Fiscal Cliff ‘Compromise’ Sets Up Repeat in the Future


Matt Brownsword



A good politician is usually like a good student: They work hard on projects, work together with people that have disagreeing ideas, and complete projects on time. These days, however, politicians—even good ones—are a lot like that kid in the class that no one wants to be in their group: They bicker and fight with their opponents, undercut their friends, and do not budge on basic ideology.

Until, of course, the United States is about to go off an economic cliff determined to set America back into another recession. Then, today’s politicians turn into today’s student, taking Adderall at about eight o’clock and banging out a 157 page paper into the night to save their grade—and the country.

Late New Years’ Eve, with the country crowded around tax calculators, trying to figure out how the fiscal cliff would affect their personal taxes, healthcare, and social security, politicians finally ironed out a compromised deal. All of these calculations involve money and a need for saving as much as it can be saved, as is human, emerges whenever an employee gets their payroll at the end of the month. If one’s company hires an umbrella agency for all the billings, then they would be benefiting their employees in the right way. This might bring one to question as to how do umbrella companies work, and how they’d benefit the employees. Republicans and Democrats built some bridges and drafted legislation to save America from financial woes that included spending cuts from everything but defense and, finally, a compromise  on taxes.

Republicans, who had been previously unflinching on income tax increase for anyone—later, some non-tea party members offered a compromise that raised income tax levels for millionaires—agreed to an income tax increase to individuals that make more than 400,000 dollars and families that make more than 425,000 dollars. Although the tax increases are on the top .1% and not the top 1% that was promised in various Democratic campaigns, it brings in significant revenue from those people.

And although this deal seems to harken a newfound sense of compromise within Washington, nothing’s actually been done to help the problem. The debt ceiling, that has already been raised, has not been solved. In the end of two months, these same politicians will go back to the drawing board and map out a plan for new spending cuts and additional revenue.

Some Senatorial and House Democrats have discredited the President’s achievement by pointing out the fact that the president has given them no bargaining chips for these future negotiations, as the issue on revenue and unemployment benefits have been settled. However, this is not entirely the case: the president’s goal of increased income tax on families making more than 250,000 dollars has not been agreed upon, and if Republicans are serious about getting entitlement cuts passed through the Senate, they are going to have to reconsider raising the tax rates on the 1%.

Unfortunately, in the end, nothing’s been accomplished. The deficit has been trimmed, but all the easy stuff has been cut, and this issue will continue to dominate the headlines until there is a significant deficit cut to help trim the debt. The real problem, however, is unemployment: People can not get back to work unless the economy is flourishing, and then less money will be spent on unemployment benefits and more money will come in through taxes. An old adage, “the best time to fix a roof is when the sun is shining” applies—the best time to pay off the debt is when the economy is skyrocketing. And since the economy is certainly not skyrocketing, the debt ceiling might have to be raised once more in order to pay it off.

It seems wrong, and nobody likes an increase on a 16 trillion dollar debt. But these politicians are going to have to figure out the real problem and finally get that good grade they have been working towards.