This morning, there was an op-ed piece by Rand Paul (not Paul Ryan; the other one with very similar name and identical ideas) suggesting that we need not necessarily “wring our hands in despair at the possible fiscal cliff.”
Then later today, I get this from Gary Johnson, the guy who ran for president this year as a Libertarian:
Since the election, I’ve been able to spend some time at home in New Mexico, recharge my batteries a bit, and most important, watch what’s going on in Washington, DC – which is really nothing good.
The news is filled with stories about the “looming fiscal cliff”. Of course, in Washington, their definition of a “cliff” is that government spending will be cut next year by slightly more than $100 billion – IF Congress and the President don’t come to an agreement to cut spending by LESS than that. With a $16 trillion debt and trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, only in Washington would cutting $100 billion be viewed as an impending disaster.
The real disaster – the real “fiscal cliff” – is the one we face if spending ISN’T cut by far more than $100 billion… There are talking heads on TV saying, with a straight face, that cutting spending by a few small percentage points will devastate the economy. Where were those talking heads when the Democrats and Republicans were conspiring to run up an unsustainable $16 TRILLION national debt. Who is pointing out the obvious: That ridiculous levels of spending have already devastated the economy – and that the so-called fiscal cliff is a pothole compared to the real cliff that our Thelma and Louise government is driving us over.
And so forth. Somehow, I am not consoled by these assertions. Nor am I pacified when some of our friends on the left (and more libertarian elements of the right) say it’s just fine if military spending is eviscerated.
Call me wacky, but count me among those hoping that the Dems and Repubs will work out a way to avert this booby-trap they set during their last major failure to be reasonable on fiscal matters — you know, the one that let to the downgrade of the nation’s credit rating.