The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 2, 2013

One cliffhanger may be over, but more hurdles will be looming on the horizon


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — America “traveled” there and back again to the fiscal cliff.

Reaching an agreement was essential and minimized some major damage as the House accepted Senate amendments to House Resolution 8.

The legislation adds nearly $4 trillion to federal deficits over the next decade, according to The Associated Press.

Tough decisions remain. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, talks will heat up regarding the debt ceiling.

While the Treasury Department can float a couple of months, governmental shutdown is a potential reality. Forbes described this as a sequel of August 2011.

Secondly, the S-word, sequestration, is coming. Washington leaders deferred $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, giving the Pentagon and domestic programs two months of reprieve, according to CBS News.

On top of that, Congress needs to balance an actual budget for once in recent memory.

Cutting spending will become the next fiscal battleground. Washington, we have a spending problem.

Imbalanced budgets and record deficits pave a path to financial ruin.

Politicians had since November 2011 to fix this situation and created the fiscal cliff.

Not surprisingly, Congress has an all-time low approval rating, according to the nonpartisan National Constitution Center.

Protecting 99 percent of Americans from increased income taxes was politically safe, but expiration of the Social Security payroll tax reduction will cause an uproar.

In 2012, that 2-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax was worth about $1,000 to a worker making $50,000 a year, according to AP.

A push to enact the payroll tax cut for 2011 and to extend it through 2012 never was fully embraced by either party, and this time around, there was general agreement to let it expire.

Consider this quote from Will Rogers:

“We got a long-sighted government,” the Oklahoma native wrote in 1932. “When everybody has got money, they cut the taxes, and when they’re broke, they raise ’em.”

Wise words from 80 years ago.