After briefly slipping of the “fiscal cliff” earlier this week, you’d think Congress would be ready to come to terms with the fact that we have got to do something about our unfunded obligations on our debt. House Republicans, many of whom answer to gerrymandered districts, have stalled and hawed against every attempt by both moderate Republicans and Democrats to address our underfunded obligations.
This weekend saw the House do the same 11th hour “deal” that solves nothing and sets the stage for a 11th hour deal on the debt ceiling which will repeat the cycle of politicians being unwilling to address the serious issues facing our economy.
The Bush tax cuts have been largely preserved for 98% of Americans. Tax holidays such as the Social Security Payroll tax ended under the deal, but these were always meant to expire eventually. The only reason they have been maintained for so long was because of the weak state of the economy.
If these holidays were to persist, it would leave Social Security’s future in even more uncertainty. Republicans in Congress have to figure out that while we can control spending going forward, we have obligations to our citizens that cannot be simply ignored. I know very few people who wish to simply do away with Social Security, but we must find a way to pay for it, and the solution isn’t simply more budget cuts.
Unfortunately, we can’t continue this charade of building our own crises. If we keep constructing temporary issues to score political points, we won’t ever solve real issues such as stalling wages and education. The stage looks to be set for another “showdown” over the debt ceiling.
In all odds, another raise will be approved with conditions that we probably won’t follow. The fiscal cliff was supposed to be a bi-partisan solution to our parties’ inability to communicate on serious issues. Unfortunately, it provided another way for Washington to kick the can down the road and pile commitments and issues on the next generation.