Congress has averted the immediate Fiscal Cliff but no significant action was taken to address our long term fiscal problems. According to the Wall Street Journal, the deficit will shrink slightly below $1 trillion for a few years and then continue its inexorable rise. The can was kicked down the road for two months by delaying sequestration until March 1. In other words this was a bad deal and Republicans in the House of Representatives should have voted it down and held out for a much better deal.
At least, Nebraska’s 2nd District Congressman, Lee Terry, voted against it. Speaker John Boehner declared that the new 113th Congress would make the federal debt and deficit its singular focus. Let’s hope that Mr. Boehner means what he says and that Mr. Terry supports him when the chips are down.
One year ago Mr. Terry voted to extend the payroll tax holiday for two months (annual cost $110 billion) and then voted against a full year extension two months later, after the die was cast. Shenanigan’s like this are unacceptable and should be interpreted as complacency and deviousness about addressing serious problems.
House Republicans are in an incredibly difficult position. We’ve just re-elected a President whose basic economic policy is more artificial stimulus (government spending), which just makes the deficit and debt that much worse. The Republican House is now the sole bastion of common sense economic and fiscal policy. We have to hold their feet to the fire. Our survival as a strong nation depends on it.