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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

A “ Fiscal Cliff” Deal? Not Likely

We’re  approaching the so-called fiscal cliff, a stupid label, but something the morons in the media and the electorate at large can understand ––– avoid automatic tax hikes for everyone and deep budget cuts that would scuttle our military.

Action is necessary in less than 72 hours to avoid the “cliff ” (although avoidance might not be the best thing to do at this point. In the past, a so-called “grand bargain,” a broad bipartisan compromise between the White House and Congress, has only resulted in higher taxes with promised spending cuts (except in national defense). But, deficit reduction never materializes––resulting in higher taxes and higher spending, but little or no deficit reduction.

The spend now, save later approach is one of the ways these grand design deals hide their actual costs. And it’s necessary to examine the gimmicks used when spending cuts are allegedly obtained. For example, Obama claims he’s cooperating in savings by using an outrageous gimmick. His savings come from winding down the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of winding down those operations and not spending the money “saved,”  he claims that this “saved”money can now be spent on something else. Another gimmick is declaring a need for “emergency” spending.

All these practice must be stopped!  But this isn’t the time for a complete budget overhaul. To prevent a devastating tax increase and an equally devastating defense sequestration,  current tax policies must be temporarily extended. Then, Congress and the President can fight over a “grand budget” that can set us on the road back to fiscal sanity and away from the “insolvency cliff.”

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