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Fiscal Cliff Battle Rages on Between President Obama and Republicans

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The White House and Republicans have finally put their initial proposals on a fiscal cliff agreement on the bargaining table, and so far it looks like neither side is willing to budge.

Obama Fiscal CliffBoth proposals were practically opposite images of each other, with the cornerstone of the Democrats’ proposal being to raise taxes on those making over $250,000 a year, while the cornerstone of the Republican plan was to cut spending.

Specifically, the Democrats' proposal would: grant unlimited power to raise the debt ceiling, raise taxes by $1.6 trillion, $4.71 in higher taxes for every $1 in spending cuts, and perhaps most incomprehensibly, contradicts its own deficit savings by asking for yet another “stimulus” package.

Conversely, the Republican proposal would seek to reduce the deficit by $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years. It would do this through $1 trillion in spending cuts, saving $240 billion more than President Obama’s proposal, lastly, and most controversially, it would overhaul the tax code to raise over $800 in new taxes on the wealthy.

The media surrounding the proposals paints a picture in which the Republicans are willing to go over the fiscal cliff in order to prevent higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

This is misleading.

Republicans aren’t trying to protect the rich.  Republicans are trying to protect Americans from an unsustainable spending culture.  Republicans reject raising taxes on the wealthy without the meaningful spending cuts needed to correct the “spend now, tax later” culture in Washington.  Tax hikes proposed without spending cuts will perpetuate a growing deficit, higher unemployment, and stagnant to negative growth of the economy.    
The White House has framed the answer to avoiding the fiscal cliff as a fundamental issue of fairness—the rich need to pay “a little more” of America’s debt.  Yet, the fundamental problem is not that the rich are not paying their fair share. The problem is that Congress spends too much, and now wants wealthier Americans to pick up the tab.

Congress has come to the point of the fiscal cliff because of an unsustainable spending culture in Washington that has gone on far too long.  Just as Americans have their own budgets they need to stick to every month, so does the government.

The reason we’re having this discussion is because our country has spent beyond its means for too long, and we’re now faced with the decision to continue irresponsible spending on taxpayers’ dime rather than take the necessary measures to cut down costs.

Democrats made it clear that they would rather go over the fiscal cliff than truly negotiate an overhaul of the current tax code or spending to put our country on the path to fiscal sanity.  

Republicans have extended a generous olive branch by going against a core principle and raising taxes in new revenue totalling $800 billion dollars.  On what core principle have Democrats conceded?

The answer is that Democrats don’t need to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff.  It’s actually brilliant political posturing. Not only will they be able to raise tax rates as they have long hoped to do, they will be able to do so without conceding any type of meaningful tax reform or spending cuts to the Republicans. Additionally, they will be unapologetic for doing so because the public will follow the liberal finger pointed at Republicans in Congress who fought the President’s proposal based on “partisanship.”

For these reasons, Americans shouldn’t be surprised when we fall off the fiscal cliff, just follow the Democrats.

Obama fiscal cliff photo from brokencountry.com

Contact Alyssa Bonk at abonk08@gmail.com

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Check out more of Alyssa's work at Blocktalkradio.com/backroompolitics, Luckandhustle.blogspot.com and Smart Girl Politics

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