Cliffhanger

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The entire back page of our Opinion section today shows, by the numbers, what the “fiscal cliff” has in store for you if America is forced to leap over that cliff at the end of 2012.

The front page will help tell you how and why we got to the fiscal cliff – and what we should do to turn back.

Last February, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke – addressing the House Financial Services Committee – described “a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases” set to occur at the very start of 2013.

The temporary payroll tax cut? Poof. Gone. If it’s not extended, taxes go up by $95 billion.

The estate tax cap? Gone. You think a lot of people are hit by the death tax now? Over the fiscal cliff, 10 times as many people are going to feel it.

The patches on the Alternative Minimum Tax? Gone. You might as well call it the wealth tax. Four million people pay it now. Thirty million over-the-cliff taxpayers would have to fork over money in 2013.

The expanded tax credits? Gone.

The payroll tax holiday? Gone.

Lower income tax rates under President George W. Bush? Gone. And according to the Tax Policy Center, 90 percent of U.S. households are going to feel it.

Over the next 10 years, America is looking at $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts if we careen over the fiscal cliff.

And let’s talk about those cuts. They’re across the board – defense and non-defense programs. Do we really want to gut defense spending now? Ever? Certainly military spending can be executed more efficiently, but those decisions have to be made using the measured discipline of a surgeon’s scalpel, not the ham-fisted swing of an across-the-board meat ax.

How do you think Fort Gordon would fare under that ax?

The fiscal cliff started getting excavated as far back as 1985 with the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act. It was designed to trigger automatic, across-the-board spending cuts if Congress’ budget spending exceeded its annual budget resolution.

But that trigger never has been pulled. Members of Congress, ever eager to bring home government pork, just kept raising the budget resolutions’ spending caps year after year.

Then there’s Obamacare – the White House’s “answer” to the health-care crisis. In 2013, Obamacare imposes a surtax on salaried income over $200,000 ($250,000 per couple); and a surtax on all investment income received by folks getting more than $200,000 per individual and $250,000 per couple. That includes capital gains and dividends income.

All of this amounts to some $500 billion – and it’s the largest tax hike in U.S. history.

People have compared this move toward the edge of the 

fiscal cliff as “kicking the can down the road.” That’s inaccurate. Playing kick-the-can actually is kind of fun.

What America is facing fiscally is a disaster.

This lack of certainty is sure to make the stock market more jittery. Skittish business owners – think retail, restaurant and industrial areas – will be more reluctant to hire. They might even let more people go.

All of this is not a revenue problem. Heaven knows the government is getting enough of our revenue. It’s a spending problem.

Consider: In the past few years, we’ve seen a needlessly lavish stimulus. We’ve seen bailouts. Eligibility requirements for
social entitlements and unemployment benefits have been expanded.

According to Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government, federal spending has gone up 30 percent. No wonder too many people in Washington, D.C., are clamoring for more of our money!

Joining in is billionaire Warren Buffett, who in recent days has been advocating a “minimum tax” on the super-wealthy “1 percent,” which he describes as fair. That top 1 percent, by the way, earns 16 percent of all U.S. income but pays 37 percent of all federal income taxes. How much more “fair” does Buffett want to be before the 1 percent go penniless?

The mainstream media’s drumbeat in their fiscal cliff coverage is for Republicans to cave in to tax hikes. They’re demonized and pestered about it seemingly from every reporter on the planet. So why aren’t these same reporters asking Democrats about changes to America’s bloated entitlement programs – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

With entitlements including Obamacare, federal spending rises to 24 percent of America’s gross domestic product. It’s that stubborn adherence to big spending that’s powering the momentum toward the fiscal cliff.

And halting big spending is what’s going to stop it.

Comments (11) Add comment
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Riverman1
82228
Points
Riverman1 12/02/12 - 07:36 am
7
0
Pour Vinegar On

Sometimes you have to just let out an involuntary laugh like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at Obama’s proposal when it was presented by Tim Geithner. It calls for large tax increases, while being light on promises of spending cuts.

