December 5, 2012 by Nash Riggins
If ever Congress deserved to be pushed off of a cliff, this was the year.
The panic inspired by the impending arrival of this so-called fiscal cliff has prompted serious questions regarding how the United States could have possibly found itself in yet another dire financial situation; however, it should hardly surprise anyone to know that said disaster, should it be allowed to occur, will have been entirely self-afflicted.
First off, what is the ‘fiscal cliff’? In essence, this justifiably intimidating term refers to the potential recession that will occur early next year as the immediate result of simultaneously increasing taxes, cutting spending and halving the US budget deficit. Although all three measures are required in order to get America’s economy back on track, only an idiot would have tried to initiate all three at once – or in this case, 535 idiots.
This entire apocalyptic deadline was effectively established under the Budget Control Act of 2011 – the government’s non-solution to 2011’s debt ceiling crisis – and was essentially nothing more than a selfish caveat designed so that Congress could afford to agree to disagree. For whatever reason, the government apparently thought if they created a deadline for themselves that would be accompanied by a disastrous self-inflicted recession, they would be able to dig deep and find the motivation to agree on something for a change. With less than four weeks remaining, it’s fair to say they were wrong.
Shocking as it may sound, it will never be easy to ratify two polar economic ideologies – but that’s what compromises are all about. Consequently, this increasing notion that ‘if we ignore a problem, it may solve itself’ is completely indicative of the inherent sense of entitlement that is inflicting American politics. America’s archaic Constitution was specifically designed so that its system of government could harldy ever noticeably be changed; however, the increasing polarisation of spiteful bipartisan legislature is slowly destroying what little progress any responsible democracy would have otherwise effortlessly achieved by now.
Both liberals and conservatives have proven their lack of ability with regards to compromise; however, they have without doubt illustrated their ability to stall the system – that is to say, they are well aware that if they intentionally refuse to act, the other side will never get its way. Yet unbeknownst to these legislative giants, the American people who are paying their salaries will inevitably suffer from these childish hissy fits. In retrospect, maybe they should.
With any luck, perhaps hitting this fiscal cliff head-on would be the cold, hard slap in the face in which the American public so requires. Indeed, it’s high time Americans learn that a vote for the most stubborn and bigoted Congressional candidate is not always the wisest; after all, there’s a fine line between standing up for a cause and delaying progress for no reason whatsoever, and Congress has proven to be the text-book definition of ineffectiveness. Accordingly, perhaps allowing for this new recession to occur would be smarter in the long run – if nothing else, at least the American government could then say they accomplished something this year.
Unfortunately, hindsight dictates that none of that will happen. Within the next two weeks, Congress will produce some meaningless agreement that will provide for a few minor tax hikes and a few huge welfare cuts – will this solve the problem? Not in the slightest, because said agreement will undoubtedly include a major caveat stipulating that Congress is subsequently allowing themselves to push the deadline for a viable agreement on this fiscal cliff back into the late spring. The government’s trivial solution to avoid hitting last year’s debt ceiling – which was essentially that said cap could magically be raised without consequence – is evidence enough that this issue will be unresolved by year’s end, and the American people will be convinced that it’s somehow okay.
That shouldn’t be allowed to happen. It’s high-time that Americans learn that if they try to run away from their problems, there are going to be world-wide economic consequences. The entire world will ultimately benefit from the 19.63% increase in tax revenue and 0.25% reduction in spending that this fiscal cliff would initiate – and if it hurts average Americans in the short-term, perhaps it will have served to teach them a valuable lesson by way of illustrating the true ineffectiveness of their system of government. It’s naïve and immature to assume that finding a viable solution to this impending financial disaster can be achieved without first allowing for a major compromise on both sides of the table; however, if Congress has proven anything in the five years since recession chose to rear its ugly head, it’s that America’s legislators are indeed the shining example of self-indulgence and immaturity.