January 3, 2012
Not until after the clock ran out on 2012 did the Senate cobble together a “fiscal cliff” deal that finally passed the House late on Jan. 1, in a 257-167 vote. This deal amounts to a kind of “bungee cord” that has snapped us back to the top edge of the cliff again. That we should get a deal instead of a solution should come as no surprise. The entire process has been focused on the wrong problem all along.
The president, the House speaker, the Senate majority and minority leaders and, for that matter, Mitt Romney all have done the nation a major disservice by focusing almost exclusively on taxes for the top 1 percent or 2 percent of income earners for the past six months or so. Speaker John A. Boehner tried to talk about cutting spending, but the other side and its obsequious media are deaf to the subject. Democrats and Republicans alike have argued tenaciously that raising taxes on the rich, or not, is the heart of the problem. It’s not. The problem is overspending, not insufficient revenue from taxes.