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So What is the Fiscal Cliff and Isn't it Time We Figured Out How to Avoid Going Over It?

President Obama is back in campaign mode, touring the country to raise awareness about the 'looming fiscal cliff.' But isn't it now time for Washington to stop talking and do something?

According to multiple news sources, President Barack Obama has embarked on a tour to make a public case for his administration's plan for addressing the impending "fiscal cliff."

So what is the fiscal cliff? It's the changes expected to go into effect when the 2011 Budget Control Act expires at the end of the year. Among the changes are:

  • The end of last year’s payroll tax cuts (which means a 2 percent tax increase for workers);
  • The end of the 2001-2003 tax cuts;
  • The beginning of heath care-related taxes set in motion by the president’s Affordable Care Act.

At the same time, spending cuts agreed on in last year's debt ceiling agreement will go into effect, meaning steep cuts to things like the defense budget and Medicare.

According to the Associated Press, both sides warn that going over the cliff could harm the fragile economic recovery, but the White House and congressional Republicans still differ on whether the answer is to raise taxes or close tax loopholes and deductions.

On Friday, the President will visit the Rodon Group, a Hatfield-based manufacturer that makes K'NEX, Tinkertoy and Angry Birds building sets, to highlight the company as an example of a business that thrives when middle-class consumers have more money in their pockets.

Pennsylvania GOP Spokesperson Valerie Caras issued an email statement suggesting that the president's time could be better spent working with Republicans in Washington.

"Considering the financial challenges our nation faces, we urge President Obama to get to work with Congressional Republicans to find a solution that prevents our economy from falling over the fiscal cliff." wrote Caras.

So what do you think? With only a few weeks left, is the time for talking over? Is it now time for Washington to stop all the posturing and figure out a way to fix the problem?

