Oh, no, we just went off the fiscal cliff, and we’re fallllling fast … oh, wait. We’re back now. Too bad that didn’t work for Thelma and Louise, huh?
Actually, the patchwork plan by Congress that pulled us back from the cliff wasn’t much of a rescue. Basically, all it did was put most things off and create even more dangerous cliffs down the road. The cliff was created, you’ll recall, as a compromise in order to get the debt ceiling raised. It’ll soon be time to raise it again, which will cause an even uglier fight than last time. The spending cuts that were supposed to accompany the tax increases just passed didn’t happen, of course, and when it comes time to raise the limit again, Republicans will insist on deep spending cuts, which President Obama won’t agree to without more tax cuts.
In the meantime, taxes are going to go up not just on “the wealthiest Americans.” Thanks to a largely undiscussed lapse of a cut in the payroll taxes used to pay for Social Security and Medicare, workers will see a 2 percent drop in their paychecks, so more than 80 percent of us are going to be affected. How’s that feel, middle class, sticking it to the rich?
Nothing at all changes because of this deal. The deficits will keep growing, which will keep adding to the national debt. The bills will start coming in on all the unfunded liabilities our “safety net” programs are racking up. We are continuing to get more government than we are willing to pay for, so we’re sitting under a mountain of debt we cannot afford.
By dancing around this phony cliff created by Congress, we’re avoiding thinking about the avalanche that’s about to start coming our way.