The cliff: To jump, or not | Editorial
December 6, 2012 · 2:16 PM
The U.S. is poised to fall off a “fiscal cliff” on Jan. 1 unless Democrats and Republicans find a way to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases.
It’s not that we don’t believe — sort of — the doomsayers who tout what a catastrophe this would be to the nation’s economy. It’s just that we don’t think rational people — yes, that means politicians – are so stupid as to let that happen.
So, some time — by the end of this year or shortly after the start of 2013 — politicians will force themselves to come up with an answer. When they do, it must contain both spending cuts and tax increases.
The U.S. debt now stands at more than $16 trillion.
To put that in more personal terms, that’s more than $52,000 on the shoulders of every man, woman and child in this country. But, instead of fixing this, we’ve passed the problem on to future generations. That has to stop.
There’s no question that higher taxes will be necessary to help pare down this problem. And the pain needs to start with families whose income is $250,000 and higher. Higher taxes, while unpleasant, won’t have a debilitating impact on their quality of life. That’s not the case with many in the middle class who have little left over after paying their monthly bills.
However, the middle class, too, needs to help fix this mess, perhaps in the form of fewer or more limited deductions. Spending also needs to be reined in. Government trying to be everything to everyone is one reason why we’re in this fix.
It would be best if all this were accomplished before the end of the year. However, given the political stakes, that may be unlikely.
If we have to jump, at least we’ll be holding hands.
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