Cal  Thomas

Many economists believe such large tax increases will lead to reduced consumer spending, sparking another recession. Given its spending history and lack of self-discipline, it is unlikely Congress would use any extra revenue to shrink the national debt. It is more likely to engage in new spending.

As important as avoiding the "fiscal cliff" is, avoiding the impact of "sequestration," mandatory, across-the-board federal spending cuts, which Congress stupidly believed would impose responsibility on its members, ought to be of equal concern. These spending reductions, including on defense spending, take effect Jan. 1. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has said the impact on national security would be "disastrous."

Voters can't just cast ballots and think they have solved these problems.

They must stay engaged.

There is a virus in Washington that eventually touches nearly all politicians. It's called incumbency. Once elected, most politicians consider re-election their major goal, not doing the difficult work of reforming the tax code, reducing spending and living within the means of the people who do the work and send them money, hoping they will spend it responsibly.

Regardless of the election results, "we the people" must keep the pressure on our officials, because the lobbyists surely will. Who would you rather have your congressman hear from, you or them?

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Cal Thomas' column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.