*The “fiscal cliff” drama, that threatened across the board cuts to all government spending if a budget reduction solution by December 31st, 2012, took the nation to the brink of emotion.
Some suggest, needlessly. Playing a shameless game of chicken, the Republican Party showed they hadn’t learned a damn thing in the spanking they took in November.
Being as recalcitrant as ever, their congressional leadership continued to play obstructionist politics with the lives of Americans as the deadline loomed. In fact, they let the deadline pass. America went over the cliff…on a bungee cord…then snapped back before crashing to the ground…as Congress came to a partial deal the day after New Years. Insincere politics provided us a glorious welcome to 2013. The drama was needless, but the point was made, the real purpose of the whole engagement, to reduce government spending while realistic tax reform was crafted. The can was kicked down the road again on budget cuts and the Republicans are again threatening to default on the government bills when the time comes to raise the debt ceiling again.
So really, we’re back at square one. Okay…square two. The President did get a compromise tax rise on those who earn above $400,000. He wanted $250,000. The Republicans wanted a tax increase on those making more than a million. That’s all they were able to agree upon in the six months since the Republicans caused an international crisis in refusing to raise the debt ceiling. Now what is clear is that the Republicans never negotiated with any degree of sincerity. They wanted just wanted to get to November, when they thought, with relative surety, that they could take out President Obama with new voter suppression and corporate campaign contribution (Super PAC) laws. Then they could keep the Bush tax cuts in place (the REAL reason the national debt is snowballing), maintain defense spending and strip social spending by targeting Medicare and Social Security. And, of course, dismantling Obamacare.
Well, guess what!!?? It didn’t happen. They still can’t believe it didn’t happen. The American people showed their disgust with Congress’ insincere politics. You would think the Republicans got the message, and play nice, at least, until the 2014 mid-term elections and try to springboard from there, to have any chance of claiming the White House in 2016. Nope. Not these dummies. They’re still playing it out as they always have, and it seems—they always will—for as long as Speaker Boehner has to deal with his renegade Tea Party faction.
In fact, they threatened to turn on him and remove him as Speaker because he moved what they call, “the President’s bill.” This oligarchic behavior is what got this Congress rated as the worst ever (since they been rating Congresses), but they don’t seem to care. Their ideology is bigger than the nation’s good and welfare. It is the type of runaway narcissism that drives American culture today. The Tea Party somehow thinks they can take the nation back to Reaganism and the anti-taxation/budget cut mentality that is now 30 years and has weakened American physical and social infra-structure. This movement has played out and rational solutions are being ignored by irrational politics. “Cliff hanging” allows Republicans to be relevant to the conversation, while at the same time—be irrelevant to the solution. “Fiscal cliffing hanging” allows the American public to get a true picture of how seriously government takes their lives. Government can be the solution, but at this point, government is the problem.
We elect people that we think will be rational in their ability to “work it out.” However, the hardliners—the ideologues—now drive the process, and if they can’t drive it, they are willing to crash the car. Or they take the car hostage, and threaten to drive it over the cliff if the Democrats don’t jump out of the car. And they damn sure ain’t going to jump out of the car. So the American people have to hold on in the backseat of this horror ride while the two dominant political parties fight of the steering wheel. The American people are tired of the thrill ride.
We just want our government back…absent the insincerity that has taken it over.
Fiscal cliffing hanging is NOT fun, and at this point, it’s not responsible governance.
Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist and author of the book, REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture. He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com or on Twitter at @dranthonysamad.