Scurrying Back Onto the Cliff
Well, we made it! We’re now on the other side of New Years, and everything is looking just peachy! Oh, wait, I just remembered I’m not that fond of peaches. Strike that comparison!
Let me start again! We’re now on the other side of New Years, and everything is looking just rosy! OUCH! Effin thorns! Strike that comparison, too. On third thought, let’s just forget all of the comparisons and express gratitude that we all survived the tumble off the fiscal cliff.
Many people believe we averted the cliff when the House of Representatives swallowed their pride and voted in favor of the deal crafted by Obama and the Democratic controlled Senate. Actually, we did fall off the cliff, but with our arms flailing wildly we managed to grab hold onto a twisted, gnarly tree root sticking out of the side of the cliff, climbed back up to the top and crawled back onto safe ground. It was a close one, but…we’re not out of the woods yet!
True to form, Congress kicked a can of issues further down the road. Left unaddressed is the debt limit, across the board spending cuts, and oh, there was a third thing about the economy which Congress left for tomorrow. Oh well, it doesn’t matter, because I’m sure they’ll kick this issue down the road again.
Through all of this end-of-the-year drama, I am still baffled by one thing. Namely, I wonder how many Mayans freaked out on December 31 when they turned over the last page of the 2012 calendar and saw… (dramatic music crescendo) a blank page! Or worse, they saw an ad for car insurance! BTW…the Mayan Lingerie calendars have sold out! (Sorry, Janey!)
Of course, the final vote didn’t come off without some sort of whining. Conservative Republicans groused (that’s groused as oppose to, say, peacocked) that this bill was rushed through before they had a chance to read it, debate it, and hack it to shreds. Of course it was rushed through…if you don’t count the previous 16 months when Republicans kicked the issues back and forth because they believed they wouldn’t have to deal with President Obama or a Democrat led Senate by this time, and they could slash away at entitlements and let their rich friends continue their free ride at the expense of the middle class.
Alas, the election didn’t turn out quite like they expected, now did it?
Political leaders from New Jersey and New York expressed anger at House leadership when the old Congress did not get a chance to vote for relief for areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy. These leaders in Congress and at the state level were, oh, how would the French put it, oh yes…truly PISSED OFF! I swear Governor Christie nearly burst a vessel in his head and came so close to switching parties! Now that is pissed!
The new Congress began this week and, fortunately, John Boehner retained his Speakership. I say fortunately, because if he had lost we may very well have been stuck with… (dramatic music crescendo) Eric Cantor as the House Speaker. His leadership would have made President Obama look more like a quadriplegic duck than a lame duck. One more thought about Boehner being re-elected House Speaker: I swear I will hurl if I ever find out that he reverted to the old Sally Field Oscar acceptance speech (“You like me! You really like me!) when he found out he’d been re-elected.
I did hear that he cried when the election was over. Harumph! Typical!
So the old Congress voted and left town, and no one is totally happy with the results. Conservatives have to put away their swords for entitlements until another day. The wealthy 1% will have to add a few more zeroes to their tax liability payments. Not even the middle-class worker was spared, because the 2% payroll deduction break on Social Security taxes in effect since 2010 (dramatic music crescendo; this is the last one, I swear) expired.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. It was nice while it lasted and enabled the middle-class to engage in some economic stimulation, and who knows we may have created a few jobs for those less fortunate while doing so. Unfortunately Social Security is in danger of collapse (or so we are told, mostly by conservative Republicans who are drooling at the chance to pull this safety net out from those less fortunate once and for all) and it needs every penny it can get. After all, we’ll all be drawing from this fund someday.
Still, I will miss stimulating the economy. I enjoyed eating out often, ordering items from the Internet, and doing any number of other activities that lightened the weight of my wallet. Despite this, the economy proved to be an insatiable bitch, demanding more and more from me. Now I have an excuse to close my wallet, say no, and spend more quiet evenings at home.
Oh well, better to be at home than lying at the bottom of a cliff and staring up at an empty sky.
(Thank you for reading. Coming Next Month: Fiscal Cliff, Part Two: How High is My Debt Ceiling?)