The clock is ticking on the fiscal cliff

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

As we approach the end of 2012, our nation faces much uncertainty concerning its economic future. The hot topic amongst politicians is the emergence of the fiscal cliff at the beginning of the coming year. For those unfamiliar with the issue, the fiscal cliff is the start of government spending cuts and raised taxes with the hopes that the nation’s deficit will reduce dramatically in turn.

At first thought, the idea sounds like a good plan. But some fear these actions could lead to a country-wide recession. Thoughts are if people are paying more taxes, they will have less money to spend on businesses. This could, in turn, lead to those businesses closing up shop. With this in mind, President Obama is looking to come to a resolution to prevent such a thing from happening.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented the president’s plan for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over the upcoming decade and $400 billion more in government spending cuts to Republicans last Thursday. The group wasn’t in favor of the proposal.

Since there’s still no deal, some conservatives like former GOP Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, commentator Charles Krauthammer and notorious radio host Rush Limbaugh are now advising Republican party members to step away from the issue altogether and leave the president to figure things out by himself.

The idea of ceasing communication is completely juvenile. The fact that these politicians are even thinking about playing with such a potentially harmful issue affecting the entire nation is ridiculous. If not to work towards a solution for our country, what are these guys getting
paid for?

Luckily, it seems House Speaker John Boehner hasn’t listened to his fellow conservative affiliates. He sent a counteroffer that proposed $800 billion in new revenue, half of the president’s initial proposal, Monday night. The proposal also called for $900 billion from government savings, $300 billion in cuts to other spending and a possible $200 billion from changes in inflation calculations dealing with benefits and tax policy for certain programs.

While the proposal is a step in the right direction, I don’t think it will be accepted in its entirety. President Obama walked away from a similar deal calling for $800 million in new revenue just a year ago and I’m assuming conservatives know that. Hopefully, the president can agree on some of the points in the counteroffer and figure out a compromise for the rest of the deal.

All I know is there’s now less than a month until the new year starts and still no deal has been made. They have until their Christmas deadline to find an answer. Without one, we could all be heading towards the worst recession since the Great
Depression.