So, we didn’t fall off the cliff.
Well, we did … “sorta.”
Washington lawmakers, with moments to go, did manage to pass a compromise bill designed to keep the country functioning, temporarily avoiding the much discussed “fiscal cliff.” In the end, however, despite the compromise that will raise your taxes a bit and give Republicans some of the things they wanted, little was accomplished.
Instead, the work on this deadline ended up creating three new deadlines. The first of these, coming in late February, will be another showdown. That will deal with raising the debt limit. Republicans already are indicating they are not inclined to vote to increase the limit if there are not sweeping changes to things on which the country spends money. The president, on the other hand, has already said, “I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they’ve passed.”
You see how things are shaping up?
Sequestration — automatic, across-the-board cuts — was pushed back for two months. That’s guaranteed to be another fight.
The third item kicked down the road? More work on the budget. You know how that one goes.
We say all this to note: Things just don’t change in Washington, and it’s the reason more and more people are becoming disenchanted with the whole two-party system. Each party is too afraid the other might get credit to allow anything it did not have 100 percent credit for to pass. On the other hand, those same politicians fear if they are 100 percent responsible for something, it could mean their political hide if things go wrong so, they’re reluctant to pass even their own legislation.
It’s not clear who wins in this Washington game, but it’s certain who loses: the American people.
Is there any doubt the February “debate” over the debt ceiling will rage until the final seconds? How about the debate over cuts for the military, your Social Security check, Medicare? We’re sure it will all be more of the same.
Things are not likely to change until the voting public puts the true fear of dismissal into every Washington politician. Alas, as we’ve noted before, voters tend to think all politicians are crooked except for their own senators and representatives. The problem is, of course, the only people they can vote out are their own senators and representatives. The result? Nothing changes.
After every vote, spokesmen from each side of the aisle fight to reach the microphone and begin posturing. The saddest part is, however, they seldom really say anything.