How Should Congress Avoid the 'Fiscal Cliff?'

President Obama is back in campaign mode, touring the country to raise awareness about the 'looming fiscal cliff.' But isn't it now time for Washington to stop talking and do something?

After kicking the can down the road to avoid making hard choices in the face of an election, lawmakers now have just a few weeks to face financial reality for the American people. Experts may debate whether it’s a “fiscal cliff” or a gentle slope, but everyone seems to agree that dealing with the deficit and expiration of Bush-era tax cuts is a must.

According to multiple news sources, President Barack Obama has embarked on a tour starting in Pennsylvania to make a public case for his administration's plan for addressing the impending "fiscal cliff."

So what is the fiscal cliff? It's the changes expected to go into effect when the 2011 Budget Control Act expires at the end of the year. Among the changes are:

  • The end of last year’s payroll tax cuts (which means a 2 percent tax increase for workers);
  • The end of the 2001-2003 tax cuts;
  • The beginning of heath care-related taxes set in motion by the president’s Affordable Care Act.

 (See Wall Street Journal video explainer.)

At the same time, spending cuts agreed on in last year's debt ceiling agreement will go into effect, meaning steep cuts to things like the defense budget and Medicare.

According to the Associated Press, both sides warn that going over the cliff could harm the fragile economic recovery, but the White House and congressional Republicans still differ on whether the answer is to raise taxes or close tax loopholes and deductions.

Up until now, each Party has blamed the other for the footdragging, but all indications are that the American people are tired of the deadlock in Washington. They're ready to see some compromise. 

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) told Patch it was time to end the “10-year tax holiday.”

She identified the Department of Defense as an area that should cut back spending. 

"There's lots of waste in there. A lot of people have this fear of looking unpatriotic by taking a closer look at it. I'm not afraid of it,” said Speier, who has been a long-time champion of Veterans’ rights. “I'm very patriotic, but I want a lean DoD [Dept of Defense]. [The DoD budget] is larger right now than it has ever been in history."


What would you be prepared to see your congressmember concede in order to resolve the issue? Or do you think they should hold the Party line no matter what? What would you like to see happen to prevent going over the so-called "fiscal cliff?

Rick Bonilla December 01, 2012 at 08:15 PM
I'm with Jackie on this. Keep taxes low for the working class, raise taxes on the wealthy, take SSI, Medicare and Medicaid off the table, trim the military budget significantly and continue looking for inefficiencies and fraud in other areas of our government. Also, we should find some way to make the legislators from all of those red states (who receive much more from the Federal government that they contribute) responsible to reduce that imbalance. They need to do more to create good paying jobs in their states and get their citizens off unemployment and food stamps. Those states should start teaching real science so their citizens may acquire the skills needed for the industries of today. I am tired of those states with their ineptitude keeping the rest of the country down by sucking so much of our resources.
Dennis Zanardi December 01, 2012 at 08:57 PM
The rich already pay most of the taxes & the rich also have been the ones to invest and CREATE JOBS!! Tax the hell out of the rich and the rich take their biz someplace else in case you havent noticed !! Cutting federal spending is the way to bring it under control & stop giving social security & welfare to Illegals & disability to people who really dont deserve it. ADHD is no reason for disability ..it's an excuse!!! You stupid idiots voted for Obama & their will be no significant spending cuts and in fact " Mark my words" you will see the debt hit 20 trillion & if you think Greece is bad right now? It pales in comparison to what we will be like in just a couple more years. .. You idiots voted for a socialist & thats exactly what Obama is and socialisim does not work! Eventually you run out of other peoples money!!!!!!!! Welcome to the USSA you morons! Your going to get what you deserve now & it isn't good so shut up & take your medicine! By the way Rick have you ever served in the military?? I have and still keep in touch with many & cutting the hell out of their budget is not a good option especially right now with so much crap going on in the world.
Pacificat December 01, 2012 at 08:58 PM
we should go over the cliff
Jan M. December 01, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Dennis, your opinion is not based on any factual information but does include your emotional tirade that is so typical of the uninformed.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »