Today, from Hawaii President Obama used an autopen to sign into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which is the legislation to advert the fiscal cliff. From the Washington Post:
The hard-fought legislation that allowed the United States to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was signed into law Wednesday by “autopen,” the White House said, less than a day after being approved in a contentious vote in the House of Representatives.
President Obama, who interrupted a family vacation here to oversee the cliff negotiations in Washington, returned to Hawaii on an overnight flight that arrived early Wednesday. He spent the day working out a local gym, golfing and dining with first lady Michelle Obama and some friends at a favorite Honolulu restaurant, Alan Wong’s.
It should be noted that this bill was signed into law a full three days after we went over the so called “fiscal cliff.” The President didn’t even bother to sign it into law until two days after the bill was approved by Congress, which passed it on January 1st.
If there was some truly urgent deadline the bill would have been taken directly to the President to sign. Instead the President flew back to his vacation, enjoyed a round of golf and only later got around to signing it. This behavior by the President is perfectly acceptable because there was never a real cliff or a true crisis deadline, despite the many attempts to pretend otherwise.
There were several policies that started around the first of the year that if allowed to remain in effect permanently would have hurt the economy, but all that mattered is that they would be dealt with eventually using retroactive legislation, if necessary.