, Newburyport, MA

November 14, 2012

Fiscal cliff just a lot of hype

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

I don’t understand all the fuss about this looming fiscal cliff. During the recent general elections, the term “fiscal cliff” started to creep into my vocabulary.

Fiscal cliff is a term that the media and our Washington politicians on both sides of the aisle use to describe a fiscal predicament that was caused about three years ago to close an agreement to fund the government temporarily without a balanced budget.

Part of the agreement was that if a balanced budget were not signed by a certain date, that our taxes would go up to the pre-Bush tax cut era and there would be huge cuts in government spending. These cuts in government spending include but are not limited to the military and social programs.

The media and politicians on both sides claim that if these tax increases happen and cuts in government spending occur, we could be heading into a recession the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression.

I thought that we just got out of a recession that we have not seen since the Great Depression? President Obama and his fellow Washington politicians on both sides have not passed a federal budget in four years, since the present occupant of the White House took office.

The fiscal cliff that causes the tax increases and government spending cuts to happen automatically are a way that the politicians on both sides use to punish the other side for not doing their job. The Republicans get to cut government spending, the Democrats get to raise taxes.

During the last four years I’ve been hearing that the Bush tax cuts without spending cuts were bad fiscal policy. Now with the looming fiscal cliff, I’ve been hearing that raising taxes back to the pre-Bush tax-cut era with spending cuts in government is bad fiscal policy.

In my humble opinion, I think that this fiscal cliff is a lot of hype similar to the millennium scare. Do you remember at the turn of the century, we were told that computers manufactured prior to the year 2000 that were not set to reset themselves back to zeros may self-destruct? That didn’t happen, did it?

I’m beginning to think that the only downfall of the fiscal cliff is that the politicians will be going through not being able to spend our money withdrawal as fast.