What urgency? Clearly there is no need to worry about going into the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Congress and the President seem completely fine with no agreement on how to deal with the tax increases and the spending cuts that supposedly are taking place at the beginning of the year.
Were they lying to us when they agreed to the cuts back in 2011 or are they lying to us now?
- Rosario Marin, Former U.S. Treasurer
Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke claimed during a congressional hearing that failure to reach an agreement would be catastrophic to our economy; hence, the now famous fiscal cliff analogy. So, maybe they have something up their sleeves and the cuts will actually not take place. Maybe they will employ some accounting gimmicks and they will be able to delay their implementation.
Or maybe they just really don’t care.
According to the President everyone should drink eggnog, eat some cookies and enjoy the holidays. He said this with a big smile as he was leaving for Hawaii for his annual Christmas vacation with this family. I always find it amusing to contrast how government vs. corporate America handles their challenges. In the corporate world, there would be no eggnog, no cookies and much less a vacation.
You stay put until the job is done, period.
Seriously, it appears to me that we must have been sold a bag of goods. The problem is that we don’t know when they were lying to us. Were they lying to us when they agreed to the cuts back in 2011 or are they lying to us now?
Let’s go back to 2011 when, as part of the deal to increase the debt limit, which also took a do-or-die urgency, they agreed to these tax increases and program cuts to become effective on January 1, 2013, if no agreement was reached by the end of 2012. What they in fact did was just kick the ball to the following year, and created another opportunity for another so-called emergency. This seems to be the perpetual way of Washington.
Now the President is expecting Republicans to increase taxes on people making more than $250,000 while only agreeing to half of the spending cuts he had originally suggested and in addition he wants total control over increases to the debt limit.
There seems to be no real leadership to deal with the fiscal problems our country is facing. Let me be clear, they are real. We face another downgrade to our credit rating, which will only exacerbate our borrowing ability and increase the cost of that borrowing. We need to get our spending under control. We elected Congress and the President to get that job done.
Forgotten are the 23 million people still unemployed in America; they need a job and our economy cannot rebound if we don’t have our house in order.
But contrary to Congress and the President, I am doubtful the unemployed will be happy drinking their eggnog and having some cookies.
Rosario Marin served as the 41st US Treasurer under President George W. Bush. She is the author of "Leading Between Two Worlds Lessons" from the first Mexican-born Treasurer of the United States.