Tick, tock goes the clock on our countdown towards plunging off the so called “fiscal cliff,” and things are heating up in Washington DC; so much so that President Obama was kind enough to cut his Christmas vacation in Hawai’i short and returned to our nation’s capital today, and Speaker of the House John Boehner is calling for members of the House of Representatives to cut short their holiday vacations and return to Washington on Sunday – a mere 30 hours until cliffmas. Isn’t that so very nice of our illustrious leaders to cut their oh so deserved vacations short, so they can try and find a solution to a problem that they created over a year ago? Yeah, I’m being a little facetious there, specifically about them being nice to cut their vacations short. However I am not being facetious about them trying to solve a problem of their own creating.
That’s right, the coming cliffmas is no one’s fault but our elected aristocrats – which I guess means that it is our fault, because we elected and reelected all of these people. First there are all of those over a decade old tax cuts that are set to expire; better known as the Bush era tax cuts. Those tax cuts were rather controversial from the get go. They were controversial because these cuts included all of those evil rich people, as well as us mere mortals; and everyone knows that rich people don’t deserve anything (more of me being facetious). Those Bush era tax cuts were initially passed to help stimulate the economy out of the post Dot Com Bubble, which burst in 1999, and put our economy into a recession – as mentioned earlier they were meant to be stimulative, and to be temporary. Don’t your remember getting your tax rebate checks in the summer of 2000? I know I do. Anyway, after over a decade of swearing that they would get down to business and pass some sort of tax reform that would allow these “temporary” tax cuts to expire, our shining beacons of legislation have done nothing but what they are the best in the world at; kicking the can down the road, and pointing fingers.
Then there are all of those treacherous spending cuts that will most assuredly make us all live like it were 1913, instead of 2013. Well, these spending cuts (or sequestration as it is officially called) were again a direct result of the so called problem solving abilities of our ruling elites. Let’s jump into Professor Peabody’s “Wayback Machine” and journey to the oh so long ago summer of 2011. Way back then, in those dark ages, there was another crisis that was threatening to lead to our certain destruction, it was whether or not we should raise the debt ceiling (again) or face a potential default on our national debt; and much like this “Fiscal Cliff” crisis it wasn’t so much a matter of “if” as it was a matter of “when” our collective ruling brain trust would raise that debt ceiling. So, in the eleventh hour a deal was struck to indeed raise the debt ceiling (essentially raising the limit on our collective credit card, allowing us to go further into debt) of our government, and a part of the deal was this sequestration, which calls for spending cuts to many government programs, like defense, and Medicare.
So, our leaders have had over a decade to try and figure out how, and how much they are going to tax us; and over a year to try and figure out how and what they are going to spend all of our tax dollars… Yet here we are staring down this “cliff” and we are again most assuredly doomed if we go over it. Have no fear though my fellow Americans, because our fearless leaders have decided to forsake their own holiday vacations to solve the problem that they all created themselves. I am here to tell you again, they will find another eleventh hour “solution” that will most assuredly kick the can just a little further down the road; just far enough to where most everyone will forget the origins of that next crisis and they’ll give the can another kick, again, and again, until they run out of road – and then what?
Well, that, my friends, will not be very good day, and will make that cliff, which would be but a faint memory, seem like mere gutter. I wonder how many people (particularly our leaders) will be left scratching their heads wondering how in the hell we got there. That is the path that we are on. A path towards a deeper ruin, because our leaders are too chicken to actually make the hard decisions, for fear of losing their cushy jobs, and too eager to spend all of the money we send them, plus some of our children’s money, and a little more money borrowed from our friends overseas, and still more money on top of that, and still that isn’t enough to satisfy their urge to spend. Meanwhile, us mere plebes will be taken along for a ride, whether we want to go or not, and we will be the ones who will reap what our leaders sow. Now doesn’t that make you feel better about everything?
Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
(P. J. O’Rourke)