Updated Dec 3, 2012 - 12:29 pm
3 cheers for 'fiscal cliff'
Don't count me among the handwringing, doomsday-predicting worrywarts. Unlike the professional politicians, who have a vested interest in creating a crisis, then convincing you they are they only ones who can avert it, I am openly cheering that we merrily drive off the "cliff" at midnight on 12/31/12. Let me explain.
First off, by the Congressional Budget Office's own numbers, spending will increase over the next eight years regardless of the "cuts" mandated by sequestration.
That's right, the "Draconian cuts" that are dominating news inside the Beltway are only cuts in future spending increases. At no time has a responsible adult in elected office seriously talked about cutting government spending the way we normal people understand cuts … by spending less than we did before.
By allowing us to fall off "the cliff," maybe we as a nation will be forced to actually look at the government we demand versus the government we are willing to pay for, since the two operate in barely parallel universes. Either we dramatically raise taxes on everyone or we dramatically reduce government spending on everything. Any "compromise" by Congress will have the practical effect of peeing on a forest fire.
Last time I checked, only Warren Buffett thinks he is undertaxed so the solution is cutting government spending. Good luck getting elected by promising a voter you will give them less than they got the year before.
Add to this the mathematical fact that we borrow around 40 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government and it makes the coming cliff look like more of a speed bump.
Even accepting President Obama's opening salvo at "compromise" by raising taxes on the rich, the resulting revenue would run our federal government (at current spending levels) for about eight days. Now there's a solution!
I think nothing more clearly illustrates the enormity of the problem than when the popular idea of sticking it to the successful leaves the rest of us on the hook for the remaining 51 weeks of the year.
And when are George Bush's tax cuts going to get the credit they deserve? Roundly panned by the left wing when first enacted as a gift to the rich, these same tax "cuts" are embraced by both sides of the aisle as a necessity for the middle class, something everyone can agree on preserving. So which is it?
And when can we stop calling it a tax cut if nobody thinks they should return to the previous level? Let's just call it the current rate and be done with it. Credit to Brit Hume for more succinctly saying what I've always thought in regards to this debate over tax cuts. He said, "the idea that tax cuts must be 'paid for' means that people's money belongs to the government and what they're allowed to keep is a form of spending." Bravo.
The spending path is the unsustainable part, and increasing "revenue" (read: taxes) does nothing to reduce government to a size we can afford. So sign me up for the cliff and the coming Armageddon as a result of precious government entities and contractors having to live with less of our money.
And when taxes go up and we all feel the pinch in our wallets, maybe then Washington will feel some heat from the 99 percent and be forced to choose between soaking the citizens for more revenue or making actual cuts in spending.
Understanding recent history, and being a student of ancient history, these decisions will most likely only happen at the point of a sword. Literally or physically, and I'm fine either way.
Bruce St. James, Host, Bruce St. James Show