Thursday, December 20, 2012

The insincerity of the fiscal cliff negotiations by Adam Bitely

Posted: 19 Dec 2012 06:33 AM PST

By Adam Bitely — Lost in the media storm that is the unfolding drama of the supposed “fiscal cliff” that Congress and Obama are attempting to save us from is the fact that all of this was avoidable in one way or another.

The biggest part of the fiscal cliff negotiations centers around increased tax rates that begin on January 1, 2013. That’s the day that the Bush tax cuts expire resulting in increased tax rates on everyone, especially the middle class. Oddly, the left who spent the better part of the last decade bemoaning the Bush tax cuts as a handout to the wealthy is now working double time to make sure that the cuts are kept in place for most people, except of course, the wealthy.

But this part of the debate was all avoidable, and has been for years.

If Congress had passed the Bush tax cuts and made them permanent when doing so, this scramble in the last two weeks before they expire would not be happening. Unfortunately for everyone subjected to watching Boehner and Obama try to come up with a deal, Republicans failed to take advantage of the opportunity when they had it and took the easier road of letting the tax cuts expire at some point down the road. And don’t forget that Boehner was there when this all happened. If only he knew then what he was setting himself up for.

The Bush tax cuts expiring aren’t the only thing that was avoidable in this whole fiscal cliff debacle. The other half of the fight is over spending cuts. Specifically the sequestration spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect also on the first of January were also entirely avoidable. Overlooked in the whole debate is the fact that Boehner, Reid and Obama all supported sequestration at the time—just over a year ago.

When the debt ceiling was increased in August of 2011 part of the deal was focused around the creation of a “supercommittee” to come up with government spending cuts. If the committee was unable to come up with an agreement — which it was — then that would trigger a set of pre-prescribed cuts that were included in the deal. Everyone, including Boehner and Reid, knew what they were voting for when they supported that deal. Obama knew that the sequestration cuts were a likely reality when he signed the bill.

And here we are, just a couple of weeks shy of going over the supposed fiscal cliff and the “leaders” in Washington are arguing over how they will fix the situations that exist because of their own doing.

Only in government could you create a crisis and then be relied upon to save the nation from the terrible situation you created. Unfortunately that is what we are dealing with today.

Hopefully they don’t in the process of “solving” this crisis set the nation up for another one down the road. But that would be wishful thinking.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of

No comments: