Why the fiscal cliff deal endangers American policy

Hours before the United States would have hurdled down the fiscal cliff, the House passed an extension that effectively pushes the fiscal cliff deadline back a few months, with potentially dire consequences. The bill, overwhelmingly approved by the Senate a day before, preserves tax cuts for those making less than $400,000, while letting tax cuts for higher income “earners” expire.

But that’s not why this plan is dangerous. It’s not the last minute deal, the continually compromising democrats, or the irresponsible tea party Republicans who continue to sabotage their own party and hold our country hostage at the same time. The problem is that a deal was made at all.

The last few weeks have felt eerily similar to last year’s debt ceiling debacle; months of build up, disregarded compromises and legitimate legislation, and bipartisan feather fluffing, all for a last minute bargain that only kicked the can down the road a bit. Keep in mind, the fiscal cliff was established as part of the debt ceiling deal. But the deal was made, in the end.

What happens next time? That’s the question we should be asking ourselves. What happens when the deal isn’t made? The republican house continues to grow more unstable, with key members, even Boehner, unable to control them. Americans remain mostly complacent about these debates because, even though we complain about the absurdity of it all, we have faith that a deal will be made, however irresponsible the deal may be. We don’t believe Congress would sabotage our economy, and they’ve yet to let a deadline pass.

But after what we’ve seen these last two years, it’s entirely possible that Republicans, hell bent on destroying Obama’s legacy since they failed in limiting him to one term, would do anything to trash the president’s reputation.

I would say the solution is to go out and vote these irresponsible, hateful and, I’ll say it, racist people out of office, but that time has come and gone. We’re stuck with them for a while longer. Recalls are messy. Democrats hold the oval office and the Senate, but what can they do so long as the tea party crazies hold the House?

We need to become more involved in the legislative process, visiting and calling our representatives, whether they’re in our party or not, to make sure they are hearing our voices. I spoke with former Rep. Anne Marie Beurkle (NY) on the eve of the debt ceiling crisis. Our hour-long conversation yielded no real results, I admit, but I made the effort. I had the discussion. Maybe if we all started doing that, we’d see some change.

I guess for now we’ll have to wait and see. Until next time…

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