Preparing for the next round

29 Jul

fiscal-cliff2-sizedHere we go again.

As assured as death and taxes, the nation’s debt ceiling marches around, steady as clockwork.

And just as reliably, both sides begin the semi-annual posturing like roosters strutting around some barn yard.

After what seems like months of self-imposed exile, House Speaker John Boehner again is insisting “we’re not going to raise the debt ceiling without real cuts in spending. It’s as simple as that.”

Once again, Republicans head into yet another debt showdown with the president.

While the GOP did get spending cuts during the initial 2011 fight over extending the debt ceiling, it produced the so-called “fiscal cliff” – a combination of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts – with which we’re all having to live with now.

Congress’s ability to deal with the fiscal cliff stank.

Taxes were allowed to go up, but only on incomes over $400,000.

And the automatic spending cuts – sequester – were allowed to take effect despite warnings from both the White House and economists about the cuts’ effect on the economy.

And although the economy has grown in 2013, and has continued to add jobs, critics of the sequester argue that growth would have been much better robust if the cuts had never taken place.

Sequestration hurts, especially the military and the next fiscal year will be even worse.

Who knows…

Whether the president will be willing to agree to more cuts in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling is an open question.

Republicans in Congress, bruised from the political fallout over the fiscal cliff at the beginning of this year, gave in and allowed an extension to the debt limit through mid-May so long as both the House and Senate produced budget proposals for the 2013-14 fiscal year…and that happened.

But – neither of those budget proposals have gone anywhere because the House and Senate have refused to appoint negotiators to hash out a compromise between the two sides.

You now have the history for this latest slugfest.

The whole thing sounds like a broken record.

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