WASHINGTON - A big issue is missing in the debate over the "fiscal cliff" about how to get the Obama economy growing again, fueling capital investment, new jobs and higher incomes.
In all the fire and fury over whether we should raise or cut taxes, or how we can pound the deficits and a monster national debt into submission, the role of economic growth doesn't get the attention it deserves.
President Obama rarely mentions the term. Probably because the gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measurement of all the goods and services the economy produces, has been so weak under his presidency, that he is embarrassed to talk about it.
Democratic leaders in Congress have all but dropped economic growth from their vocabulary because they don't understand what it means or what policies affect its growth or contraction. The nightly news shows, and the national news media in general, deliver reports on the battle over the looming "fiscal cliff" without uttering the term.
But it's the critical factor in a prosperous, expansionary, wealth-creating economy. Yes, I meant wealth. It's another term you don't hear much from this president, because the people in his party consider it a naughty, illiberal word that draws boos from his Democratic base.
In fact, wealth creation is at the center of a healthy economy because it provides the resources needed for venture capital investment in new industries and businesses, large and small, that open employment opportunities for a growing, vibrant nation.
The lack of economic growth is also a big contributing factor in the sky high, trillion dollar budget deficits under Obama's reign that have plunged us into unfathomable debt. Weak growth has eroded the fiscal foundations of the largest economy in the world and weakened our credit rating for the first time in U.S. history.
When the economy's growth rate has slowed to a crawl, as this one has, businesses go bankrupt or are struggling to keep their heads above water and payrolls are slashed, unemployment climbs, fewer Americans and businesses are paying income and payroll taxes and thus government revenues plunge -- driving up deficits.
Obama convinced millions of Americans in the election that the deficits he ran up over the past four years was the result of greedy upper income people who weren't paying enough taxes (the truth is that the wealthiest 10 percent pay 70.5 percent of all income tax revenue).
In fact, a giant slice of the deficit is the result of millions of people who do not have a job and thus had no income to be taxed.