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'Fiscal cliff'? Just shut up and bring it on

November 30, 2012|By Paul Whitefield
  • President Obama checks out the toys at a factory in Hatfield, Pa., on Friday.
President Obama checks out the toys at a factory in Hatfield, Pa., on Friday. (Michael S. Wirtz / Philadelphia…)

As they say in the NFL, “on further review,” I’ve decided that going over the “fiscal cliff” is a good idea.

And no, it’s not because I want to pay more in taxes. Nor am I a disgruntled Republican longing for revenge for the election. And I didn’t just win the Powerball jackpot, and I didn’t get an early bonus to avoid the coming tax increases.

No, it’s simpler than that: I just don’t want to have to listen to another month of posturing and pandering from politicians and pundits.

On Friday, both camps were in full spin mode.

First, I take you to a toy factory in Hatfield, Pa.:

President Obama cast himself in the role of Santa Claus during a visit to a toy factory Friday, suggesting that Republican lawmakers should get only a lump of coal in their stockings if they don’t work with him this month to extend tax cuts for the middle class.  

Then, it’s to Capitol Hill, and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio):

“There’s a stalemate; let’s not kid ourselves. … Increasing tax rates draws money away from our economy that needs to be invested in our economy to put people back to work. It’s the wrong approach."

So, how bad is it? How far apart are our leaders?

Well, here’s Obama's offer: For those earning above $250,000 for couples, or $200,000 for unmarried people, the highest tax rate would revert to 39.6% from 35%. Oh, and the tax rate on capital gains for those folks would go to 20% from (a historically low) 15% rate. The president also wants to renew stimulus spending to spur the economy, aid homeowners in refinancing mortgages and extend long-term unemployment benefits.

And here’s how Republicans responded:

“Laughable” and “absolutely insulting” were among the comments coming from Republicans over the White House offer.

Republicans want Obama to put deeper spending cuts on the table in exchange for their offer to produce new revenue by capping deductions and lowering rates to generate economic growth -- a proposal that experts say does not add up unless you extract more money from middle-class households.

Yep. Sounds like a Grand Canyon-sized divide to me too.

So please, fellows, no more. Americans are a patient people, but we’ve just been through an endless presidential campaign. We did our job. We voted. Not it's time for you to do yours.

It’s the holidays. All we wanted for Christmas was for you to stop talking and start legislating.

But no. Sheesh -- if politicians talking were money, well, there’d be no federal deficit, that’s for sure.

So let’s go over the fiscal cliff. All of us. We’ve been on Space Mountain. We’ve been on lots of roller coasters. We’re not afraid.

And frankly, what’s so bad about the deal we’ll be stuck with Jan. 1? Isn’t it a win-win for both parties? After all, for Democrats, taxes go up.  For Republicans, spending goes down. What’s not to like? (For politicians, I mean; we taxpayers know what’s not to like, but it’s not as if anyone is really looking out for us, right?)

And if the economy does tank? So what. It’s tanked before. It’ll tank again.

So come Jan. 2, all of you in Washington can go back to being Scrooge. 

For now, though, at least let the rest of us enjoy a month of holiday parties and football in peace.

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