Tag Archive | "Debt Reduction Plan"

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Fiscal Cliff Hostility

Has the fiscal cliff come down to this? With Europe entering another recession and with the billions of dollars of damages and millions of emotionally paralyzed Americans on the East Coast, do we need to take time out to remind Congress they need to do their job?

Americans placed their votes but Republicans still don’t get it. The majority of Americans rejected the Republican platform and supported the President’s position. The party has no credibility with the majority of voters and the divide is only going to increase in the next two years.

It is not President Obama that put us in this financial mess. It is Congress. It is the Republicans in the worst Congress in the history of the nation that have brought us to the fiscal cliff. Thank you Congress.

Now, these same Republicans are preventing a full-scale, comprehensive debt reduction plan that should surpass the Simpson-Bowles initiative; the bill the GOP prevented from coming to the floor two years ago.  One can only ask, “What moronic ideology do these numbskulls cling to?”

All one has to do is look at Eric Cantor to know he is a bad loser. Can you imagine Romney and Cantor whining in unison? No member of Congress has his self-interest at heart more than Eric Cantor. This guy loves the limelight. Unfortunately, he stands for everything that is wrong with the Republican Party. His constituents should be taken to the woodshed.

And, then there is Paul Ryan! This guy not only cost Romney any legitimate chance at the Presidency but could not deliver his home state. Ryan’s demeanor was so unappealing that he made Palin look like a wise choice. Ryan managed to make Joe Biden look like a gifted debater. If this guy runs for the top job in 2016, the Democrats will win in a landslide. What are his constituents thinking?

As for Boehner and McConnell, they are prehistoric remnants of a party that is in chaos and deteriorating from the core out. These guys make “conservative” smell like yesterday’s catch. How many more ludicrous politicians can these guys find? Is this what the Koch brothers wanted to buy?

When Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles speak about the debt crisis in this country, they are believable. They have no vested interest in the outcome. Why can Republicans and Democrats not sit down, and use the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Plan as an blueprint for a grand solution to two unpaid wars, an unregulated Wall Street catastrophe and unacceptable unemployment numbers?

There are a number of reasons this country is in the shape it is but the primary ones are the Republican mandate to unseat Obama, at the expense of the American people, and the Grover Norquist Pledge.

Wake up! Barack Obama is the President of the United States. George Romney is sulking at home reveling in his undisclosed tax returns and making a fool of himself in post-election analysis. The President has twice been elected by a majority of Americans.

I don’t recall Grover Norquist’s name on any ballot. Nobody voted for this manipulator. I did not see an entity on my ballot that listed the Tea Party. So, why are Republicans allowing these influences to destroy conservative principles and our country at the same time?

Republicans need a shining star and it is not someone who insults women, Hispanics, blacks, gays or our young. Yesterday, 30 Republican Governors met in Las Vegas. The takeaway is that the party is in need of a fix from top to bottom and inside out. Is anyone on the Hill listening?

As for the matters at hand, the American people are prepared to pay down on our debt. We are exhausted with the rhetoric. There are no new arguments. We do not want a Band-Aid. We want a meaningful, clearly defined and balanced deficit reduction plan. When you are climbing a mountain, it is nice to know where the peak is.

We are tired of hearing what the political parties will not do. We are footing the bill for your sins. No more last minute negotiations! Just address the issues and provide viable solutions. Understand that group photo shots and disgraceful rhetoric is hurting national morale as much as your sins of the past.

America wants to re-take our global leadership role economically and socially. Put your personal agendas aside and do the right thing. After all, that is why you were elected.

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The Financial Cliff

The pressure is on in Washington. With President Obama returning to office and signs that some Republicans understand that the party’s ultra-conservative mindset does not resonate with the majority of Americans, it would seem the stage is set for meaningful solutions about the country’s bludgeoning debt. Congress will either follow the Obama lead or the country will fall off the fiscal cliff on December 31. 2012.

