December 30th, 2012
On the matter of the fiscal cliff I have only 4 words: this is getting ridiculous.
Day after day I have read yet another article on how practically nothing has happened on the topic. Congress was now back in session specifically to debate this topic, and yet the Senate has somehow managed to debate and vote on several other bills while the House has sat idly, the speaker stating that they will either vote on or amend whatever passes the Senate.
The main area of contention is with regards to the bracket for which the Bush tax cuts should be extended, with many Republicans in favor of a full extension and some in favor of extending them for those earning up to $400,000 and Democrats wishing to not extend them at all or only for those earning under $250,000 a year. Negotiations have also been centered around spending cuts to certain social programs such as social security and unemployment benefits.
Personally I don’t understand the failure on the Republican side to realize that although they might dislike higher tax rates on higher-earning Americans, falling over the fiscal cliff would entail higher tax rates for all Americans. Similarly I do not understand the failure on the part of the Democrats to realize that if they do not agree to some relatively moderate spending cuts, much higher cuts will be triggered by the fiscal cliff.
While my views are more in line with that of the Democrats and I would prefer letting the Bush tax cuts expire for higher-earning Americans as well as extremely minimal cuts to what I consider vital social programs. I would much rather see Washington Democrats give in on either of these points than risk the nation falling right back into the recession it is only just recovering from.
It seems that both parties feel this way and have postponed compromise simply out of the chance that the either party may give in first allowing them to get their way. However, I am now concerned, with only one day left, that radicals, especially in the Republican party will try to block the passing of any bill proposed by Democrats, specifically the last minute proposal promoted by President Obama. In any case, we will see how this all ends in only a few hours.