By Dale Bowling
Now that the election is over and we've all caught our breath, it's time to start thinking about America's future.
By now, everyone has heard of the 'fiscal cliff" that America is headed for and there is talk about a deal between Democrats and Republicans that would avoid this self-engineered crisis.
First a trip down memory lane.
The fiscal cliff is basically short hand for a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that will
automatically kick in the first of next year if some agreement on longterm deficit reduction is not
reached. Together they represent around $800 billion dollars a year that will be taken out of the
economy and put into deficit reduction.
I think everyone wants deficit reduction, but the problem is that the one-two punch of higher taxes and spending cuts in this fragile recovery will likely throw America back into Recession and diminish or reverse the jobs gains that Democrats have won since the Bush Recession took hold.
Both parties should be keen to avoid this for love of Country, if for no other reason.
But any agreement must be reached through true bipartisanship. After the election in 2008,
Republicans refused to help shape any of the Democratic initiatives that might have helped the country (Stimulus, Affordable Care Act, etc.). The GOP drug their feet whenever possible, hinting that if a given proposal was just watered down a little more they might vote for it, causing a further revision of the bill in question, wasting time and ultimately only three Republicans in all of Congress voted for the much-needed Stimulus and a single Republican voted for the Affordable Care Act. Both passed only because of Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
In essence, Republicans ran out the clock until the mid-term elections and then blamed Democrats for
so little having been accomplished.
This time around, House Republicans are talking in more measured tones, but are saying the same
thing they always have said. They're OK with increasing tax revenue- but they don't want rate hikes on rich people. They're OK with eliminating deductions and loopholes.
If this sounds familiar, it should. This was Mitt Romney's tax plan without the rate cut. That is the GOP idea of compromise for raising taxes - Mitt Romney's tax plan.
So we need to learn from history. In 2008, America entrusted Democrats with the government, but love of country and desire to do good made Democrats too willing to give Republicans what they asked for in order to get bills passed. Republicans didn't vote for them anyway.
This time around Dems need to drive a harder bargain for America's sake.