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m about ready to give up and start hoarding my assets in commodities…no, not gold, pork bellies. Just going to smoke them in my building outside and let um hang there. Keep some beans for the ham hocks and I’ll be fine. If jumping off the cliff gets across the idea that bills have to be paid, it could be worth it. Just going to pour a little vinegar on the ham and beans on Friday nights for excitement.

faithson
5133
Points
faithson 12/02/12 - 10:51 am
5
4
buyers remorse

The republicans only have themselves to blame. The grand ole party has lost its bearings by taking on a cabal of evangelical voters who's only concern is their righteousness. I don't think most fiscal conservatives realize how compromised their message is by the myopic right wing 'America is a culture of death' syndicate. I will be sick to my stomach if this administration only goes for revenue increases without reasonable spending cuts. (400 b over 10yrs is insulting).

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 12/02/12 - 10:59 am
0
0
Unsecured debt by government and citizens
Unpublished

GREED. COVETING. First, the desire for things that we cannot afford or have not worked or saved to acquire. Then, the need of things for which we have not worked, saved and certainly cannot afford. 2012, the entitlement to all things desired but have neither worked, saved for or can afford.

Bankruptcy Attorneys have replaced "ambulance chasers".

Charity has gone from providing a roof, clothing and food, to EVERYTHING everybody else has and more.

We are the enemy. The spend like there is no tomorrow is not confined to Washington DC. It is a "cancer of our society". It is a sin that cannot be condemned in the church. "The Pharisees loved money....."

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 12/02/12 - 11:08 am
0
0
It never was, of the people, for the people, by the people
Unpublished

Words, no more. Words that meant nothing because of the flawed humans who uttered the words. All men are created equal. Just words. Words that did not included females, Native Americans or African Americans. As long as the grass grows and the rivers run.... Remember the Alamo... Remember the Maine.... Remember Pearl harbor.... Remember the Bay of Tokin.... Weapons of Mass Destruction.... ( not just destruction, mass destruction ) The economy is at a fiscal cliff....

Just words. Hot air expelled to increase the cry for more government and less personal freedom. The goal from the beginning.

dichotomy
32051
Points
dichotomy 12/02/12 - 11:15 am
6
2
"Over the next 10 years,

"Over the next 10 years, America is looking at $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts if we careen over the fiscal cliff."

Hey, Obama want's $1.6 trillion a year in tax increases, or $16 trillion in 10 years, AND NO GUARANTEED SPENDING CUTS. Now which "cliff" really sounds the worst? I'll take the sequestration deal with guaranteed spending cuts and tax increases on everyone.

Obama campaigned on "a balanced approach".....tax increases and spending cuts. The definition of balanced means one side is pretty much equal to the other side. So I must assume Obama is either a liar or is ignorant of the definition of balanced. Well....scratch that......Obama IS a liar.

I know the Democrats don't care if Obama is a lying piece of sheep scat but I hate a liar. You cannot negotiate with a liar and I sincerely hope this galvanizes the Republicans to stand their ground and hold Obama to the lies he told the "independents" who thought he appeared reasonable during his campaign of lies and coverups. The "fiscal cliff" sequestration deal looks like a cake walk compared to Obama's fiscal hole in the ground where he wants to continure to throw our money.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 12/02/12 - 11:17 am
0
0
Remember how the higher minimum wage was our
Unpublished

salvation. Lots of luck with that outcome. Walmart employees receive more government assistance that all other non governmental businesses in the USA.

Look at the "geography of minimum wage". The states with MW above the fed $7.25/hr are the same states that elected OBAMA. The same map that shows the Welfare Centers. Welfare Centers and Higher Than Average Minimum Wage. The same areas. The same areas where Demogogs are preaching how they love the poor masses and buy their votes to keep them poor masses. You have to maintain your fan base.

DanK
779
Points
DanK 12/02/12 - 01:22 pm
2
8
ACES regurgitators

The American public has been fed a load of malarkey for years by these right wing extremists. Giving more money to the rich is your path to jobs, well-being and religious salvation. Giving more money to the military and federal police programs like Homeland Security, keeps the Taliban from invading the U.S. and enslaving us. Reducing spending on education, healthcare, and programs that support the disabled, veterans, children and unemployed workers will make your life better.

