Before we get into the “fiscal cliff” stuff I reference above, I’d like to mention that 38 Republican senators voted last week to reject a United Nations treaty that would ban discrimination against people with disabilities.
This treaty was first negotiated and signed by Republican President George W. Bush and has been signed by 153 other countries. I would like the right-wingers who frequent the Daily Republic blog to explain why it was rejected. If we get good answers, we can discuss that here, next week.
I write these Daily Republic columns a few days in advance, so the so-called “fiscal cliff” may be old news by now, but the last I heard, President Barack Obama wanted to avert the “cliff” by raising personal income tax a few percentage points on income above $250,000, while the Republicans were in favor of increasing revenue by cutting income tax deductions.
While the Republican plan is remarkably similar to the Romney/Ryan plan in its complete lack of detail, in order to generate the amount of money claimed, their plan would have to eliminate tax deductions on items that would never pass Congress, like mortgage interest, state taxes and charitable giving, all adversely affecting the poor and middle classes.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the Republican plan “magic beans and fairy dust.”
As we edge ever closer to that imaginary “cliff,” politicians and the media are milking the imaginary drama for all it’s worth. You can lower your seasonal stress with the knowledge that nothing really bad will happen. These tax cuts and spending cuts are the same thing that congresses have been debating from their inception and if there is no agreement, we will revert back to Clinton-era tax rates.
That might not be so bad; we had a good economy under Bill Clinton and he actually balanced the federal budget. With higher taxes, the “job-creators” will be more motivated to expand their businesses and employ more. Locally, a Fairfield family with income around $50,000 would pay about $2,000 a year more in taxes, but for true fiscal conservatives, falling off the “cliff” would be like the best Christmas present, ever.
This “cliff” thing will most likely fade into history in one of two ways: Congress kicks the can down the road with a stop-gap measure halting the automatic spending cuts and tax increases with both sides agreeing to examine the problem later, and this time they really, really mean it. Or, the “cliff” happens on schedule and the next Congress, which will be seated in January with fewer right-wing extremists, enacts retroactive legislation to modify its severity.
There may be another economic downturn if a fix isn’t in place by early 2013, but there shouldn’t be any U.S. credit rating drop like the last time the nation faced an artificial budget crisis. I’m fairly sure there will be an agreement because there will come a point where it will be painfully obvious to even the most misinformed Fox viewer that the Republicans are once again damaging our economy and are perfectly willing to let 99 percent of us suffer for the exclusive benefit of the top 1 percent. In the end, all the Democrats have to do is wait for 2013 and then propose a tax cut for 99 percent of us. Would Republicans vote against that?
So relax, Fairfield. All we innocent bystanders can do is sit back and enjoy the show, comforted by the knowledge our world will not end on New Year’s Day. According to the Mayan calendar, it’ll be gone Dec. 21.
Mike Kirchubel grew up in Fairfield and is the author of “Vile Acts of Evil – Banking in America.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.