Mike’s Musings–A bi­­-partisan Congress must deal with

by Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor 

Back in July of last year, our congressman, Dave Camp (R-Midland) warned me of the impending fiscal cliff. As we were talking about issues that would affect you and I, at a meeting at the newspaper offices he stated, ” Mike, the biggest issue of all is about to unfold at the end of the year, if Congress doesn’t act.”

I blew it off as political poppycock. I figured the venerable Congressman, who was being treated for cancer at the time, was out of touch, or too high on drugs, to know what he was talking about.

I was wrong. As it turned out, Rep. Camp was absolutely right. And the way it played out has me biting my nails, because very little was decided at the 11th hour.

Two fellas I have never had much confidence in were able to strike a deal that the President, House Minority leader, John Boehner, and others could not swing. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who I always thought was too homespun and never answered a question directly, and Vice-President Joe Biden, who I always laughed at because he appeared to be “out in leftfield” were able to save the day at the stroke of midnight by crafting a deal that saved Americans nearly $2000 apiece from their pocketbooks.

The deal added an additional tax burden to those making over $400,000 a year. Originally the threshold the Democrats proposed was $250,000. Republicans balked, and to be honest, it just added to the mantra that they are the party of the rich. I couldn’t believe they (the Republicans) were threatening to hold up a deal, over that. Geez if I made that kind of money I would gladly pay if few more thousand in taxes.

Of course part of the reason Republicans were balking, was they wanted to tie any deal to a reduction in spending. They certainly got a few reductions, but basically, that part of the deal won’t be played out for another sixty days. At that point, the fiscal cliff talks begin in earnest again, as our federal government tries to determine where to cut expenses, so that normal wage earners like you and I aren’t faced with an additional tax burden.

At least I hope that’s what happens. Just like you and I the federal government needs to live with its means. For too long they have had a no limit credit card, in which they’ve never had to pay the monthly balance. When they don’t have enough money to pay essential expenses they borrow from the Chinese or Russians.

This has got to stop, and it might mean some of the entitlements we have grown accustomed to, will have to be pared back. For instance, there has been talk that the age one can begin collecting social security will be bumped a couple of years. That could save us billions. God forbid, we might even have to cut military spending. If it means I save a dime in my pocket, I’m for it. The question is, however, is their enough votes on Capitol Hill, to get any of this done, or are our peers too cozy with lobbyists to make the tough decisions.

I guess we will find out in March. Some experts have said the 11th hour deal only delayed a recession for a couple months. I’m not going to bet the farm that spending cuts of any magnitude will be made. I suspect it will be business as usual- meaning a lot of talk and banter, but the only real movement will occur in our wallets where more dollars will go to our gutless government leaders.