Before a time-out from politics, read this

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I am getting a headache from too much politics. After what seemed like an endless election cycle, I was hoping for a merciful respite. I expected the losers could quietly lick their wounds and the winners would silently bask in their victory.

No such luck.

RIGHT-WING Republicans are loudly blaming Mitt Romney for not being conservative enough and running a bad campaign. Establishment Republicans are working on modifying the party’s positions to appeal to more voters. And this debate is taking place prominently on Fox News, in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere in the conservative media.

Democrats have also refused to quiet down. At his first news conference in eight months, President Obama declared he has a mandate. U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced that she will remain House minority leader because her Democratic caucus insists. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid laid out a liberal agenda which he says the Senate will support.

This high-decibel political jabber is all posturing in preparation for our most important political challenge: the fiscal cliff. The lame duck session of Congress has less than five weeks to modify the automatic $500 billion in annual tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. Congress needs to get to work.

We voters on the sidelines, however, need a post-election time-out. So, if you want to tune out politics, enjoy football and disengage until the new year, let me tell you how the fiscal cliff will be resolved.

Most significantly, there will be an increase in taxes for higher-income taxpayers. The Republican leadership has indicated they are open to increasing revenues, and that was the necessary step to make an overall agreement possible.

RAISING TAXES will be the most contentious issue, but it is inevitable. The president campaigned on eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, the majority of Americans agree, and, even if he does nothing, the Bush tax cuts disappear Jan. 1. The president’s proposed $1.6 trillion revenue increase over 10 years is only a negotiating position, and the ultimate revenue increase will be less.

The temporary 2 percent Social Security tax reduction will expire Jan. 1. All wage earners’ take-home pay will decrease by 2 percent.

Democrats will agree to entitlement cuts.

Future Social Security increases based on cost of living will be reduced, despite what AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says.

The plan to cut payments to Medicare doctors will be reversed, but Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries will take a hit. Eligibility age could be increased above age 65, and means testing may go into effect.

THE ALTERNATIVE minimum tax will get a temporary fix. The AMT unintentionally taxes too many middle-class taxpayers, and politicians will suspend it. A permanent fix will be addressed in 2013 tax reform negotiations.

Sequestration will not happen. Revenue increases and entitlement cuts will surpass the $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction needed to satisfy the sequestration threshold. Sequestration is a terrible way to cut spending, and it is dangerous to the military.

This is a reasonable compromise plan, balanced with tax increases and entitlement cuts. The process will be bumpy, and everything may not be done on time. But the fiscal cliff will ultimately be avoided.

All Americans will share in its sacrifices and its benefits. The business community and financial markets will embrace this solution, leading to job growth and increased prosperity.

Now that you know the fiscal cliff will be favorably resolved, you can turn off MSNBC, Fox News and CNN until New Year’s Day.

Make the rest of 2012 a politics-free zone. You deserve it.

(The writer is a retired U.S. Navy officer. He lives and writes in Savannah.)

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Young Fred
Young Fred 11/25/12 - 04:25 am
With all due respect – If

With all due respect –

If only it were so. Considering the results of the last election, and postulating what reasonable leaders would do, your scenario makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately, “perfect sense” is not a serious consideration in today's government.

There will be no cut in entitlement programs at the current time, nor any other substantive cuts in ANY programs (excepting defense) in the immediate future. We will continue to borrow and mortgage our future.

Of course this will eventually come to a head, when even the most irresponsible of government leaders realize it can't continue, drastic, across the board cuts will take place, and the expectant citizens will take to the streets “a' la Greece”.

History repeats.

Riverman1 11/25/12 - 07:12 am
Whatever agreement is reached

Whatever agreement is reached will contain elements that will continue our ride down the greasy, Greece slide.

myfather15 11/25/12 - 08:32 am
Rob from the rich to give it

Rob from the rich to give it to the corrupt rich people in Washington so they can go on a wasteful shopping spree. Sounds like Robin Hood with a sick disgusting twist. It's still amazing to me how a single human being, no matter which political isle you're on, trusts the federal governement with more and more money. I guess 16 trillion in debt, just isn't enough for people to lose trust. We get what we ask for and we are asking for serious trouble in the future. It's insanity what this Country is doing.

Jane18 11/25/12 - 09:57 am
Headaches from the left....and right

I told everyone, even on this venue, over four years ago that things were going to get bad for us, America. It is not going to get any better, in fact, it will get worse. Anyone that believes Washington,DC is finally going to get it together, forget it, ain't gonna happen. You think food is high, it's going to continue to cost more and more. The only people to really benefit financially, will be the "entitled"(of whom some are nothing but frauds*--liars and thieves)and the wealthy(some of them are our stupidly elected Congress people). I do not blame Romney for losing the election, I blame the Republican Party, unregistered voters, third party voters, and all the people that are ignorant to what is happening in and to this country! Headaches over politics? Yep, and many, many, more to come............. * How do I know they are frauds(liars and thieves)? Because two of them I know personally. My cousin and her sorry, good for nothing husband. Have I reported them? Oh yeah, has not done one bit of good. They are both in their younger 50's and they have no shame for what they are doing. They receive foodstamps, are covered by Medicaid(already been in and out of doctors' offices and the hospital, not for anything major, just things the doctors' could get away with charging medicaid for. They are a couple of losers, and they are not going to change, I don't tell anyone they are related to me, and neither do any of the other relarives!

omnomnom 11/25/12 - 10:08 am
i like how 'Merica branded it

i like how 'Merica branded it "sequestration" instead of "austerity measures".

go Occupy Wall Street!

rmwhitley 11/25/12 - 06:32 pm
Wonder how many

NBA players, naacp heads, aclu members, democrats, black caucus members and members of the non-taxpaying left will be given a free pass on tax increases, Medicaid/Medicare increases and told to have a nice life at the expense of conscientious conservatives?

bubbasauce 11/26/12 - 09:43 am
Jane 18, you are dead on with

Jane 18, you are dead on with that comment. I too know people who brag about how much they get a month for doing absolutely nothing. I' m sorry, they have to walk to the mailbox. They keep having babies, I don't understand! Just kidding. I think we all know that answer.

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