The President, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans have reached a deal to ostensibly avert the fiscal cliff, sort of. The legislation, which is expected to pass the Senate today or tomorrow, keeps the Bush-era tax rates steady for most taxpayers. Rates would rise to 39.6% from the current 35% on families earning over 450 thousand dollars a year. Federal estate taxes will be instituted at a whopping 40% for estates over 5 million dollars, and capital gains and dividend taxes will rise to 20% from their current level of 15%. The automatic spending cuts, called the sequestration, will be delayed for two months until, are you ready for this, Congress has more time to debate the issue.
It is hard to say whether this legislation will have trouble passing in the Republican-controlled House, but it certainly should. Once again our spineless leaders on both sides of the aisle have refused to deal with the main issue that comprises 95% of the fiscal problems in this country, i.e. spending. The Congress should have had the intestinal fortitude to deal with out of control spending during the debt ceiling negotiations in August of 2011. But they chose instead to kick the can down the road with the creation of the idiotic sequestration. Now, over a year later, they say more time is needed and have once again chose to abdicate the very responsibilities they were elected to execute. If this latest deal to abdicate their responsibilities passes the House, the President and Congressional "leaders" on both sides will bloviate in front of every available camera and microphone about how they "saved" the country from the horrors of the fiscal cliff.
Absolutely nothing has changed vis-a-vis this grand legislation that would lead any thinking person to conclude that our financial health has suddenly gone from grave to skipping out of the fiscal intensive care unit in which we currently find ourselves. After racking up more debt in one term than the first 42 presidents combined, this President shows no signs of being fiscally responsible with our money. Furthermore, there seems to be no one in the Congress who has the will or ability to stop this drunkin' sailor from spending our hard earned dollars on frivolous tattoo payoffs to constituents and the intoxicating whiskey of an ever-expanding Federal government.
So as you awaken on this New Years morning and look forward to a fresh set of months in which to improve your life's circumstance in some way, you may hear the faint sound of a thud emanating from the direction of the nations capital. It is not, as we have been lead to believe for months, the sound of the country falling off a fiscal cliff, but rather this great republic being pushed off the leadership cliff by ineffectual politicians.
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