Fiscal Cliff Stalemate
Please forgive my political ignorance, but why do we not have a solution to the fiscal cliff? Just about every CEO in the country is pushing for a balanced resolution. The President returned to the White House with a clear mandate to raise taxes for 2 percent of the country. This concept is approved by more than 60 percent of the population, a larger percentage of the population than voted for the President.
John Boehner knows a compromise is needed and that failure will turn from the majority party in the house to the minority in the two-year House elections. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell begrudgingly admits the Republican stance is too conservative. In fact, Boehner’s and McConnell’s jobs are reportedly on the line. The Tea Party is on trial and will render itself extinct if Republicans do not free up the economy.
For some reason, a group of Tea Party and Norquist Pledge supporters are still placing the welfare of the country ahead of their commitment to the people. I believe in the two party system but we should realize that there are three parties in Washington. The least effective lobby is the centrist Republicans. It will take these Republicans to pass the existing legislation that the Senate has passed and Republicans in the House refuse to bring to a vote.
Over the weekend, talk show television has been filled with discussion about the President’s proposed solution to the Fiscal cliff. Mainly, increasing the taxes on the country’s wealthiest 2 percent, about $400 billion in budget cuts, a request for $50 billion in job stimulus funding and that the debt ceiling limit not require congressional approval.
This is a framework that taxpayers at all levels understand and approve. It leaves social security, Medicaid and Medicare untouched, which is a legitimate problem for Republicans. McConnell threw in a few suggestions for these programs that make sense. He suggests raising the benefit age for social security and Medicare. McConnell also suggests higher Medicare and social security payments by the wealthy. And, he talks about cleansing the Medicaid and Medicare systems. These are valid points and while Obama won the Presidential election, he did admit that these programs need reform.
So, why can an agreement not be put in place immediately? Why do politicians feel it is necessary to drag things out to the last minute? Do we have to suffer this political theater at every turn? Is Washington so sheltered that they do not understand the problem or do our elected officials lack the courage to do what is right for the country? For the majority of House Republicans, embracing a balanced solution means reneging on the Norquist Pledge.
On Meet The Press, Senator Claire McCaskell asked, “who is Grover Norquist?” How could a person who is not an elected official have a death grip on the Republican Party and the nation. For two years, the 112th Congress, the least effective Congress in the history of the Republic, has held the American people hostage to their whimsical pledges. It is time to own up to a failed agenda and get this country moving. The way our Congress acts is an embarrassment to democracy and the world. Who, in their right mind, would invest in a country that is who economy is handcuffed buy government?
Like it or not, President Barack Obama was re-elected. He is not going to be swayed from his campaign promise or from Boehner, whose credibility is already a hindrance, misleading and conflicting statements. The fact is Boehner cannot deliver his party to a meaningful compromise. Mrs. Boehner, Cantor, Mitchell and Ryan may well be burying their political aspirations because of cliff negotiations fail, they will be held accountable for the upcoming recession.