The problem with the so-called “fiscal cliff” is that it would impose too much austerity on a weak economy. If there is one thing that people should have learned from this global economic downturn, it is that austerity is devastating for weak economies. This issue, though, is incredibly easy to solve.
Congress can just simply eliminate the fiscal cliff.
That is what Congress has traditionally done when faced with artificial deadlines in the past. It just passes “temporary fixes” or continuing resolutions that keep the status quo from being disturbed. Congress can just extend the tax rates for most Americans, eliminate the idiotic sequestrations and keep most current policies as they currently are.
The only reason the “fiscal cliff” has become a potentially serious problem is that our political leaders have been allowed to hold the entire country hostage. They have made fixing this immediate problem conditional on getting an agreement on the completely unrelated issue of the long-term debt, which has proven to be a much more difficult issue. They needlessly turned what was an easily fixable short term problem into a nearly unsolvable situation.
That is why the best news in this entire fight has been President Obama dropping the push for some grand bargain. He is now just trying to eliminate the fiscal cliff. This should have been the position of the administration from the very beginning.
The big news story during this entire fight shouldn’t have been how the negotiations were going but what a shocking dereliction of duty both President Obama and Speaker John Boehner were committing. They should be fixing real problems instead of threatening to hurt the economy to trick their caucuses/bases into agreeing to an unnecessary deficit package