Now for the real cliff
January 10, 2013
One consolation in the unsatisfactory deal to avoid the fiscal cliff is that for most taxpayers, it eliminates the expiration of the Bush-era tax rates. However you slice it that amounts to Democrats admitting that raising people’s taxes doesn’t help the economy.
The flip side of that small consolation is taxes are increasing in other ways for almost everybody.
But the biggest frustration is that for all the theatrics over the cliff deal, it does nothing about the genuine fiscal cliff we fell over four years ago, with the spending binge launched by the President Obama.
There’s still time to open the parachute, and absolutely no evidence that the vacationer-in-chief has any interest in doing so.
So the next-biggest frustration is obtuse commentary by Washington insiders—some nominally Republican—who seem unable to grasp the possibility that for Barack Obama, spending the country into bankruptcy is a means to an end, and a feeble economy is preferable to a strong one that fosters individual liberty.
To cut through that fog it takes a throwback to an era when it was still possible to be a Democrat and a patriot at the same time. In mid-December, Michael Barone spelled out what others still refuse to see.
Barone’s insight: A sluggish economy provides a serviceable—if bogus—justification for expansive government and people who worry daily about staying employed will think hard before becoming politically troublesome.
The fight over spending is still to be had. As the last line of fiscal defense, House Republicans must soon begin starving the beast, or admit they’ve already lost everything worth having.