Most important, though, Americans blame Republicans for the situation. While just 34 percent of Americans blame President Obama for the current fiscal cliff impasse, 45 percent blame Congressional Republicans. This seemingly makes no sense: it's Obama who has incentive to watch America fly off the fiscal cliff, raising taxes and slashing the military budget in his wake. Republicans would prefer to avoid both eventualities. Actually, Republicans want to avoid the fiscal cliff so much that they're talking about eliminating tax deductions, even as Democrats refuse to put a single spending cut on the table. Democrats are the roadblock to a solution here.
But on the other hand, it's Republicans who put themselves in this situation. The fiscal cliff exemplifies Republican spinelessness. It was Republican spinelessness back in 2011 that led to Republican spinelessness now.
Back in 2011, Republicans objected to yet another attempt by the Congressional Democrats to raise the debt limit. They had a choice: either allow government to shut down temporarily while a real solution was found to America's spending addiction, or come to a long-term agreement on budgetary issues before raising the debt limit. The Democrats had two priorities: raise the debt limit, and push the issue of debt off until beyond the 2012 re-election campaign for President Obama.
And Republicans caved.
They came to an agreement with Democrats under which a super committee -- six Senators and six Representatives, split parties -- would get together and decide how to cut $1.2 trillion from the budget. If they failed to reach an agreement, an automatic series of cuts and tax increases would take place. All of this would happen post-election.
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