Rich Galen

As it happened, the Simpson-Bowles report only got 11 votes, so the Congress could (and did) ignore it without looking like they were ignoring it.

Thus the deficit continues to grow as the can gets kicked closer and closer to the fiscal cliff.

The next bit of can-kicking came about after the 2010 mid-term elections which gave control of the U.S. House back to the GOP. Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner agreed to continue the Bush-era tax cuts - which were scheduled to automatically expire because a previous Congress couldn't agree on a permanent level for tax rates - which the Republicans wanted in return for extending unemployment benefits that the President wanted.

Those tax cuts will now expire on December 31, 2012 because … well, you see the pattern here.

There is also an two percent reduction in what are known as payroll taxes - Social Security and Medicare - that will expire on the same date because the Congress and the President want to give everything to everybody while making nobody pay for it - financially or politically.

On the other side of the equal sign there is the "sequester." That is the automatic spending cuts that were agreed to by the Congress in 2011 if what was known as the Super Committee of House and Senate members couldn't come up with a revenue and spending package that would begin to reduce the growing debt.

Of course they couldn't, but the cuts wouldn't begin until 2013 (can/kick/road) so everyone pretended the problem was temporarily solved (where do they find all these cans), but as we are now only weeks away from 2013, that road is coming to an end as well.

That all had to do with the fact that we were bumping up against the debt ceiling that Republicans would only agree to raise if the President would agree to spending cuts.

Only in the Alice-in-Wonderland reality of Washington, DC can a ceiling lead directly to a cliff.

So, what will happen? Have you not been listening?

The leaders of the House and Senate will work together with the President to attach helium-filled legislation to the can allowing it to drift right over the fiscal cliff.

And land on a brand new, shovel-ready, road.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.


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