Hal Schneider November 29, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Good Grief Y'all, I'm willing to give up EVERTHING that the Constitution does NOT define as a function of the federal government! That covers a huge portion of the existing federal employees and spending! I would not cut those functions that are defined clearly in the Constitution as functions of the federal government!
Racer X November 29, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Or....one could invest in SKS', AR-15s and AK47s then stock pile as much ammo as you could. Then fire Congress and the President, let them assume the debt and start over with a new country. There would be a lot of hungry lazy people.........but heck, lazy people should be hungry. One last thing people, being poor is SUPPOSED TO SUCK. THAT is what gives incentive to do BETTER. When poor no longer SUCKS, people become CONTENT to be poor, then never make the effort for better. We are a nation of enablers.
Good Grief Y'all November 29, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Personally, Mr. B - what would you give up personally? I agree about the $478B in unidentifiables and a chunk off the Congressional pensions.
Good Grief Y'all November 29, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Hal, I mean what would you give up personally? It's easy to give up things other people want or need. You lay off all those federal workers and the economy will get worse. They spend in the economy and pay taxes, too, so that's not a solution. The public sector has already lost many jobs, accounting for the still-too-high unemployment rate. So you would give up anything not defined by the Constitution as a function of the federal govt.? Alrighty then, now we're getting somewhere. The General Welfare definition as applicable to the U.S. Constitution: "The concern of the government for the health, peace, morality, and safety of its citizens. Providing for the welfare of the general public is a basic goal of government. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution cites promotion of the general welfare as a primary reason for the creation of the Constitution. Promotion of the general welfare is also a stated purpose in state constitutions and statutes."
Hal Schneider November 30, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Good Grief Y'all, Let's see. I'd start with the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Housing & Urban Development, The Department of Health & Human Services, the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, The Department of Labor, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Transportation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, the Arctic Research Commission, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, FDIC, Federal Reserve System....I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. There are literally thousands of agencies, bureaus, commissions and departments, none of which were EVER contemplated by the Constitution! Bill Evelyn is correct. Government employees create ZERO wealth, they only take money out of the pockets of the taxpayer that they would other wise spend in PRIVATE enterprise, which DOES create wealth.....lots of wealth!
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew November 30, 2012 at 04:11 AM
We all realize how MUCH time explaining positions nationally takes... There's only so much available before it cuts into "Eye Candy" time
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew November 30, 2012 at 04:17 AM
They will understand once the artificial interest suppression called QE ?"Insert Number Here" ends... If President Carter could of had our current Fed Chair during HIS term, there would have been a second term.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew November 30, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Washington DC, the source of wannabe wrestling franchise programing for C-Span. WWE has "He!! in a Cell" while we get "Azzes crossing the Aisle". The cinema brings us the "The Never-ending Story" while DC brings us "The Continuing Resolutions". Even in the song entitled "All I want for Christmas is my 2 Front Teeth" there is NOT a call for the Federal Government (aka Federal Giverment) to PROVIDE the teeth!
Good Grief Y'all November 30, 2012 at 12:12 PM
@Bill Evelyn, I didn't say that "General Welfare" means foods stamps, welfare checks, etc. I even gave the definition of the phrase, so stop your bashing. It meant the well being of the people - which would mean they should have food, shelter, necessities. You can't exclude the welfare of the people from the welfare of the nation. The PEOPLE are the nation. Damn right, GOOD GRIEF! (not surprised one of you da's would take that tact)
Good Grief Y'all November 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM
@ Hal - with those ideas, Third World here we come.
Good Grief Y'all November 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM
@Bill, how clever - gubbmint - no one has ever seen that before.
Good Grief Y'all November 30, 2012 at 12:20 PM
None of you "gubbmint" bashers has listed any personal sacrifices. I'm guessing as long as no cuts affect you, everything else can go.
Good Grief Y'all November 30, 2012 at 12:26 PM
More nonsense from you R.
Good Grief Y'all November 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Let me lift this out for your easy reading: "Providing for the welfare of the general public is a basic goal of government. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution cites promotion of the general welfare as a primary reason for the creation of the Constitution." "general public" = people Don't you guys believe in the U.S. Constitution? What's that? Only if you can pick out what serves your convoluted views?
Mr. B November 30, 2012 at 12:45 PM
As I said before, Obama is mt role model. He doesn't respect the constitution so neither do I. And what would I give up personally? I have listed what I would give up. And that's MY money. Remember me? The People!! Can't get much more personal than that.
Racer X November 30, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Msgoff- "there are more people struggling to survive than we seem to want to acknowledge. People who have worked for years; perhaps without a pension, elderly, people who are still working & wondering how they are going to take care of their children" These are the last people who will ask for help and the first people who deserve it. First, however, these people will turn to their families, their churches and their own sense of responsibility, turning to the government as a last resort. The problem I have is with the people who turn to the government first without even so much as a look in the mirror for their answers and believe the government is responsible for them, their mistakes and their misfortunes. I really do love your message of love and caring for others. I bet you are a wonderful person. I genuinely wish I could be as nice as you but my faith cannot be put in the government. My faith is in the community and people like you.
Racer X November 30, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Bill Evelyn for President!
Hal Schneider November 30, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Good Grief Y'all, Please tell us WHERE you got that definition, because it is NOT from the Constitution. Personally, I would forego Social Security and Medicare above and beyond what I have contributed during my lifetime plus interest! There is no other sacrifice that I can make since I receive NO government payments of any kind!
Hal Schneider November 30, 2012 at 05:46 PM
"The Preamble serves solely as an introduction, and does not assign powers to the federal government, nor does it provide specific limitations on government action. Due to the Preamble's limited nature, no court has ever used it as a decisive factor in case adjudication, except as regards frivolous litigation."
Good Grief Y'all November 30, 2012 at 07:59 PM
@Hal: Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states "general welfare". No definition therein, but no need as the word welfare is in the English language. The Preamble was written as introduction to, purpose of and citing context of the document. Not law, no, and I didn't claim so. You think the Preamble is worthless? I didn't think you would give up anything personal - no civil conveniences and protections, no tax deductions or loopholes.
Good Grief Y'all November 30, 2012 at 08:04 PM
B., that's your opinion, to which you're entitled, but it's a piss-poor one. See my reply to Hal: "I didn't think you would give up anything personal - no civil conveniences and protections, no tax deductions or loopholes."
Good Grief Y'all November 30, 2012 at 08:12 PM
R, that's unintelligible, drivel.
r patton November 30, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Looks like good old George has fallen prey to the kool-aid and "knows not what he says".
Mr. B December 01, 2012 at 03:04 AM
I have no tax deductions and therefore no loopholes now so based on your requirements, I have nothing personal to give up. But if you look at the things I offered, my Social Security/Medicare future is gone.
Hal Schneider December 01, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Good Grief Y'all, I don't have any deductions to speak of other than the standard deduction. No mortgage deduction, which I'm sure is what you're driving at. If you want to talk about overhauling the tax code that's an entirely different discussion and one that is sorely needed. I support the flat tax, not the national sales tax (or so called Fair Tax). I have no idea what you mean by civil conveniences and protection. One of the primary functions of government is to provide public protection, so no I would not give that up! If by civil conveniences you're talking about parks and such, then absolutely...the government has no business buying private lands to provide recreational activities to the few!
Hal Schneider December 01, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Not to mention the fact, Good Grief Y'all, that, as all good liberals do, you seem to forget that when I file a tax return, it is to get my OWN money back that the government has confiscated from me at the point of a gun! It is not me GETTING anything FROM the government!
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew December 01, 2012 at 06:46 AM
HOW is this Nonsense to you? Have you ever wondered withholding down interest rates so artificially low and what would happen to debt interest expense if rates rise?
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew December 01, 2012 at 06:47 AM
Aw glad I'm on your mind ...
Good Grief Y'all December 01, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Go Dawgs!
John B December 01, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Your best post to date! Thank you GGY.......

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