Monday, November 26, 2012

To Congress and Our Media Friends, Regarding America’s Fiscal Cliff

To Congress and Our Media Friends, Regarding America’s Fiscal Cliff

If you’ve paid attention to the news for even just a minute since the presidential election, you’ve likely heard about the so-called “fiscal cliff” which apparently is due to hit us in about a month or so.
Funny thing happened the other day with my teenage daughter, Amy. She watches the gossip – you know, “reality” – channels, about 99 percent of the time. So when it was time for me to catch up on the news (the other 1 percent of the time that I get to watch TV) and Amy heard the newscasters talking about nothing but this dangerous fiscal cliff, she perceived it as an impending storm, perhaps akin to Hurricane Sandy.
It may not be a weather-related storm, but from what we can gather so far from the media experts and our esteemed politicians, it’s going to be very serious! The American economy as we know it is scheduled to completely fall to her knees – something they tell us will be “unacceptable,” which is why there needs to be a “compromise” in Washington DC.
Okay, I comprehend the seriousness of the problem. But what I want to know is: What exactly is this fiscal cliff and what caused it? As our esteemed politicians and media gurus tell us, the culprit is too much spending and a dinosaur of a tax code with loopholes for special interests. These have resulted in a ridiculously unsustainable $16 trillion-plus in debt.
Oh, really? So this cliff didn’t just suddenly show up after the elections? If the problem goes back further than November 5, 2012 – say 10 years or more – where was the urgency over the last decade? Congress has been in charge of both our spending and our tax code, the things at the center of this storm (for Amy’s benefit), and yet we’re just now learning that we’re heading over a cliff? This wild spending and immense debt were acceptable for all that time and just suddenly became problematic?
I tend to wonder whether Washington, D.C. is doing a very good job managing our nation. If something is as bad as this so-called cliff, why wouldn’t they want to fix it while it was still somewhat manageable? Why wait till it became a crisis to decide it needs to be fixed? My leadership instincts keep leading me back to this basic question: How did we get here? And where has the media been all that time?
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