The Fiscal Cliff: Trying To Make Sense Of Nonsense

Opinion

 
on December 06 2012 2:30 PM
Fiscal Cliff Meeting At White House
Business leaders arrive for the discussion on fiscal cliff at the White House in Washington.

Because there are 24 hours in each day, with hour and half-hour reports broadcast from radio stations from coast to coast, commentators are able to say the words “fiscal cliff” at least 48 times every day.

Of course we all know why we are facing a fiscal cliff: The rich in our society do not pay their fair share of the tax burden. And, of course, the problem has nothing to do with out-of0control, totally irresponsible spending by Washington politIcians. Certainly not.

If you are over the age of 10, you've probably been asked for money to help a friend make it through a tight spot.  Because there were kids involved, you relented and gave the temporarily beleaguered party some of your hard-earned income.

I have done it on more than a couple of occasions. One fellow took the money I had given him and went to a dog track. He bet on number 7, which was usually his lucky number, but it wasn’t so lucky on that occasion.

Since you were kind enough to have been possibly the only person who helped out, the individual who asked for the initial gift returned to ask for another. Eventually, unless you had a burning desire to get another job or a second mortgage on your home, you had to tell the party to go somewhere else for assistance.

Washington, D.C. is filled with politicians who rammed a bill named The Affordable Health Care Act through after making deals with Nebraska et al, that we find out is not so affordable. Whose fault is that? Why it’s the rich folks’ fault who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. On the contrary, however, the fault must lie with the majority of the House and Senate that passed the bill (without any one at all having read it). But no problem, what political price did most of those irresponsible Democrats pay?

None whatsoever. Most were re-elected.

I think the real problem is simple to understand. Every one of us has a limited (as opposed to unlimited) income. Even those very rich that make a gazillion dollars a year don’t make two gazillion. See, all of us have a limited income.

If we give more money to irresponsible folks in Washington, who have consistently demonstrated they can’t spend what we have given responsibly, we will have less money to spend on food, housing, entertainment, whatever. 

If we do not frequent our local restaurants as much as we used to, there will be less of them next year. If we spend less money on any given activity in the private sector, some of the businesses that provide that product or service will stop functioning. Those employees will be out of jobs, which will only exacerbate the problem.

Politicians, of course, have an answer for that situation -- they give the newly unemployed food stamps and lie about the number of needy. But they get re-elected, so they must be doing something right. Right?

Over one half of America’s 16 to 24 year olds, not attending school, are unemployed. Our service industry -- which is the only one left since Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich closed down over 45,000 manufacturing plants with NAFTA and GATT   -- is just about on life support. Obamacare fines are just another nail in their coffin.

But let’s not dwell on the bad news, let’s take more money out of the private sector and throw it to the dogs or, you know, Washington’s politicians. Heaven forbid they lower their spending.

Walt Osterman is the author of "Not Home Yet: A Tale Concerning Israel's Rebirth." He served in Vietnam and is a Bronze Star recipient. He lives in Wyoming.

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