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The fiscal cliff is just fear mongering

Published December 15. 2012 09:02AM

I have had enough of the fiscal cliff baloney that permeates the airwaves. The fiscal cliff was designed by politicians to punish our country for the politicians' own inability to act. Fiscal cliff fears are just idle chatter designed to fuel the electorate and goad politicians into passing another spending extension. Instead of playing this foolish game, congress and the president should be putting together a budget, a real budget, something we have not had in almost four years. Despite all the sabre rattling and fear mongering, our elected representatives have yet to pass a budget. Let me be clear, it is congress that has failed the American people. Our elected representatives have chosen to hide behind the fiscal cliff rather than face up to the economic issues.

If congress fails to act by the beginning of the year, between 300,000 and 400,000 government employees will lose their jobs. In addition, there will be automatic spending cuts for all government departments. In my opinion, we need to downsize the government by about 400,000 employees anyway. We also need to cut back on government spending until revenues are in line with spending. I'm all for going over the fiscal cliff. Congress designed it, let them now live with the law they passed. It's been almost 4 years since we had a budget, proving that our elected representatives are quite experienced at doing nothing except rattling their sabers and making doomsday speeches.

As for the automatic tax increases that will hit in the New Year, congress passed these increases. If taxes need to go up to balance the budget then so be it. Yes, a few of the very wealthy will leave the country and move their assets to offshore tax havens. To those that leave instead of paying their rightful share of taxes, I say good riddance. We should ensure that their names are published as well as their company affiliations. We the taxpayers can then choose whether or not to buy their products or do business with their firms. Let them take their wealth to some small Caribbean island. If they ever put their foot back in the United States again we should confiscate their assets and treat them as the tax evaders that they are.

For those of us who remain and pay the increased taxes, we should let our representatives know that we expect financial reform. They have created a national debt that is so large that our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren will never be able to pay it off. Instead of focusing on the fiscal cliff, we should be focusing on debt reduction or even national bankruptcy. The deficit folly cannot go on any longer. It is time to pay the piper and dance to a new tune.

When a company enters bankruptcy, they must sell assets to pay their creditors. In turn, the creditors often accept a lower payout. Liquidation of assets is justified to repay the creditors some or all of their money. The first thing I would sell is the United States Postal Service. Last year they had revenue of $66 billion. In the first quarter of this year the Postal Service had a $200 million profit. If the USPS were spun off to the private sector, new management would revitalize the Postal Service and make it even more profitable. As for the unfunded pension liability for postal retirees, this debt belongs to the federal government. Congress raided the pension fund and squandered the money. Now it is time for this gang of thieves to take responsibility for their actions and pay the pensions from the Treasury.

We can also sell off our oil reserves that are conservatively valued at over $20 trillion. Since the national debt is about $16.8 trillion, we could pay it off in one single payment. Yes, oil companies would start drilling both onshore and offshore. And yes, there could be some environmental concerns. But look at the upside: there would be jobs! The unemployment problem would be solved and the newly employed workers would be paying taxes to the Treasury instead of drawing welfare checks. The federal government would be required to fund all operations, entitlements, and benefits from current revenue. No more deficit spending! Most states are required to fund their operations from current revenues. The federal government must be forced into the same fiscal responsibility as the state governments.

I am tired of the political posturing and pontificating that emanates from the brainless ninnies in Washington. They were elected to do the peoples business, not sit in drawing rooms, smoking cigars and sipping brandy. It is time for them to roll up their sleeves and get to work! They must create a budget and then mandate the required cuts to government spending. The elections are over! It is time for them to do what they were elected to do. We the people will not tolerate a congress that sits on their butts for another 4 years rather than addressing the worst fiscal disaster in our nation's history.

Congress's failure to act on the budget has stymied the growth of small businesses.

The business community does not know what is coming and can't plan their 2013 operating budgets and staff complement. Increased taxes and health care costs could mean layoffs at some businesses. Lower taxes could result in business expansion and a reduction in the unemployment rate. Before small businesses can invest in infrastructure and new employees, they need to know their tax basis for 2013. The New Year is just a few days away and congress is not even close to a budget deal. As a result, we can expect the economic lethargy to continue into the first half of 2013. Unemployment may level off and the numbers may even appear to decrease. But watch those numbers carefully! Our government drops those who have been unemployed for more than 53 weeks from the unemployment numbers, as "they are no longer looking for work". These people are seeking jobs every day yet congress, through their inaction, is working against the unemployed.

I am tired of the economic uncertainty and I hope the readers of this article are as well. As we move into the New Year, we need to get rid of the economic uncertainty and gray clouds hanging over our economy. I would like to start 2013 upbeat, full of hope and cheer for the New Year and a revitalized economy. If politicians cannot compromise on the budget, then we should vote them all out of office in the next election. We cannot pass on the misery of this economy to our descendents. The economy must be fixed now and steps must be taken to ensure that our nation will be fiscally responsible for generations to come.

© 2012 Gordon Smith - All Rights Reserved

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