Guns, Hostages and Kicking — The Physical Fiscal Cliff

Stacy Rush headshot

Stacy Rush is a contributor to The Brenner Brief.

On Monday, Gallup released a poll reflecting 70 percent of Americans wanting to see Washington reach a compromise to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff. Perhaps more intriguing is that only 18 percent of those polled want their side placing principle and party before country, indicating most are more than ready to see a compromise from Washington. Yes, President Obama, that includes you.

In a Fox news article, the author succinctly outlines how the U.S. arrived at this moment and illuminates Washington’s reluctance making tough entitlement reform decisions necessary in order to turnaround the economy.

In 2010, after approving a $787 billion stimulus plan, President Obama promised he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. According to a 2011 Huffington post article, Obama inherited a $490 billion deficit from George W. Bush. President Obama and his administration could act diligently to meet his deficit reduction promise. Unfortunately, President Obama not only did not fulfill this promise, he more than doubled the country’s debt, a scenario he once called “unpatriotic” and “irresponsible.”

Let’s give the President credit for taking some action on debt reduction. In 2010, he established by executive order the creation of the bi-partisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. After 10 months of work reviewing both spending and tax policy, the committee produced a 66 page report titled ‘The Moment of Truth.” The report provided congress a solid, bi-partisan roadmap addressing both revenue and spending cuts with the support of 11 out of 18 committee members. However, rather than making progress on essential and substantive changes, congress kicked the can instead by extending the Bush tax cuts while Obama provided little guidance and leadership.

When Washington’s kick the can mentality combines with America’s ADD and what’s next mentality, inaction tends to be the only action. Unfortunately, the debt ceiling vote followed by the 2012 Presidential campaign season provided cover, allowing Democrats to avoid their least favorite subject of entitlement cuts and Republicans hoping for a Romney victory.

As we know, Romney did not win, and the difficult decisions did not magically disappear. The only change is that now Washington has a proverbial gun to the head in the form of the January 1 deadline. Holding the middle class hostage to preserve tax cuts for the rich is the President’s phrase du jour used to demonize Republicans in order to achieve his goal: sticking it to the rich without providing meaningful spending cuts. This is nothing but Obama’s attempt to get in on the kick the can game.

The Gallup poll suggests the American people want compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff and the only party they see compromising is the GOP. This is reflected in the poll numbers as well, with President Obama’s approval rating dropping below 50 percent. Whether Obama ignores the turn in the numbers, showing his arrogance to the American people instead, is anyone’s guess. Thanks to the gun, we will know soon.


  1. Great read!!!

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