Bulls, not Bull Shit: The Fiscal Cliff Distraction

Bulls, not Bull Shit.

Bulls, not Bull Shit.

Concern about the Fiscal Cliff is all fine.  We need to get things in order.  But debates and negotiations about the problem seem to amount to little more than opportunities to take up political positions and reinforce political identities.  Everyone gets there fifteen minutes of fame…over and over and over again.  It is frustrating.

The “Fiscal Cliff” is indeed a problem that needs attention, but it looks more and more like a publicity stunt.  First of all, the problem is entirely avoidable.  Secondly, if you look at the overall condition of the economy, the Fiscal Cliff problem is entwined with secondary, not primary, problems tied to our economic crisis.  Moreover, a combination of tax increases and budget cuts won’t resolve our budget and economic crises.  The numbers don’t add up.  But if you listen to politicians, it is both the problem and eventual solution to our economic woes.

Enough of the BS…

What will correct the deficit problem is a growing economy.  Get strong economic growth combined with responsible fiscal management and the problem will be resolved.

Conservatives argue that we need to ensure that “job creators” have money so they will hire workers.  We all agree that jobs is a good thing and critical to economic recovery.  However the so-called job creators have money — top corporations are sitting on huge reserves and recovering relatively well — and we have the tax cuts, but we don’t have the jobs.  I harp on this often here.  Job creators won’t create jobs simply because they have money.  Business doesn’t succeed by being a charity, right?

Until someone can show how giving business more money will create more demand, let’s stop with that failed and unsupportable argument.

Taxpayers, however, can invest in jobs.  Can’t afford it, you say?  Yes we can.  We can also choose to deficit spend….yes, borrow against the future.  But unlike you or I, government faces different economic realities, especially the United States government.  Don’t take my word for it, check with a Nobel Prize-winning economist and others.

Tax increases and budget cuts are feel good solutions to a long-term, systematic problem that tax increases and budget cuts alone won’t resolve.  Drop in the bucket, short-term fix, if it is indeed a fix.  (If our economy tumbles into recession again, it is the opposite of a fix, correct?)

The real issue isn’t the cliff, but rather how we as taxpayers will choose to invest in our future.  The small-government, tax cutting Republicans don’t seem to have our best interests in mind.  What they want, we have…and we have had it through the course of this crisis.  If the conservative answer was the right answer, we should expect things to turn around.  They haven’t.  Better, more sophisticated understanding of the problem needs to address the long term health of our economy.  Demand better.

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