But the biggest lie is the one foisted on Americans by Reagan with the notion of trickle down economics -- so-called Reaganomics. It goes like this. If you give more money to the rich, they will create jobs, fuel the economy and return the American Dream to you. BWAHAHAHA! The joke is on you, suckers!

Taxes on the wealthy and on corporations are the lowest in many decades. Look at all the jobs those corporations created! Well, okay, they eliminated millions of jobs in the U.S., but they created millions of jobs abroad. And look at all the economic benefits of funneling more money into the pockets of the wealthy. They drive the economy. Well, okay, they drive a Jaguar and put the rest in their offshore accounts protected from taxation. But they buy the Jaguar instead of a Camry. That's like, wow, a windfall of economic payoff.

Apparently, social programs that give more to the rich are okay. It's a scam, folks. Even the rich are embarrassed by the gullibility of those who believe this. 8 of the 10 wealthiest counties in the U.S. voted for Obama.

We can expect ACES to continue regurgitating the same old rhetoric. But most of America has been catching on. Georgia and the other red states just haven't caught up yet.

The obstinacy of the Republicans in Congress will only further marginalize the party, because the majority of Americans support Mr Obama's proposals.

bubbasauce
20573
Points
bubbasauce 12/02/12 - 01:46 pm
7
2
Americans will reap what they

Americans will reap what they have sewn come January. Obama will let us go over the cliff because he is not going to cut spending or entitlement programs. This is how he got re-elected. Oh, and he will blame it on the Republicans and people will believe him. He is their savior.

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 12/02/12 - 02:07 pm
5
1
Cliff is Better

The politicians and the press are lying to us. They are attempting to fill us with fear and dread.

I hope no "deal" is struck in December. What, then, will happen on January 1. The sky will not fall, as RA reminds us day after day. Oh, sure, the accounting departments will have to reprogram their computers to take out a little more withholding on people's paychecks. And Washington bureaucrats will have to start thinking how to cut positions. But the world will not end and the economy will not collapse. There is time be deliberative in 2013. More harm will be done by haste in December than by cool, calculated, compromise solutions next year.

No deal! Bring on the cliff.

Here in Advent we need to remember what the angels said — do not be afraid.

dichotomy
32051
Points
dichotomy 12/02/12 - 02:16 pm
6
2
DanK.......did Obama campaign

DanK.......did Obama campaign on "a balanced approach", "a solution that includes both", or did he not? No revised history lessons, no Techfan change the subject drivel. A simple yes or no will do. Was Obama's campaign position on the budget and fiscal cliff "a balanced approach" yes or no?

Now focus DanK.......I know it's hard for an Obama supporter to answer a simple, direct question with a yes or no..........is Obama's proposal of $1.6 trillion per year in tax increases and NO guaranteed spending cuts anywhere near "a balanced approach"?

rmwhitley
5542
Points
rmwhitley 12/02/12 - 04:51 pm
0
0
omama, some kind of leader.
Unpublished

I bet his home, Kenya, would not want him to lead them.

carcraft
25183
Points
carcraft 12/02/12 - 05:55 pm
7
1
Allowing people to keep the

Allowing people to keep the money they earn is all of a sudden "giving "money to the rich? What about $1 trillion to the free loaders?

carcraft
25183
Points
carcraft 12/02/12 - 05:55 pm
6
2
Allowing people to keep the

Allowing people to keep the money they earn is all of a sudden "giving "money to the rich? What about $1 trillion to the free loaders?

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/02/12 - 08:10 pm
3
1
They built a Speed Bump to made us happy

when they could not pass a Balanced Budget.
Now 3years and 11 months without a voted on Budget,
Ceiling increase after increase, .
several Union bailouts, Stimulus geared vote paying.

Now that the Speed Bump MUST be used.

They want pave over it.

NO
Learn to live with a balanced in the checkbook.

Lets get back to basics.
Work for it, earn it, then Buy it.

The voters have to, should not those voted in have to also?

allhans
23524
Points
allhans 12/02/12 - 09:45 pm
2
0
I still find it amusing that

I still find it amusing that Democrats are now fighting FOR the awful Bush tax rates claiming that it only helped the rich.
Now, ah-Ha, if it is not renewed it will hurt the middle class.

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