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The Fiscal Pfft


Congress has a history of waiting until the last minute to reach agreements that they could have and should have reached months earlier. Prolonging these decisions enables the mainstream media outlets to have a field day terrorizing Americans, especially after an Orwellian government advisory group, the Metaphor Utilization and Standardization Board, christened our so-called crisis the “Fiscal Cliff.” (What is the quickest way to get Congress to perform its job? Make it seem as if we’re all going to die if it does not).

Although the steady economic growth the US has been experiencing would have been impeded in the short-term if Congress had stood by while the Bush Tax cuts expired, the long-term effects would have done more to reduce our deficits than the plan they did pass. Nevertheless, the Fiscal Cliff debacle was no crisis when compared to the economic projections for the next decade.

According to the December jobs report, unemployment is holding at 7.8%. With job growth at it’s current rate unemployment will struggle to make it below 6% by 2022. According to economic projections the US is scheduled to run up $10 trillion over next ten years. As Ted, the bellhop from the movie Four Rooms, put it, “Problem? I haven’t got a problem. I’ve got [expletive] problems. Plural.”

(Enter Congress: some stage left; some stage right; some late stages of insanity)

After weeks of posturing, idle threats, party infighting, take-backs, no take-backs, double-dog daring and pinky swearing Congress has managed to pass a tax plan that solves absolutely none of our impending problems. Nor does it address them in any significant ways. But the real story isn’t of how the political figureheads failed to accomplish anything of merit but of how a group of congressional staffers almost did

According to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, the five staffers challenged to come up with a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion had actually done so over a year ago:

The five staffers struggled for a week. In my files is a one-page, typed document dated Oct. 23, 2011, showing that they essentially reached agreement. The Republicans had a total deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion and the Democrats had $1.24 trillion — a difference of $40 billion, not much.

Those cuts would have amounted to significant progress in reducing our debt-to-income ratio. What we’ve been gifted instead is a plan consisting of $737 billion in reductions ($618 billion of that coming from higher taxes on the rich).

So, here we stand in the wake of the suspenseful Fiscal Cliff saga with nothing resolved. Sure, most of our taxes didn’t go up, but celebrating that, given our economic situation, would be like celebrating the news of only having to make the minimum monthly payment on a multi-million dollar credit card bill. Both parties have allowed their extreme elements to drive the fiscal bus off the fiscal road and into the fiscal ditch while there were five perfectly good and sober drivers sitting in the passenger seats. Nice job, idiots. NEWS FLASH: Politicians are only good at getting elected. They should leave the thinking and problem-solving to the nerds who do it so well.

If we are going to seriously address and solve America’s problems then we’re going to have to shake out the ideologues from both parties and replace them with rational adults who understand the art of and science behind delegation of responsibilities. In the meantime, the Metaphor Utilization and Standardization Board should be picking out a name for the looming debt-ceiling debacle. How about the Death Ceiling or The Walking Debt?




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