Now that the presidential election is behind us, the focus of our country and its politicians turns to our very precarious financial condition. No, we are not like Greece or Spain or other countries whose financial condition has them teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and complete financial collapse. Those countries have been forced to implement severe austerity measures to pare back spending and avoid a complete bailout from their fellow EU colleagues.
But unlike our European counterparts, the United States is faced with a unique legislative hurdle that must be dealt with before the end of the year. The short version of the very long story is that our elected officials are so inept, gutless and ineffective that they have refused to deal with the fiscal crisis of the country, preferring to “kick the can down the road”, a great metaphor for describing lack of any ability to manage our ailing economy. As a result, the United States now faces a “fiscal cliff”, that is to say a horrific event that will occur automatically in the event our elected officials are unable to finally resolve their differences and take the necessary action to avoid it. Instead of “fiscal cliff”, I prefer to call it a fiscal time bomb, or simply “F Bomb” for short. Personally, I have no desire to drop the F Bomb.
As a result of their inability to accomplish any meaningful legislation to deal with our serious ongoing deficit, our politicians voted on a type of “poison pill” automatic budget trigger that will cause significant pain in the form of automatic tax increases and spending reductions in the event an agreement is not reached over the next several weeks. So what does that mean for you, exactly? For the average family, it means that your taxes will go up by about $3,500, that the government will drastically slash spending across the board, which is expected to increase unemployment, and that the economy will very likely grind to a halt, possibly even slipping back into a recession.
How can we avoid the F Bomb? Unfortunately, we elected these ridiculous, idiotic representatives. So until we can replace them with qualified people who actually know what they are doing, for now we can only insist that they do what we hired them to do. Of course, that sounds like common sense, but it’s not that easy to actually accomplish.
You will hear much over the next several weeks about the need to reach a “grand bargain”. That means we are hoping that our elected representatives will realize that they must find reason and compromise where none has existed previously and that they will find a combination of tax increases and spending reductions that will form the basis of a bipartisan resolution to avoid triggering the F Bomb.
There are significant upsides and downsides to living in a great democracy. The downside is that we sometime make mistakes and elect people who are completely unqualified and unwilling to deal with the tough issues that confront our country. But the upside is that when we can use our collective voice to cause those representatives to finally act in the interest of the country over that of their political party, we show the rest of the world what makes us the greatest country on earth. True – we are not acting like it right now, but I have great faith that our voices will soon be heard.