BY JON E. DOUGHERTY
In the days before Christmas most lawmakers hurriedly abandoned Washington, D.C., for the sanctuary of their homes, leaving behind a pending fiscal nightmare that more than half of Americans don’t believe they will solve – or that they are even capable of solving – upon their return.
The so-called “fiscal cliff,” a package of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that most economists believe will further dampen the nation’s still-anemic economic growth, already loomed large on the horizon when lawmakers were booking flights out of the Beltway and President Obama was packing up the family aboard Air Force One for a $4 million vacation to his birth state of Hawaii.
Now, the issue appears to have become a runaway train, destined to smash into the Jan. 1 deadline, though most lawmakers, as well as Obama, seem unfazed by it all.
“Though Republicans and Democrats have spent the better part of a year describing a plunge off the cliff as a looming catastrophe, the nation’s capital showed no outward signs of worry, let alone impending calamity,” Reuters reported.
“The White House has set up shop in Hawaii, where President Barack Obama is vacationing. The Capitol was deserted and the Treasury Department – which would have to do a lot of last-minute number-crunching with or without a deal – was closed.”
Has all the talk of the nightmarish fiscal cliff merely been a sideshow? Political theater for the unwashed masses?
It would seem so. For if tumbling over the fiscal precipice is as serious as we’ve been led to believe, then Americans would be reading of tired, haggard lawmakers remaining at their posts, burning the midnight oil until an agreed-upon solution put the country on stable ground.
Yet there has been no agreement, though it has been months – February, to be exact – since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke used the phrase to describe the budgetary events scheduled to take place just days from now.
Perhaps because the game has been rigged from the get-go to produce the maximum political effect for the players, not for whom the game is supposedly being played. The fix is in, and it doesn’t have anything to do with finding a legitimate long-term solution to our country’s budgetary woes.
Understand that it matters not what these pseudo-statesmen ultimately decide this week because the nation’s fiscal outcome was decided years ago, from the moment lawmakers began robbing Social Security’s trust fund to finance profligate spending designed primarily to buy votes and centralize power in Washington.
Since those heady days, such mindless federal spending has matured into trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits as far as the eye can see. And while today’s budget gaps are being blamed on the 2008-2009 recession, the reality is they began years ago, carefully nurtured and purposely grown ever since.
This is made obvious by the fact that far too few lawmakers or the president have seriously addressed the real fiscal problem facing this nation: spending on the growing cadre of federal social programs – Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, federal student loans, etc. – that are bankrupting our children’s future.
No one wants to discuss the fact that these programs have been pronounced politically radioactive and hence off-limits – not because the nation will truly collapse if we no longer fund them, but because to de-fund them is to de-centralize power in D.C.
And few in Washington are willing to do that.
So it’s off the cliff we will go, eventually anyway, no matter what happens this week, because our politicians have preordained, by their actions and, more importantly, inactions, that they are more important than the future of our country.
Let it be known now that our children will suffer this theater of fools, as well as our inability to hold them to account.
Every lawmaker – up to and including the president – should be standing before a federal judge answering charges of economic child abuse, for what they are doing is robbing future generations of their opportunities to live the kind of productive, fulfilling lives they have chosen for themselves.
But they won’t, because they are no longer our legislators; we the people have allowed them to become an untouchable, privileged elite who stage one “crisis” after another, for their own pleasure and amusement, only to reach the same “solution” each time – whatever allows them to retain or expand their own base of power.
As the nation’s debt clock continues by the minute to tick off billions more in liability for our children to have to deal with, it is a fitting metaphor; time is short to preserve our posterity.
Indeed, it may have already run out.
The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor Jon E. Dougherty is a former news editor and columnist for WND.com, Newsmax.com, & contributor at CNSNews.com. He has served as a policy analyst for Citizens United & Freedom Alliance, & is the author of the books, Election 2000: How the Military Vote Was Suppressed & Illegals. Jon has a bachelors of arts in political science.
The Moral Liberal recommends Jon E. Dougherty’s Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border.