, in the form of $135 billion in across-the board cuts to discretionary spending, and $535 billion in TAX INCREASES.

What we’re actually debating here is how to pay the tab for things we’ve done since 1980 (before then, the budget was more or less balanced) but for which we lacked sufficient revenue to pay as we went - those things include, a military incursion in Grenada, deployment to Lebanon, the S & L collapse, military intervention in Panama, the First Gulf War, Kosovo, invasion of Afghanistan, invasion of Iraq, two tax rebates (stimulus), homeowner mortgage rescue plan, financial system rescue funding during the 2007-2009 meltdown, automotive bailout, a second round of banking and mortgage bailout, and a general stimulus spending package - all of it facilitated with borrowed money.

Congress is on the verge of dealing with the situation the way Congress always does - at someone else’s expense. They’ll wring their hands and fret over the terrible mess we’re in, but in the end, they’ll pass a bill that does most of what will already occur - raise tax rates and cut domestic spending, which translated means paying for it with middle class money and the poor’s misery. Congress created this problem - both the underlying fiscal issues and the looming automatic changes. All this talk about “fiscal cliff” and “second recession” is nothing more than an advertising campaign to cover the real cliff we face, which is Congress’ pitiful lack of leadership.