Surviving the 'cliff'
“I'm not sure I have the energy to keep up.”
“Ah, yes, you speak of the latest self-created crisis in our government, what some refer to as the ‘fiscal cliff.' If Congress and the president don't agree to new terms on spending and taxes, the Budget Control Act of 2011 will automatically go into effect.”
“And then the sky will fall?”
“It won't be pretty. A number of tax breaks, such as the Bush tax cuts from 10 years ago, will end and automatic cuts will kick in across 1,000 government programs — in particular, the defense budget and Medicare.”
“But isn't this latest crisis a drop in the bucket when you compare it to the real spending and deficit crisis just down the road?”
“That is unfortunately correct. Even if President Obama were successful in letting the Bush tax cuts lapse for Americans making more than $250,000 a year, it would generate only about $100 billion a year in additional revenue — about one-tenth of our current budget deficit.”
“We've had $1 trillion deficits for four years now, with no signs of improvement.”
“That is unfortunately correct, too. The only way to get ourselves out of this mess is to get spending in order, relative to revenue. We need to reform our tax system. We need to do all we can to unleash private-sector wealth creation — because without it, we are headed for some very horrible times.”
“Which is why I don't think I have the energy to keep up with it all. Trying to stay informed is time-consuming. It is disheartening to be outmuscled by so many voters who are not informed — voters who voted for more spending, to heck with our financial mess.”
“Look, neither side is happy when it loses at the polls, but you must never give up.”
“Fair enough, but you agree that it is getting harder to keep up with all we must know to be informed voters.”
“That is a fair point. Our country has grown ever more litigious; our government, incredibly big and complex. Giant bills are voted on in Congress when most of our elected representatives have no idea what is in them.”
“I thought they had to ‘vote on them to find out what was in them.'”
“Sad, I know, but it gets worse. There are more than 50 regulatory agencies in the federal government. The regulators create rules based on their interpretation of the complex laws passed by Congress and signed by the president. The EPA is having a field day within the Obama administration.”
“You are saying that people we do NOT vote for are the ones who write and enforce the actual rules that we all must abide by?”
“That is correct. The regulators have the power to fine us or even throw us in jail.”
“Oh, brother. Look, I hope you can understand why I am so low on energy these days. The government is somewhat out of control. Debt, spending and regulations are inhibiting growth, yet the people who understand and worry about these things are outnumbered by people who couldn't care less. Didn't the exit polls show that the debt and deficit were third on the list of voter concerns?”
“Which is why you have to speak up and engage even harder. We need to press the debate on the issues that matter. We need to make our legislators address them now. That is how a republic works.”
“I know you are right, but still, I am low on energy. I tire of the partisan nonsense surrounding the self-created fiscal cliff. I need to turn off all the yappers on cable television and the Internet for a little while. I need to take a long nap.”
“Can you send someone over to wake me up in January?”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Outdoors notices: Oct. 5, 2015
- Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
- Sunday - Oct. 4, 2015
- High-speed chase ends in Duquesne crash
- Are Pirates better positioned to win it all this postseason?
- Diminishing number of pilots takes toll on small airports in Western Pa.
- Strong police presence cut crimes, behavior issues at IUP homecoming, police say
- New book credits Nunn for Steelers’ 1970s success
- Pitt notebook: Pitt keeping many players involved
- Shaler man charged in death of girl, 6, not prosecuted in repeated alcohol cases
- Kessel addition, better health could have Pens scoring like it’s 1990s