Given the erratic record of the Republican House, Americans are edgy about the possibility of a solution to a dilemma that could sink the economy. There is no historical support to think that Congress can coordinate a long-term solution to this pressing problem and place the country’s best interests ahead of their personal own politics.

The House of Representatives will once again attempt to hold Americans hostage, but this time they are negotiating with a President who will not be running for another term and who is committed to represent the middle class, or what is left of it. Analysts have suggested that a temporary debt reduction plan might be implemented but this would be the ultimate kick the can strategy. Americans expect meaningful action.

Three Wings of Fiscal Cliff

The fiscal cliff includes three main components. The temporary payroll tax reduction, the expiration of the Bush Tax cuts and $600 billion in spending cuts are in place to activate on the last day of the year. If negotiations about a remedy are not successful, every American taxpayer will have a heavier burden next year. This will dramatically cut back on consumer spending and severely hurt the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The payroll tax reduction has helped many Americans survive the recession and timid recovery. This reduction will most definitely expire.

The $600 billion cuts will cause loss of jobs and send shock waves through the economy. If a debt reduction plan is not in place by December 31, the defense department will suffer the biggest cutbacks.

Bigger Package Needed

As important as avoiding the fiscal cliff is, the country needs a substantial debt reduction plan. The most viable framework for a meaningful debt reduction initiative is the Simpson-Bowles, $4.6 trillion plan. While Simpson-Bowles is an aggressive approach to reduce the deficit, the country needs an even deeper plan.

Americans are exhausted with the dysfunction that has come to symbolize Washington. At a time when the US needs a balanced approach to reduce the debt, the Republican based Grover Norquist Pledge which opposes all legislation with a tax increase, could be the biggest fly in the ointment.

Two other flies in the ointment are Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, whose fiscal approach probably cost Mitt Romney the Presidency and Republican leader of the House, Eric Cantor. Cantor and Ryan have signed the pledge and cannot be relied upon to have any meaningful input in the negotiations. Frankly, the country would be better off if these two thugs were not re-elected.

The only hope to get a substantial deficit reduction plan in place lies with moderate Republicans, a dying breed in Washington. There are signs that the Senate is agreeable to a plan that crosses the aisle. The Congressional Budget Office reports that if a remedy for the fiscal cliff is not resolved, the economy will shrink by 0.5 percent during 2013. More importantly it is very possible that 5 million or more jobs will be lost in 2013, an outcome that apparently is acceptable to Cantor and Ryan. The country will find itself in a deeper recession than the previous recession.

David Cote, CEO of Honeywell explained the intense need for cooperation and action. “If the last debt ceiling discussion was playing with fire, this time they’re playing with nitroglycerin. If they go off the cliff, I think it would spark a recession that’s a lot bigger than economists think. Some think it would just be a small fire. I think it could turn into a conflagration.”

On Wednesday, President Obama met with a number of CEOs. Many of these CEOs are unsympathetic to the gridlock in Congress. Several major corporations have said they are hoarding cash and unwilling to invest in the US in the current political and economic climate. That possibility is another consequence of the fiscal cliff. Some of the country’s biggest corporations will invest in enterprises in other countries.

When the Bush Tax Cuts were introduced as a temporary tax reduction plan. They have been renewed every year since. The President ran on a platform of increasing the tax rate for workers who earn $250,000 or more. Ryan and Cantor are vehemently opposed to this approach despite the fact that many of the country’s wealthiest individuals have said they were amenable to the proposal.

Republicans favor changing the deductions, such as the interest paid on mortgages and other changes to add revenue. At a time when the country desperately needs positive news on the housing crisis, eliminating the deduction for interest would cripple the housing market further.

Just as Republicans did during the election, they continue to step on themselves. MSNBC reported that 60 percent of persons interviewed in exit polls favored tax increases for the nation’s wealthy. It is time for Congress to put their differences aside and negotiate in good faith for a long-term solution.

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