The fiscal deliberations among the House of Representatives, the Senate and the president have all the trappings of a televised political melodrama. But unlike a television program that we can turn off, the current federal government saga will continue to exert significant influence on our daily lives.
While the “fiscal cliff” was narrowly avoided this time, the basic economic problems that led up to its edge are far from being resolved. Forty years ago, noted economist Walter Laffer was credited with the notion that tax cuts actually would generate more revenue and eventually pay for themselves by strengthening the economy. While this concept has been mostly debunked, it initiated an intense scrutiny of the critical balance between tax rates and their impact on the economy that has continued to the present.
Considering the delicate condition of our nation’s economy, it is worrisome to watch the course that the current federal budgetary process is taking. What I see is the continued debate about whether our country’s financial problems result from too little taxation (Democrats) or too much spending (Republicans). With a $16 trillion deficit already on the books, thanks to a deep recession, two lengthy wars and record-setting entitlement spending, this is clearly not the time for political posturing. Rather, this is the time for our elected officials to remove their party badges, roll up their sleeves and work together in the same collegial spirit that we saw briefly after 9-11.
If partisan politics continue to trump the best interests of the American people, then in 22 months, the American people can go to the polls and quite justifiably impose involuntary term limits on 435 representatives and 33 senators.